Well, I’ve done it. I’ve taken the first step down the rabbit path. I picked up my first rabbit hutch last night and the guy is going to make me two more today. They cost $85 each, but considering the only ones I can find that aren’t yucky and falling apart are professionally made (as in store bought) and cost $168 to $212 for anything like them, I’ve decided it’s a good enough price for me.
It’s an investment in our future and I figure it will be about half a year to 3/4 of a year before we make it back, but then the rabbits will more than pay for themselves. We go out to the rabbitry on Saturday to get our rabbits. We haven’t decided for sure yet if we are going to go with the original offer of the 2 junior does, 1 junior buck, and 11 babies, or just maybe get 1 buck and 2 bred does. I suppose it will depend on how pregnant they are, because I don’t want them giving birth while we are in California. That’s not fair to Mom to have to be midwife on her own the first time, plus I really don’t want to miss it and I’m sure the kids won’t either.
One thing I have noticed is how hard it is to find rabbit cages. The books consider them relatively easy to make, but looking at the plans, I consider it a little complicated. The woman who owns the rabbitry says it can be quite hard to find cages and most people hold onto the ones they have even when selling rabbits. So, I’m wondering if making rabbit cages as well, might not be a profitable little side business. I’m sure the husband could do it and he could teach our son and daughter to do it.
First they would make some for us, to hang from the PVC pipe hutch frame. I think they would be good for grow out cages. Or for cages if we decide to house any rabbits to five months for fur, since I’ve read that for the best pelts they need to be at least five months, and not the 8 to 12 weeks they are for fryers. You can still eat the older rabbits, but they need to be slow cooked to make them tender.
Anyway, I was thinking cages, frames, and fur and maybe rabbits’ feet might bring some kind of profit at some point. Actually, even the PVC frames might, too. There have got to be people like me who would love to walk right into a full set-up that they can just buy and start right off with. But that doesn’t break the bank completely. Especially now with the economy as bad as it still is and with it possibly getting much worse this year, an inexpensive set-up for meat rabbits would be welcomed.
And that would be great for helping to fund college for the kids. If they did the work on tanning and building the cages, etc. That is one thing that I have worried about since there are no real jobs for kids anymore. How do they help work their way through school like we did if there is no work?
We might not be able to sell fur to a business or anything, but there is a huge branch of the SCA here that I am sure might have some interest in fur for costuming. When DH was involved with them years ago, they were always looking for inexpensive fur. And with my daughter’s artistic nature, she might very well enjoy creating little bags and muffs and such. I might even get her an etsy for such endeavors.
I know that mostly I will just be happy when the meat savings in the budget pays for itself, but it is still nice to think it might turn into something more than bags of meat in the freezer and canning jars full of meat on the shelves. We’ll see, I guess.