Within a matter of 48 hours ago, I decided to acquire the free bunny offered up by a woman on Freecycle and then I had a deadline to build a hutch to house the creature. The woman had offered a male and female pair, but gave the male away to a school, so instead we got Rosemary, the lady. I named her that because I’m sure the first bunny Nate makes will be covered in Rosemary and they will only have food names since they are intended for food. I think I shall call the boy Tarragon.
The majority of the materials in assembling this hutch were either items from Freecycle, Craigslist’s free section, or dumpster dive-acquired. I did purchase the hinges, the chicken wire, and the paint (which was originally acquired for the duck coop). The A-frame was made with pallet wood (thanks for disassembling that, Jay!) and then shingled with old laminate floor boards that someone gave away on Craigslist a while back.
I opted for the A-frame because of rain run off and because I like the idea of it looking decorate and being tall. It also seemed like the most viable way to make something so there would be more ventilation come summer time when it gets very hot.
Our neighbor let us borrow his awesome circular saw that has a laser sighting on it, which I’m sure contributed greatly to some of these angled cuts that were completely eyeballed by me. I’m glad I didn’t use our mitre saw for the larger pieces of wood (the top part of the T shape), because the mitre saw was a complete pain to adjust when I did the top door with the 1x1s).
So far the rabbit absolutely loves the buckwheat we have growing in the less fertile areas of our lawn. This was originally intended as a cover crop for those poor nutrient areas, but they are quickly becoming bunny feed to supplement hay, lettuce and other such things. We have seeds for alfalfa and best get started growing that quickly since she may eat us out of buckwheat and Nate’s take home lettuce scraps pretty quickly.
I have learned that rabbits have a very quick gestation period. The people that gave us the rabbit bred us for her the day they gave her to us since they had already promised the male to someone else. They said she should give birth in 28-30 days. Then we have little walking braises, stews, and soups walking around for the next 2 months or so until they are ready for cooking up. If it turns out that she isn’t pregnant (which sounded unlikely), we will get a buck to house with her and breed with her. If she is pregnant, we’ll wait until those babies are bigger/eaten (whichever comes first?) until we introduce a buck so that he doesn’t eat the wee ones.
Would it be too terrible to post pictures of the first slaughter? This is all a learning process for us and something of an educational experiment, so it seems appropriate to me, but maybe there should just be some fair warning for those who have a weaker stomach or only like fluffy things when they are alive and kicking rather than headed toward a cast iron skillet.
Also, you should listen to this playlist made by Sarah C. in honor of Rosemary, all about Rabbits… Rabbit Mix Pretty awesome stuff.