Feeding Rabbits Naturally Part II

I bought 11 more rabbit cages. It was a fantastic deal for year old stacking wire cages. Good buys aren’t good if you don’t need them so why did I buy? I already have 14. It felt right. When I mentioned the ad, my husband said, ” You bought them didn’t you?” Whew, and I thought he’d be upset. He said no, it felt right to him also. I wanted the larger cages to put broody hens in. My most successful hatching years were when I used rabbit cages, the bottoms lined in cardboard. The other cages, well, I’m not sure.

I’m hearing world-wide meat and food shortage for the future whispered from many corners. Could that be why it felt right? I don’t know but I do know to act when prompted. It brings more promptings.

More is not better even with rabbits if you have no way to feed them so I’m thinking. How can we feed our rabbits more naturally and from our own property? My first thought was a rabbit tractor. Poly Face Farms raises rabbits that way commercially. Reality is that most of our five acres is boulder strewn and on a steep slope. The other small area that isn’t garden is solid deer poop come spring. It completely decomposes but with such a short growing season, the grass is brown, and were at  summer’s end before this time. Just in case you need to know, deer poop is not a fertilizer, it lacks nutrients. Therefor a tractor taking up valuable space simply rotting is not a wise use of resources. I could put a small cage in the garden right before I turned in the chickens on a cover crop. Hm… I’ll think on that one. First I’ll find out how well the chickens work.

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So where will there feed come from? It will have to be the garden. Some leaves, stems, and yes, a few extra plants grown. Then I need to build solar dryers to dry some of the harvest for winter use. Not that the high quality hay I buy doesn’t do a really good job. I’m super impressed with it and that is saying something. I’m known as a finicky feeder and over the years I’ve gotten many comments about how well my stock looks. It was commercial feeds then but I’m wanting to go natural now. This is a whole lot more challenging. My motivation – livestock feed prices are expected to soar and aren’t natural to what the animals digestive systems were meant to consume.

I’m excited as I see so much more I can do without expending a great deal more effort and financial output. I see I need to look outside the box more where I’ve always belonged. I’m told over and over that I’m different mentally, spiritually, and physically so I’ve just decided to travel there more often.

I’ve lost peace and enjoyment like I once had in raising rabbits. I’m becoming more observant about when I feel it and when I have felt it for I woke up and discovered that I felt that way about most of my life. What had changed? I’m now looking at every little thing. With rabbits I’ve observed that I prefer a smaller number. I prefer the black and white spotted rabbits that look like a pinto horse. I can see how they could be an advantage to our black, brown, and white ones. Keep in mind not an advantage necessarily for you but for me.

So I’m going to transition over like I did the goats from Nubian to Saanen again. I could write a whole post on how smart that move has proven to be in our new location. The decision went far beyond emotions. Other than giving me a possible pet market, I’m not so sure broken rabbits will do so much for me but it increases my joy and that I need a whole lot more of.

Something else that would bring joy would be a rabbit run for greater exercise. The colony style of raising rabbits makes no sense in our situation.

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If you are thinking of rabbits I’d recommend that you look at the following:

  1. Look at what resources you have.
  2. Plan on how to best use them. Don’t create something in the cookie cutter mold of someone else’s unless you and your resources are just like theirs.
  3. Find joy in the journey. Remember joy is what makes work all worth while. Jobs are done better when you like what you are doing.
  4. Search for the most efficient way to do things. A task is more enjoyable if you ease the part you dislike, giving you more time for that which you do like.

I’ve realized most of my failures are because of poor planning or mostly from just winging it. Our finances are not giving us the option anymore. That too can be a blessing. So if you are curious, take a gander at my list of plants of which at least part is rabbits safe that I have planted or will be planting. All are things we are raising for ourselves. If the rabbits can also use part, that is a huge bonus. Please tell me if your rabbits like these plants. I’d love the jump start to know what they will eat, not just what is edible for them.

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Food For Rabbits

(In italics are the ones I will be planting.)

Flowers

Johnny Jump Up                                              Echinacea

Love Lies Bleeding                                          Borage

Comfrey                                                          Daisy

Nasturtium                                                    Black-Eye Susan

Chamomile                                                      sunflower seeds

 Bushes and Trees

Blueberry                                                        Gooseberry

Honeyberry                                                     Currant

Blackberry                                                       Raspberry

Strawberry                                                      Serviceberry

Rose                                                                Apple

Berry Brambles                                            Willow (along our country road)

Garden and Orchard

Beans                                                              Pepper         No Cherry or Plum

Beets                                                               Lettuce

Peas                                                                 Spinach

Swiss Chard or Kale                                        Basil                                        Broccoli

Cabbage                                                          Carrots

Chicory                                                            Sweet Clover

Mallow                                                            Mullein

Oregano                                                          Parsley

Cilantro                                                           Spearmint

Lemon Mint

Grains

Oats                 Corn                Wheat             Barley              Rye

Sorry about the onion post that was to come. Problems with photo transfers. A computer geek I am NOT!

Please be patient while I deal with life. It has ramped up in difficulty lately. I will put up a post once a week and more as time allows as I deal with difficulties which includes time management.

 

 

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