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Ten Years With Rabbits

A place to post bits of news, ideas, musings and other things that don't really fit into the other forums.
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Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:09 pm


This past March 1st was the day ten years ago that I got my first rabbits from Moonkitten. There was Adam, a blue NZ buck, Scarlett, a red NZ doe, a black doe and a white doe. A couple of years later I got my first chickens and for the last three years I have got turkeys each spring and processed them each fall and am looking forward to them again this year.

It's been an incredible journey with extreme highs and lows. Many times things have happened that had me bursting with happiness and unloading that on my family, friends and just about anyone who would listen...lol. There have also been times that had me so bitterly disappointed and upset that I was brought to tears. Going out to do chores in the morning and finding a new litter of baby rabbits can really make your day. Losing that litter because their Momma was an idiot can turn your day upside down.

I had a little silkie rooster (Strutz)and a gold laced cochin hen (Chicken Little) living together in the turkey shed one winter who I was looking forward to running around the yard the following spring when a mink got into the shed and killed them. She left nine eggs in the corner of the shed in the cold so in the off chance they would hatch I put them in the incubator not expecting anything but one hatched! I was over the moon with the funny looking tiny creature with the funny hair on it's head and feathered feet that slept on my shoulder while I lay on the couch and peeped at the top of it's lungs while it followed me around from room to room in the house. Three days later it died. I was crushed.

I've had rabbits and chickens die in my arms. I've picked up baby rabbits right out from under the mother still bloody and slippery from birth. I had a chicken lay an egg right in my hand. I was kneeling down outside the turkey shed on day and a full grown turkey flew/jumped up onto my shoulder then about a minute later it pooped right down the front of me, jacket, jeans and on my boot. They sure hold a lot of poop. I've raised about six chicks in the house and every one of them slept on my shoulder pressed up against my neck or on my chest as they got bigger.

I've learned to butcher all the animals and process the meat. I've learned about the reproductive lives and habits of all these animals, observed the social structures of the groups of animals and built and rebuilt the housing as I learned new things and got ideas about how to make improvements which would benefit me and the critters.

I started off on Homesteadingtoday and when this site was started I eagerly signed up. I couldn't have done it without the people on these forums. I"ve only met a couple people from this forum and I know I don't come here as often as I like but there are a lot of good people here and I feel comfortable here. I'm thankful for those who have taken the time to answer my questions and give advice over the years. I"m looking forward to continuing the journey and having more experiences. I currently have a litter of newborn rabbits in the kitchen...lol... turkey chicks will be in the basement at the end of April for two or three weeks until they get big enough to go outside... looks like the adventure continues... :D

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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Marinea » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:28 am


Those memories are precious, and heartbreaking, aren't they?

I am waiting for a clutch of eggs to hatch. I am expecting them right around the time my parents are coming for a visit. So...no chicks in the guest room. I guess we'll find out just how loud they are.

I still salivate over your rabbit tractor, despite not having enough flat land to make it work. It is inspiring in many ways, and has given many people ideas, I am sure. That's one of the best things about this site, we can share and help each other do more than we thought we could.
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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:06 pm


Has it really been ten years? :o I remember when we were both over on Homesteading Today and how pleased I was when you were among the first to give RabbitTalk a try at its start-up late in 2009.

I really appreciate your posting of all the ups and downs of your ten years with rabbits - and chickens and turkeys too. It brought back memories to read about it. Even though we've never met, I feel as though I know you.

I think you've done amazingly well with your Welcome Homestead in the past decade. Here's wishing you much success and joy in the years to come!

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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:58 pm


That was a very evocative piece of writing.

I think, I'd have a hard time describing exactly the way it made me feel in fewer words than you used, Truckinguy.

:lol:

Thank you for sharing. :)

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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:19 pm


Zass wrote:That was a very evocative piece of writing.

I think, I'd have a hard time describing exactly the way it made me feel in fewer words than you used, Truckinguy.

:lol:

Thank you for sharing. :)

:yeahthat:
It hit me right in the feels, as they say! :oops: Well said, Truckinguy! And thanks for all the useful posts and insights that have made this forum such a wealth of information for newbies like me! :D
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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Truckinguy » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:10 pm


Zass wrote:That was a very evocative piece of writing.

I think, I'd have a hard time describing exactly the way it made me feel in fewer words than you used, Truckinguy.

:lol:

Thank you for sharing. :)


Thank you. I've been told by many people that I should write a book. Most of my writing has been on my Facebook page as I have quite a few people who follow me and my animals as we follow our journey through life. If I could write for a living I could perhaps give up truck driving... no more winter roads... no more early mornings and long days... a guy can dream...lol

I wish I could recall all the experiences I"ve had since the animals have entered my life. Many long nights up nursing baby rabbits and newly hatched chicks. Going outside on a cool morning and seeing the compost piles steaming still brings a smile to my face. Opening my fridges and freezers to see all the healthy home raised and processed meat and eggs is heartwarming. Many people dream of vacations and fancy toys, all I want is to sink my hands into that rich black compost, feel that baby rabbit snuggle down into the palm of my hand and watch the sun go down in all it's fiery glory as the chickens cluck and squabble while they settle down on the roosts for the night.

