We have been jumping into the whole rabbit farm thing over the last several months. This week we built yet another double decker hutch, which holds 6 cages. When we have the rabbitry just like we like it, we will have 4 of these banks inside, for a total of 24 holes. I will probably keep one hutch of 3 holes outside as well. Last Saturday, we packed up 22 rabbits (see picture to left) and headed to Charleston for the Sustainability Fair put on by the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. We had a great time, and got to talk to a lot of people. I sold 6 rabbits at the fair, and have had another call to buy a rabbit this week. I hope we made some contacts that will be ready to buy some of the rabbits, and some others looking to purchase manure for fertilizer. Maybe we will open up a market for people looking for rabbits!
Right now, we have 2 litters that are weaned, and 2 litters that are not weaned. I also re-bred 3 does yesterday, and will probably re-breed another today or tomorrow. In about a month, we will have more bunnies than we know what to do with! But, that will be good, as our stock in the freezer has been seriously depleted by not having many litters through the winter.
We are also going to start trying to tan our own hides and (hopefully) sell them. I got a tip from a fellow breeder, suggesting two tanning solutions. The first, DixieTan Paste, is made into a paste, and then put on the hides. This one smells like Sassafras, so I’m really looking forward to trying it. The second is called Johnny Thorpe’s Indian Tan. This is mixed with water in a bucket, and the hides are soaked in it. I’m going to give them both a shot, and see which one works the best for us. I ordered my supplies from F&T Fur Harvester’s Trading Post. If you need any kind of supplies for tanning, I recommend them. They shipped the order very quickly, and were very courteous in their communications. Who could ask for more? I will certainly be using them again for my supplies. They also had the cheapest rates of any suppliers that I could find.
We have expanded into Rex rabbits, which if you have never felt, are much like velvet. They have a short coat, which stands upright, and is very soft. Most people, when they feel them the first time, are amazed at how soft they feel. These rabbits make great garments, and blankets or throws. If all works out well, we hope to fashion some of these pelts into usable goods. Who knows, if we get good at this, we might just expand into doing some of our deer hides next year!
I am going to have to “thin the herd” in the rabbitry soon, so I will try to post about how the tanning procedure works. When I get a surplus, I might even put a few on here…