Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rabbit update

I realized I haven't given any updates on the rabbits lately. Mostly the rabbits are doing well, and the teens are still hanging around because I haven't had time to kill and butcher them. I'm fairly certain I'm not going to have time to take care of that any time soon no matter how much it needs to be done so I am going to be asking a friend to do it for me since I am constantly exhausted and busy.

 Sorry for the bad photo quality, getting good photos with snow as a background is rough, even in the early dawn light where there's barely any ambient light. The teens as you can see have gotten huge, and while the meat isn't going to be as high quality the furs are going to be nice. Something I did some calculation on lately is how much per rabbit we paid this year on a bad year. Last year we ended up coming out to about $3 per pound of meat from our rabbits. This year with our awful production we put in a little under $1,000 into the rabbits between everything and got 33 rabbits to meat weight once Dawn's two she has right now get to weight. That will put us to $30 a rabbit meaning we're paying $7.57 per pound. That cost comes from lack of production from 4 separate breeding tries from multiple does. That's a fairly major problem for us obviously especially given that this has been a financially challenging year as is.
Part of why it's been survivable is that we haven't been eating as much meat this year due to the Lady of the House not being able to eat meat at all for most of her pregnancy. Even since the birth of the Critter we haven't been having much meat just due to habit from the lack of meat for a while which is a good thing. Mostly lately it's been in sauces we have with vegetables and starches. Though to be fair with our reserves and the 8 teens and 2 babies we have right now we actually have enough to eat at our normal style even though we aren't.

The reason I bring this up is that we absolutely have to get things working better next year. Herbie gets one shot before he goes away to another breeding home, or the stew pot. We also need to see consistent production out of every one of the does we are going to keep fast or they have to go. We just can't afford to keep non productive rabbits around. The only exceptions to the produce right now or go are Twilight who I swear produces gold milk, and Dawn who is an amazing mother, even if her most recent litter was only two.
 So, the update on the rabbits is that things didn't go well last year which I think we already knew. I just didn't know how rough we'd done which was about 1/2 as well as our previous record. The up side is we still produced enough to feed us for the year, just no where near the efficiency we wanted it to be. If this winter keeps being the strange sort of winter we've been having we may take the risk of breeding for March 1st again, especially given the long rest the does have had. For that I'm just going to have to make sure I'm managing their food well so we know for a fact they aren't over weight which can reduce production potential.

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