Settling in with the pastured rabbit program

Finally, I feel like I’ve made some accomplishments with the pastured rabbit program.  It is not perfect yet, but it’s well on the way and I have a firm vision of what it will be next year.  I put a Silver Fox doe with her seven kits out on pasture for the first time this morning.  I love watching the kits when they first get on pasture.  Party Time!  They run and buck and twist and have a wonderful time.  Our kindling cages are large by industry standards, but when you have a doe with five or more six week old kits as well as their nest box in the cage, it gets crowded, quickly!

I have another litter set to go out tomorrow, then no more for a few weeks.  It’s going to be a lean couple of months in rabbit production.  Rabbits are seasonal breeders and they really don’t want to breed this time of year.  Next year, I’ll breed them heavily during the months that they will breed and then just let them take the late fall/early winter and the hottest months of the summer off.

This morning I spoke at length to the woman in Wisconsin who is pasturing rabbits.  She’s become somewhat of a mentor and someone I can bounce ideas off.  It was this discussion that made me feel like I was where I should be in the process.  I received a somewhat nasty e-mail from a local man that I bought our Silver Fox buck from putting down pasturing rabbits.  No surprise, most people raising rabbits think they should never come in contact with the ground.  I feel bad for their rabbits.  I did receive an e-mail from a man in Canada asking questions about pasturing rabbits, something he was considering doing.  Good!

Lots of people are against CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) because of the inhumane treatment of the animals as well as the less-than-healthy food they consume while on the feed lots.  How is conventional meat rabbit rearing any different?  It is not.

Tonight is my bachelorette night.  Wally went to the sale.  Not sure what I’ll eat for supper … A good portion of the chores are done, all I need to do is finishing watering and milk the cows.  I’ll be glad when the time changes because I’ll be able to milk in the morning earlier than I have been and then earlier in the evening.  Right now I’m on a 7 and 7 schedule.

Not sure if I mentioned or not that we bought a livestock guardian puppy on Tuesday.  He’s a nice puppy.  So far, I’m very happy with him.  He’s not doing much other than being a puppy, but I think he’ll do just fine.  Shine is still driving me crazy, but if I can shape that warp speed hard hardheadedness, she may make  a good stock dog.  I’ll work her on sheep again tomorrow.  I’m trying to stick to an every other day training time.  Yesterday was a train wreck, but that wasn’t Shine’s fault.

Until later …