We have a new litter of rabbits due this week. We are relatively new to the meat rabbit world, as we just bought our first about six months ago. But rabbits have come by their prolific reproductive reputation honestly, so that has been plenty of time to make it through our first breeding/gestation/growing/slaughtering/butchering/eating process. Whirlwind.
However, we are finding that rabbits are a very low-maintenance and affordable way to feed a (human) family. With a little money, minimal patience, and a strong stomach once every few months we are able to keep our freezer stocked with an additional variety of healthy and delicious meat. Can't really ask for more than that!
One thing we have found in our short venture is that photographic documentation of rabbits' habits and life cycle are often harder to come by than comparable learning tools for more common farm animals. For example, we knew that a few days before kindling (giving birth in rabbit terms) the mother would add some of her own fur to the nest box bedding. We didn't overly anticipate coming out to the barn one morning to a nest box overflowing with fluff. Seriously, I'm talking a year's worth of dryer lint trap collectings!
It has been a fun learning journey - it amazes me that something that starts out looking like this:
A mere 3 weeks later, will look like this:
And within another month or so will be ready to process...maybe I'll have the guts to show the pictures from that "day on the farm" a different time...
On a lighter rabbit-related note - one of the rabbits we bought in January was a young female who, "would be ready to breed around May." We brought her home, our 5 year old named her Mary, and she grew like crazy.
As you know, May recently transpired and during said month we decided it was time to breed her. We placed her in with the buck, Roger Rabbit, and watched. And waited. For a few moments...nothing. Then, slowly, some sniffing. A hint of hissing. More sniffing. Suddenly, Mary started chasing Roger around his cage. And, a few moments later, we realized that Mary was NOT female.
I fear that Roger is still nursing the physical and psychological wounds of his assault.