Last Sunday, Mom and I drove up by Hamilton to pick up two little 9 week old Rex does. These will be the mothers of my meat rabbits. I chose the Rex as my choice rather than going with New Zealand Whites because as a two-person family, we really don’t need a super high production animal, and with the Rex breed, I can learn to tan hides as well, and have some really lovely furs. This is good, because I believe it’s important to waste as little as possible when a death is involved.
Blackberry is a “black otter”, a color I didn’t know ever existed until I started looking at Rexes. I’m really pleased to have found her, because I fell completely in love with the color.
Thistle is a blue, and is so lovely and plush! Unless you’ve petted a Rex, you have no idea of how incredible this fur feels. It’s completely unlike regular rabbit fur.
They are living together as a colony in the Bunny Barn I built them. It has a thick layer of pea gravel, followed by hardware cloth to keep them digging out (and other critters digging in).
The inside is spacious, enough room for a hay loft. The roof is a framework of wood, covered in more hardware cloth, with a used billboard tarp to make it waterproof. These tarps are pretty cool, being tremendously cheap as well are being fairly indestructible. You can’t choose what design is printed on it…mine is an advert for an island golf resort!
They have a litter box (which they are already using) because I want to collect their manure for the garden, and a hayrack made from an old magazine rack.
There is a side door; it will lead eventually into the buck’s quarters. Only the foundation of this section is built so far. The chickens are enjoying peering in through this door to be scandalized by the new neighbors!
There are big windows in the front, both so I can walk by and see inside, and so the bunnies will be able to jump up on a window ledge and see out themselves.
They will have a great view of the chicken yard!
Then, yesterday, we met another breeder in Stanwood and picked up our buck. He’s a bit older, about 6 months, and is a real sweetie.
I think his name is going to be Sorrel (we name all our rabbits after garden plants.) Until his Bunny Barn wing is completed, he’s got a pretty fab apartment in the Roof Garden quail coop. I moved the white Bobwhite girls out to another coop, cleaned it out, and moved him in.
He loved it, from the moment I moved him in. Probably, he’d never been out of a wire cage before…and no matter how nice a breeder tries to make a cage, it’s no substitute for a pen with enough room to run and jump and play. I decided a long time ago that if I got meat rabbits, I wouldn’t keep them in wire cages, but in a manner that lets them express their ‘rabbit-ness’ (as Joel Salatin puts it.)
I put in a litter box for him, too. And if you’re wondering why their food is in/close to their litter box, it’s because rabbits like to poop and eat at the same time. His hay rack is made from the wire bottom of a hanging flower basket.
He likes his ‘nest box’.
And even though he has all this room, and doesn’t really know us yet, he still is friendly enough to come over and say hello.
It’ll be quite awhile before the does are ready to breed, but until then, I’m enjoying these little sweeties!