This morning when I went to feed and water the rabbits, there was a big, round circle of hay with a slight wallow in the center of Phoebe’s cage. When I came back out mid-day she had flattened it down. This is the second morning she has done this. Piper did this several times leading up to her kindling. The possible mating happened on May 29, so that puts her at 25 days, which was also when Piper started nest building. Phoebe and Piper share the same mother (not from the same litter, though) but had different fathers. In fact Leo is Phoebe’s father. But with Phoebe and Piper being sisters, it makes sense that they might share the drive to build a nest sooner. The books all say put the nest box in on day 28, but if I had waited that long with Piper it would have driven her crazy.
My son and I are going to make up one of the nest boxes and put it in her cage tonight. I know it is a little early, but we put it in early with Piper, too, because she was nest building like crazy and she calmed right down. I’ll monitor it closely so that she doesn’t decide to make it a litter box. It won’t go on the side of the cage she uses for that, so I doubt she will. But you never know. If she is indeed pregnant, and all signs point to yes, she might not know any better. This would be her first litter. I just want it to be a successful one. I know that rabbits can often lose a first litter because they don’t know what they are doing. If she is anything like Piper, though, she will make a great mother. And if she’s anything like Piper, she will take until day 33 to kindle. If she does, we are going to be up to our ears in rabbits.
I have to take some measurements of the shed this evening. I need to see if it is tall enough on the high end to build a stack-a-hutch or if we are just going to need to build another PVC hutch frame so that it fits properly in the shed. The shed has a roof that slants like a lean to even though it is free standing. Price-wise it’s a wash, so all that really matters is that it fits.
It has been sprinkling off and on all day, but I still wanted to have some of the rabbits outside in the tractors. I put the tarp over the top of one with a slight overhang on the sides so they could still see out and then put a wide board over the top of the other one, so they have plenty of shelter. If it were pouring I wouldn’t put them out, but it’s warm and sprinkling lightly enough that I sat outside for 20 minutes watching them before I went in. Today I have Piper and the kits in one (Piper actually wanted to come out, surprisingly) and Leo in the other.
I will weigh the kits tonight as they are six weeks old today and put it in tomorrow’s entry. How fast the time is going by! 8 more weeks and they will be at slaughtering age. And if Phoebe has a litter of at least that amount we will quickly be moving into eating rabbit once a week, assuming her litter size is anything like Piper’s.
Once we meet our needs, we have two people interested in buying meat. One is my daughter’s best friend’s mother and the other is the night hotel clerk and shuttle driver who my husband is picked up by every time he goes up to Alaska. If we can figure out how to get it up there, we will. I’m thinking maybe rabbit jerky might work if the guy is amenable to that, since it can go without being in a cooler, as it would be dried. I would have DH take up a sample to start with. In fact, we might do up several sample pouches for him to give out at work and see if anyone is interested in buying some.
The going rate at the food co-op for rabbit meat is $8.99 a pound. I think with jerky I could sell it for $6 or $7 for what starts out as half a pound before shrinkage. I should price conventional jerky in the store and see what it sells for, but it sounds about right. I’m starting to feel like this could really be something.