Monday, November 26, 2012

In the Service of Rabbits

I spent the day Saturday and Sunday in the service of rabbits.  Yes, when you have this many rabbits (currently 59 lagomorph residents at Dandelion Meadows - many of those are transitory).  And really, when you choose to have animals in your life for whatever reason, whether it is pets for companionship, dogs to guard you or farm animals for their products (eggs, meat, fibre, skins and milk) you are choosing to serve them.  Of course, they serve you, too but sometimes I would be hard pressed to say who serves who more!  Sometimes I feel the sacredness of our arrangements.  Yesterday as Dean and Rhiannon were gone to Penticton and Kelowna with the Youth Symphony Orchestra performances, it was very quiet as I worked by myself cleaning and doing small repairs and moving cages.  I did so with great love for my rabbits and contemplated my service to them.

I had to come to terms to with the fact that my father is no longer really able to help me, despite what he says and my son has moved to a different city.  My husband is not 'handy' so that leaves me.  Last spring there was great talk of all that was going to get built for rabbits.  Consequently I tripled my meat rabbit breeding herd.  However, the promised hutches never materialized and temporary cages were used for far too long.  In the end, I just had to do what had to be done.  My two largest hutches, built for growing out meat rabbits were in dire need of repairs and I had been unable to use them for several months.  I fixed one by myself which took me more than 6 hours just to replace the wire bottom.  The other one Dean helped and it was done in much shorter order.  Although either way it did mean some time lying on my back in what might or might not have been rabbit pee....

In the summer I acquired about 20 wire cages along with feeders and water bottles.  However they need a frame or shed to be mounted on and also to provide shelter from the elements.  These frames have yet to be built...  Yesterday I had a brainwave of how to set up some of them on top of saw horses and an old piece of plywood.  I used trays along the back to protect them from the North wind and another piece of plywood on top and some paper feedbags to fill in the gaps and protect from the weather.  So my 8 unsold young Satin Angora bucks moved into their new high rise.  They had been living in sibling groups for far too long and their wool is matted and gross.  I will clean them up and attempt to sell them one last time before they meet their fate... er meat their fate.... whichever.  I cleaned out the cages they had been inhabiting and re-installed the rabbits who they were intended for.

In the winter, we move the rabbits closer to the house to make the trip with frozen water bottles a little shorter.  They are almost all moved.  One more set of cages to go.  It is a great feeling of satisfaction to have served my rabbits so well!

Here is 2 sides of 'Rabbit Square' or 'Winter Quarters'.  See the rabbit high rise there?
Here is the other side you can't see
If you had an angora for a cagemate, wouldn't you snuggle up to her?


Beth-a-knee said...

I don't know how you do it! It seems so daunting. Also I liked your meet-meat pun.

amyleigh said...

You inspire me! Also, I wouldn't mind buying some meat rabbits off you at some point. Or a lamb...Shawn's parents are interested in sharing some with me. food for thought.