Rabbit Romp

December 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I let one of the 3 months old meat rabbits stretch his legs out with a romp through the garden.

He met my Miniature Pinscher and was unimpressed:

20121206-132519.jpg

He then explored the brussel sprouts:

20121206-132719.jpg

Ran through the romain lettuces:

20121206-134134.jpg

And nibbled on some vine:

20121206-132739.jpg

Advertisements

Fall Garden 2 Months Update

December 6, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been two months since I started my fall garden. Aside from the spinach, everything else is coming along wonderfully. A few nights of temps in the 30s has killed off what remained of my summer crops so there’s now room for more plantings in the backyard garden.

20121206-131854.jpg

20121206-131901.jpg

The broccoli plants are in full production:

20121206-124354.jpg

The kale that I planted in spring are still going strong:

20121206-125852.jpg

The red lettuces are large and look absolutely amazing:

20121206-130132.jpg

20121206-130151.jpg

Vibrantly colored Swiss chards:

20121206-130506.jpg

20121206-130514.jpg

Brussel sprouts:

20121206-130556.jpg

20121206-130607.jpg

Kohlrabi:

20121206-130622.jpg

20121206-130637.jpg

Collards:

20121206-130657.jpg

Romaine lettuce:

20121206-130725.jpg

Cabbages are slowly coming along:

20121206-130211.jpg

20121206-130227.jpg

Within the last month, I have also performed a second round of plantings which included Morris Heading cabbage collards, brocolli, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, and parsley.

20121206-125210.jpg

20121206-125225.jpg

20121206-125349.jpg

20121206-125400.jpg

20121206-125422.jpg

20121206-125439.jpg

20121206-125506.jpg

In addition, Mr. Taylor from across the street has been donating his leaves to my compost pile. I am using the leaves as a source of carbon and combining them with nitrogen rich manure from the meat rabbits in alternating layers.

20121206-131437.jpg

20121206-131452.jpg

20121206-131503.jpg

20121206-131515.jpg

20121206-131531.jpg

In return, I gave Mr. Taylor a nice basket of harvest:

20121206-131708.jpg

Back to Eden Seed Experiment

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

I got some seeds from my friend Debbie who runs a local community garden and decided to try seeding in my Back to Eden garden. I seeded in well-aged wood chips that had decomposed to near topsoil consistency. I seeded arugula, beets, and carrots. After several weeks of waiting it looks like I may have at least partial success.

These are either arugula or weeds… only time will tell:

20121206-133356.jpg

At least half of the beet seeds are definitely coming up:

20121206-133412.jpg

20121206-133426.jpg

20121206-133451.jpg

Second Half of Rabbit Hutch

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Over the past week, I installed automatic waterers on the 7 cages which are housed in the first half of the outdoor rabbit hutch. With this completed, the outdoor rabbit hutch is now very low maintenance. In contrast to my previous indoor setup, the new outdoor setup has effectively eliminated the daily chore of cleaning out the trays underneath each rabbit crate. With the installation of the automatic waters, the only remaining daily chore now for the outdoor rabbits is to replenish the feeders which takes less than a couple of minutes.

This weekend, I began work on the second half of the rabbit hutch. I managed to get the bulk of the framing done. This involved standing up six 4 x 4 posts, which were then joined by four 2 x 6 x 16 beam spans followed by eleven 2 x 6 x 8 rafters. This second section of the rabbit hutch is now just waiting for its sixteen 2 x 2 x 8 purlins, a side wall covered by eight 2 ft x 8 ft poly corrugated roof panels, and overhead roof consisting of six 3 ft x 8 ft 29 gauge galvanized roof panels.

20121113-235453.jpg

20121113-235511.jpg

20121113-235523.jpg

20121113-235537.jpg

20121113-235554.jpg

20121113-235632.jpg

20121113-235640.jpg

Categories: Rabbits Tags: , , ,

Rabbit Hutch Roof Installed

November 4, 2012 Leave a comment

The first half of the rabbit hutch is now completed. Over the weekend, I installed 29 gauge galvanized roofing panels overhead.

