Meet our rabbits

We’ve shared some basic information about our rabbits, but we never formally introduced them.

Gloria

Gloria is a pedigree New Zealand white. She was born in January 2018. This girl has a feisty personality and can be very stubborn, but when she’s feeling sweet she can also be very loving and affectionate. It really depends on the day how this little lady will be feeling towards yo (unless you have her favorite treats: apples and bananas). She is the only rabbit we allowed our daughter to name as she will be our main breeding rabbit and not intended as a meat rabbit. The rest of the rabbits have we a nickname or reference to color to help us distinguish which we are talking about.

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“Bucky”

Bucky is our pedigree New Zealand white that we have as Gloria’s main breeding buck. He is a friendly, sweet, very chill guy. He enjoys laying stretched out in the back of his cage and watching the world go by and stealing hay from the grey buck next to him. When the pair of New Zealand whites came to live with us they were very friendly with each other. Separated by wire they would lie next to each other and sniff one another, as the week progressed Gloria got angry, biting, and growling when we went near her. We came to find out that Bucky had been urinating on her and that made her very upset. They are not on positive vibes right now, which has made breeding them difficult, but we are hoping with time they will become friends again.

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“Grey doe” or “DC”

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Grey doe is a Champagne De Argent. The nickname D.C. because of the pedigree number on her ear. She is the sweetest rabbit I’ve ever met. She will push her way under the cage door to get her morning petting and we have to push and hold her back so we can close the door, otherwise she will try to get more loves. She also loves to bury herself in straw and build nests around herself. Even though Bee got to name Gloria, the grey doe is her favorite. She was born in May 2018 so she is several months younger than Gloria and not ready to be bred until January. Keep an eye out for updates on her though, you don’t want to miss this sweet girl as she becomes a mama and her first litters.

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Grey buck or “KC”

This sweet boy is also a Champagne and also nicknamed for the lettering on his ear. He will be the mate to DC, the grey doe, when she is old enough. He can be a rascal at times- knocking over his hay feeder, water dish, and stealing hay from Bucky are a few of his favorite pastimes. He has his days where he loves to be petted and will come greet you at the door and other days he wants to be left alone.

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Baby bunnies

Our plans for baby bunnies are to keep the best of the litter for breeding stock and the rest we will use for meat or, when we are more established, selling our rabbits to others to start their own rabbitry, use for meat, or show.

Please post any comments or questions below. Thank you for following us.

God bless,

Darrick and Kay

Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.

~ Proverbs 12:27

When baby bunnies die

Beginning our homesteading journey we knew that life and death would be an intricate part of the process. Breeding animals to bring new life and harvesting them for their meat to feed us. We also are aware that sometimes things just happen unexpectedly.

Disclaimer, there will be no pictures of the bunnies in this post.

We checked on our baby bunnies before heading off to church. Darrick had seen the doe huddled on the kits, but she jumped off when he got there. The babies had just started growing a layer of white hair and were actively clawing around the nest. Darrick did notice that one of the kits was digging at the bottom of the nest box so he took some of the moms hair and covered it up. We were planning on adding more shavings and straw to the box when we came back from church.

Darrick checked them again later that afternoon and found all three of them cold and stiff. We removed the nest box and brought it inside, remembering somewhere that you can revive baby bunnies if they get cold.

We placed a few of the bunnies on a heating blanket and attempted putting one in warm water to try and warm them. Than we used a hairdryer to dry and warm them more but we had no signs of life even after they felt warm. They had started to look bruised and blue as well, meaning blood had pooled and no longer circulating. The nails, which are normally flesh or light colored, were a dark red. This also indicates that it’s too late. Darrick took the bunnies out into the woods and returned them to nature.

Our first batch of bunnies did not turn out. We messaged the rabbit guy we bought the original rabbits from and he said it’s very common to lose bunnies especially with young moms. Our doe didn’t pull enough hair to cover them and keep them warm but with each batch she will become more experienced, and so will we. Next time we will add more shavings and straw to the nest box and figure out some type of heating lamp or heat tape we can use in the enclosure. Another option would be, since rabbits only feed their babies at dawn and dusk, is to keep the bunnies in the house and bring them out in the morning and at night to feed. We’ve done some research and found, contrary to a previous post, that touching baby bunnies doesn’t mean the mom will kill them. Especially since she already knows our scent. It can actually be a benefit, as long as the handling is very gentle, that gets the kits used to human contact which will make them more calm as they get older. We don’t have any experience with this so far, but we can keep you updated with what works for us.

Our doe, Gloria, has been doing fine. We’ve been continuing to give her a daily treat- apples and bananas are her favorite. The rabbit guy suggested we rebreed Gloria soon so we plan to attempt to rebreed her again and will keep you updated when we do. We post on Wednesdays and Saturdays so stay tuned and thank you for following us. If you have any questions please post them in the comments.

God bless,

Darrick and Kay

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

Breaking ground

Ladies and gentlemen…it happened!

