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SEP intro

Post Number:#1  Unread postby SEP board » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:10 am


Hi everyone :)

I'm the owner of the Survival and Emergency Preparedness forum (which is where the SEP comes from). Part of that discussion is on different aspects of self reliance. Discussions there lead me to have an interest in raising rabbits and quail. I'm new to both (less than 2 months) but have been actively reading, researching and talking to folks with more experience. I joined BYC to gain information on quail and that lead me to this board so that I can increase my knowledge on rabbits. So happy to be here and eager to learn.

Using YT and various websites and books as a resource I built my own PVC hutch. My rabbits are outdoors and I wanted something that would stand up to the weather. This has worked out really well and was a lot of fun to put together. I had some PVC experience as I did my own sprinkler system a few years ago. This has allowed my to have four suspended cages that are 4x2. I made the cages myself and learned how to use J clips in the process (I'm all about DIY projects).

I currently have three rabbits, one male Mini lop and two female English Lop. I purchased them from a co-worker who raises all sorts of animals on his property. He wasn't sure what they were and neither did I when I bought them. So a bit of research led me to their breed. The male is 1 year old. The females are 4-5 months old. I keep them outdoors but on the shaded side of the house. I'm in Florida so cold is never really an issue. Since it's shaded and it's an open concept PVC hutch they have excellent air flow and ventilation and seem to be doing very well in that spot.

I had read that English Lop can be breed at 9 months or 10lbs. Both females are quite large and I'd say if they're not 10lbs they're mighty close. And not fat, just large. So I tried breeding them at the end of last month and beginning of this month respectively. This was after allowing them time to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Female #1 had two kits that we saw in the morning when we went out to do the morning chores. They were on the wire and apparently still born. We only saw those two so don't know if she had any additional during the night and then ate them. One of them was missing an ear and leg (chewed off) so I'm assuming that was possible. They were good size though, actually larger than I was expecting and otherwise seemed to be well developed (but I am NOT an expert). They were pink when we went out to the hutch. This is her first kindle. So I'm not sure if she was breed too early or not. I've read that having the first kindle be all or part still born isn't uncommon but that's just what I'm reading/researching?

Female #2 would be on day 31 tomorrow (Sunday). I didn't see any fur pulled out of either female but we placed the nesting boxes in anyway with hay. I walked out early this morning but didn't see any sign of 'nesting' from either. I'll see what happens tomorrow and evaluate. Female #2 is the larger of the two.

As a side note, I also vermipost and have an open worm pile (red wigglers) underneath the hutch. Great for the garden (we grow all sorts of things). We also have just gotten into quail and they are old enough they should be laying at any time. Have an incubator ready to go for when they start.

Happy to be here and looking forward to learning from you folks. And and all advice welcome. Thank you. :)

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#2  Unread postby alforddm » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:32 am


Welcome!

It sounds like you have most things well in hand. The only piece of advice I have to offer is put in nestboxes on day 28, even if you don't think they "took" when you bred them. It's pretty common for rabbits to not make a nest until near time to kindle most don't pull fur until right before or even right after they kindle.

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#3  Unread postby SEP board » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:39 am


Ah, okay. Thanks for that and I will do that from now on. Glad now that doe #2 has the nesting box even though I was unsure. Thanks again for the welcome and the advice.

:)

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#4  Unread postby alforddm » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:43 am


I would be interested in seeing how you built the PVC hutch. Do you have pictures?

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#5  Unread postby SEP board » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:09 am


I took some pics but never got around to posting them (on my board). I'll have to do that and I'll post them here as well. I'll look into that this evening when I get home. IIRC I used either 1/2 or 3/4 PVC. Very easy to do and I'm going to do something similar so that I can stack my quail cages.

This is the YT video that gave me the idea:

http://sepboard.us/showthread.php?tid=500

Hope it's okay to post that link, it's post #6 and #7 is what I used for the cages.

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Marinea » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:13 pm


Welcome!

