Mandy’s Homestead Update, 2/21/19
OUR RABBITRY CLOSED SUMMER 2019
There was a surge in interest for our rabbits as word got around I was downsizing. I sold two young does, three breeding aged bucks, a mother and her litter of seven, and two senior rabbits in order to scale back on the rabbitry. Just like that, I have a waitlist for Flemish Giant kits again after having not sold even one at the weaned age of 8-weeks-old in the last three litters. All recent sales had been for rabbits weeks—if not months—past the weaned age.
After rabbit kits are ready to leave their mother they need space of their own. First I separate the bucks and does into big two cages. After only a couple weeks they will all need their own cage aside from sister pairs which are housed together. Each separate rabbit then has a feeder and water dish to fill, a litter pan to clean and so on. The amount of time, resources and space quickly cuts into the already slim profit margin.
Coffee, Sugar and Foxy Lady are our remaining does. Garfield (seen above), Gofer and Sylvester are the remaining bucks.There is also one young pair of Californians months from breeding age. We will reassess our rabbitry plans after the spring rush. There are two litters due in the next week, one pregnancy didn’t take.
Somehow my sweetheart and ever-wider Nubian doe, Apple, is still holding out. We picked up two bred does from Cushing, Maine a couple weeks ago and they are getting along great with our herd. We have four total does due this spring, plus a young doe names Klassy who won’t be ready to breed until next year.
This will be Easy Girl’s (seen here in the farm-her selfie) first freshening and she’s a major pain-in-the-ass, nosy, and willful goat. I love her, but sometimes. I check all their udders and tail ligaments as signs of impending kidding doom while they devour their evening grain rations.
Without fail, Easy always leaps over my arm when I touch her teats with just her back legs. Her head never leaves the grain feeder. She’s the one who jumps on me to knock over the grain bucket while the others race to the corner feeder ahead of me. I’m not looking forward to milking her.
Due to overwhelming demand for our deep, dark, decadent maran eggs I had to close egg orders this week to focus on chick orders. I have yet to fill 23 French Black Copper Maran hatching egg orders! I’m selling four used incubators after having purchased a 264-egg cabinet incubator.
We are still taking egg orders for our Olive Egger and Easter Eggers, as well as some assortments. Day-old chicks will be available every other week through June. I plan to hold open farm hours every other Saturday from 10:00AM to 2:00PM.
Coming up . . .
I’m learning to make soap with my new friend Gwen. Her and her husband Jason came to see our rabbitry a while back to purchase rabbit meat for their family. All of the soap is made from goat’s milk, hog tallow, and Douglass fir tips. The only purchased product is granulated lye. After we get our soap recipes perfected I will start processing lye from our stove ashes. Our soap will be available at the next open farm day Saturday Feb. 23rd. I will begin offering it on our website soon.
Rabbit hides are stacking up. We’ve sold some meat rabbits and have three stretched hides dry and ready for the next steps. A gift shop down in mid-coastal Maine has asked for rabbit fur gifts for tourists. I’m brainstorming for small, useful things that won’t take me forever to create.
Erin, my long-time friend from college, will be partnering with me on our great garden endeavors here atop Hobbit Hill. We will be doubling the already massive heirloom garden this year to include display beds for our summertime workshops. She will be keeping me on task and organized on top of keeping plants happy. I’m not sure which is more work!
In a couple week our Homestead will be offering chicken coops for sale built by my good friend Laurie’s husband, Lance Sherman. He is a custom carpenter and built Laurie an amazingly lavish coop after she’d purchased chick from me last year. We were fast friends and hope to make a splash with our functional and affordable coops built for Maine’s crazy climate. The first build is due to start next weekend.
Stay warm, the worst of winter is behind us… I hope!