Eating Snow

Our rabbit snow hasn’t been going all that well.  He was part of a litter of bunnies which I tried to sell, yet no one was interested in an albino rabbit.  So he was destined for the dinner table.  Yet, when it came time for me to dispatch him, I didn’t feel like going through with it… this cycle of intending to kill him, yet not doing it, lasted for several months.  Then I found out that my children had named him Snow… so I didn’t fell like I could go through with eating him.

It was time to say goodbye to Snow. This was taken just as I was about to remove him from his hutch. You can see the discolouration on his back.

He wasn’t a pet, he was just an animal that we kept.  I offered him to several people, yet no one ever accepted him.  We kept him for well over a year… maybe close to two years

While I have been feeding him the other day I noticed a discolouration on his back… a pinkish colour which wasn’t home on his white fur.  On examination I was saddened to see that he was suffering from Mange… possibly the same mange that had killed one of our Guinea Pig and infected the other.  I knew I could possibly find a treatment for this, yet it would cost money.  I did some mental calculations, and some looking at how I felt about this, and I decided that it wasn’t a good choice to cure him… that it would be better if I put him down and ate him.

Can you eat an animal with mange?  Mange is apparently transferable to humans, yet the meat from an animal infected with Mange is not dangerous in itself.  I need to be sure to check for any other issues, as the Mange may cause secondary infections.

You can see my great scope .22 rifle. Oh, and my Pokemon Go hat.

I believe that as long as I don’t expose myself to the actual infected area on the skin, I wouldn’t be in danger.  That said, while I was pretty sure I would be safe, I still decided that I would be the only one to eat the rabbit… to ensure my kids were not at risk.

Now, please remember that Snow is not a pet.  Snow is a rabbit who I always intended to eat (after I couldn’t sell him) and I just never had the heart to do the deed.  Snow had a lot longer life, and in that way, he was pretty well off.  Apart from the mange he was always healthy and happy.  So, while I wasn’t enthusiastic about it, I felt that it was time to eat Snow

I decided that I would take him to a remote location and shoot him.  I chose this option as I felt it would be quick and he wouldn’t suffer.  My son and I took him to the forest near my home, which was where he was put down.

After he was dead I brought him home to skin him, clean him, and prepare the carcass for cooking.  I won’t go into the details of this process… it was fairly routine.  When I cooked the rabbit, I cooked him in a Butter chicken sauce… so I guess it was Butter Rabbit.  It tasted amazing and lasted several meals.

It worked out to be over 600grams of rabbit meat. Not too bad.

We now have three rabbits, one male (Snow’s father), and two females (one of whom is pregnant).  I intend to destroy the hutches which I own (which are currently empty) as I suspect they may have mange infections.  I will then build some new hutches for the rabbits.

So far, no issues from eating the rabbit which had mange… although I do have a compulsion to eat lots of carrots….

Agatha – the new addition to the Homestead

As I mentioned in my post from late February, the lady who sold me Edith offered to give me a replacement bunny (when the bunny was old enough to leave it’s mother).  That day has finally come and our new Bunny, Agatha, is here.

Sonya, the lady who breeds and sold me the Bunny, met me at her house and showed me her great Rabbit setup.  She has a great backyard that she uses to breed the rabbits.  She also has a small business building rabbit hutches, which look very sturdy.

 

Agatha is a very pretty little bunny and I am sure her babies will look great.  She is pretty friendly already, yet I will have to take the time to get her used to being picked up and handled.  She is also fairly young, being only 12 weeks old.  I will have to wait till the Winter has ended, which is when she may be old enough to breed… yet that isn’t a priority at the moment.  I just want to make sure she is healthy and happy.

I am sure you can see from these photos that she is a lovely little bunny.

I can’t help thinking about how easily our last bunny, Edith, died.  So I have taken precautions by keeping Agatha close to the house, far from the road, and near other Rabbits who might be able to make Agatha feel less lonely.

Surprise! Car crash.

An interesting thing happened on Sunday.  It was early, around 9am.  I was in the kitchen, finishing off my breakfast and wasting a couple of minutes checking Instagram, when I heard an almighty sound.  The screech of car tires followed by the smash of a car.  I rushed outside to see what had happened, expecting to see a car on the road… what I saw was not foreseeable.

As you can see… there is a car parked in my garden.  I have to admit that my first thought was, “Oh my trees!”  I had planted Hazelnut and Elderberry in the location where the car was sitting.  Despite my first thought, I rushed over and asked if they were OK.  The driver climbed out of the car, as did the passenger (who was carrying an open bottle of beer).  At this stage my neighbour had come out and he loudly groaned when he saw the damage to our shared fence, yet to his credit he too asked if the people were OK.  The driver and passenger said they were fine and went over to my neighbours yard.  By this stage, the manager of the local bakery who had witnessed the incident had rushed over and she asked if the two men were drunk.  The driver said he was fine and the passenger admitted he had been drinking.  The passenger had lost his beer bottle by this stage (I found out later he had dropped it in my garden).

The baker stated she was going to get the police, so she ran to his house (just a few doors down).  At this stage I went and woke Kitty up, and told her the situation.  I filmed a little footage of the car as the cop arrived.  He was not in a good mood.  He asked the driver what happened, and was told that the car lost traction on the corner.  The cop told the driver he was tired from a late night of work and  pissed off at being called on so early.  He said he wasn’t in the mood for lies, so the driver told him he was speeding around the corner and lost control.  A couple of locals came over and told me the driver was doing burnouts around town all morning, so it was inevitable he would crash.

The cop breathalysed the driver and took him to Huonville for further tests… obviously he must have been drunk, as he admitted he was drinking all the previous night.

It took around an hour for the car to be towed out of the crash, and when I surveyed the damage I could see I lost a hazelnut, my elderberry was crushed, and a 9 year old Cherry tree I brought from Collinsvale was flattened.  My neighbour and I did a quick repair job on the fence, so his dog wouldn’t escape.  Then we went about our days.

I am waiting to hear back from the insurance people… I hope my trees are covered, as they were pretty expensive (hazelnut trees are $60, and the old cherry tree which is maybe $200 for a replacement of the same age).

Now I get to the very sad part of this situation… A little while later I went and checked the animals, when I found our new bunny, Edith, acting strange.  She was lethargic, breathing erratically, and had no appetite.  After investigating I checked the internet for information on bunny illnesses.  Most suggested that I take her to a vet, yet it seemed that she may have a stomach problem and need some bland food.  I changed her water and feed before going off to do some chores.  When I checked on her again, she had died.  I was very sad to see that she was dead, as she was such a lovely little bunny.  I did a little dissection to see if I could work out the problem, yet there was nothing wrong with her insides.  Sadly, it seemed she just died.

I talked to her previous owner, who (upon learning of the car crash at my house) suggested it may have been shock.  Edith was pretty close to the fence, so the noise and activity could have caused her to have a stroke.  The previous owner offered to give me another bunny for free as a replacement… which is so lovely.

I will have to make sure I keep my bunnies, especially my new ones, away from the fence.  I doubt that another car will crash through the fence, yet should it happen… I don’t want to lose another little one.

Meet Edith, our latest addition to the Homestead

According to the British Rabbit Council, a British Giant rabbit needs to exhibit certain qualities in order to be recognised as a true British Giant.  I am starting to question whether my bunnies are true British Giants.  On Friday I bought a new rabbit to be a companion for Roger.  Her name is Edith, and she is a young British Giant who I bought from a Breeder in the Channel area of Tassie.  The person I bought her from appears to be very knowledgeable on the subject of British Giants and gave me the name of another breeder in the city who I could use in the future.  When this seller came over to my home, she remarked that by bunnies are quite small compared to her rabbits.  This has me a little concerned…. Maybe my bunnies are not pure British Giants!

 

Edith is a lovely little bunny.  She is apparently coloured Agouti… a colour which I don’t think is compatible with the British Giant standards.  As well as this, she also has a much thinner face than my other bunnies.  To be honest, I am worried that my rabbits are not British Giants… either that, or Edith isn’t really a pure British Giant.  I have looked at photos of British Giants and my bunnies match those images, yet mine are apparently undersized for true British Giants.  I know it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the universe, yet it does matter as I bought (what I thought were) British Giants, and I have been selling them as such too.  I don’t want to mislead people.

