Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Two new Rabbits and Why

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.


  1. To reduce your costs, I recommend trying to find a local feed store. Fifty pounds of feed at my local feedstore is just $11.50 and I think they've even reduced their price. A bale of timothy hay is $4. A much better deal than what the grocery store can offer.

  2. Hi April! You won the give away on my other blog (I'm almost 100% sure you're the same April...) but I hadn't heard back. Go check it out if you get a chance!

    As for the bunnies, I have bought the open bin pellets before which they sell for .69lb and within half a day my feed was covered in bugs! I only have the one feed store near me so other than buying it in a bag I haven't found it cheaper for the quality near by. The grocery stores $1/1lb pellets are working for now. For the hay, I have looked at buying it by the large bail, here it's $10 for a huge one, but worry that it'll mold before my bunnies get to it all. I don't have a barn to store it yet, and up until now had only 1-2 bunnies!

    The larger I get in the rabbitry, the more cost effective buying large quantities of feed and hay will become. Or when we get on the land and have better long term storage solutions for it. And hopefully, being out in the country will have feed stores a-plenty to choose from.

  3. Crystal, I just found your blog and I love it. It is so awesome what you are doing with your land. That's a dream of ours, too.

  4. Visiting and following from follow friday! :)

  5. Hi Stacey!

    Caroline, we got a great deal on 5.3 acres (look back to Feb of last year for info) in Northern Florida. About 20-30 minutes from major stuff and just a bit farther to University of Florida. We figured, with the payment managable, that even if we didn't build right away (which we aren't!) that we'd be at least paying towards out goal and we're already 18 months into the 23 year mortgage. Not a lot but further than we were 19 months ago!

  6. Sounds like you've got a good approach toward being sustainable. Cool!!

  7. not to mention how CUTE they are......and I LOVE the names you have chosen!! ::hugs::

  8. Hi Crystal,
    I found you through your comment on Jenna's blog. I am in Plant City. Are you close? Maybe we can organize a barn raising in our area too.

  9. Hi Cindy, I am VERY close to you in our current house. Our land is North of Gainesville though. I love your blog!

    Update on the hay- I just bought a 2x2x3 bale at the feed store. Rob did a great job cleaning out and organizing the shed after we moved out all the things for the land a few weeks ago I have a dry place to store the larger bale (which isn't THAT large really). It was only $10.99 for Timothy/alfalfa mix and at least 3x the size of the bags I was buying at $12.99 a piece.