Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: rabbits

Rabbit Box Update

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After building the rabbit hutch, my wife and I built a couple of hide-away boxes for the rabbits to get into.  The box also acts as a birthing box, a place to get out of the cold winter wind, and a place to get off the wire of the cage.

The problem is, the rabbits have been urinating in the box.

The floor, the walls and the bedding material are soaking up the urine.  This is creating an unsanitary situation for the rabbits.  Something has to be done to fix the problem.  So what I did was remove part of the floor of the box.

From what I am observing the rabbits tend to urinate and poop in the corners of the box and cage.

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Meat Production After SHTF

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There are all kinds of articles out there talking about meat after SHTF.  You want to know what is missing in a lot of those articles?  Exact details.Cooking at the Bug Out Location

Awhile back we talked about how many chickens would be needed for SHTF.  I would like to do this article in the same manner as the chicken article.

Lets start with one very important question, and that is how much meat does the average person eat?  To find the answer lets turn to the US census.

Per Capita Consumption of Major Food Commodities

Average US meat consumption in 2009:

Commodity Weight / Number
Red Meat, includes beef, veal, lamb and pork. 105.7 pounds
Poultry, includes chicken and turkey. 69.4 pounds
Eggs 246 eggs

For right now lets exclude eggs and focus on red meat and poultry.  We will talk about eggs later.

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Rabbit Update Raising Rabbits For SHTF

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An update to how the rabbit hutch and hideaway boxes are working out. The hideaway box is working well, but they are moving their food bowls around and spilling their food.

To fix the food bowl problem I ran a screw through the bowl and into the 2×4 under the bowl.

I used a 10 penny nail and hammer to poke a hole in the bottom of the food boil, then secured the bowl with a 2 inch outdoor wood screw.

The doe seems to spend an equal amount of time inside and outside the box, while the buck spends most of his time on top of the box.

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Building A Rabbit Hide Box

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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.Rabbit hideaway box

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.

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Finishing The Rabbit Hutch

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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.Complete rabbit 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.

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Building A Rabbit Hutch

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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.Californian rabbit

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.

Bill of material

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Starting My Rabbit Project

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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.California white rabbit

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.

Why Rabbits

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

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Using Easter To Kick Start Chicken And Rabbit Project

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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.Chickens in the chicken coop

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.

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Source Of Fresh Meat After SHTF

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What is your long term plan for fresh meat after SHTF?  Do you plan on hunting, trapping or raising your own?  What about a combination of all three?

This article is going to focus on 4 sources of fresh meat – chickens, pigs, goats and rabbits.

Chickens

In a previous article we discussed how many chickens would you need for SHTF.  If you have not read that article, please do so. Here is a recap of the important information.Fresh yard eggs

Lets start with 10 people in our group, now lets estimate that those 10 people will be eating 2 eggs a day, which equals at least 20 eggs a day.

During the winter time egg laying can drop after a cold front passes through, or while the hen is molting.

For the sake of discussion, lets use my lowest egg count of 3 eggs from 13 hens. The 3 eggs were laid after a cold front passed through, and the hens were around 9 – 10 months old.

7 X 3 = 21 eggs.

7 X 13 = 91 chickens.

91 chickens is a lot.

Now lets go with my average egg count of 5 eggs a day from my 13 chickens for the month of December 2012.

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Livestock and Firearms for SHTF

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Lets say SHTF tomorrow, what would be your top priorities?  Besides safe drinking water, food production and property protection is at the top of my list.

One of the questions I ask myself, how do you develop a sustainable food supply, and at the same time protect your property?  Well, its not really “how”, but where do you divide your resources to best serve you and your family.

Lets say you have $20. Would that $20 serve you better as ammunition, or through livestock such as chickens? What about tools and fencing supplies?  Would that $20 serve you well as a hammer, wire cutters, staples for fencing wire, or as barbed wire?

If you have a few million dollars to spend, we would not have to be asking these questions.  We would just buy the land, and buy all of the supplies that we need.

Unfortunately, most of us have limited resources.  Due to these limited resources we need to spend wisely.  And thus we ask questions to find answers.

Firearms

As Black Friday draws closer, I find myself debating on whether or not I should buy a SIG Sauer M400 enhanced that Walmart is supposed to have on sale.

Then comes up the classic debate, would that money be better invested in food, livestock or ammunition?

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What Is The Best Livestock For SHTF

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Prepping for SHTF is a never ending process. Unless money is not an issue, chances are people have to divide their efforts between various projects.

Over the past few weeks I have been posting about what my project for 2013 should be. Should it be rabbits, honey bees, both, or maybe even something else?

The question from there needs to be, what project is going to provide my family with the greatest return on our investment?

Which farm animals are the best able to live off the land, have the best food to output ratio, produce the most food for the amount of room they take up.

Cattle: Lets start with the one farm animal that everyone knows in one way or another. Most people eat cheese, butter, steaks, brisket, hamburger,,,, and so on.
The cow is a universally recognized farm animal, but what is it really good for during a long term SHTF situation?

If you butcher a 1,000 pound cow, then you have to have a way to preserve the meat. Do you have a smoker, and a pressure cooker large enough to process a whole cow?

During the middle ages, cows were not a preferred livestock. Which was mainly because they are so large it takes great effort to preserve the meat.

Cows can produce a lot of milk, which in turn is used to make butter and cheese.

Then there is the amount of grazing field a cow requires. If you want a herd of cattle, do you have the room to take care of them? Do you have a fenced in field large enough to left the cattle graze? Do you have a barn large enough so the cattle can be protected from bad weather?