20121113-233943.jpg

20121113-234009.jpg

20121113-234027.jpg

Once the roof was installed, I moved all the grow-out kits outside into their new cages.

20121113-234053.jpg

20121113-234114.jpg

Categories: Rabbits Tags: , , ,

Outdoor Hutch For Meat Rabbits

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

When I started raising meat rabbits over a year ago, I started raising my rabbits indoors so I could minimize the impact of external factors during my initial learning phase. This turned out to be a great decision since it made it easy for me to pursue things such as automatic waterer and artificial lighting during the winter months. Most importantly, it allowed me to use network cameras to observe the rabbits remotely so I could learn about their natural behaviors such as nesting, birthing, nursing, etc. The drawback to an indoor setup is the additional work required with ventilation and cleanup.

15 months after my venture into meat rabbits, my operation has expanded quite a bit in size and the daily cleanup of the rabbits’ litter trays has become quite burdensome. While this daily chore is not difficult for me, it is not something that I can expect anyone else to do. This has made it very difficult for me to go on extended leave lasting more than a couple of days.

This weekend I finally tackled a project that I have been mulling over for some time and began building an outdoor hutch for the meat rabbits. While the plan initially involved building a small rabbit hutch, it soon mushroomed to building a large structure in the side that can house not only the rabbits but offer covered protection for my gardening tools, mower, and chipper. This construction project would also offer great experience for future projects such as building a pole barn at the orchard and tiny house at the homestead lot.

I decided to build a 8 foot by 32 foot covered structure in the east side yard which is shaded for a good part of the day. With their dense coats, the rabbits tolerate cold temperatures much better than hot temperatures so this side yard is ideal. I wanted this structure to be well built and to resemble a pergola so that if I ever decided to move very little modification would need to be made for it to be repurposed from a rabbitry/tool shed to an attractive pergola.

My goal this weekend was to build out the first half of the structure as proof of concept and to work out any kinks in the design and architecture which I have been tossing around in my mind. I began by constructing the skeleton of the first half section (8 foot by 16 foot) by assembling 6 4×4 posts with 4 2x6x16 headers and 2x6x8 rafters.

20121029-003806.jpg

I then constructed the frame for the back wall with 3 2x4x8 per 8 foot section. This was done using Simpson strong ties.

20121029-004056.jpg

Once the back wall frame was constructed, I then attached corrugated roof panel. I chose these panels since they offer solid rain and wind protection. More importantly, they will not absorb moisture from the environment and from the rabbit urine. As such, they should be very easy to clean with routine hosing.

20121029-004406.jpg

20121029-004553.jpg

I then tested out the hanging of the rabbit cages. After some trial and error, I settled on passing electrical conduits through the row of rabbit cages and then wrapping jack chain around the conduit to hang off of the overhead rafters. Each 24in x 24in x 18in cage weighs about 10 pounds and will have a total weight of about 20 pounds when holding a 10 pound rabbit. The row of 4 cages that I tested was hung with four sections of jack chain rated for 29 pounds.

20121029-005209.jpg

20121029-005221.jpg

The proof of concept run this weekend was very successful. During the next few days, I plan on finishing the first half of the structure by installing the purlins and the overhead roof panels. This will be followed with side wall construction to further reduce wind draft. Once the first half of the structure is completed, I will be able to house 7 24in x 24in x 18in cages outside and have all of my 30 or grow-out meat rabbits relocated outside. This will leave just my 10 breeders indoors.

Fall Garden 1.5 Week Update

October 18, 2012 Leave a comment

The fall garden is off to a good start. With the exception of the the spinach, everything else is doing great.

Spinach:

20121018-091135.jpg

Swiss chard:

20121018-091239.jpg

Kohlrabi:

20121018-091320.jpg

Brussel sprouts:

20121018-091413.jpg

Red lettuce:

20121018-091529.jpg

Cabbage:

20121018-122125.jpg

Broccoli:

20121018-122824.jpg

Romaine lettuce:

20121018-123009.jpg

The watermelon patch has been cleared to make room for more fall plantings:

20121018-123433.jpg

20121018-123632.jpg