Monday, July 8, 2013
I've seriously neglected blogging about my rabbits. In fact, I never did a post about processing them last year. I still need to do that, I just need to find the pictures. In the mean time, here are some updated pictures.
Here are a few of the rabbits from the crossbred litter born in late April. They're getting close to processing size, and I'm looking forward to fewer mouths to feed. It's hard with the rabbits though, because they really do calm down as they get older, and they're very friendly and curious. I just have to keep telling myself that they're meat for our family...healthy, antibiotic-free, humanely raised meat.
I've had some interesting things happen with this litter. Eleven kits were born, but 2 died in the first few hours. The remaining 9 were growing very well, and about a month ago I decided to put some in a dog crate on the grass, so they could graze in the shade. I started carrying rabbits out there, and quickly realized though they looked too big to fit through the bars, they could really squeeze through some small spaces!! Three escaped, and I scooped up the fourth before it could get away. Just like that, three rabbits were gone, hiding in the hedgerow. They all were black, and I doubted very much I'd see them again. Two of them are gone, possibly living in the huge corn field next door. One of them is living in the back yard behind the barn, and I see him (her?) every morning and evening. He comes out when I call for him, and he eats grain out of the goats' bowl with them. I've almost caught him numerous times, but he's pretty wily and escapes every time. I've stopped trying to catch him, and for now I just enjoy seeing him.
So that left me with 6 rabbits in the hutch, and one in the yard. Then, one day last week I came out to do chores and found the hutch empty except for the momma doe, and the door was wide open. At first I thought someone had stolen them, but when I saw a bunny hop by I realized I had not shut the door properly that morning. I must have been in a rush to get to work. I wanted to cry, but I was sort of too shocked to even do that. I got a bowl of pellets, and went and sat down near the hedgerow. The bunnies were pretty curious and friendly still, so I managed to catch 5 of them that same evening. The 6th bunny is now living with the one that escaped a month ago. I guess I'll let them be for now, since they seemed to have earned their freedom!
I just looked back through the blog and realized I've never blogged about my first purebred litter of New Zealand White rabbits.
This is my buck, who is still a fairly young guy. He's so sweet, I really like him a lot. He loves being moved to fresh grass every day.
He sired a litter of 8 kits, born June 8th. They're all doing very well.
I'm curious to see what (if any) difference their is in meat quality/quantity between the crossbreds and purebreds.
Even though the rabbits are eating a lot of food, I'm still so glad I switched to raising rabbits instead of meat chickens. They're so much cleaner and easier! Rabbits are a great "gateway" livestock, similar to chickens. They're probably easier to get started with too, because some towns have rules against chickens, but most allow rabbits because they're seen as pets. I guarantee one can raise meat rabbits and their neighbors would never even know, unless the rabbits are in plain sight, of course.
Hooray for rabbits!