Meet “Leo”, as in Leo the Lop. (I didn’t know these childhood favorites were out of print!) Leo is a Holland Lop and the newest addition to our family. The new rule is that any pet or animal that we get needs to 1.) live outside and 2.) be useful to us or our gardens in some way, and of course being cute helps too. Hawthorn had an immediate bond with this little guy. It is the perfect type of pet for his personality I think. This bunny is super docile and loves being held, which is a good thing since lots of people want to hold him. The plan was to get him for Easter, but that didn’t work out so well. I needed more time to think about my decision to get him in the first place and feel justified in my reasoning.
My first reason for getting this bunny was for it’s poop. Yup, poop. Rabbit poop is considered a “cold” manure, which means it can be added right to your garden as a fertilizer and does not need to be composted. Other “hot” manures such as chicken, horse, sheep, cow, or pig poop needs to be fully composted before adding it to your garden. So, we will just collect the poop from under his hutch and directly add it where we need it, providing our soil and any organisms living in there with valuable nutrients.
My other reason was for educational purposes. Being homeschoolers that is always a plus and since my oldest really connects with and enjoys working with animals, I thought it might be fun to get involved in some local 4-H projects. So it was decided.
I am just getting back to my kicking bag, which is just taking me forever. It’s just I have a hard time going on to another project without finishing the one I am working on first…so for now, I bore you with my slow progress baby kicking bag.
I am still absolutely savoring The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals by Gail Damerow because it included everything about every small animal you could have on a small piece of land. We are using the measurements and building plans in the rabbit section of the book to build his hutch. Rabbits actually prefer to live at the temperature range of 50-69 degrees. They can withstand temperatures even colder with just a little bit of protection from the elements. The right side of our hutch will be enclosed, while the left side will be left open with wire. We also plan on letting the bunny pasture during the day once he is old enough. Gail mentions that bunnies digestive systems are not developed enough to eat a lot of grass until they are 6 months old. Now, I have come across a bit of controversy with this topic along with the idea of letting our bunny pasture together with the chickens. I was told that chickens carry a something in their poop, causing coccidiosis that will kill rabbits. Now, I know SO many people who successfully house rabbits and chickens together just fine. I have made attempts to search the internet to find helpful information on the subject only to not find any definitive conclusions. The one thing I found that sounded hopeful was on a forum said that both animals (as well as dogs, cats, cattle, and even humans) could get the disease, but the parasite that causes it is not believed to be easily passable from one species to another due to the different internal body chemistry. I did come across the HenCam where you can peek in on rabbits and chickens housed together, which is kinda neat. I also found many forums…mostly stating that people house them together just fine from personal experience without any issues. So we’ll see. My thought was to have the bunny hutch out by the chicken coop, or inside the coop when it is colder outside, and to have Leo free to roam with the chickens in their yard.
To throw a little bit of knitting into this post and a bit more yarn for Ginny’s Yarn Along, I did finish up my four Easter eggs from last week. Sock yarn is so fun! Pictured here is the lovely Jan Brett’s book, The Easter Egg. I just love the illustrations in all of her books!