Pay No Attention to the Rabbit’s Glowing Pink Eyes

There is something about the placement of our breeding buck Leo in his cage and the angle that the sun comes through the windows that always makes his eyes glow almost demonically. And yet he is the sweetest buck, so I’m pretty sure he’s not an evil overlord, despite what the kids originally wanted to call him. The other rabbits’ eyes all glow pink, too, though not as fiercely. It’s just one of those things I guess when trying to take photographs in an enclosed space and with the sun at the wrong angle.

Yesterday morning, I decided to give Leo an extra ounce of food at breakfast time. He’s been emptying his dish every night and rushes the door each morning as soon as I get the feed into the hopper. Well, when I went in last evening that extra ounce was still sitting there, so I figure he was just faking me out, and was not as ravenous as he seemed. I gave him a coulple of big handfuls of Timothy hay and he didn’t even let it settle. That’s him munching on it above. I have noticed that all of the rabbits prefer the Timothy hay to the other type of hay that they’ve been fed. They will abandon their pellets to eat it, whereas with the other type of hay, they’d eat the pellets first.

I finally have a scooper to help me clean out the corners that were awkward to reach in the hutches. It’s basically a small dustpan, but whatever works. I have a good scrubber now, so I will be washing down the cages inside and out really well. This will involve three of us, one to catch the bunnies, one to keep an eye on them, and the other to do the dirty work. We will do it on Saturday. I will also put in the resting mats that I bought from bass equipment. They have been using a hay bedding to get off the wire, but I wanted something a bit more permanent.

I found a rabbitry up in Marblemount that breeds New Zealand Whites, so once we get our cages built I am going to email him and ask if he has two junior does and a junior buck, preferably proven. That would get things going much faster for us. It’d be quite the trip, almost an hour and a half one way, but we could stop by the ranch we get our meat from on the way back, saving us a trip. I would really prefer to have two does that are of age so I can breed two litters to be due around the same time. That way if one has too many and the other only a few, the second can foster a few of the first’s.

There is also another place in Skagit Valley that has New Zealand Reds. We chose whites so that we might be able to make use of the fur better, it is more easily dyed, but the reds are so gorgeous, their fur could easily be used for things, too. And if we are just breeding for meat, it doesn’t really matter what color the fur is. But we will try the first place first once our bunny house is in order, then think about the second place if the first doesn’t work out.

I just really want to get things moving along faster. It’ll be 3 months and about a week before we can breed Phoebe since she won’t be mature until then. Even then some first litters just don’t make it. I’ll feel more sure of her once she has proven herself with a live litter.

For our family of Me, the husband, the son, the daughter, and the mother, we need about two rabbits per meal. I have two teenagers. We won’t be getting by with just one rabbit per meal. I will definitely make everyone save their bones though so I can make rabbit stock.

Mom picked up the half beef she had cut and wrapped today. The son went with her to get it and had a great time. There was 320 pounds of beef, 20 pounds of suet for making tallow, and the trimmings that fall to the floor onto the sawdust to give to our chickens. She spent $1043 and it was pasture-raised and organic. It surprised me just how small that looks wrapped in tiny white packages. She thought it would fill up her entire freezer, but it doesn’t. The top shelf was empty and the middle two shelves were only half full. And she only had one of the door compartments filled. So still plenty of room in there for chickens.

Mom decided that she didn’t want to go with Cornish cross meat birds and I have to say I am glad of it. Those poor little things do not move around like normal chicks and they sleep a lot more. A couple of them couldn’t walk. They’ll be getting some Red Rangers in during May, so she is waiting until then. But meat birds are definitely on the agenda.

Of course she wants to slaughter them the old-fashioned way of cutting off their heads and letting them run around the yard. I think that’s awful and want her to use a killing cone. She claims the animals don’t bleed out as well. From the vids I’ve seen on youtube they bleed out just fine. But she’s being stubborn, so I said I’d pay for the feed and do some of the care, but I was not going to be out there when they were getting killed. I draw the line at headless chickens flapping around the yard. She can call me when it is time to take off the feathers. A fair compromise.

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7 thoughts on “Pay No Attention to the Rabbit’s Glowing Pink Eyes

  1. Grace says:

    The last time we butchered birds we also used the killing cone thinking it was so much more humane. We also did the old fashioned way. To be honest, I preferred the ax and stump rather than the cone. We used the cone for the guineas, and used a razor blade to cut their throats. You have to make sure you get the right place, or they suffer. This probably sounds disgusting, but you would probably have to dig around in there if you didn’t hit the right vein just to make sure the bird was dead. There is a lot of blood, too. With the ax and stump, you hit it once and it is immediately dead. Either that or they are shocked enough to where they are pretty much unconscious. Sometimes the head comes off with one wack, and you carry the bird securely over to a bucket and let it bleed out.

    Another way is to hold the bird and swing it’s neck. I have never tried that, but maybe someday I will. My grandmother told me stories about how her grandma would make her take a broomstick and pull their necks. I thought that was terrible, I could never do that.

    Now, none of these methods were done by me, but I watched. If you use the “wacking” method, you MUST have a person who has the capability of slamming it HARD. The harder the better. My first experience with it was not pleasant, we hit it three times before his head was off. It almost makes me shiver thinking about it.

    What it all comes down to is, when you are killing something, it will never be something fun, or something enjoyable. Not pleasant, but you have to get it done in order to be more self sufficient. Whatever you end up doing, I wish you the best of luck!

  2. LuckyRobin says:

    Well, that certainly gives me a lot to think about. Do you know which method bleeds them better?

    • Grace says:

      The ax and stump method. Chop their heads off and hang them…

      That is my Mom’s opinion. I didn’t pay much attention to that part, I was too frantic over the chopping part!

  3. LuckyRobin says:

    I guess sometimes mothers really do know what’s best. But if she lets them run around instead of hanging them, I’m still not coming out until that part is over!

  4. nance says:

    I came to your blog via Real People, Real Finances. I posted there on and off (mostly off) years ago. We traded comments a few times there.

    I have been reading about your homesteading and have enjoyed the entries.

    I’ve been thinking about starting to raise chickens, but don’t know how my dogs would deal with that. We have three acres, but we also have a raccoon problem and lots of foxes in the area.

    We have had goats, and lambs and raised horses, but that was a long time ago. The price of hay is prohibitive! I miss having livestock, so maybe chickens is the way to go.

    The one and only time I saw a chicken’s head chopped off, was when I was a little girl, and went to her neighbor’s house to buy a chicken for dinner. It traumatized me! I would be up for having eggs, but not for chopping off heads!

    nance

  5. LuckyRobin says:

    You could always build an enclosed run for your chickens. Strong enough to keep dogs and raccoons out and the chickens in. Or a chicken tractor that gets moved daily to a new patch of range.

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