This is Sophie, she is a Harlequin Mini Lop and she is the start of our livestock! We were planning on raising rabbits and chickens for meat and eggs, but our plan was to start in the Spring. Mother Nature had another plan in store for us, when we were gifted Sophie. She has had 1 litter already and is looking for love, lol. I figured that since we already have her, I’d start searching for a mate for her and found a local breeder selling a New Zealand Buck for $10 and I will be picking him up tomorrow. Once a friend of mine saw that I was getting the New Zealand Buck, she told me that she was looking for a home for her New Zealand Doe, and she was willing to barter for the $10 price. Things are happening much faster than I expected them to, but I am excited to get things started.
I picked up 40lbs of NatureWise® 18% Performance Rabbit Feed and a small bag of Black Oil Sunflower Seed at my local Runnings store, and that should last us a good while with 3 rabbits. I will be breeding the NZ buck to Sophie and will adopt our her kits at about 8-9 weeks, which will allow me to afford to replenish supplies, in order to breed the NZ’s together for meat.
I will also be using kits as swaps in local livestock groups, in order to get a few chickens and other homesteading needs.
I have never dispatched an animal before, so I know that is going to be difficult. I plan to give thanks, before, during and after. Knowing that they were raised with love and kindness will help me mentally. Currently, I have no idea where my food is coming from, and I don’t like that. I want to know that humane practices were used, and that the animal lived a good life. Raising rabbits is what will allow me that knowledge, and the meat will be healthier than those raised by the food industry.
I do plan on using every part of the animal I can, and that includes the hides. I found these two books on Amazon that I am hoping will help me make use of the hides. The first is called Rabbit Pelts: What to do with yours!: The Good, the Bad and the Furry (Fur Crafting – A Forgotten Tradition) (Volume 1) and the second is How to Sew a Rabbit Fur Trapper Hat (Fur Crafting: A Forgotten Tradition) (Volume 2) which were both written by Bonnie J Brummett. The Rabbit Fur Trapper Hat has me very interested, since this is the sort of hat that my husband likes. We will have pure white rabbits, and their hides can be dyed pretty much any color. The first hat design that came to mind when I saw this book, was a “My Little Pony” print used on the outside, and then dying the white fur to match. I know my daughter would adore it, and then eventually the other kids would want one of their own as well.
I am really looking forward to 2015 and all the magic that I see ahead! We have been unschooling for 13 months now, and the kids have never been happier, I see their passions coming alive and the more I see theirs, the more I see mine. I have always wanted a farm, and even though I can’t have cows or goats on my small plot of land, I am not to be deterred any longer. Living a healthier lifestyle, while being frugal doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds.