Changing the Rabbitry
When I first left the cages for the colony it was for a few reasons. First was my own desire to see my rabbits have a rabbits life, to see them play with one another dig holes and enjoy outdoor life. I also like how much easier it is to feed and water them in one place instead of supplying each individual cage. I also liked the fact that the rabbits didn’t get very comfortable with me which kept me from getting to attached to them and made cull day a little easier. Watching my rabbits burrow and give birth to their kits in a more natural environment was something I liked as well…..but.
What I don’t like about it. For one, you have no control on how much your rabbits are mating and giving birth to kits. Sometimes my rabbits would get pregnant the same day they gave birth. This is hard on the mother rabbits as well as the kits as she would wean them to soon in order to feed her younger ones, this caused me to lose a couple kits. Also rabbits on the ground are more susceptible to disease, I lost a few this way too. I know I said one of the things I liked about colony raising was the fact that the rabbits didn’t get to attached to me and the other way around as well but the down side of that is when you have to catch them, it’s really hard, I usually had to use a dip net. So in order to have a little more control of just how many rabbits I have and when they have kits and also to maintain healthier animals I am going back to cages. However these aren’t the only reasons, I’m also doing it because I want to use their pen for something else which leads me to the next part of this post.
Preparing For Quail
Yep that’s right, I’m converting the rabbit pen into a large quail run. I’m going to put about 50 coturnix quail in there to start. The pen already has fencing over the top of it but I will put some bird netting a few inches below the fence to
keep them from hitting their heads on it when they get spooked and fly up. Other than that there just isn’t much I have to do to the space to have it ready for quail.
I’m excited about adding another food source to the homestead supplying us with eggs and more meat. I should have this transition done in a few weeks but I won’t be getting the quail until late spring. The reason I’m going to wait a while is for one to not be trying to raise young birds in cold weather but also to seed the area real good and let some tall grass and weeds come up in the pen for the birds. The rabbits have supplied us with an abundance of meat over the last year but I am ready for some bacon wrapped quail and some rich quail eggs also.
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