As you all know, it’s been a very cold winter in the upper midwest and we have our rabbits housed inside our basement garage. Rabbits come with lots of manure for your garden and urine. This works great for your garden but with urine comes ammonia.
So as a result our garage, right under our house, smells like a barn. Short of kicking all the rabbits back out to the outdoor hutch we had to come up with an idea to neutralize the smell but still be safe to use on our garden. Darrick discovered wood ash and baking soda are both beneficial to the garden and help with neutralizing smell. We burn wood to heat our home so we have plenty of wood ash. Baking soda we could buy in bulk, but chose not to add to our costs when we already have a free source of ash readily available.
One word of caution is the wood ash and/or baking soda are both alkaline so you would want to avoid putting the neutralized droppings on acid loving plants like blueberries as it could hinder their growth.
The first few times we added the wood ash we didn’t notice much of a difference, but by the third sprinkling of ash we noticed we couldn’t smell it in the basement outside the garage. On the inside of the garage, where the rabbits are housed, the smell is no where near as strong. We had some friends over and they even commented that the odor was not bad at all for having 10 rabbits in a small area.
We will continue to use the wood ash to neutralize the odors in our basement until spring when we can start building our permanent rabbit shed.
If you enjoyed our post please follow us. We will soon be building a rabbit shed and adding chickens to our little farm. If you have any advice to get the urine smell out of our basement, please share in the comments!
Darrick and Kay
We need to find a better solution. We have hauled water from the house to the garden in a 65 gallon tank and watered the plants with a wand for the last 6 weeks. Our new fruit trees, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and asparagus were in desperate need of water and often required multiple trips with water each day. Then there was the fact that we were leaving for vacation for two weeks and didn’t want to put that burden on our friend who was watching our place.
With a couple good friends and some strong backs we decided to drive our own well. This required a lot of trial and error. Our initial 1-1/4-inch pipe was purchased from a local that had it left over from a previous sand point.
After the first section, we broke the top of the pipe. We pulled out that segment and re-tapped the pipe and started again. After getting down a couple more segments of pipe the pipe broke again, this time 6-feet in the ground. This required a pipe jack and the tractor.
We decided the pipe wasn’t really made for a well, it was essentially galvanized pipe for docks or a chain link fence…..
The new pipe is stainless steel and went much better. After drilling down 25 feet we hooked up the pump and found water!!!
We were so excited to finally find water!! The water was delicious but also was at the maximum depth for a shallow well pump (25-feet). We tried to drive it deeper but at 33-feet we were hitting really hard pan and didn’t have enough pipe to keep going. After pulling it back up to 28-feet we had water at 24-feet so we counted our blessings and setup the watering system. We were set with a shallow well pump, a pressure tank and a couple 100-foot long hoses we had what was needed to water our entire garden and orchard!
Thank you for following our journey. If you would like to see more about homesteading, rabbits, and our many upcoming projects please subscribe.
Darrick and Kay
Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. ~Exodus 17:6 ESV
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.
We’ve had an exciting past few weeks, and in a few more weeks will have even more excitement! We are proud and overjoyed to be able to introduce our daughter. She was born January 11 and weighted just over 7lbs. She is a very mellow, snuggly lil girl and a blessing to our family.
The day before she was born we bought two more rabbits as well! A pair of New Zealand Reds and the doe is currently pregnant and due January 25th. Both are a beautiful red color but the pictures don’t do them justice. We will be posting more about them so stay tuned!
We also have to announce we bred both Gloria and DC (grey doe) and they are both showing signs of pregnancy. We are expecting NZW and champagne kits January 30th.
And last but not least, our baby bunny update! We have sexed them and we for sure we have one girl, the other two are harder to tell but we believe they are boys. The girl will stay with mom for a bit longer until Gloria has her new litter and the boys will be getting new cages.
Forgive us for our gaps in posting during this exciting time with a newborn. We are looking forward to new bunnies soon and will do updates on them when they are born. Please keep checking back as we are planning out a barn plan for the summer, more on rabbits, possibly getting chickens, and planning out our garden. Thank you for following us!
Darrick and Kay
For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.
~1 Samuel 1:27
Darrick and I woke up to a whopping -20 below! Darrick ran outside to check on the baby bunnies, not knowing it would get quite that cold. We just prayed the bunnies were all alright!
Good news! They were all huddled together but had kept warm. All the rabbits were just fine. Nevertheless, we decided to move them inside. We had received a hutch the day before from a coworker of Darrick’s so in the bitter cold Darrick worked hard to set up the new hutch in the basement garage. We worked together carrying bunnies and rabbits and setting them up in their new, warmer home.
From left to right: Gloria and her babies, DC (grey doe), KC (grey buck), and Bucky. The top does close but Bucky was feeling curious about his new home so we let him sniff around while we were down there.
Gloria cuddling her babies. Look how big they got!
All the rabbits are enjoying their new home. We are relieved that, since we are on baby time now, we know they won’t get too cold and no frozen waters. We have multiple water containers and food is filled enough to supply them for several days so we are prepared when baby decides to come.
Thank you for following us and come check out our new Facebook page! Make sure to check back as we will be breeding Gloria and DC (grey doe) and we will let you know how that went! More Baby bunnies coming soon!
Darrick and Kay