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Rabbits or Bee Hive

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A couple of weeks ago I posted an article – Long Term Survival Project for 2013. I that article we talked about some of my previous projects, and that I was thinking about rabbits as my 2013 project.

After putting a lot of thought in rabbits, I think building some bee hives would be a better idea.

Why would honey bees be a better project then rabbits?  Both have their good and bad qualities, so lets talk about them.

Rabbits produce manure that can be used as fertilizer.  But on the flip side, you have to feed rabbits.

Bees produce honey.  You do not have to feed bees.  You have to supply the colony with sugar water until the hive gets established. Once the hive is established, it is self-supportive.

Honey can be stored forever.

Rabbits die.

You have to have a cage for rabbits.

You have to have a bee hive for honey bees.

Rabbit makes a better meal then honey.

Honey can be used as an antibiotic.

Honey is an excellent barter item.

Rabbits are a good barter item.

Honey and rabbits are both universally recognized as food.

The bee hive can be raided by predators.

The rabbit coop can be raided by predators.

Rabbits are substitutable to mosquito-borne infections.

Long Term Goal

My long term goal is to have both rabbits and honey bees. So I might work on both projects during 2013. Neither project is going to take a “lot” of time or resources. So why not try to do both next year?

Readers of this blog, what do yall think?

If I work on the bee hive I am going to build a top bar bee hive.

Long Term Survival Project for 2013

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Every year I try to focus on some kind of project that would improve my long term survival plans.

2008 – Hurricane Ike
2009 – random stuff, such as backpacking
2010 – gardening and camping
2011 – juglines and trotlines, storing food in mylar bags
2012 – chickens and chicken coop
2013 – I am thinking rabbits

The last time I had rabbits was in 1998, 1999.  My wife and I built 4 or 5 cages in the backyard next to the house.  Somehow something got into the cage and killed the rabbits.  The next cage I build is going to be a lot more secure then the last one I built.

Before 1998, 1999 the previous time I had rabbits was in the late 1980s, 1988, 1989.  The 1980s seem so long ago.

What are the rabbits going to be used for

I want rabbits for 2 main reasons:

1 – Easy access to meat.  Lets say there is some kind of long term SHTF situation, I would rather have a rabbit in a cage close at hand, then have to spend time and energy hunting a rabbit.

Need a rabbit to go with those potatoes and carrots?  Go out to the rabbit coop, and presto, fresh rabbit.

2 – Manure.  Rabbit manure is a great fertilizer.

Part of my long term survival garden plans call for crop rotation between 3 fields. Two of the fields will have raised beds and will be fenced in. The last field will not have raised beds.

Another part of my long term survival plans includes organic gardening using compost and manure.

My chickens provide chicken manure, but chicken manure needs to compost before it can be added to crops.

Planning phase

Like I did with the chicken coop and chickens, I am going to research what rabbit breeds are good for meat, and tolerate confinement well.

Once I get some rabbit coop plans I will make whatever changes I want, work up the dimensions, bill of material and cost.  All of this will be just like I did with my chicken coop project.

Do you have rabbits?  If so, what kind do you have, are these meat rabbits, or for manure production?

Forum thread about my rabbit project.

Projects for 2012

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snap beans survivalist garden

Some random thoughts about projects I want to work on during 2012.

Build a portable chicken coop
Plant a summer garden
Look into building a rabbit pen
Stockpile more seeds

The chicken coop I am looking at building is going to be 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall and 10 feet long. The unit is is going to have a coop on top of the pen, with maybe 4 – 6 boxes for laying hens. No roosters, all the chickens will be for will be eggs. Plucking chickens is a pain, it would be a lot easier and productive to harvest the eggs, and that is what my wife and I am planning on doing.

The plans call for the coop to be 4 feet square, and 2 – 3 feet tall with a sloping roof. This means I should be able to get 4 – 7 boxes for the hens in the coop. The plan is to have four boxes down one wall, and up to 3 down the next wall. If we can get just a few eggs a week, that is all we need. My wife and I mostly eat eggs on saturday or sunday, and when my wife uses eggs for baking. Its not like we eat eggs everyday. Hopefully we can collect the eggs during the week, then use the eggs during the weekend.

With the price of food going like it is, my wife an I decided it time we took measures to produce some of our own food. A couple of years ago my wife and I had a garden that we shared with 2 other families. this year, we want to plant a small garden just for ourselves.

I have wanted rabbits for a long time. They are cute, and their manure makes good fertilizer. The last batch of rabbits I had was way back in 1999 – 2000. I built the rabbit pen about 8 feet long and about 24 inches wide. In that size pen I had 3 or 4 divided pens.

Last year my wife and I planted a garden at the camp. Due to the drought nothing came up, so all of the seeds we put down went to waste. This year I need to replace the seeds that were planted in 2011. One type of seeds I need to stock up on are snap bean seeds. Snap beans are easy to grow and high producing plants.

A couple of weeks ago I talked to the owners of a local feed and fertilizer store about expected seed shortages for 2012. The owners told me it was too early to know what seeds were going to be short this year. A couple of years ago there was a shortage of pickling cucumbers, a year or two before then was a zucchini seed shortage. Its always good to have a few extra packs of seeds for when shortages occur.

This year I am planning on stocking up on corn, peas, spinach and beans. When I was talking to the owners of the local feed and fertilizer store, they told me they should start getting their seeds in in February. Sometimes I will go to the feed store and just buy seeds, and sometimes I have plans to buy certain things.

Before I buy anything this year, I first need to take inventory and go from there.

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