Summer, along with its oppressive heat and humidity, has arrived. Some of the best stuff on the homestead happens in summer (like the arrival of ducklings and a garden that’s starting to produce), but summer comes with struggles as well. Get summer tips for the garden, your livestock, and even tips for staying cool while you cook.
Backyard & House Rabbits
Rabbits make fabulous companions. They can also be a fiber artist's dream. They also provide a sustainable low-maintenance meat source. Rabbits come in all sorts of sizes and are bred for a variety of purposes. No matter what your need on the homestead is, you can find a rabbit that's right for you.
Litter box material for angoras needs to accomplish a few things. It needs to be super absorbent. It needs to…
Today you are getting Zoologist Jessica instead of Homesteader Jessica. For those of you that don’t know, I went to school for zoology, but decided that I didn’t want to live in a city, which is what led me to farming. One important aspect of animal care they taught me about in college was animal enrichment and how important it is to an animals health and overall well-being.
Animal enrichment is activities that create a more stimulating environment for the animals and elicit some of their natural behaviors such as exploration, foraging, locomotion, social interaction, manipulating objects, or simply playing.
Sprouting fodder is something farmers have been done for generations. Fodder is defined as “food, especially dried hay or feed, for cattle and other livestock.” Sprouting fodder growing the fodder and allowing the livestock to eat it at a young stage. This feeding technique can offer a varied diet for livestock at a fraction of the price of traditional feeds. Although you can sprout a variety of grains, today I’m going to chat about sprouted barley because it’s a great all-around grain for livestock.
In all of our 4H and homesteading days, we have raised over 20 rabbits. Most were “dual duty” as pets and working animals, meaning for compost and fiber. Our French Angoras are the perfect example of a double duty animal. They have lots of long hair that is great for learning how to spin and knit or crochet with. This is the main reason we started our Angora herd, to be honest. My daughter loves to knit, crochet, and all things yarn related. Taking care of the fiber rabbits requires a bit more than just regular rabbits, however.
Our French Angoras are the perfect example of a double duty animal.
Rabbits are actually the perfect choice for a backyard farmer that would like to start producing their own fibers for either resale or crafts. Typical fiber farm animals include sheep, goats or alpacas – some of which can top out at 200 pounds or more – not always practical for someone farming on under an acre of land. Rabbits need minimal space and don’t require special farm vets, almost all suburban vets will have experience treating rabbits. In addition to less land and less feed, rabbits are wooly powerhouses!