The Bad Egg

First Weaning
July 27, 2012, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Meat Rabbits, Rabbit Food, Rabbit Tractor

You can wean rabbits anytime between 6 and 8 weeks old. We waited until about 7 weeks. I built this rabbit tractor so I could wean the kits onto our overgrown vegetable garden. It took me all day in triple-digit heat to disassemble a pallet, saw, and attach everything (I have very few carpentry skills). So far so good!

Our first meat rabbit tractor


Catalina’s first litter
July 20, 2012, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Meat Rabbits

We bred Catalina to Sheldon on April 15, 2012. On May 17th (yes, gestation really is supposed to be that short) she had her first litter! 8 kits in all, 4 white and 4 black. First litters don’t normally go so well because the doe doesn’t know what to do yet. Catalina birthed them on the cage floor instead of the nest. My husband found them and said it looked like quite the massacre–I think mainly because she hadn’t eaten the afterbirth yet and she ran around the cage stepping on the babies, and the babies are birthed hairless and kind of ugly, so, you know, not a pretty sight.

My husband put the babies into the nest, covered them with straw (Catalina hadn’t pulled any fur out yet), and then found that two kits were dead–one black and one white. The next day when we came back to check on the kits, Catalina had pulled out a bunch of fur from her chin to cover them in the nest and all were alive and well. About three days later we lost one more white one, not sure of what, we just found it dead in the nest. Since then though, everyone has been doing great! Their fur has come in and they are thriving!

The Cage Setup
July 12, 2012, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Meat Rabbits

Here’s our initial setup. Two cages on blocks with a roof for protection from the sun. Catalina gets the bigger cage as she’ll need the room once she has her first litter. Nothing high-tech about this, but it gets the job done.

We also dug in a shovelful of worms underneath their cages. The worms will speed up the decomposition of the rabbit manure until we get a chance to put it in the garden.

All the experts recommends full-time cages, but I don’t like them very much. I’m researching how to appropriately get the rabbits on the ground. It’s a bit tougher to do than compared to chickens as rabbits dig and can encounter digestive problems when they eat too many greens. So it’s cages for now, but I plan to research and try out alternatives in the future.

Our initial rabbit cage setup. There is also reflective roofing I removed in order to take the picture.

And We’re Back–with Rabbits!
July 7, 2012, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Meat Rabbits

For our next backyard experiment we are trying out meat rabbits. We want to get chickens again, but we are currently renting. Our landlord is okay with a dog and a cat, but not with chickens–probably not with rabbits either, but rabbits are silent animals. Chickens? Not so much.

We’ve started off with a breeding pair: Sheldon and Catalina. Sheldon is a pure-bred Californian who is a bit of a dolt. Catalina is a beautiful, inquisitive meat mutt: 1/2 Californian, 1/4 Satin and 1/4 Rex. We picked them up at about 3 months old and will wait to breed Catalina until she’s about 6 or 7 months old.

Catalina at 3 months old

Sheldon at 3 months old