Houston, We have Rabbits

We aren’t finished with the hutch yet, but we have it enclosed so the rabbits cannot escape. It’s a good thing we got that far too, because guess what we picked up today??

If you guessed rabbits, you are right! We now have a New Zealand White buck and two Californian does. They have been together for the last few weeks at the breeder we bought them from, so we are keeping them together for the first few days they are here. I don’t want to stress them out too much. I’m sure the car ride was traumatic enough. The girls might be pregnant, but I’m not sure. I palpated them today and didn’t feel anything, so if they are pregnant, I would guess that they are very early in their pregnancies. The breeder checked them a few days ago and couldn’t feel anything either. I guess we will see in a few weeks. I sort of hope they aren’t. I’ve got to get used to 3 rabbits before we end up with 15+. Yikes. We will be separating them as soon as possible.

This is Pretty Boy, our New Zealand White. He is 4-5 months old, and very friendly. The 3 yo named him. He was debating between the names Pretty Boy, Eyeball, and Princess Eat-You. I think he picked wisely. Pretty Boy is very sweet and even though he gives me the stink eye a lot, he still comes up to say hi whenever I am close to the hutch. He takes good care of his ladies, and he claimed the cardboard box that I put in there this morning as his own. Smart Rabbit. He has great lines, and I could show him if we decide to go that route. This picture does not do him justice at all – he is really gorgeous.

Here are the girls. I got some decent pictures of them with my camera, but I can’t find my camera cord, so I had to pull out the cell phone. By the time I got back out there to them, they were huddled up in the corner. They are very close, I’ve seen them grooming each other quite frequently. They are both about 1 year old. They both had kits that were weaned a week ago. Their last litters were 9 and 11 kits each. They are supposed to be great moms, and their babies usually weigh out at 2.5lbs by 5 weeks. They are not related – so we have three rabbits from three different lines. They are Californians and they look quite similar, but the markings on their ears are different. One of them has bands of dark fur right against her head, and the other has some dark spots on her ear. They don’t have names yet, the 13 year olds are going to each pick a name for one of them. I’ll take some better pictures of them once they are used to us. They are a little underweight, most likely due to the large litters they were both nursing. I’m going to try to fatten them up over the next couple of weeks. They each need to gain about 2-3 lbs.  UPDATE – Their names are Bandit and Polymorph (Polly).

Here are the three of them together. I’m  a pro with staging rabbits for pictures. (Har har har) I will post better ones soon.

Here is what we have for a hutch so far, It is not even close to being finished, but it’s what we could come up with on short notice. Within the next few days, we are going to be putting partitions in the hutch (and doors!) and each rabbit will get their own space. After we finish with that, we are going to add another area to the back of this hutch that will double the amount of space we have. That side will be split into one – two larger hutches that they can take turns in to get a little extra exercise. I added the sheet to give them a little shade from the morning sun. We will be moving the hutch to the other side of the yard, but we are keeping it here for now since we still need to do a lot of work on it. The roof is not attached, and is just held in place by some heavy wood. We have a lot of work to do – but it’s a start. At least they aren’t living in a laundry basket.

DH brought home a bunch of cardboard from his job, so the kids and I spent the morning watching the rabbits and laying cardboard over the clay-mud-pit that once was a garden. We are laying the cardboard out, soaking it, and covering it with as much compost, worm casings, and rabbit poo that we can acquire. I hope it helps amend our soil. We tried to till it with a rented tiller, but our soil is like a giant brick. I’m shocked that we were able to hand till it past spring, but I’m even more shocked that we were able to grow anything in it. I’ve read that it’s worth it to take the time to amend soil before you start planting, but I was too excited about gardening to wait. Now I know better. I will never make that mistake again. Having good soil is the most important thing you can do for a garden. You can see the hutch in the background.

Even though it’s not happening exactly as I had invisioned it –  I feel like our homestead dream is finally starting to become a reality. I can’t wait to get our worms in a few days!

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