Earlier in the week Greg and I put together a rabbit tractor. It’s a simple thing, 2X4 posts for the corners, plywood in between at the bottom to support chicken wire for the walls and roof. The chicken wire is “sewn” together between sheets with a spare single wire. The wood is all reclaimed wood or scraps I had lying around. The wire sags and the roof caves in a little. There’s no door on the top (we’re working on that) and getting animals in and out is a pain.
It’s also possibly the best thing on the homestead to date. We’ve been doing an overhaul cleaning of the rabbit cages. We take the rabbits from one half into the tractor and a spare cage, we empty all the litter, bowls, bottles, toys, boxes, etc. and we wash it with a high-pressure spray from the hose and a substantial amount of white vinegar.
I have taken to waking up in the morning, putting some rabbits out and just watching them play while I eat breakfast. It’s amazing. I sip my Chai Tea (fresh mint leaves tucked in) and watch them frolic and munch. It’s so peaceful. It helps me realign myself for the day. And it controls my weeds…!
Kibbles took a turn in the tractor yesterday while we cleaned her cage and Nutro’s. She is nearly four weeks pregnant and eating everything in sight. Once the day was done not a tall blade of grass nor a weed was in sight. Rabbits will go for the big leafy weeds and the sticky stemmy plants first and eat the grass last most days. Most plants are rabbit-safe including ones that are not people safe. Rabbits can even eat tree seedlings without a pause.
When she finally got back into a clean, disinfected cage full of fresh hay she built a solid nest in the back of the cage. I will add a nest box soon, but the cages are wood and were a bit damp still when the bunnies went back in so I want to give her fresh bedding again VERY soon.
Today Purina and her kits took a turn in the tractor. They have cleared not one tractor of space but two of grass and weeds. We cleaned out the other two cages and they are drying some still. I had an opportunity to inspect the kits and I found two of the boys were tiny. I also found they had a bunch of poo stuck to their genitals, enough to actually be considered severe. It may have been causing enough distress for them to be under developed. I’m not sure what happened, but I think mom (or themselves) didn’t clean them enough during their transition to mostly solids and they became poopy, which stuck to mom’s poo and just got worse and worse. Both bunnies were cleaned thoroughly and because they were so underweight I gave them each some honey water. This will not do much but it’ll put enough calories in them to make a small difference. Enough to bounce back I hope. I will do this again for a couple of days.
I am looking forward to having a rabbit or two in the tractor every day from now on. I will be adding a door and putting a tarp over the top as extra shelter soon. The meat chickens will also share in this tractor and grazing duties some day… But for now it’s great just to watch frolicking rabbits!