How about a link to your forum? Always looking for ideas :)
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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#7  Unread postby SEP board » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:27 pm


Sure, as long as it's alright with the Admin:

http://sepboard.us

We are a small forum, but a very professional, polite community. Everything from DIY projects to emergency preparedness to first aid to hunting to self reliance and all stuff in between. Please enjoy and thank you for the welcome here. I've already learned some useful information. A new area for me that I've really enjoyed getting into and want to expand in as I learn. We've had our garden and fruit trees for years and it really offers a sense of satisfaction to be able to walk out in the backyard and get some lettuce or kale or tomatoes or figs or whatever. So I'm going to look forward to the rabbits and quail as the project comes along.

Quail are the other project and they are just about of age to start laying eggs so I'm excited about that. Have my incubator all ready to go :)

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Marinea » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:40 pm


Thanks for the link. Registered...and posted :)

Off to read.
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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#9  Unread postby SEP board » Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:49 pm


Great, always happy to have folks. Enjoy :)

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#10  Unread postby alforddm » Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:06 pm


I just thought of this, but since your into survival type stuff, you may want to read through the Natural feeding forum. Lots of good information there on how to feed your rabbits natural foods rather than pellets and things you may have trouble getting in an emergency.

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Miss M » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:08 pm


Welcome, SEP! :welcomewagon:

Marinea wrote:How about a link to your forum?

SEP board wrote:Sure, as long as it's alright with the Admin:

I know a lot of boards do not allow linking to other boards, but we are usually just fine with it. :)

I say "usually", because if it becomes obvious that someone has signed up pretty much just to promote their board, we don't allow that.

Those are pretty easy to spot. You don't seem to be one to me -- you didn't post a link until you were asked to, you have rabbits, gave the link to the video that inspired your rabbitry build, asked questions about your rabbits, indicated a readiness to learn, etc. As long as you actually contribute, we don't mind links that might be helpful to our members at all. :)

You will find that we have a few other members who raise quail (those threads should be under "Our Other Animals"), and many have chickens. We also have other members who do vermicomposting. Lots of members are working toward becoming more self-sufficient. So you should find that you fit in well here. :)

BYC is a huge forum that I like to get lost in occasionally. :lol:

SEP board wrote:I currently have three rabbits, one male Mini lop and two female English Lop.

Your combination wouldn't normally be considered the most efficient meat:feed ratio, but who knows? They may turn out to be awesome, especially with your does already nearing 10 pounds! French Lops eat a lot of food, so though they are an old meat breed, they're not terribly efficient. I haven't heard that about English Lops, though (you'll see those breeds abbreviated Flops and Elops sometimes). If you keep records, you can figure out your cost per pound of dressed rabbit.

And our first herd sire was actually a Mini Lop, and at least one other member has had one in their meat herd, too.

SEP board wrote:Female #1 had two kits that we saw in the morning when we went out to do the morning chores. They were on the wire and apparently still born. We only saw those two so don't know if she had any additional during the night and then ate them. One of them was missing an ear and leg (chewed off) so I'm assuming that was possible. They were good size though, actually larger than I was expecting and otherwise seemed to be well developed (but I am NOT an expert).

Some of our members are finding that does bred earlier than conventional practice recommends make better mothers -- 4 - 5 months of age or so.

It is not uncommon for a first-timer to lose part or all of a first litter. If the two kits you saw were somewhat stretched looking, they probably got stuck and died in the birth canal. A stuck kit can cause the loss of an entire litter, or she may have the rest of the litter live. Does can also stop kindling and restart later -- even a couple of days later. Giving a fruit-flavored Tums or two around kindling time can help prevent or correct some kindling problems.

If you end up with live kits and no fur, you can gently pull fur from the doe yourself, from the belly and sides. The fur loosens some before kindling so the doe can pull it. If the doe takes exception to you pulling her fur, you can use feathers and a number of other things -- taking care that what you use is not an inhalation hazard (you can use dryer lint but it is a bit of a hazard) and that it won't wrap around little baby bunny legs and cut off circulation (hair or long fur, which can also be found in lint). Many of us save fur that is pulled in excess and fur that is molted -- even from bucks -- so that we always have fur available for kits.

