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Monday, March 26, 2012

Rabbits are Joining our Farm!

Our 7 yr old son, Caleb, has had a project going for the last few years making potholders and selling them to earn money for Gospel for Asia, along with managing and keeping a blog for it - Five Loaves Two Fish.  Well, now that he is close to turning eight and his sister is 6, it is time to pass the potholder creating to her. He wanted to find something else to take the place of his potholder business, and while reading You Can Farm by Joel Salatin, he discovered that Daniel, Mr. Salatin's son, began raising rabbits when he was 7.

Caleb decided that he would like to try to raise rabbits too, so for Christmas we bought him the book Story's Guide to Raising Rabbits, by Bob Bennett (There are a couple pages in this book that might be TMI for young kids, by the way - they can easily be removed though.) Since then, he has been reading, studying it, and taking notes over it, and this weekend he got his first rabbit. :)

On Saturday, Ethan and Caleb purchased the materials and built a movable, pastured rabbit hutch. Ethan didn't really have a design to work with, but did combine a few designs he came across and has heard about.  Each breeding doe will have a hutch like the one above, which will be her permanent home that moves across the pasture. When her babies are old enough to be weaned, they will be moved to a grower pen - yet to be built.

Here is another picture of the hutch while it was being constructed.  You can see the slats that allow the rabbit to graze and that the top slants a bit to allow rain to drain off.

This is the nesting area (minus the next box), and Caleb's first doe.  This is a Champagne d'Argent rabbit, a heritage breed rabbit.  We are also looking at getting some Creme d'Argent rabbits, which are just a color variation of the d'Argent rabbits.

Caleb is quite excited to finally have his rabbit, and is looking forward to getting a couple more bucks and does.  Along with learning to care for his rabbits, Caleb will also be keeping breeding records for his rabbits, learning to keep track of finances through Quick Books (along with learning about getting a loan from his parents - and paying back that loan!), and various other things that go along with running a business.  Caleb will also be putting a percentage of the money he earns into long term savings, offering (he wants to continue his Gospel for Asia projects), and spending - investing in his business or using it for getting something fun.  He is quite excited about raising rabbits, and it is a great opportunity for learning quite a bit!

Helpful links we used:
http://polyfaceapprentice.blogspot.com/2009/02/hare-pen.html#links
http://livingthefrugallife.blogspot.com/2009/03/meat-rabbits-on-pasture.html
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4 comments:

Donna OShaughnessy said...

How exciting! And what a beautiful hutch. Those are some lucky rabbits and a very blessed son

Anonymous said...

How fun for Caleb!

farmlife chick said...

Awesome hutch! We have one quite similar but I like the slats you have for the floor. I think we may add that to ours! Also, love the business side of things you're teaching your children.

kindsofhoney said...

Wow, this is such a great project! I just got my first rabbits and am inspired by your hutch model - may be making some adaptations to mine to copy it. Thanks!

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