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Old 01-06-2014, 08:37 AM
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Shai Shai is offline
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Default The Wannabee Farm

My chicken thread is still in the dog photos section (oops) so I thought I'd re-make a catch-all thread for my non-dog/cat photos here.

So to start it off -- the rabbit colony is all bundled down for the cold snap with new stacked bales of straw to burrow into.

Here they all are checking out the new arrangement and deciding whether they like it.


And just a recap, we currently have 8 laying hens, (pictured when it was warm)




And we recently added a rooster as well. He was integrated into the flock last night because the coop is warmer than the quarantine pen, and so far everyone seems to be getting along well. Had a little display between him and the most dominant hen, but no fighting.


I'd like to start letting the flock free range in the back field this spring, but it depends on putting a fence up back there and how well we fare against these guys, of which there are several in the neighborhood:


We also have a garden, which started extremely small two years ago and is slowly expanding as we get a feel for how much we can keep up with. So far we've dealt with an extremely hot and dry summer and an extremely cool and wet summer...would be nice to have something in the middle! Still had a fair bit of success last year, mostly in terms of squash and berries and flowers.








So that's about it. We also have vermicomposting worms and mealworms (the latter for the bluebirds, and now also a special treat for the chickens), the start of an orchard which, who knows, may actually produce fruit in a couple years, a delicious old black mulberry tree way out by the woods, which also has wild black rasperries growing along the edge. Lots of bird life, the occasional deer, a roving pack of coyotes, and the occasional suicidal cottontail.


Also thick clay soil, a bunch of invasive brush and trees out in the little woods threatening to choke out native plants, a mostly-wasted front yard, and various other opportunities for improvement, haha

Always something to do.
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Old 01-06-2014, 08:59 AM
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sillysally sillysally is offline
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Love the chicken pics!! What do you do with the rabbits?
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:01 AM
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Love the chicken pics!! What do you do with the rabbits?
They are raised for meat.

My dogs do not plan to become vegetarians any time soon so I can at least try to make sure as much of their diet as possible lived a good life first.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:07 AM
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sillysally sillysally is offline
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Out of curiosity, how much meat does a colony of rabbits actually produce? It doesn't seem like it would be much as they are small.

You guys should eat it too! We have a stand near the rabbit barn at our county fair where the 4-Hers sell food made of rabbit meat. I had BBQ rabbit and DH had rabbit strogeanoff there last summer--the BBQ rabbit was tasty. It was a tad gamey, but otherwise good.
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Sally--8 yr old pit bull mix
Jack--6 yr old Labrador
Sadie & Runt--12 yr old calico DSHs
Pickles & Kiwi--3 yr old white winged parakeets
Yoda--1 yr old Quaker parrot
Solo--12 yr old Senegal parrot
Sheena--Quarter Horse--3/24/86-6/23/11--Rest Easy Sweet Girl~




Labs do it in the lake.


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Old 01-06-2014, 09:17 AM
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*blackrose *blackrose is offline
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Originally Posted by Shai View Post
My dogs do not plan to become vegetarians any time soon so I can at least try to make sure as much of their diet as possible lived a good life first.
I think that would be super interesting.

Do you take the rabbits somewhere for processing, or do it your self? Once Mike and I are in a position to purchase land and stay stationery, I would like to raise as many animals as is convenient for our own meat (and eggs)...but I neither I nor him would be able to do the harvesting ourselves.

On a similar note, with laying hens, what do you do with them when they are no longer productive? Can you take them to the butcher? I know the laying breeds aren't typically best suited for human consumption, but I'd imagine the dogs would enjoy them.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:32 AM
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Shai Shai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post
Out of curiosity, how much meat does a colony of rabbits actually produce? It doesn't seem like it would be much as they are small.

You guys should eat it too! We have a stand near the rabbit barn at our county fair where the 4-Hers sell food made of rabbit meat. I had BBQ rabbit and DH had rabbit strogeanoff there last summer--the BBQ rabbit was tasty. It was a tad gamey, but otherwise good.
We do, but most goes to the dogs.

These are NZ so a fryer frame weighs about 3lbs after butchering, plus the weight of the other stuff I keep for the dogs.

Normal litter size is 8-11 for my colony, with occasional litters up in the 13-14 range. If I don't intervene they'd breed almost immediately after kindling which would be a lot of litters every year. In practice I pull out the buck around late September so everyone is grown out and I don't have new kits for the coldest part of the year, which also give the does a nice long break. Still, they have 4-5 litter/year/each.

So on the conservative side that 8 rabbits/litter x 4 litters/doe x 3 lbs/rabbit = 96 lbs of rabbit per doe per year. Last year I had four does, though one turned out to be a poor mother so counts for maybe half. My dogs eat approximately 1400lbs of raw food every year, so that 350lbs (+offal) helps.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *blackrose View Post
I think that would be super interesting.

Do you take the rabbits somewhere for processing, or do it your self? Once Mike and I are in a position to purchase land and stay stationery, I would like to raise as many animals as is convenient for our own meat (and eggs)...but I neither I nor him would be able to do the harvesting ourselves.

On a similar note, with laying hens, what do you do with them when they are no longer productive? Can you take them to the butcher? I know the laying breeds aren't typically best suited for human consumption, but I'd imagine the dogs would enjoy them.
I process them myself. Taking them to a butcher would really stress them out -- better for my purposes to do it at home. It helps that I was brought up with home butchering and hunting, but it's something I definitely do not enjoy at all. But we get through it and to date they have all had fast, clean deaths.

The laying hens will probably be stewing hens when they are retired, except for the rose-combed gold laced wyandotte who is extremely people friendly and follows me around, racing to catch up with her awkward chickeny gait so she can perch on my shoe. I...I am pretty sure she will be here til she passes of chickeny old age. Not fair, I know, but that's how it goes.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:50 AM
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Elrohwen Elrohwen is offline
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Bunnies!!

Can I ask some questions about your colony? Do you keep them as pets or meat? How does the colony set up work?

I have a pair who are fixed and lived together indoors, but I don't have any experience with a colony-type set up. I would love to come and snuggle all of them!
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:33 AM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Love the pictures!!! I also love your chickens and your rabbits and your life. Adopt me?
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elrohwen View Post
How does the colony set up work?
Any particular aspect you are curious about in particular?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraB View Post
Love the pictures!!! I also love your chickens and your rabbits and your life. Adopt me?
I have a guest room. Visitors welcome :P
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