Thoughts on Rabbit Growth

I probably mentioned earlier that I have culled a lot of my rabbits, either for the freezer or as breeders for people interested in getting into the breed. My grow-out times were too long and my rabbits were too small.

I have since joined two Silver Fox groups on Facebook and spoken to numerous breeders.  I have heard or seen posted crazy weights on young rabbits and I wonder how they are getting those weights at such young ages. I know some of them feed nothing but rabbit pellets and keep them in front of their rabbits 24/7. I do not do that — I hate reliance on rabbit pellets and for a while was not feeding them at all, but do now because this spring I realized how much they were wasting of their feed when I used their bedding in the garden.  Our garden became a volunteer sunflower jungle. That is not a bad thing and I am still thinking it may be okay because rabbits do waste food no matter what they are fed.

But my gut tells me that the Silver Fox is a heritage breed, it should not be ready for processing at 10 to 12 weeks like commercial breeds are any more than a heritage breed chicken should be ready as soon as a Cornish X is. The Silver Fox is slow food and should be respected as such.

A five month grow out is too long, I’d like to get it down to four months and on less rabbit pellets and more forage and whole grains.  Working on that.

The weather is not cooperating, not a bit. Not a drop of rain since Friday or Saturday (can’t remember now if it rained on Saturday or not and when it did rain last week we only got just shy of an inch total) and no rain in the forecast until possibly next Tuesday.  I no longer trust the weather forecast for rain events.  Most of last week they had a 90 percent chance of rain for Saturday and I do not think we got any at all. I am not planting anything until this pattern changes.  I desperately want to turn the irrigation on the green beans, but I’m not going to.  It is cheaper for us to go to a farmers market and buy green beans than it is to risk running out our well.

We have harvested quite a few nice sweet potatoes and got a small crop of Borlotti beans (barely rescued from the freaking Mexican Bean Beetles) harvested, shelled and frozen over the weekend.  I plan to look at the other beans this morning, harvest what I can and if the MBB seem to be infesting them as well, just pull them up and if they are not too bad, feed them to the goats or rabbits. There is only one more rabbit tractor to clean out, four more rabbits ready to process (the last of the cross-breeds) and we are in just purebred Silver Fox.  Had ten new babies born yesterday, all from a new buck, so we’ll see how they do. I put good old Boo Bear, a blue buck I’ve used extensively out in a tractor by himself yesterday and he seems pretty happy with that arrangement. I plan to put our second buck as well as three young does out in tractors (separate of course) today.

Both school and work continue to go well.  My fourth class started yesterday.  School is a lot of work, especially the computer course which I thought was going to be an easy one.  I ended up having to purchase an inexpensive PC laptop to complete assignments on.  It was not working out on the Mac and I did not want to have to rely on accessing a computer elsewhere. I’ll likely just re-sell it at the end of the semester. The new PC worked fine last night, however, when I went to turn it on this morning to download antivirus software, it gave me a fan error.  I now know why I switched to Macs.

Until later …