One night we were talking to Kay’s mom about our plans for our rabbits. We currently have five New Zealand whites, two New Zealand reds, and two champagnes.
We explained to her that we planned on using them mainly for meat but also for show and helping others build their own rabbitry. We want to use the entire rabbit including the hides. We would like to get into tanning and using the hides to make blankets, gloves and hats. While talking to Kay’s Mom, Darrick was doing research and came across angora rabbits. Kay early on wanted to get angoras for their fiber but we never really did much research on selling the fiber. Darrick was surprised when he found that angoras are a dual-purpose rabbit! They are used for their fiber and meat.
Further research concentrated on the English/French angoras which are medium sized fiber rabbits. An English or French angora produces roughly 12-16 oz of fiber per year. This raw fiber (straight off the rabbit, not carded) can be sold for around $6-8 an ounce. If the fiber is carded it can be sold for $10-12 per ounce. High quality, hand plucked, carded fiber can go for up to $20 per ounce! We started adding up the numbers, looked at each other, and said in unison “We got the wrong rabbits!”
Angoras do take extra time and work to keep their coats clean and brushed. This process takes about 15-30 minutes a week per rabbit. Some breeders recommend daily brushing or at least a few times a week. It doesn’t seem like a lot but I’m sure it adds up quick when you start breeding them.
At this point, we are committed to our New Zealands and champagne d’argents as they will provide good quality meat for our family. However, I’m sure if we see a deal on a nice pair of angoras, we will make some room in our rabbit barn. Stay tuned as we will be looking at designing and building our barn this summer.
Thank you for following us on our journey. For anyone who has angoras or experience with them we would love to hear your pros and cons and any advice you may have.
Darrick and Kay
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
“So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but His who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?””
John 7:16-19 ESV
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Mark 12:30 ESV
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 ESV
“This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.””
Matthew 22:38-40 ESV
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV
“You shall therefore obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping his commandments and his statutes, which I command you today.””
Deuteronomy 27:10 ESV
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
John 15:10 ESV
“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.”
Psalms 119:127 ESV
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
1 John 5:3 ESV
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.”
1 John 3:23 ESV
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 ESV
“”And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”
Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV
“So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.”
Deuteronomy 8:6 ESV
“”You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.”
Leviticus 19:17 ESV
“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.””
1 Kings 8:61 ESV
“Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”
Amos 5:15 ESV
“You have declared today that the Lord is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice.”
Deuteronomy 26:17 ESV
“”But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.”
Deuteronomy 28:15 ESV
“But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.”
2 Kings 10:31 ESV
“He (King Amon) abandoned the Lord, the God of his fathers, and did not walk in the way of the Lord.”
2 Kings 21:22 ESV
“For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.”
Micah 4:5 ESV
“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!”
Psalms 119:1 ESV
“For many are called, but few are chosen.””
Matthew 22:14 ESV
“”Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”
Matthew 7:13 ESV
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Matthew 7:14 ESV
“and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Matthew 10:22 ESV
“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
Luke 12:8-9 ESV
“Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
Luke 12:43-48 ESV
God Bless you, and your walk,
Darrick and Kay
Spring is here, and so are the birds!
We currently have a black bear in our land so to not encourage him too much to visit we don’t put bird feeders out, except for the hummingbird feeder. Nectar in the store can be a little expensive for basically just colored sugar water. The red dye in the liquid might not be so healthy for the birds either. Luckily, it’s so easy to make your own in less than 5 minutes!
What you will need is:
Simply pour your sugar into your water (it helps if it’s room temperature or warm) and stir until all the crystals dissolve. Pour in your feeder, hang it up, and enjoy your birds! It’s that simple!
Make sure you clean it weekly as can get sticky and icky.
Darrick and Kay
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
-Song of Solomon 2:12
We are building our first chicken coop! When we were starting out we intended to colonize the rabbits and chickens together, but decided against it as rabbits can get sick, dirty with chicken poop, and the chickens might peck at the baby bunnies. In cages the rabbits are kept safe and clean.
We wanted to share our experience with building our first coop.
The area was previously used to store firewood. It had a roof and simple vertical framing.
After day one of the build: March 17, 2019
Structure is framed in on 2 sides and siding placed on one side. We picked red because we loved the idea of it looking like a little barn. We are so grateful for several good friends who really helped with this project.
