Tuesday, June 21, 2011

adding livestock to the backyard

there is a new addition to our backyard garden. his name is basil, a holland lop rabbit. i have wanted to add a rabbit to the mix of things for awhile. their poop is a perfect source of natural fertilizer that can be added directly to the garden beds & with this kind of soil, we need all the help we can get.

once i started talking about my rabbit ideas, a friend offered to give me her hutch that was no longer in use. i placed the hutch under the shade of a tree, painted it & added some handmade curtains for extra shade. we also attached a fan to the side of the hutch. i've read that any temperature above mid 80 can be difficult for rabbits. in our area, a typical summer day can get up to the high 90s with very high humidity.

i also keep a frozen water bottle in the hutch to keep the rabbit cool during extreme heat. by doing just a couple of extra steps, we hope to adapt our rabbit to its climate & ensure its health.

throughout the last couple of months, i have researched the care of rabbits. the most helpful books i have found are-
storey's guide to raising rabbits
country wisdom & know-how
barnyard in your backyard

are there any other sources you recommend? also, do you have experience with rabbits? i would love to learn more!


  1. My sister has a rabbit that stays indoors. She's had him for quite a number of years, so that's good!
    Gosh, Basil is adorable! I want to squeeze him. He'll be perfect for you guys!

  2. i know nothing about keeping rabbits, but the cold antler farm website has some info and i loved amy's living roof on her rabbit hutch!

  3. I love the ideas you provide. I just wanted to share, our friend's lost their outdoor rabbits due to heat. They are about an 1 and 20 minutes drive NW of Chicago.... where it is often 90 degrees and humid. I know they checked on them often and really cared for them.It was a devastating lost... so keep a very close eye on Basil and bring Basil indoors as necessary :)

  4. I like the House Rabbit Book. Bunnies are the best and they love to have a friend :)

  5. We have an angora rabbit named Tallulah Cotton. I bring her inside during the summer day's and take her back out late at night. I live in the deep south so our summers are horrid! Your rabbit is adorable.

  6. i wonder about allowing a space for her to dig her way to coolness? A Waldorf mentor who we do unschooling programs with, raises many angoras for spinning into fibre....she allows them to have their hutches on the ground and/or to be able to get down each day to dig, what they instinctively want to do! They dig to cool themselves, but in BC we don't deal with continuous heat (especially this year!) and we have stretches of 30-35 celcius that only last a week to ten days.

    Have fun!!


  7. SO CUTE! I recently saw a new book at the library - an extension of The Backyard Homestead - its the Backyard Homestead Livestock/Animals edition. Had some good info about rabbits, and other animals in the backyard garden. One thing I had thought was a neat idea was to built a raised bed to the same dimension of your hutch and put it under the hutch for vermiculture (worm raising) and allow the rabbit poop to simply go straight to the worms, who love the stuff and turn it into worm castings with your kitchen scraps quick! When I had a rabbit, the poop was great for the compost but I didn't always keep up with it, but having the bottom/or/tray removed and letting it fell right onto the worms sounds like the perfect system...