A rabbit hideaway box serves several purposes – it provides a place for the rabbit to hide, provides the doe with a birthing box for her litter, and provides a high place for a lookout point. Rabbits are prey animals, and as such will want to hide when they are scared.
The rabbit hutch was built a couple of weeks ago, so now it is time to build the hideaway boxes. One box will be built for the doe and one box will be built for the buck.
The first hide box was built 20 inches X 24 inches. After the box was placed in the hutch it seemed a little large.
The second box was built 16 inches X 20 inches. Even at 16X20 the box seems a little big.
I may cut that down to 12 X 20, but it will be after the rabbits are grown. Right now the boxes seem a little large, but the rabbits still have a lot of growing to do.
My wife and I started the rabbit hutch last weekend. And as things happen in life we ran out of time and were unable to finish the hutch. This weekend we were going to be a little pressed for time, but I was hoping to get it finished. Besides the hutch my wife and I had a pageant for my daughter in Newton Texas on Saturday, then a birthday party for two of the grandkids on Sunday. Saturday was a no-go, so we only had Sunday to work on the hutch.
Sunday morning my wife and I moved the rabbit hutch from in front of the wood shed to under a large oak tree in the back yard. When my wife asked why we were moving the hutch to work on it, I asked her if she wanted to work in the sun.
The drops from the legs are long enough to make cross members for the floor. When the floor was being built a cross member was placed every 2 feet. This left a space of 2×3 feet that was not supported. As a result there was a lot of slack in the floor. After the extra cross members were installed the floor was reenforced and the extra slack was removed.
Have you considered raising rabbits as part of your long term SHTF survival plans? Rabbits are easy to raise, do not take a lot of room, do not make a lot of noise,, what is there not to like about rabbits?
A couple of weeks ago my wife and daughter got a two Californian white rabbits. The rabbits can not stay in their cage in the kitchen forever; the time has come to build a hutch and move them outside.
Instead of building or buying some simple wire cages, my wife and I decided to build a solid rabbit hutch. This is something that will fit into my chicken coop plans with no change of design or other major alteration. The rabbit hutch my wife and I built this weekend is a total of 8 feet long, divided in half gives each rabbit a space of 3 feet by 4 feet, for a total of 12 square feet.
If I am going to keep rabbits and chickens, I want to make sure they are treated humanly, protected from the elements, and have plenty of room.
For the sake of discussion let’s say that some kind of SHTF situation occurred. Whether it is widespread civil unrest, nuclear war, financial collapse,,, something has happened to disrupt food shipments as well as infrastructure.
How do you plan on providing fresh vegetables, fruit and meat for your family? In other articles we have discussed gardening, beans, squash, potatoes and chickens (only to mention a few topics we have discussed). So lets talk about rabbits for a little bit.
Easy to raise
Eat a variety of grass
Reproduce like crazy,,, well, they reproduce like rabbits
Easy to butcher
Easy to cook
Do not require a lot of space
Do not make a lot of noise
Large enough to feed a small family
Poop makes excellent fertilizer
Easter is next weekend, April 31, 2013. If you live in the burbs or in a rural area you may see people selling rabbits and chicks on the side of the road. Or you may be seeing ads in the local paper for chicks and Easter bunnies for sale.
Public Service Reminder, please think before you buy live animals for Easter.
Those bunnies and colored chicks are cute, but they will soon grow up.
The majority of live animals bought for Easter will either be abandoned, or will die before they turn a year old.
I have bought my kids bunnies for Easter before. But we also built the rabbit hutch and took care of the rabbits. It was a fun project for the whole family.
But then again, not everyone wants to invest the time, effort or money into building a rabbit hutch. Keep in mind some cities prohibit keeping rabbits and chickens. It would be a shame to buy a couple of chicks, then find out your family will not be able to keep them.
Over the past couple of years I have looked at several chicken breeds to develop a self-sustaining chicken flock. Some of the breeds I have looked at are the Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Dominique and Australorp (only to name a few). This article will focus on the Barred Rock, which is part of the Plymouth Rock family of chickens.
Why should we care about the Barred Rock? It is a good dual purpose chicken which has been raised for well over 100 years.
I do not consider the Barred Rock a high egg producer chicken, as it only lays around 200 eggs a year. There are breeds out there that lay well over the 200 egg mark. The Barred Rock makes up for its average egg production with its size, hardiness, and its meat quality.
While looking for information on various chicken breeds I came across this youtube posted by FarmRaised which talks about breeding the Barred Rock.
This video brings up some good topics for discussion:
Separate the chickens into groups based on desired traits.
Breed for size and traits.
Weigh the roosters and hens so your flock maintains a steady size.
