Typically when you hear someone wants to start a farm or homestead the first animal -they usually get chickens. They are pretty easy to find, inexpensive, don’t require a lot of space, and generally easy to care for. Chickens provide multiple benefits as well: eggs, they eat bugs, and provide meat. Why would we choose rabbits over chickens?
Living in the upper Midwest we have long, very cold winters and just starting out we don’t have a barn or shed to house a flock of chickens. Rabbits are furry, hardy creatures that survive winters up here quite well. They also don’t require a lot of space. A roughly 2’x 3′ cage provides them enough room to move and hop around but also small enough to help them feel safe and cozy. A small enclosed rabbit hutch was a lot easier to build in this busy season of life than to try and build a big barn just to hold a few animals. Eventually, when we do build a barn, the rabbits will be housed there with the chickens and other animals. We will continue to use the hutch near the house to keep pregnant does and their babies until they are big enough to be moved to the barn.
The timing was also important when choosing rabbits over chickens. When we decided to start our adventure with animals we were moving into the fall season, with winter quickly approaching. In the winter everything freezes over so there are no bugs for chickens to eat. With less light they also may stop laying eggs. Other than using them for meat, there was really no benefit at the time to begin our chicken journey at this time. Rabbits are more hardy and can be bred through the winter with extra care that the kits stay warm.
If you are beginning a homestead, farm, or any other endeavor it is vital that you research and learn as much as you can, weigh your pros and cons, so you can make the best decision for your situation and family needs. Even so, it doesn’t mean everything will turn out as planned. Life itself is exciting and unexpected and you never know what is around the next corner.
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Darrick and Kay
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
~ Psalm 16:8