Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: rabbits

Rabbit Box Update

Rabbits in their cage

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.

The box was removed from the cage.

All of the old bedding material was dumped out onto the ground.

The bedding material that did not fallout was scrapped out by hand.

Meat Production After SHTF

Barred Rock Chicken

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.

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.

Rabbit Update: Raising Rabbits For SHTF

Rabbit exploring her new home

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.

The rabbits get on top of the box so they are next to each other, and that is where they spend a good deal of their time .

Building A Rabbit Hide Box

Raising rabbits for shtf

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.

Finishing The Rabbit Hutch

Complete rabbit hutch

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.

Rabbit Hutch Doors

Building A Rabbit Hutch

Rabbit missing her box

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.

Rabbit Hutch Bill of Material

Starting The Rabbit Project

California white rabbit

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.

California white rabbit

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
  • Manure makes excellent fertilizer

Livestock and Firearms for SHTF

Wild boar hog in pen

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

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

What Is The Best Livestock For SHTF

Pigs raised for slaughter

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.

Long Term Survival Project for 2013

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

Projects for 2012

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.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018