We’ve planted the garden, but getting our first Homestead animals has been the biggest step for us to having the life we dreamed of. We decided on rabbits over chickens as our first animals because they require less space (as we don’t have a barn yet) and we would be keeping them in the shed until a more permanent structure is built.
We researched, talked to breeders in our area, and spent weeks discussing the best breed for us and decided on New Zealand’s for their meat and fur. We found a reputable breeder close to us who uses his rabbits for meat and show. We also discovered we liked the breed champagne de’argent (grey) because their fur is incredibly soft. In the end we decided to get two white New Zealand’s and two champagne’s to start with, with the idea of adding black New Zealand’s at a later date. A big undertaking for us since the most we’ve owned is a dog or a cat and know nothing about rabbits.
We also had no clue how expensive getting rabbits would be either. The cage, nesting boxes, food, water bottles, hay, all the way to nail clippers. It all adds up. Plus, my wonderful husband built the permanent outdoor hutch and the cost for lumber, roofing, and siding adds into that as well, we will release a post on the hutch coming soon. The rabbits themselves are also pedigree rabbits so they were a pretty penny per bunny. Start up costs are not cheap so buy quality stuff that you know will last and be worth it.
We are planning on evening out the start up costs with the long term investment with the meat we will get from them, keeping the best breeding stock, and selling the kits as meat or show rabbits. We had looked into doing pelts, but found that process to be an undertaking we aren’t quite ready for yet.
We allowed Bee to name one rabbit as she will be our breeding doe “Gloria” and will be kept longer. We don’t plan on naming the rest but we will see. In the end, we all know that the rabbits are for meat so although we take care of them daily, we try to keep our attachments to a minimum and remind ourselves that they are animals we will use.
So far Bee has done really well with the idea, is open to talking about it to others, and understanding that they are not pets.
It is an adventure and we will learn a lot in this process as we shift from city folk to country folk. We will make mistakes, the google machine will be our best friend, but in the end- we know we have this and we will succeed.
Darrick and Kay
The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.