Now we are excited! Today we got the colony out in the yard ready for rabbits to live in, and we moved in our Mother of all breeders and two of her granddaughters into it! Today was the first time her cute little feet have touched the earth! It feels so good to finally have her out of a cage, she has sure earned it. We are calling this one ‘Colony V’, because the doe of whom I speak is named Violet, and ‘V’ is my nickname for her. Her granddaughters are Poppy, and Rowan. This is a big step for us, moving the breeders out of hanging cages into these super fun colonies where they can have happier lives.
Exploring their new digs
Such my cute girls
We built a platform on the end where the steep slope makes lots of room between the ground and the top of the run. This increases their floor space, and gives the girls a chance to “get away from each other” if they need to.
We hoped to get this colony finished before any of the does in our other colony kindle, we hoped that we could finish up today so we could move 3 of the 6 into this one. So tomorrow we are determined to get this colony done, and possibly the buck box next to it.
We are using 1/2″x 1/2″ welded wire to secure the perimeter walls, and 1″ chicken wire lining the bottom to prevent digging out. Tomorrow we’ll build a frame for the top, put the welded wire on it to enclose the run. This way the rabbits can enjoy outside anytime they want, day or night. We are excited to get our entire herd moved out into these cute little colonies.
Here we have the 14 new additions to our herd of rabbits. Our beloved Penelope (British Spot/French Angora) & Violet (New Zealand White) gave birth to 7 healthy kits each earlier this month.
Below you’ll see our newly built chicken pen. The flock was doing SO much damage in our gardens, we just can’t let them run wherever they want, as they tear up everything! So our friend up the road sold us his old fencing he was using for a cow he had. We gave them over 600 more cubic feet of space to forage, scratch and peck.
Here are some pictures of the damage the chickens wreaked in our gardens…. Tim just recently harvested a bunch of rabbit and chicken manure and built up the beds in the orchard and around the hugelkultur grey water beds… so aggravating how the chickens ruined all of it in just a couple of days!
This bed was mounded all the way up to the middle of the top log you see there… the chickens scratched it all out and scattered it so we can’t even repair it by putting it back. We just have to wait till our next load of manure is ready and rebuild it.
Here you can see their little holes they dig, they liked to lay there and kick dirt all over themselves.
Here are the beds in the orchard, last week Tim wheelbarrowed a whole bunch of rabbit manure out to these mounds and built them up so nice and pretty… the chickens tore them apart, ruining all his hard work.
On either side of this little melon you can see the chicken damage to this bed as well.
I’ve been reading several different blogs on Fodder today and see that many homesteaders are getting off pellets and store bought feeds all together and feeding 90% fodder, and the remaining 10% consisting of hay, black oil sunflower seeds and a salt lick. I am inspired to also make this transition, as it will greatly lessen our feed costs for our rabbit herd and our flock of chickens. Chickens can be raised on fodder, grit and calcium like oyster shells. For the chickens I’ve begun fermenting their regular crumble feed, as I’ve been reading that this makes more nutrients available to digest and improves the health and egg laying ability of the flock.
Tim has added a new structure downslope from our original rabbitry structure, but it is twice as big. Each of the 3 equal sections of both buildings holds up to 8 cages. We have 2 of the 3 sections filled with cages, so we just need to get the wire and other materials to build the remaining 8 cages and we will be finished with construction on our rabbitry. Once finished that will be 24 rabbit cages. Weee-doggies! Haha!
Section 3 of our rabbitry, the one furthest down the slope. As you can see, full of rabbits 🙂
Here is Section 2, still have to hang the cages in here, so we use it to store feed and other stuff for the time being.
Section 1, this was the original rabbitry structure
The side of the rabbitry, taking advantate of the roof overhang to hand up yard tools
Rainbarrel, connected to the chicken coop roof
The run of the chicken coop, the comfrey is coming in nicely.
View of the chicken run from the entrance.
Brownee’s 2nd litter of cute little kits
Another shot of the cuteness
6 1/2 week old kits
Fluffball, his hair is crazy, Rynae loves to brush his hair.
Rynae holding a 3 week old kit
Marlee acting like a squirrel
Mama and Kits
Due to recent health issues with our New Zealand Whites (see the “snuffles post”), we have decided to buy some crossbred Californian/New Zealand Whites from a trusted breeder to add to our herd, as we have read that the crossbreed rabbits tend to have better immune systems then the purebreds.
I also added a couple pictures of our coop progress, the comfrey is coming in nicely, the rainbarrel system works great, and we are now getting on average 22 eggs per day from our ladies.