Saturday, February 20, 2010

Getting The Rabbitry Going Has Been A Long Wait

I spent a great saturday at home.  To start with I got up early and fixed the family breakfast consisting of farm fresh, Omega 3 eggs from our wonderful hens, with toast, of course.

After that I set in to work on the list of tasks I make for myself during my home time.  Fortunately, I only accomplished one of the things on the list.  Fortunately? you ask?  Yes, my major goal for the day was to complete some more rabbit cages.  This has been weighing heavily on me, lately.  We have gotten several calls, recently, for fresh rabbit.  Several people want them for their own meat and several want them for pet food.  We got an email the other day that asked for fresh rabbit to feed to a cat that has allergies.  Apparently the vet told her to try feeding rabbit as the cat is allergic to beef and chicken.  Of course, farm fresh with no additives and hormones and antibiotics is what she is looking for.

Another gentleman wants as many rabbits as he can get to put into organic pet food.  I guess there is a market for this sort of thing.  But, this is what has caused me distress.  We didn't have enough space to have an effective breeding program.  We have put a few into our own freezer, but that is all, really.  We have sold a few live rabbits for pets, but nothing as a profiable business venture.  We had always intended to expand and work on a system for breeding, but never really got around to it.

I constructed the cages very simply.  I used 1x2 inch wire, 2 foot tall, cut into 11 foot sections, laid flat.  Incidentally, this is where a long hallway with 12 inch ceramic tile comes in real handy.  Then I cut 2 pieces of the same for the roof.  I bent, or, folded the 11 foot at the 3 foot mark (the side), to make a 90 degree angle, then I bent it again at 2.5 feet (the end) at 90 degrees, then again at at 3 feet at a 90 degree angle (the other side) and one last time with the remaining 2.5 foot section (the other end) to make a box.  I simply J-clipped it together.

The 2 top sections were cut at 29 inces and laid on top and J-clipped to form the top, or, roof.  The bottom is 1 inch x 1.5 inch square woven wire (special order) at 3 foot.  I simply cut a piece at 2.5 feet to fit in the bottom.  I then J-clipped it, one inch recessed to allow for it being raised up.

Then I cut a door, big enough to fit a large rabbit, my head and hands in.  I used some scrap wire to make a door and fastened it on with J-clips.  Voila!  That's it.

I did make a wooden stand for them with some scrap lumber I have laying around.  But, now we have all the rabbits in their own cages, except for two, they are to be sold.

After all that, we bred three of our does with two of our bucks.  That always gets me to giggling.  Let's just say it goes very fast-like rabbits!  Now we have three does bred and should give birth in a month or so.

It feels good to have a plan with the rabbits now.  Our family loves the meat, ourselves, and look forward to having some in the freezer again.  Lord willing, we might sell a few, as well.

The best part of the whole thing was the fellowship it provided.  My two girls helped me construct them.  My oldest one (9) even squeezed the pliers on a bunch of J-clips.  I was impressed with the strength of her small hands!  The two of them both told me how they love saturdays because they can work with their daddy and just be with him.  I almost cried.  Folks, that is child training at it's best.

Afterward, we took out the metal detector and hit some spots on the property.  All we found was some junk, but, my lovely wife found some Usnea, a lichen that is a big antibiotic.  For the life of me, I could not understand why she was getting so excited over a dead oak branch lying on the ground.  Then she explained it to me.  She plans to tincture it and keep it for our medical needs.  We'll need it when the political stuff hits the fan.

To round out the day, we discovered the chicken pox on our oldest daughter.  She'll be staying home tomorrow.  Our youngest daughter (7) is freaked out with fear that she will catch them and die.  We try to reassure her, to no avail.  Truthfully, we are glad to see the chicken pox.  It is best to get them over with when they are young.  My wife and I both had them as children.

So, it was a good day.  One load has been taken from my shoulders and my children and I tied some strings of fellowship.  God is merciful and loving, isn't He?

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