We have added some rabbits to our homestead. 

Rabbit poop is the only manure you can safely use straight on your garden without having to age or compost it.

Rabbits are very tidy creatures and will choose a preferred corner to use as their bathroom. As long as you clean this area out regularly, they will keep coming back to use the same corner.

I have placed litter boxes with some straw in it where they like to poop.

                 

 I empty their litter boxes into a large container every other day and then when its full I spread it over a bed in the veg garden or around the granadilla or tree tomato or any other shrub or tree or seedlings that need it.

Here we are mulching our beds with bunny poop mixed with used straw from their enclosure as well as fallen oak leaves. Don’t you just love how proud Malimba is of our leaves? We really do love our leaves! 

Rabbits have an extremely sensitive digestive system and there ARE foods to avoid, so do your homework before getting rabbits

Rabbits thrive on a diet consisting of 80% oat hay/timothy hay (lucerne has too much calcium and straw is only good for bedding), 10% good quality rabbit pellets (none of those coloured, overly processed foods you see in pet shops) and 10% fresh greens, which you can easily grow in your garden or in containers. For example, you can regrow carrot and beetroot greens from the tops you cut off when prepping dinner. Carrot tops are full of nutrients that are excellent for bunnies! 

I have been picking them nasturtium leaves, basil, oreganum, yarrow leaves, bok choy, raspberry leaves, fennel and dandelion greens from the garden daily for them. And then as a treat they get some grated carrots, banana, green pepper etc a couple of times a week. 

Never feed rabbits, or any other animal, avocado. You will also need to avoid foods that cause gas or bloating such as too much cabbage and iceberg lettuce. Also limit too many sugary fruits and veg. 

Ensure your rabbits have access to plenty of hay (not straw!) to eat throughout the day.

I converted an old cracked plastic bin into a slow hay feeder for the bunnies so they have free access to clean, dry hay whenever they want it. 

Of course, I also had to crochet them a hanging hay feeder for some added stimulation (for them and me)!

We also make them foraging toys and give them grape vine sticks to chew on.

Rabbits are very curious and really enjoy stimulating and engaging ways to forage for their food.

 

Their enclosure measures 4m x 2.5m and we made it inside the chicken run (who have free access to the orchard to free range with the ducks during the day). We have three dogs so it’s vital that we created a safe environment for the rabbits. They can run and jump and climb and dust bathe. 

We also created a warren-like set up by creating different levels and “rooms” using crates, an old cupboard unit and wooden planks. And of course, we made sure they could not dig out by laying down galvanized fencing about 20cm under the soil, which we dug up and then placed back on top of the fencing. 

We decided to only get females and we chose to get them spayed. This is to prevent reproductive organ cancers as well as to give them calmer temperaments. Raging hormones often create territorial and bitey behaviour. 

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