Blog, Farm

New Plans For Our Backyard Homestead!

Our lovely, Butterfly bushes.

So, last time I put a blog up on this subject it was about tilling our straw bale beds, and getting ready for our Spring garden. However, many things have changed since then in our lives, and we’ve come up with a new plan!

Will There Be A Garden or Chickens?

We are not doing a garden or chickens, yet. We decided this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I can start a garden anytime, realistically, if I truly wanted to, I put in the work to do so, and I chose specific, hardy plants.
  2. We are focusing on our Rabbitry for the time being. 
  3. We spent our “garden fund” to start our Rabbitry last year. So, because we did it this way, we wanted to make back a little bit of what we spent on Rabbit start up costs, before spending all of our garden budget that we set aside; however long that takes

And lastly, the 2 bigger reasons; we are having another baby very soon, and moving soon too! (more on that to come later). As for the lovely Chickens, again, we are focusing on our Rabbits only until we know more about our moving situation.

What Happens With The Rabbitry Area?

Back to when they were first built! (can hold 2 bucks, and 3 does + their litters)
Cricket, our moveable runs, and a peek of our old straw bale garden beds.

If you follow along on our Rabbitry Facebook page, or our Instagram, you may know we have had a few litters of Rabbits, re-homed one of our breeder does, and are about to have 2 more Rabbit litters! Since we re-homed our 3rd breeder doe, we are down to 2 bucks and 2 does. We do plan to fill her spot, and eventually in the future get another buck as well, but like mentioned above, we are moving soon and don’t think it would be beneficial to focus on getting more animals just yet, until we know more on that. So, we are focusing on the ones we have currently!

New Plans For The Yard: 

Basically, at the end of last year we tilled our whole yard, mixing in our straw bale beds with the idea in mind that we would do a bigger garden bed the coming Spring with more veggies, and such. After that, I would periodically add the Rabbit fertilizer to it for a little while and then just let it settle until we came to our current time!

Current time: All tilled up and ready to grow some green!

Fast forward to our current time, with a new idea in mind my husband tilled it all up for us last weekend, revealing wonderful dirt underneath and big, happy worms! So, with the pasture seed my daughter and I just laid down, (a little late, but in this situation, better late than never I suppose) we should be getting some nice green grass for our yard soon!

The new plan is to move the Rabbit hutches straight back to the back fence instead of up by the back of our house, and have a much nicer pasture area for our Rabbits to munch on. Beforehand, we did not have very good grass for them, and I would give them hay and pellets in their runs (instead of just the hutches) to make sure they were getting enough to eat. So, we are all very glad to be getting our grass back!

Quick sketch of our plans, that are currently in progress.

A bonus thing that got done was, my husband also built our compost bin area! Any extra Rabbit droppings and hay waste can have a place to go now.

New compost area!

Hopefully this provides some backyard design inspiration to those who have similar set ups. Rabbits really are great for small spaces! When we do start our garden, even with the Rabbits we still have plenty room to make some sort of garden beds, which is so nice! A garden is still a part of our plan to have at this home (unless we are moving sooner than expected). So, if It looks to be working out that way I will have a couple, small garden designs ready for my husband to pick through later!

More updates to come when we start seeing grass pop up, and we move our hutches to their new spots, but for now that is the entire plan for our back yard area! 

Blog, Evergreen Rabbitry

First Rabbit Litters of 2022: How Everything Went

In these photos, Mopsy’s litter is 4 days old (2/08/2022), Cottontail’s litter is 5 days old (2/07/2022).

Pairings, and Their Litters:

So, as you’ve seen in the title (and photo), the first litters of Evergreen Rabbitry are here! We bred all 3 of our does on January 7th (1/07/2022).

  1. Corduroy x Cottontail litter arrived on, February 7 (2/07/2022)
  2. Blackie x Flopsy litter arrived on, February 7 (2/07/2022)
  3. Blackie x Mopsy litter arrived on, February 8 (2/08/2022)

Cottontail had 6, but lost 1.

Mopsy had 7, and didn’t lose any.

Flopsy had 10, but unfortunately lost all of them.

We have 12 kits total!

How Did They Do?

Unlike Cottontail and Mopsy, the days leading up to “nest box day” (day 27 or 28), Flopsy kept making nests and started doing so around day 20! I was not expecting this, as no one really mentioned their Rabbits prepping so early unless it was a false pregnancy (I will make note here, all of our does are first timers). She did this almost every other day, since the 20th day mark. So, after talking with some people, I decided to save all the fur she would pull and I gave it back in her nest box on day 28.

Cottontail, didn’t start nesting until the day before kindling, and Mopsy never nested at all, until a couple hours before (or the time of) kindling which is much more what I was expecting especially as a beginner still, myself.

“Cottontail x Corduroy” Litter of 5, Born 2/07/2022.

On day 31, Both Cottontail and Flopsy kindled on the wire, and not in their nest boxes. This resulted in Flopsy’s kits spread throughout her hutch (all ice cold to the touch) when I went out for morning chores. Although I did try to revive them all, in case they could make it with some extra warmth; they still sadly did not make it. Luckily though, Cottontail only had 1 kit out of her small nest (I tried to revive it with the others, but lost it too) while the other 5 were snug and warm enough still. I didn’t even notice the 5th kit until later, which was a nice surprise!

Then, day 32 (next day) Mopsy kindled a litter of 7 in her nest box, with enough fur to keep them warm. After losing 11 kits, we were so glad that Mopsy’s litter came so smoothly, and that all of them survived.

“Blackie x Mopsy” Litter of 7, Born 2/08/2022.

What Next?

Over all, I’m very glad to be with 12 healthy kits from our 2 does; Cottontail and Mopsy. Flopsy was re-bred on Thursday February 10th (2/10/2022) to Blackie, and we hope for a better outcome. Her new due date is March 13 (3/13/2022). Right now though, we are just thankful she is still healthy after everything, and is ready to try again. We are blessed to be able to raise these Rabbits up well, and once they are all old enough (8wks+) get them to some families who will use them on their own homesteads.

These first litters, we are focusing on just getting through the litter process with our Rabbits. However, as we have mentioned before, we are planning to use some of the next litters for one of our meat sources as well! So with our next litters to come, we will be adding a whole new step to our journey with this Rabbitry. While my daughter and I enjoy caring for these sweet, baby Rabbits (until they go to their homes) my husband and I will continue prepping for our first time ever doing our own butchering of an animal.

Lastly:

I hope this helps any of you who are first timers, especially those with first timer Rabbits! We are still pretty new to this and actually, we’re coming up on a year of owning Rabbits this July. We are still learning the different aspects of Rabbitry, but over all, I definitely recommend doing it if you have been interested in having Rabbits for your own homestead!

More updates on the litters pictured above (as well as future litters) will be posted to our Facebook Rabbity page (linked here) and thank you for following along on our Rabbitry endeavors so far! We will have more to come in the future as our litters come and go!

Blog, Evergreen Rabbitry

“Rehoming, and Buying Another Rabbit.”

Finally, we re-homed, Tyrell.

Sticky Situation: Rehoming Tyrell


As many of you may know, we got a Blue Rex buck a few months back, now. Unfortunately, It was a very sticky situation, straight from the beginning. The owners, were not completely honest with us at all, and the rightful owner, left the buck in the hands of a relative for us to meet with, because she was leaving the state, for schooling. This relative, however, knew nothing of the Rabbit, other than to drop it off to us, so he could answer no questions. 

I also found out, right before we left that he had been in his same, tiny cage for 10 whole days while they were gone, just before we picked him up. His rump, was covered in his own fecal matter said the relative, and he had to clean it off the buck’s bottom, before they gave him to us. He was also molting, which wasn’t a problem as all Rabbits molt, but he just looked, a little rough. I thought “well, he probably will get better super quick, and I can’t leave him like this with someone who has no clue what to do.”

Tip #1: Never buy an animal, because you feel bad, unless you fully have plans to commit to rehabilitating that animal, as you may not find a good home for it as quickly as hoped for.

We use these for their pellets! As our Rabbits dig in bowls.

Well, after that, the actual owner sent me his pedigree over email, and then told me he was “a product of genetic testing, nothing to worry about”. Compared to my other Rex’s, he looked a little off, quality wise. Not super noticeable, but definitely something was different. I contacted a few breeders, who said that is probably fine, and truly is nothing to worry about, but he still just looked off to me.

Over the next couple weeks, he wasn’t getting healthier, even with my efforts, to fix him up. So, we put him up for “sale” hoping someone would want him. We communicated to other breeders about our situation, and researched a lot more; we came to the conclusion he needs a pet home where he can get special care. Sadly, no one around here wanted to take in a Standard Rex who cannot be bred, or used for meat.

Luckily though, we finally found a small rescue local to us, who takes Rabbits and contacted us.  Long story short, we have successfully re-homed Tyrell, to someone who can treat him so much better! I should have never put myself in that situation, and if I had known what to look for better, I would have seen the quality he was, was not great for our breeding standards, at all. I just got too hopeful I could fix it quick, and didn’t know enough about what good, quality Rabbits look like.

Tip #2: It’s okay to say no to a breeder, if you are not comfortable with how the animal looks or acts! The breeder should know, the buyer has the right to say no, and it may just not work out. That’s just a risk, when it comes to selling animals, it might not always sell to the person who is interested.