Over the past year and a half I have read and watched a lot of videos about chickens. This the best video I have seen about chicken behavior.
From a survivalist point, the video talks about a lot of important points. It is estimated mankind domesticated the chicken about 8,000 years ago. There has to be something that has allowed mankind and chickens to thrive together.
During World War II eggs were rationed. “If” we ever go to war with a major world power, do you want to be on the rationing end, or do you want to have fresh meat and eggs?
In England, it was not until the 1950s that chicken became a staple food. People are more rabbit then chicken.
Selective breeding has improved certain traits.
Chickens can learn rather quickly.
If you have a spare hour to watch the video, please take the time to do so.
Lets talk about a good breed of meat chicken for the homestead that does well on free range.
For the sake of discussion lets say that some kind of SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation has happened. Whether its some kind of new SARS virus, wide spread civil unrest, nuclear war with China, hurricane, blizzard,,, something has happened to disrupt food shipments.
You go out to the chicken coop, survey the flock for dinner, what kind of chickens would you see? Did you focus on egg production, meat production, or both? Did you buy hens that go broody, or did you go with breeds that do not go broody? If you butcher a hen, will it be replaced?
What are some of the traits we are looking for? Lets start with heritage breeds that have a proven track record of over 100 years. The older the breed the better.
Lets look for chickens that weigh at least 6 – 7 pounds before processing, because do we really want to butcher 2 or 3 small hens for a single meal? We want a hen that can go broody, is a good mother, raise her chicks for the next generation, is a good forager and will feed a family of 4.
Dominique – There are lot of other breeds out there that are larger and lay more eggs, but, how can we argue against a chicken that has fed America since the colonial days?
The Dominique is a result of chickens that were brought to the new world by early settlers. It is considered Americas first true chicken breed.
One of the things I would like to do after my wife and I get moved to the homestead, is to get some kind of milk and meat producing livestock.
Cattle was one of my first choices. My wife and I cook a lot of beef – ground meat, steaks, stew meat,,, just all kinds of different cuts of meat.
Goats were my second choice. Cattle eat grass, goats eat weeds, so they would not compete over the food sources. Unlike a cow, when a goat is butchered I would not have to deal with a 1,000 pound animal.
Then there are sheep. Unlike goats, sheep produce wool that can be used to make clothing. The breed of sheep I was looking at (under the suggestion from my brother) is hair sheep. Hair sheep look like goats, as they have short hair instead of wool.
The nation is screwed, and I mean royally screwed.
The government is so far into debt, there is no way future generations can pay off the debt. As of the posting of this article the US Government is $16.4 trillion in debt. With credit card debt and student loan debt, we owe more like $58 trillion.
If the nation is broke, how are we supposed to bankroll millions of new people collecting benefits?
Kidney stones suck
We were supposed to go to the homestead this weekend. But on friday I started having pains so bad I had to take some Vicodin – which I have a prescription for. The stupid stone did not pass over the weekend.
Leg bands allow the flock owner to mark certain chickens for easy identification. The problem with metal bands, a tool is needed to put them on and take them off, and the bands may not be widely available.
Instead of using metal bands, why not use cable ties?
Cable ties can be found at just about any hardware store. To put the cable tie on all you need is a pair of wire cutters to cut the slack off.
Leave enough slack so the cable tie will not cut off the circulation.
If you want to keep track of the chickens age, then use different colors:
Black for 2013
White for 2014
Yellow for 2015
,,, and so on.
Use red to mark chickens that have bad habits that you may want to cull.
Why should you consider the Australorp for your backyard chicken flock?
Tolerate heat well – they were developed in Australia in the late 1800s.
High egg production – in 1922-23 a team of six Australorp hens set a world record of 1857 eggs at an average of 309.5 eggs per hen for a 365 consecutive day trial (from wikipedia). Australorps also hold the world record for egg production. In trapnest testing, a Australorp hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.
A trapnest is a nesting box that closes after a hen has entered the laying box. This traps the hen and allows inspection and marking of the egg to a specific hen. If a hen is eating eggs, a trapnest allows the farmer to know which hen is eating the egg, as the hen will be trapped in the laying box with the egg.
Heritage Chicken – This is something that we need to pay attention to, or at least take into consideration.
APA Standard Breed – Breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century.
Naturally mating – let nature takes it course.
Long, productive outdoor lifespan
Slow growth rate – You may be asking “why do you want your chickens to grow slow?” Chickens that are bred for meat production put on weight faster then their legs can keep up. As a result, certain breeds of meat chickens may become lame and not able to walk. Certain breeds of meat chickens do not tolerate heat well. The chicks have to be bought in early spring and butchered before the summer heat kicks in.
The slow growth rate is for the chickens growth to match the rate the legs, bones and muscles to develop.