Monday, May 2, 2016

Frequently asked questions

I'm a member of some rabbit groups on facebook, and due to the nature of the groups, and the way posts move down the feed, many of the same questions get asked over and over again.  That's fine, but I thought I'd start posting some of those questions, and my answers, here, for your enjoyment?  Entertainment?  Education?  Eh, however it works :)

I have a rabbit I don't want anymore.  Will you take it?

  • While I'm happy to help you rehome your rabbit, it's important to understand that this is a farm, and everyone works around here.  If your rabbit fits into my breeding program, it'll get to stick around for as long as it's happy being a productive member of the crew.  If it doesn't, it'll either be rehomed to someone its more suited to, or it will be humanely dispatched to either feed me or my dogs.  

Where do I find cages?

  • While you can buy cages at places like TSC or Rural King, they aren't a quality that I find acceptable. The wire is of a lighter gauge than I like, the welds aren't super, they require more clips than provided to go together securely, they rust pretty fast, the doors open into the cage (which freaks out the rabbits), and they cost too much for what they are.
  • Used cages can sometimes be found on craigslist.
  • Local cage builders
  • Rabbit shows ~ rabbit shows often have a cage building vendor set up with cages, carriers, and rabbit raising supplies.  
  • Build your own!  You can buy flat pack cages or wire by the foot to build your own from rabbit supply companies.  See below.  

Where do I find wire to build my own cages?

  • NOT the feed store or big box hardware store.  I bought cage wire at TSC one time, and one time only.  One afternoon, my apparently bored Flemish Giant doe pulled her cage apart, one weld at a time.  That wire is fast and convenient when you didn't plan ahead and need a cage right now (bunny math victim!) but the cages you build with it will have a significantly shorter lifespan than if you used quality wire.  Consider also where that wire was made.  
  • Klubertanz and Bass both sell quality USA made cage wire, although I only have direct experience with Klubertanz.  They're a smallish family business, so cut them some slack on the time needed to fill your order.  They are especially busy in the couple of months leading up to national convention.  
  • ARBA National Convention - call ahead to Klubertanz, and ask them to bring your order to convention.  You could also ask them which shows they'll be attending, and have them bring your order to whichever show you're both going to be at.  To my knowledge, they only attend big shows.
How big do my cages need to be?

What's a heritage breed and do you raise them?

  • Heritage breeds are breeds with character and history!  These are the colorful breeds that don't quite fit into most commercial meat operations.  They have that same potential, and back when there was a more robust market for hides/fur, and more of our food system was local instead of national or international, they were quite popular. These are the rabbits our grandparents raised.

Do I need pedigreed rabbits?

Where do I find rabbits?

What kind of feed do you use?

Do I need to feed hay?

What if I don't want to feed pellets?

How long do you wait in between breedings/litters?

Can you breed related rabbits to each other?

How old do rabbits need to be to be butchered?

What is the best way to humanely dispatch a rabbit?

How do you package meat for the freezer?

  • I used to use my foodsaver, but I experienced too many seal failures due to moisture getting sucked into the part of the bag that gets melted to form the seal.  It would look sealed, but later in the freezer would come unsealed.  Now I use shrink bags from (nci).  They ship crazy fast, and are really easy to use.  These are the same people with a great tutorial online on how to butcher meat chickens, and they also make the whizbang plucker.  There are other companies to buy shrink bags from, but I've only
What can I make with rabbit?
  • Hasenpfeffer
  • Coconut Curry Rabbit Stew
  • Spaghetti
  • Enchiladas
  • Rabbit Salad
  • Sweet Garlic Rabbit
  • Pulled BBQ Rabbit
  • Roast Rabbit
  • Bacon wrapped Rabbit

Champagne d'Argent

I have added a trio of pedigreed Champagnes to my rabbitry.  Champagnes are a very nice, heavy, solid meat rabbit with fantastic pelts.  They're soft like my Americans, and have nice personalities.  This trio have been worked with quite a bit, as they were the agricultural science project of a young friend of mine.  I'll have wee ones available in August if you're looking to add a nice, solid meat rabbit to your home meat production projects, or looking for rabbits for show or 4H.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Willow Hedge Farms Tara

Miss Tara is the 3rd generation of Willow Hedge Farms' black American project. They're planning on taking out a COD in the next couple of years. Tara is going to help :)  She's a little pinched in the rear currently, but may fill in a bit as she grows up.  My goal with her offspring is to improve that rear.  When she's ready for her first litter, I'll pair her with Julius, both for his rear, and to test her for the recessive REW gene.  She's a sweet, pretty girl, and I'm so happy to finally have a black American in my herd.  They are, after all, what first hooked me on the breed.  Funny how it's been the hardest color to acquire.  
Tara when she was wee
Bribing Tara with greens

Friday, February 28, 2014

The realities of raising rabbits

Check out this great blog post about the realities of raising rabbits.  It's well written and concise.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rabbit Skin Parchment

An interesting Turkey Day discussion about making parchment from rabbit hides led me to this link. If any of you creative people are interested in buying rabbit hides from me for parchment making, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Focusing on Americans

I've downsized my rabbitry for the winter.  I've made the difficult decision to narrow my focus to Americans only for awhile.  They really are my favorite breed, and now I have both blues and whites in my barn.

I bred both of my white does today, so with any luck, there will be wigglers in the nestbox for Solstice.  The best of the best out of those litters will be available as breeding stock.  

Bickles Cleopatra BBGA4 (white) x Madson's Rain DMM13 (blue, carries white)
Bickles OD8 (white) x GMV B10 Julius (white)

If you're looking for Silver Foxes or American Chinchillas, I'm happy to connect you with a couple of breeders I know.  If things go well, I hope to branch back out into Silver Foxes sometime next spring.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Defiance Rabbit Breeders Association Show

November 10, 2013 is the Defiance RBA show in Hicksville, OH.

I'm planning on bringing American Blues, American Whites, American Chinchillas and Black New Zealands both to show and sell.

I'm so excited!  This is the only show I attend so far, and last year was a lot of fun!  Please let me know if you are interested in juniors so I can be sure to bring what you want.

Is anyone else planning on attending the show?  I'd love to see more rare breeds shown.

See you there!