So anyways, I’m glad that whole situation is over with, and I will not make the same mistake, twice (hopefully). I could not risk him, bringing sickness to my other Rabbits due to his poor health, and his weakened immune system, or for him to get worse through Winter.

New Buck:

Welcome, Corduroy!

This next buck, I researched like crazy for, and persuaded my husband a tad bit too, as he wasn’t, cheap. Good quality usually, if not always, isn’t. We both know that, however and with that, on top of the fact that we will not be buying another breeder Rabbit for a while (that is the plan if everything goes accordingly) is why we are comfortable with going forward. 

We do not want to end up with another, Tyrell situation, and I have not bought from this breeder before (it was a recommended breeder) so I asked her a ton of questions and told her that we have dealt with bad breeders previously, she was honest and open to all my questions, so I think we scored there! So far, the Chocolate Buck named “Corduroy” looks great! Can’t wait to see some babies from him and one of my does this Spring!

Planned Breeding Pairs: Spring 2022

So we have 3 does, and 2 bucks. The pairs that I have in mind to use, are listed below. I have one doe who may throw Charlies (almost all white; 10% color or less), just due to her coloring, and she also was pretty, small for a Standard Rex. She took longer to gain weight, and we don’t want that for our Rabbitry, as we are hoping to sell them (and use them ourselves) as meat Rabbits and/or show Rabbits in the future, however, I still would like to see how she does, if she has big, healthy kits, regardless. If not, and she produces smaller Rex’s I will re-home her, and hopefully keep a doe, from one of our litters, who is better suited for giving good sized, and good colored offspring. I’m really hoping she works out though!

We do not plan to get anymore outside breeding Rabbits, as we will just keep offspring of certain pairs to breed in the future or switch out, if these ones can’t breed for some reason. Currently, they are all first timers and anything could happen, as they are still learning. I am and will be preparing for all the things, in regards to their breeding process. I am still learning the ropes of genes, and color pairings, how colors work together, and how some don’t. With that said, I’m not confident enough to say what color offspring, these pairings will throw. However, I do have a general idea, and I hope I will be somewhat close, if not correct! We’ll see how great that turns out, though. I will let you know!

Pairings: Spring 2022

#1: “Blackie” x “Cottontail” (Solid Black buck, Broken Castor doe #1).

#2: “Corduroy” x “Flopsy” (Solid Chocolate buck, Blue Otter doe).

#3: The Test Pairing: “Blackie” x “Mopsy” (Solid Black buck, Broken Castor doe #2).

Blog, Farm

“Deconstructing Straw Bale Beds, and Preparing Our Garden For Spring.”

Straw bales, before and after tilling.

Finally, we picked out the last of the tomatoes (most were green) and ripped up the straw bale raised beds! Once they were up and the bale strings were taken off, we tilled our whole garden section up!

Hoping We Wouldn’t Hit Any Unwanted Nests In The Bales:

After taking down our lettuce bed early, due to a yellow jacket nest, I was skeptical we would get away without another, but fortunately, we didn’t have any other nests in the bales! We did however, find tunnels on the bottom of the bales, once we lifted them up. They looked pretty abandoned, and we never saw any animal. Probably because, our loyal mouser (Forest), kept everything clean of pesky rodents. Very grateful, for a cat who takes his job seriously!

After pulling them up.

Rabbits Put To Good Use!

Once we took them up, we just used a pitch fork and ripped them apart, so that the tiller had an easier job of mixing it into the ground. Now, this is the part I’ve been waiting for, to get good use out of my Rabbits! (other than breeding them). I was thankfully able to mix all their Rabbit poo (AKA garden fertilizer) into the garden so my husband could till it all up! This is great, because now after all the rains come and go, this will get the grounds all nice, fertilized, and ready for our garden beds, this Spring!

Notice the tunnels, in the dirt?

Our Upcoming Garden Bed Plans:

Our back yard is a bit sloped downwards. So another nice thing is, that when tilling all those bales (and fertilizer) into the ground, it really helped get us progressing, towards fixing that slope. We hope to get a coop built soon, and some chickens out there to continue mixing up our soil, but we have so many projects right now, that isn’t the main priority, quite yet. We are just glad we got that finished and ready for spring.

We have this book! Going to read it to see if there is anything else I can do to help our soil!

Recap Of How Straw Bales Worked:

If you haven’t read my last garden post, and are thinking of doing Straw bale raised beds, I will link that post here. We liked them a lot, for where we are located (gardening zone 8B), and how we could till it all for the next garden season! I will also post a picture of how they looked, way before we started taking them down.

The before picture, taken during Summer!