It would be interesting to hear other people's stories of the great highs and lows that come along on their homesteading path.

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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Zass » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:44 am


You certainly have a talent for writing in such a manner that it can be delightful to read.

There are so many experiences. I can share just this week so far. :lol:


Inwardly groaning at the massive amount of work it's going to take me to rake a winter's worth of deep-litter hay and dung out of the rabbitry, and the scrubbing required to clean pigeon poo off of literally everything.
Deep down, I'm excited to finally get moving after the long hard winter, knowing that peeling away all that old mess will feel like peeling off old dirty clothes, and scrubbing myself clean.

The rough sharp claws and surprising weight of the birds, alighting on my arms in their frenzy to gobble seeds from my hand.

The delicate mew of a cat sitting neatly by my feet, watching me intently to make sure I notice the plump mouse she is so proud to provide.

My favorite doe, bobbing her head to greet me somewhere over the thousandth time in three years.
Her warm, well built and well furred nest that somehow can keep her brood cozy in sub zero temps.
The thought of someday having to retire her.

Assembling the new grill. Thinking happy thoughts of Jamaican jerk rabbit, crispy grilled squab, and bloody venison steak.

Watching my son fill small peat pots with soil, sewing the first seeds for this years garden.

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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Marinea » Tue Mar 20, 2018 8:12 am


Sometimes, I see the quiet days like a series of photographs.

*snap* The chickens scratching the fallen leaves in the side yard, Molly the German Shepard lying at the top of the hill, half asleep, one eye open, watching her charges.

*snap* Patty the pig, having napped in the sun, decides it is time to cool off, and flops around in her swimming pool.

*snap* The dogs break the quiet, barking like mad. The reason? A deer, just outside the fence, three feet from the dogs, stands there, taunting them. It waits until they give up, and moves on.

*snap* My husband, sitting on the edge of one of the garden beds, weeding the zinnias he planted, just for a bit of color.

*snap* The hummingbird wars when the feeders are up. Dive-bombing each other, streaking points of color moving almost faster than the eyes can follow.

*snap* Watching the baby buns explore outside the nest box. You can almost see them gathering their courage, and finally...a hop.

Yeah, I am a simple gal, with simple pleasures.
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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Mar 20, 2018 11:24 am


I just read this thread from the beginning again and I'm sitting here, all choked up . . . tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

Truly, we are blessed, living close to the land, cherishing the small moments and memories of each day.

Thank you all for sharing yours.

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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Truckinguy » Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:40 pm


I can share another positive experience. When the hens hatch out chicks in the coop there are usually a couple of eggs that don't hatch. I leave them in the nest with the hen and the new chicks for an extra couple of days just in case and then they go in the compost. One hen hatched out about eight chicks and a couple of eggs didn't hatch so I left them in for the customary two days and then went to the compost bins. I always crack the eggs open out of curiosity and there are usually half formed chicks or fully formed ones that just didn't survive the hatch. I cracked one of the eggs against the side of the compost bin and it peeped at me! I carefully peeled back the shell a bit and there was a chick, still wet and curled up but alive. I took it in the house, got it out of the shell and on a towel on the coffee table. Looking back now I believe it was still a day or two early for hatching. It took about a day to dry out but still couldn't stand and it's eyes were closed and it still had the umbilical cord attached to it. I propped it up with my hand and finally about 24 hours later I got it to take a drop of water. It was another day before it could stand and finally got a couple of crumbs of chick starter into it. For two days I slept on the couch with it cupped against my chest, fortunately I was off work for a while at the time.

After a few days it was eating and drinking like normal so I figured I would return it to it's mother and all would be well. Umm... nope. I put it in the coop with the mother and the other chicks and she immediately attacked it with a ferocity that shocked me. She would have killed it in front of my eyes if I hadn't grabbed it and brought it back in the house with me. I was actually shaking a bit. I figured that I had a house chick now so I set up some food and water in the corner of the kitchen and it stayed in the house with me for a couple of months until it was big enough to hold it's own in the flock. Turned out it was a hen and one of my cousins named her Pidgy, apparently after some character on a kid's show or something. Pidgy slept on my chest as I lay on the couch in the evening until I put her in a big cardboard box for the night. I ended up with four chicks in the house at that time including her and all four of them followed me from room to room peeping up a chorus until I picked them up. She's out there in the coop now, she looks just like about five other hens so I don't know which one she is at this point.

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Re: Ten Years With Rabbits

Post Number:#11  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:49 pm


Awwww, what a sweet chicken story, Truckinguy! :love:

If you ever have to reunite a chick with a hen and her brood, there are two easy ways to do it. You can slip the extra chick under her at night or you can play the "two for one" game. It goes like this. You have the chick handy in your pocket or wherever. You steal one of the hen's other chicks. The chick hollers, mama goes into a flap and when she is sufficiently outraged, you quickly return her chick to her along with the other one. Peace is restored and Mama doesn't realize she now has one more. :D

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