Well it’s been more than a week since I last updated. And that’s because the weather got nice. The rain stopped and we got to work. Yards got raked, wood got cut, branches trimmed… Turned out that Sandy broke one of our low bushes and we didn’t know so we had to take care of that. At the end of it all we have piles of firewood, both branches and logs, and cleaner lawns.
We also have our rabbit plans coming along. The grow-out cages are almost built. For those who don’t know much about rabbits I will elaborate. Grow-cages are community cages separated by gender in which baby bunnies go from weaning age to eating age. They’re not like gestation crates or even standard rabbit cages where there’s little space to move. There’s a fair amount of space to move but there are more rabbits in the same cage so they can’t all be moving at once. It does reduce locomotion, but not to the atrophying degree factory farming cages do. The rabbits can still run, hop, stand, dig, chew… Do all the normal bunny things they do, but because of the closer quarters they do it in turns. One or two bunnies may be digging and chewing while the rest nap in a corner for example and then they trade out. It also keeps the rabbits together and gives them company. All-around using community crates for growing works out well for both the rabbits and the people, denying neither what they need.
The main purpose of the grow cages is to get your rabbits ready to eat. The reality of raising an animal for food is you want it as big as possible before butchering day. The same thing applies to most plant-based foods as well. The grow cages makes your energetic baby bunnies settle down a little and eat more. It also prevents them from spending their energy doing silly things like trying to breed or fight by separating by gender instead of getting bigger. It also allows you to control the diet of the rabbits you’re eating separate from mom’s diet. This is especially important for moments when you have to give mom medicine, and are trying to sell (or eat) drug free food.
So I am building two of these. They will stay in my garage for reduced energy loss and be lined with a hay that is edible, digable, tossable and litter-upon-able and have a higher calorie feed given than the other rabbits. This will give my rabbits room to move about while still getting big. Every month the older bunnies come out, get put in the freezer or sold, the cages are cleaned, soiled hay goes on the compost pile and I put in the new set of weaned bunnies in fresh hay.
Hopefully we will be getting our rabbits this week even! The person who has the adult rabbits I want (the boring white ones) has given me a time limit to get them or they get freezer’d. I did respond but so far nothing back. It’s my intention to get the bunnies and set them up in the grow-crates while I get the hutch together… And move the rabbits outside only once our fence is built which will be happening soon.
In the meantime, I’ll keep chopping the wood lying around our property and working on making our house more sustainable a little bit at a time.