rabbits & roosters

i have had a bad case of unmotivated today. i blame the crappy weather and not getting a bus rid into town to read (i took the car in so Paul can fix the chattering spedometer, but they’re having a slow today, so i get the car back tomorrow). looking forward to reading on the bus ride home. with any luck, it will rain tonight, and get all this cloudy gloom out of its system for a while.

Over the weekend, completed the west half of the new rabbit condos! These have been an ongoing labor of love –and still are, but now they are inhabited by our rabbits! who seem happy with their new digs. Tristan designed the hutches to give each rabbit as much space as possible, including an indoor and outdoor space, while also making feeding essentially automatic, and making cleaning as easy as possible. The hutches take the form of a large rectangular structure, which contains six rabbit apartments, as it were. A central feed bin runs through the middle, with doors at either end, into which we can toss entire bales of hay (flaked and broken up so that they can eat from it). They have troughs that run along the back wall of their indoor space, allowing them access to the central hay. They each have a 3×3′ square, of which the front 2′ are “outdoors”–all mesh walls–and the back 1′ is “indoors,” with solid walls. This space allows them to get out of the wind, and serves as a nesting box for the females when we breed them. The walls between each cage are mesh, so the buns can interact with each other, which they very much like to do. they also lift out, so we can combine cages with each other when we want the animals to be able to share space, for instance if we are not breeding all the females for a season, or if we’re done breeding and the males have nothing to do for a while, they can occupy the larger space together, and have more room to run. All cages are tall enough for the rabbits to stand up in, which they love to do and immediately began to take advantage of. The roofs lift up for easy access to check on the rabbits and do any necessary cleaning, though the main cleaning will be to rake under the whole thing periodically, as the mesh floors permit waste and loose hay fragments to fall out, thereby keeping things sanitary.

Here is the whole compound, with bonus puppy dog:

the hutches seen from the south, side view, showing the feed bin door:

the hutches seen from the north, side view, showing some of the partially-completed east side, and the feed bin door:

the feed, inside:

Catchable, seen from the front of her apartment:

Catchable, seen from the top. This is looking down inside the indoor part of her apartment, with the roof open.

Uncatchable, demonstrating that he can stand all the way up and then some in there:

particularly if he thinks you have food.

Somehow, i didn’t notice when i took this photo that every single rabbit was hiding right at that moment. Here are the hutches seen from the southwest. You can see how the roof just lifts right up. It’s not light, but not so unwieldy that i have any trouble with it, either. the whole thing is very sturdy.

Next steps include finishing the east side, polyurethaning and/or painting the whole thing for weather-proofing, and designing a magical automatic or mostly automatic rabbit watering system that the dog can’t eat. That’ll take superpowers. Not least because Thistle has superpowers of plastic-eating.

while we’re on livestock, here’s our new rooster, Clem, adopted from Ron & Star when they had to move:

isn’t he a handsome boy? he’s getting along with Soup reasonably well, too. and he’ll make good eating someday, if he stops getting along with Soup. He might know that; he’s smarter than your average rooster.

and, because i liked it, the late afternoon sun on the Grandmother cottonwood

that whole tree is going to turn yellow any day now.