It is rare for a doe to eat live kits. Some will eat dead ones, as part of cleaning up the nest and keeping it safe from predators and pathogens. Some, particularly does on their first few litters, will be a little too enthusiastic as they are cleaning their kits, and you can end up with a kit or two missing a tail, an ear, a leg. :roll:

At any rate, you have come to the right place for rabbits. We have lots of members with amazing amounts of experience who love to help. :)
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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Stephanie » Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:57 pm


alforddm wrote:The only piece of advice I have to offer is put in nestboxes on day 28, even if you don't think they "took" when you bred them. It's pretty common for rabbits to not make a nest until near time to kindle most don't pull fur until right before or even right after they kindle.


I agree! I had a doe kindle a couple of months ago that I was convinced hadn't took, because she was a day late.
Just to be safe, I kept checking on her every hour or two. I never did see her pulling fur or any fur in the cage, until the last time I checked. And on that time, not only was there a pile of fur, but kits. I had checked her an hour before and saw nothing and was convinced she missed. Learned my lesson.

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#13  Unread postby SEP board » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:06 pm


Miss M wrote:I know a lot of boards do not allow linking to other boards, but we are usually just fine with it. :)



Thank you for the welcome. And thank you for allowing the link. I admin three different forums and know how difficult it can be sometimes (read spambots)!


You will find that we have a few other members who raise quail (those threads should be under "Our Other Animals"), and many have chickens. We also have other members who do vermicomposting. Lots of members are working toward becoming more self-sufficient. So you should find that you fit in well here. :)

BYC is a huge forum that I like to get lost in occasionally.


They have a nice forum and I've been learning quite a bit about quail but it's nice to find this forum so I can get more specialized information on rabbits and rabbit related stuff. I'll definitely be checking out the vermiposting stuff as that was a big reason to go with rabbits. Ready made fertilizer pellets! :)

Your combination wouldn't normally be considered the most efficient meat:feed ratio, but who knows? They may turn out to be awesome, especially with your does already nearing 10 pounds! French Lops eat a lot of food, so though they are an old meat breed, they're not terribly efficient. I haven't heard that about English Lops, though (you'll see those breeds abbreviated Flops and Elops sometimes). If you keep records, you can figure out your cost per pound of dressed rabbit.

And our first herd sire was actually a Mini Lop, and at least one other member has had one in their meat herd, too.


Hopefully it will work out, I didn't even know what type they were when I bought them so it's a learning experience. Good suggestion on keeping records on the kindles, thank you.

It is not uncommon for a first-timer to lose part or all of a first litter. If the two kits you saw were somewhat stretched looking, they probably got stuck and died in the birth canal. A stuck kit can cause the loss of an entire litter, or she may have the rest of the litter live. Does can also stop kindling and restart later -- even a couple of days later. Giving a fruit-flavored Tums or two around kindling time can help prevent or correct some kindling problems.



Okay, that makes me feel a bit better. I'll be keeping a close eye on the doe that I believe should be due tomorrow. Thank you for the welcome :)

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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Miss M » Sun May 01, 2016 12:08 am


SEP board wrote: I admin three different forums and know how difficult it can be sometimes (read spambots)!

Gracious, yes... a couple of the hoops you had to jump through to sign up were just added a couple of months ago.

SEP board wrote:I'll definitely be checking out the vermiposting stuff as that was a big reason to go with rabbits. Ready made fertilizer pellets! :)

And have you read yet that bunny berries are a "cold" manure -- meaning you can put them on your plants straight and uncomposted, without fear of burning? :P It's great stuff!

SEP board wrote:Hopefully it will work out, I didn't even know what type they were when I bought them so it's a learning experience. Good suggestion on keeping records on the kindles, thank you.

You gotta start somewhere. We started with a Minilop we rescued when someone abandoned him and "set him free" outside (which is frequently a death sentence). Then we bought him a mystery mix ladyfriend, and we got started. Sure, my pure Californians and my Standard Rex outperform them, but the point was to start. We actually still have a granddaughter of that pair in our breeding lineup... simply because she's very pretty (a color pattern called sallander).