The beds we are doing next, will be concrete block raised beds, and I can’t wait to write a post on what we will do for that! Where we placed our straw bale beds, wasted some of our yard space, because we put them in a bad spot, space wise. So, this time around, we are hoping to utilize our space better so we can have more, useable room back there. Although the bales, were a very versatile option, the blocks are also versatile and we can’t wait to try those out. We’ve seen a few people use that method recently, and it turned out great, so we wanted to give it a shot!

After tilling everything! Dirt ready for Spring!
Blog, Evergreen Rabbitry

“New Experiences In A Beginning Rabbitry: Real vs False Pregnancies”

Flopsy, and Cottontail. 2 of 3 breeder does.

Although we have researched a ton about (Standard Rex) Rabbits and how to care for them, what to expect when breeding, and all of those things. We still don’t have much experience with it! We’ve only been at it since this last June, so in total, about 5 months. If you have followed along, you probably expected (as did I) baby Rabbit pictures everywhere, around the 20th of September! Unfortunately, baby Rabbits never came.

First Breeding: Expected Litter

We decided to do one breeding with 2 of our 3 breeding does in August, to get September kits, just before it got super cold out. All precautions were taken, as they bred for the first time— both the buck and the doe’s first time! That went smoothly, he fell off quite dramatically, twice! I took that as a good sign, and expected a litter in 31 days. We bought a Rabbit the very same day, who also got bred (at the breeder’s) for the first time as well. The breeder had said, the doe never lifted her tail, but there was still a chance she could be expecting. I originally didn’t expect her to be, but both Rabbits started acting different around half way through. I got high hopes there would be 2 litters, for sure.

I saw them looking a bit bigger, acting different (affection wise), eating different amounts of hay and pellets, and drinking more water. So, I became hopeful that both breedings had turned out successful! The day before the due date, one doe pulled just the smallest amount of hair, but enough to see tufts of hair, in the hutch. I figured she was in the process of doing such, and I had just interrupted it. The due date came and went, and still no good reaction to the nest boxes and no hair pulling, any further. I am assuming, after thinking on it, that the doe who pulled hair, had a false pregnancy. She did just move to a new place, around different bucks and such, so that makes sense. Where as the other doe, wasn’t showing any signs at all really. I think, she never showed signs and I was just hopeful for her to be, and that was all.

 I never knew how difficult it would be to identify a true pregnancy, from a false pregnancy! Or how to tell if that’s even what happened, with them.

Probably going to get this, for some of our messier Rabbits!

Waiting Until Spring: More Hopeful

Now, I have decided that since they both did not take, and it is now Fall,  I will try again in the spring time, hoping they will be more willing to try again! I’m starting to think its better this way, as there were a few times, one of my does escaped! I had to fix and tighten, a couple things on the hutches. I will just continue preparing our set up, for the baby Rabbits, this Spring. We cannot wait to have them, and gain that experience! I’m sure once we have a few litters, it will be much easier to tell the difference between a true and false pregnancy, in the does that I have. Once we get into the swing of things, I may try to breed them through Fall/Winter, but that all depends on how it goes, and how my Rabbits handle their pregnancies!

Rehoming a buck:

Tyrell, is one of our breeder bucks. You may have heard of him, if you have followed along on our social media page, or I’m sure I’ve mentioned him on one of these Rabbitry posts. We bought him a couple months ago, now. He is a 1yr old Blue Rex Buck. His previous owner, was going away and had to get rid of her Rabbits. So, I saw his picture, he looked healthy, and we decided to buy him! However, as we are still very new to this, we are still learning what to look for, quality wise, in the Rabbits we get. So, we brought him home, and looked at him, compared to our other Buck and we just aren’t sure if we want to breed him for our Rabbitry. 

Like I stated previously, we are fairly new to this, and are still learning what to look for. We want the absolute best quality, considering we will be selling to people. He is a great tempered buck, nice coat of fur, but for a breeding buck we aren’t too sure, and that’s what we needed him for. He just doesn’t fit our personal standards, so far. In our Rabbitry, we got Rex Rabbits for being, versatile. He just doesn’t seem very versatile (as in being for meat rabbit and pelts, garden fertilizer, show rabbit, etc).

Tyrell.

With that being said, we have decided to try and re-home him, to someone who can get better use of him. With us, we need any room we can get and we cannot afford to have a buck who does not breed for us, currently. We are planning to do meat in the future, but not at this moment in time, as I know most people just cull the unwanted Rabbits they have. We just couldn’t with him, and not knowing really, where he came from at a year old now we didn’t feel comfortable, with that option. That is why we have chosen the route, of rehoming. 

We have yet to find him a home, but we sure hope someone pops up soon! because he sure is a great buck, and we need to get a new breeding buck soon, for our Rabbitry.

That is all the news, and updates for us right now. Wish it could have been more exciting, and had tiny little rabbit pictures, but its where we are with that! Was it hard for you, to distinguish the difference between true and false pregnancies, in your does when you first started out?