Our dream of a homestead has begun! We broke ground and planted all 10 apple trees!

We had set up a plan of how we wanted to set up the trees this winter, but once we got in the space realized it wasn’t going to work as well as we hoped. We had planned to place the trees to one side and have the berry orchard on the other in the same area, but when we measured found the space was a lot thinner than we had planned. So we improvised, measured out new spacing, and reorganized the layouts of the trees.

As we broke into the soil, having really no idea what type of soil we would be working with, and we were overjoyed to find we had between 5-9 inches deep of dark black loamy soil mixed in with some marbling of sand. It was PERFECT! We figured with so many years of this land being unused and untouched the grasses and organic materials had grown and mulched over and over forming a rich, deep black soil. We were overjoyed!

This plot had the most sand of any of the plots, several had almost no sand.

It was a lot of work, and late in the day to start our process, but we finished planting just before dark. We put close to 30 gallons (meaning filling milk jugs and various containers with water) on our trees by hand. We don’t have a well out at the farm yet and it’s 1/2 mile away from any water source. It was quite the work out but we plan on figuring out a better watering system soon.

We have a lot of deer on our land that would LOVE to eat fresh new apple trees. We didn’t have any tree wrap or fencing yet, but had seen a trick at a forestry museum where you staple paper over the branches to deter deer from nibbling. We tried that until we could get more permanent fencing. (Update: When we checked the next day it worked except one little branch where the paper fell off)

We planted 5 Honey crisp and 5 Sweet Sixteen. We have an orchard! Step one of starting our farm is complete!

Have you ever had the excitement of seeing the first steps of a dream come true? It’s so hard to believe! Share in the comments of your dream, and if you got to see the beginning progress, or of your plans to start.

Thank you for joining us,

God Bless

Darrick and Kay

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions

-Joel 2:28

Hello spring

Spring has sprung! This week we did some spring cleaning and blew the pine needles and leaves off the grass hidden below. It’s amazing how green it turned when you take off a good inch of brown.

Our apple trees are planted and protected with 5ft fencing. We’ve been busy figuring out how best to lay the garden out.

So far we’ve laid out the asparagus patch, blueberry patch, strawberry rows, and raspberry rows. Speaking of raspberries, when we were on a walk to grab the mail we found a bunch of wild raspberries right in our front yard. Go figure, at least we all love raspberries!

Our apple trees are doing great, all ten are starting to get tiny leaves! We may not have any apple harvest for years, but we are so excited that they are all doing well.

We are experimenting with growing some of Darrick’s dads willows. We cut a few twigs from his willow plant and we can post an update on these as well if you are interested. Let us know in the comments!

God bless,

Darrick and Kay

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Colossians 3:23

Baby bunnies!

We bred our New Zealand white rabbits on September 23, 2018 with hopes that the end of October we would have some new baby bunnies.

We had no idea what we were doing, I was holding the rabbit book reading out loud to Darrick as he placed our doe in the bucks cage. The doe has been a feisty one. We had no idea a rabbit could be aggressive, lunging and biting even when we tried to put food and water in her cage so getting her out of the cage, into the bucks cage, was no easy task. A helpful hint: wear thick gloves when handling feisty rabbits.

The book said the doe should be submissive, raise her tail, and let the buck mount her. That wasn’t the case as she scratched at him, lunged, and ran in circles around him in the cage. We let the buck mount her 3 times like the book said and got her out. That night Darrick did the second breeding by himself as we had guests over.

During her pregnancy she really calmed down. She let us touch her, no longer lunging or biting, even coming to the cage door to greet us. This is a picture of a very pregnant Gloria just days away from having her kits.

On October 24th she got feisty again and started lunging, but she was also carrying straw around in her mouth. According to the book it sounds like she was getting ready to have her babies!

October 25th was a wet rainy day and Bee and I went outside to check on them and our doe had pulled out her hair into the nest and she was acting very friendly again. The hair in the nest was moving so I peeked under and there were 3 tiny babies squirming around. We are rabbit breeders!

Some things we learned in this process is…

*If a mom rabbit smells human on her babies, she may kill them. Don’t touch the kits.

*A mother rabbit builds a nest by pulling out her hair and hiding the babies in it. A female rabbit has extra skin and hair called a dewlap under her chin for nesting purposes.

* A mother rabbit leaves her babies alone all day and will only feed them in the dark of night 1-2 times a day. This is to avoid drawing attention to predators.

*Kits will start growing fur about day three, open their eyes at day 10, and jump out of the nest box at day 16.

We are so excited to begin this journey of raising baby rabbits. It’s just proof to us that we, a pair of city folks, CAN do this. It’s such a big accomplishment for us. We will keep you updated on the baby bunnies as they grow. Thank you for following us and if you have any rabbit questions post in the comments and we will do our best to answer.

God bless,

Darrick and Kay

Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.

Genesis 8:17