 

Regardless, Edith appears to be a very lovely little bunny.  She is a little shy, yet that is understandable as she just met us.  I will have to take some time to pat her in order for her to become more familiar with people.  I don’t think it will be till next Spring before she is old enough to breed… which is perfect as I am getting close to the end of the breeding season.  I am considering getting one more litter from Marylin before the end of Summer… yet I am not sure.  Having lost 80% of the last litter, and 100% of every other litter she had last year, I am thinking that it might be better if she took a break.

 

Dealing with an injured bunny – Reality of homesteading

With great sadness I had to put the injured bunny down yesterday.  I could see that her back foot was dislocated, and I had hoped (despite my last post mentioning I would put her down) that it wasn’t as bad as I thought and she would recover.  On Sunday I could see that she was lethargic and suffering so I knew I had to make the decision to put her down.

 

Rather than risk an error by using other methods (such as an axe, broken neck, or the knife), I chose to shoot her with my .22 rifle.  I was not happy that this was the only option for me, yet it had to be done for the sake of mercy.

This is the reality of homesteading… that the animals in your care can become injured and you will have to deal with the results.  If you (or someone in your house) can’t deal with killing an animal for mercy then homesteading might not be the way for you.

After butchering her, I started thinking that maybe I could take some of it for my own consumption…. Kitty wouldn’t eat the meat, so I did think about taking the heart and liver for myself.  After examining the organs, I could tell that things were not all good.  Her liver wasn’t the right, dark red, colour.  I suspect that the bunny had blood poisoning… I don’t know if this could be passed to me, and I don’t want to find out the hard way.

All in all, this litter has been the most work out of any yet.  We started with six, and now have one healthy boy.  So much effort for so little reward.

The mystery of the rabbit in a cage.

Our little bunnies were born some time ago, and to be honest, we should have organised their sale by now.  Yet we still have them, and they have been growing so nicely.

This afternoon, when I returned home from work, I was greeted with a surprise.  I found the little blue female in my bird cage, with all the doors closed.  She was sitting there watching me, which caused me to pause and wonder how she got in there.  I then checked her usual hutch… which she shares with her mother and little brother… and only Marylin (the mother) was there.  So now it was time to panic!

I immediately looked around, in somewhat of an alarmed state … and within 2 seconds I found the little boy.  He was on my wooden decking (nearby), just calmly watching me.  I went over and gave him a little pat then put him into a spare hutch.  I was so grateful that he is very friendly.  I then went inside and I asked my family who put the little girl in the bird cage… I was surprised when the answer was that no one knew what I was talking about.  I don’t understand how the rabbit can get into a closed cage.  I am guessing either someone is lying, or we have a ghost.

After interrogating my family, I picked up the little blue girl and I noticed her left hind leg was hanging loosely.  I checked her and it appears that her knee is dislocated.  I am so sad for her… as she is such a pretty little bunny.  I am going to leave her for tonight, yet I am pretty sure that tomorrow I will have to put her down.  I asked Kitty if anything unusual happened today, and she said Orlaith was chasing something, yet when she checked she couldn’t see anything.  I suspect that Orlaith may have injured her.

I guess I will never know the truth… I will have to just try to fix the situation as best as I can.

Bunny News – followup on the bunnies

It seems that I have created a series of videos on Bunnies.  For those of you growing tired of the topic, this one should be the last one for a little while.

 

Out of the six bunnies which I started with, I now have two.  This is not a great turn around for the investment of time, money and effort… yet it is still much better than the results I had earlier last year, where none survived.

Sometimes I question whether I should continue raising rabbits.  It is work which doesn’t produce a great return, yet I do like having them… they make my property a little more self sufficient in meat (I could also feed them grass, yet I currently use that on making compost).  I really need to look at other sources of meat, such as Quail and fish.

Day two and three of the Bunny Diaries – Tragedy strikes!

Day two arrived and we still have the babies.  We were very happy with Marylin… after loosing so many of the last batches of babies.  Yet this joy was not to last.

 

After the luck we have had lately, it was about time that something bad happened.  Overnight on day two, one of the babies died.  I have no clues as to how or why.  It appeared fine, yet for some reason it died.  My younger son buried it in the garden.  Marylin left it in the open for us to find, so I expect that it may have crawled out in the night and it died on it’s own.

I also discovered that she has a runt, that is obviously smaller than the other bunnies.  I hope that now there is less competition for the milk it has a chance to survive.