Rabbits

When considering a new animal addition to the farm, we look for heritage breeds – historic breeds that have been used traditionally by our forefathers before industrialized farming came around. For our rabbits, we chose the beautiful Silver Fox. They are a dual-purpose breed, meaning that they are useful both for fiber and meat. They’re actually quite competitive with the conventional meat breeds – Californias and New Zealands. We keep three does and one buck, and breed on a schedule of every six weeks, meaning each doe will give birth about twice per year. We keep the buck in a separate pen for obvious reasons, but the does live in a colony style, all together in a large shelter with an outdoor run. This is very unconventional. Nearly all rabbits on farms these days live in cages, often indoors. There is a larger risk of them burrowing out, which we’ve addressed by burying chicken wire along the perimeter. There’s also a larger danger from predators, since we’re keeping all of our rabbits in one basket so to speak. The drawback of our rabbit run is that it is not portable. So, the rabbits do not forage like our other animals. We do our best to throw as many weeds and vegetable clippings their way, and supply them with organic alfalfa from In Season Farms about 15 miles from here. This year we plan on building a portable rabbit “tractor” which will move their pen around the pasture giving them fresh greens on a daily basis.

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