I seem to recall calculating our cost at about $1.25/lb. We also make our own broth from the bones, so we get a lot of bang for our buck, no pun intended. We'd been keeping them for a good while before I did any calculations, and I counted the cost of consumables (feed and hay) only, because... well... one-time expenses like cages I just don't feel like trying to divide and redivide over time.

SEP board wrote:Okay, that makes me feel a bit better. I'll be keeping a close eye on the doe that I believe should be due tomorrow. Thank you for the welcome :)

Be sure to keep us posted! :popcorn:
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Re: SEP intro

Post Number:#15  Unread postby SEP board » Sun May 01, 2016 7:23 am


Miss M wrote:Gracious, yes... a couple of the hoops you had to jump through to sign up were just added a couple of months ago.



Had to do the same thing on two of my forums. I kept getting the advertisements for shoes or other stuff. Sometimes in German. Had to ban a lot of IP addy's to stem the tide. Seems to come in waves here and there and sometimes they still get past the security setup but now it's just every so often.
And have you read yet that bunny berries are a "cold" manure -- meaning you can put them on your plants straight and uncomposted, without fear of burning? :P It's great stuff!


Oh yeah! :)

My tomato plants love the stuff. Actually looking forward to when I've got more bunnies so I have more pellets to use. Lettuce(s) and kale do very well for us so I've been adding that as well. I was a little disappointed that quail droppings are hot fertilizer but then it gave me a reason to start up my compost bin again. Always had trouble keeping the temp up the first time around. But the quail droppings add ammonia and that has really helped up the temp in the bin. I'm waiting for them to start laying so I can incubate the eggs and add to the number I already have. That will give me a good supply for the bin. Currently have 2 roosters and 6 hens. I want to triple the hens so that I have 18 layers.


You gotta start somewhere.



Very true. Last rabbit I had was when I was a teenager (and that's been a long time ago). So I was a total newbie going into it. So basically I got an e-book on Amazon that had good reviews, read stuff online and of course hit YT in a big way. None of that makes you an expert but at least it kinda gives you a foundation and points you in the right way. Last month has been a pleasurable learning experience and frankly we're having a really good time with all of it. And that's the running joke at our house now in that I put on my straw hat and gloves and tell my wife I'm 'heading out to the south 40 to take care of the herd' which amounts to a walk across the backyard.

:lol:

__________Sun May 01, 2016 7:21 am ___________

Image


Okay, this was at the beginning stage. This is either 1/2 or 3/4 inch PVC and is about 2 1/2 feet wide and 12 feet long. Those were the first two cages I made, I've since added a third and plan to add a fourth. I've redone the tarp so that I have full coverage on the top and a front flap in case of a hard rain. It's under a small overhang anyway so normal rains won't get into the cages. The front flap will keep them dry for when it's rainy and windy and if we have a real storm come through it's an easy manner to unhook the cages and bring them into our enclosed patio.

This picture was before the worm pit and worm trough were added in the middle. And before I added the quail cage.

Future plans will include adding a fourth cage at the end for doe#3. The worms are in the middle so I plan to add two grow out cages on either side on bricks to raise the cages. I have a piece of plastic angled under the two outside cages that funnel the droppings to the center and keep the outer portions clean.

Where you see rain barrel on the right of the PVC set up is where I'm going to to a PVC frame to stack the quail cages. I'll still have room for two rain barrels in that location. The plan is to have three 4x2 quail cages that are divided in the middle so that I have six 2x2 cages. That will be for the layers. Then I'll have an undivided 4x2 cage for a grow out pen. I'll attach it the the PVC rabbit frame for stability and it will only be slightly higher (quail cages are only around 12 inches high to prevent injury).

That area is on the north side of the house so it is shaded but still gets good light. So far it is very pleasant at night and in the shade it's fine. I'll see how it progresses this summer and if necessary I'm looking into adding some fans (solar power) to have a constant air flow. We'll see if it's needed or not.

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