Flora II and Fauna joined us Monday. This brings our rabbitry up to four now. We'll start breeding in October/November when the weather is cooler and the girls are older. They were born on Mother's Day.
Rabbits are the ideal small home/apartment livestock. They need relatively little room. They can be three-fold animals providing manure for gardens (which tomatoes love), wool and meat. You can also breed them to sell the kits.
In our area, Angora's range in price from $30 to over $100 a piece depending on the breed, color and sex. A litter of five healthy babies can make a car payment. They also need very little. Food, free access to hay and a never ending supply of water. Draft and drip free housing with good ventilation and a way to capture their droppings and you're good to go. Initial set ups can range in price from very cheap to really fancy.
We chose galvanized steel cages made for rabbits that are 30x30x16" for the bucks and 30x36x16" for the does (which are housed together). Each has it's own water bottle, food bowl and hay manger. We give them glue-free toilet/paper towel rolls and pine cones to play with and we have a enclosed baby gate for them to get out of cage exercise.
The hutches were built with mostly scrap materials and the cages simply rest on the frames. The new hutch for the does has a place for stackable milk crates that holds all their goodies.
So far, I've harvested nearly three ounces of fur off the older two bucks. Fur runs about $6 an ounce on Etsy, give or take. I buy them Timothy hay buy the 96ounce bag that runs $10-12 and lasts about 1.5 months. I get Hartz pellets from the grocery store. A 10lb bag is $9.99 and lasts about 2 months. I'm hoping to get to a point where the rabbits at the very least pay for themselves. I already use the manure in the garden which I think has really benefited the plants though that is hard to tell. If I had a bit better way to do it I could collect the manure and sell that too.
The point of all this is to point out our effort on bringing in animals to the farm that aren't a burden. They need to pay for themselves in some way or help to reduce the cost of having to do other things, i.e. I don't have to buy manure anymore, which is something I did. Moving towards a dream where we live a self-sufficient life means taking the steps now to build towards that. It would do us no good to have animals that only drain limited resources. We all have to work together to make life easier and more productive. The rabbits have that down already.