Burning holes in ground to dig in posts !!! What we do to survive in northern Minnesota!
One more step closer… windows. we found these windows at Menards and liked that they had a screen and could open to let in fresh air.
Darrick had to take a pick axe to the ground- it was still frozen but needed those bottom boards to be level!!
March 22: One more day along the process. We had to figure out how to do j-trim but once we figured it out it went pretty good. Set the posts for the main door. It’ll be two 3 foot doors that are Dutch doors, so the top can open up to let air in.
Got the posts set for the double Dutch door. We got the j-trim around the windows done. That was a learning experience
Darrick’s task this week is to build the two Dutch doors and hopefully get them stained too. If we can get the siding started this week that should put us in a good spot to finish insulating by the following week and move the birds and rabbits in.
March 30: Darrick built the doors and moved them inside so Kay and her friend could paint them.
The Doors are finished.
Looking like a barn!! Darrick and his friend have been working tirelessly to enclose the siding on the coop. Next is insulation, plywood, and putting the doors on. Nearly done!
April 7: Doors hung and plywood on the back wall. The left door will be a Dutch door but that will be finished at a later date.
April 10: insulation and framing by the door.
Next step is to add handles, latches, locking mechanisms, and bury chicken wire on the outside so animals don’t try to dig in. We also added lights to keep the chicks warm if needed.
Last step: add chickens (and a mini farmer)
Thank you for following our journey. Our next step will be to add rabbit cages to the chicken coop (we have a small stackable in the right side of this photo) and turn one of the doors into a Dutch door.
Darrick and Kay
We have been on bunny watch all week. Our champagne D’argent “grey” started carrying straw last week so we were on the alert. A few days after that Hattie (our red doe) was carrying straw too)
May 2 Darrick found Hattie’s litter of 5 cold on the wire. We tried to bring them back by warming them but it was too late. At 11am Kay went to bunny check and grey doe was in labor! Kay ran to get Bee so they could all watch together. Kay and Bee got to watch all three of the bunnies be born! What a blessing!
The problem was that grey doe also had her babies on the wire. Kay waited to see if she would put them in the nest but there were soon shivering babies all over the cage so we decided to move mama and babies all inside. In the past grey has been our best mama with pulling a lot of hair and having them in the box, but not this time. Instead of risking 3 more bunny’s lives we decided to bring them in the house to stay warm.
Mama and bunnies are doing well. We did record the last bunny being born! A very neat blessing to be able to witness! A great learning experience for Bee as well. Warning for the video: it’s birth, there’s some blood involved and yes, rabbits eat the placenta.
The loud noises are another rabbit hopping around above her. If you listen closely you can hear the squeal of the baby rabbits first breath! (About 30 second in)
Thank you for following us through this journey. If you would like to see more bunny updates, or have any suggestions for future topics, please post them below.
Darrick and Kay
We got our rabbits last summer but they were in our shed and garage over the winter and we were not a fan of the dirty barn smell in a hard to clean area. So we decided to build an outdoor hutch!
We plan to house 10 cages in the enclosure with a gutter system below the cages to collect all the droppings and urine. We get some pretty cold weather in the upper Midwest so we are going to insulate the hutch on three sides and use a tarp to keep the wind off the rabbits. The cages will be suspended to keep them off the drip pan.
For our materials we tried to use stuff we already had or buy at a discount, but we did need to buy some new materials. After looking at what we had around the farm we decided a trip to Menards would be necessary. We went straight to their bargain bin and found discounted metal roofing and hardy board siding.
The metal roof keeps the rabbits dry and sheltered from above. The siding is insulated on the sides to keep any drafts out.
The gutters collect any waste and the top few inches above the cages and under the roof is open to allow circulation.
A rolling tarp keeps the rabbits protected from wind, snow, and rain but us easily opened for us to access and care for them. On nice days we leave it open for them to enjoy nice weather.
Roomy quarters with food, water, and hay. The cages are held up by chains and caribbeaners. The siding underneath catches all the waste and encourages it to go to the gutter.
The tarp is held up by bicycle hooks.
Thank you for following us and we hope you visit again. If you have built your own hutch and have any tips, please write them in the comment section.
Darrick and Kay