Two journals, nope …

For the past few days I’ve been looking at the instructions to set up a second WordPress journal for the rabbit project, but thought about it and realized the whole point of this farm is to be integrated.  Everything, everyone works together.  That is important.  Integration is sometimes difficult to orchestrate, but monoculture is bad for the environment and success of the farm.

The goal was to begin updating a journal on a daily basis beginning March 1 detailing the progress of the rabbit project,  March 1 is just around the corner, but why put off to tomorrow March 1 what you can do today?  March 1 is the drop dead date for getting in pea and carrot seeds too.

A good friend of mine came to the farm on Sunday to look at what will be our new rabbit barn.  We’ve been keeping our does with small babies in conventional wire cages with slatted wood bottoms (Animal Welfare Approved does not allow rabbits to be kept on wire floors).  While this is good for the rabbits, it’s not good for the rabbit caretakers.  Cleaning the cages, on a daily basis, takes a good bit of time.

So, what we are going to do is to convert the former goat shelter to a rabbit barn.  We are going to construct stalls in the barn for the rabbits.  The stalls will be approximately 30 x 36 with a shelf to add extra square footage.  We will use wire with small holes to prevent access by black snakes.  The rabbits will be bedded down with straw or other bedding.  The fronts of the stalls will be removable so that the bedding can easily be raked out when it’s time to move the doe and her kits out to pasture.  The covers on the stalls will open from the top and there will be hay racks in front of the stalls which will help cut down on hay waste.  I have high hopes for this new housing method.  If it works, and I think it will, we’ll move the ShelterLogic building that now houses the rabbits along side the goat shelter and set up more stalls in the same manner.

Because the goal of the RAFI grant is to enable us to expand our rabbit business, we need more kindling cages (stalls).  We will be able to put 20 stalls in the goat shelter and another 12 in the ShelterLogic building.  Right now, I have only 12 kindling cages in the ShelterLogic building and four outside cages (that I only use if necessary) so this will give us a lot more space.

Wally made me two mounted white boards this weekend.  One to use to map out the rabbit/vegetable area and the other to plan the raised bed area.  On the list of to-dos today is to pick up some dry erase pens with narrow tips to start planning.  I’ve never planned vegetable planting before.  It’s always been willy nilly.  That is not productive.

We use a lot of ShelterLogic buildings here on Spellcast Farm.  We’ve figured out how to extend their life so the continue to be in use.  The covers that come with the buildings degrade around the bends of the frames.  To counter that, we put tarps over the covers which extends their life.  Our first ShelterLogic would be long gone if we did not do that.  These “temporary” shelters are not ideal, but in our southern climate, they work.

We did some dog trading this weekend.  Shine came back to the farm and Reese went to my friend.  Shine was not strong enough to work his stock.  I’m afraid Reese may be a pitbull in Border Collie clothing.  Much more dog than I want to work with.  We have Reese’s sister, Lu Lu and I feel like she’s going to be quite strong, but biddable.  Shine, well, she’s a fruitcake, but she works birds and we need a dog that will happily work ducks.  Gel will work them, but he hates it.  I think I might be able to train Shine to help with the rabbits as well.  I would have been afraid to put Reese on ducks for fear he’d tear them to pieces.

Because the rabbits are a big part of the farm, I will mention them frequently, but this journal will continue to address what’s going on at the farm in general.

Off to milk.

Until later …