I have decided to take a break from weighing the rabbits every week. I have a head cold and trying to coral and weigh 31 of our 39 rabbits right now is not something I want to do when it is this cold out at night. I think I have a good idea of rabbit growth now and enough experience to tell if a rabbit is not thriving or a litter is not thriving. I will likely weigh new litters at weeks 3 and 4 and periodically after that, and of course continue to post final weights and dress out weights.
We had a heavy frost last night. When I drove DD to school it was 30 degrees. I was afraid the water bottles would be frozen, but they weren’t. It has warmed up beautifully now to about 40 and the sun is out and shining, the sky is blue and beautiful, and it looks like it will be a lovely day.
I don’t think I mentioned that all of the older kits have been weaned and put in grow out cages. We are currently using 16 of our 17 cages. We will probably use the 17nth one in a week when I separate a cage of 4 kits into 2 cages of 2 kits. It isn’t warm enough to use the out door hutches. Well, it probably is, but I’d rather not since they are facing the slaughter station and only about 5 feet away from it.
Piper, Sweetie Belle, Serenity, and Lola are all very happy to have their cages to themselves. They make this clear by stretching diagonally across the floors. Lola even let me pet her this morning. Well, she let me stroke her twice. That was her limit. Lola is never mean, she is just standoffish.
I have been reading up more on aquaponics this week and watching a lot of videos on youtube. I really do think this is the way I want to go. Of course I would still have to plant potatoes, onions, garlic, corn, carrots, sunflowers, and sunchokes in the ground or in pots. Probably radishes, too. I’m not sure how they’d do. But the brassicas, leafy greens, tomatoes, green beans, peas, chard, herbs, melons, strawberries, squashes, peppers, and the like would thrive. I might actually be able to grow cauliflower. The slugs get it here, but I wouldn’t have those to deal with in aquaponics.
There is a system that I would ultimately like to get from Endless Food Systems. It has one fish tank, two media beds, and 6 raft beds and comes with absolutely everything you need except the fish. But I can start with just the fish tank, one media bed and one raft bed and add on. I figure one whole raft bed in the big system could be dedicated to growing veggies just for the rabbits and one media bed have just everbearing strawberries. The big system has 128 square feet of growing space, so that would be easy to do. The small one I’d start with has 32 feet of growing space.
I would also need a hothouse. Probably one from Rhino Shelters to start with because they are cheaper but still good quality. And then eventually the Farm Tuff once the system grew. I just want to have enough vegetables to feed my family and my rabbits.
I know we could do it cheaper by building it all ourselves, but I am mechanically challenged and I just don’t think the husband has the time to design and build one. I’d like to just assemble it and be ready to go once the system has done it’s thing for a few days. I know it would take a couple of years to pay back the investment, but I think it would be worth it for hassle free gardening at a height that doesn’t hurt my back, knees, or hips. Time to start saving up for it.
In other homesteading news, Patricia isn’t doing very well. Her vent has been caked with manure the past few days and she has been walking low to the ground. She has gotten daily baths for the last couple of days and she has a pretty bad cut on her thigh muscle. Nothing that won’t heal. At least I hope it will heal. We put neosporin on it.
Queen died after something similar. I’d hate to lose our oldest chicken, especially since she is Mom’s favorite. She is the last survivor from the first batch of chicks we ever raised. She hasn’t been getting up on the roost at night. Instead she has been bedding down in one of the nesting boxes. Queen did that, too, until she got too weak to climb the ramp. I suppose what will be, will be. Hopefully she will get better.