Tag Archives: Meat Rabbits

Barnyard Update and Meet Mira

It’s been a fruitful spring in my barnyard and I have lots of new additions to introduce you to. My favorite, and the one that is tearing at me the most, is Mira.

Mira was born to Bessie, who lives with Mona (my milky friend). Bessie and Mira will be for sale soon and every fiber of my being wants them to come live with me and complete my barnyard. I’m still struggling with whether they will fit into my neighborhood. This city farming is not an easy thing. While I am within my rights to have mini goats here, I still need to be sensitive to my neighbors. I am still struggling with this one, and with being in the city in general. I’ll be doing more posting on this in a few days. For now Toni over at Backyard Feast has a great blog post on whether it’s best to stay put or leave the city so I’ll leave my thoughts for another day.

The ducks are fitting in nicely and have settled down for keeps. They have a 15 gallon pond (really a water trough) that they enjoy immensely and have the run of the backyard on sunny days when they won’t be tempted to dig in puddles that collect on the lawn. They are doing a quack-up job clearing out all slugs and caterpillars, as well as laying eggs nearly every day. Even though we didn’t hand raise them and so they are somewhat skiddish they have warmed up to me and follow me around begging. Their quacks and waddles are endlessly amusing and I am convinced that every Seattle garden needs a pair, if for the slug patrol alone.

Since my laying flock is nearing peak production it’s time to groom another round, V 2.0.  Above, Delawares and Marans trying to keep warm during the coldest Seattle April on record.  They are occupying a vacant flower bed until they get bigger and can hold their own with the older birds.

These Seabrights, Jersey Giants and Polish are still snug under a lamp as they feather out. It appears there are a few roosters in the mix so it’s good to get extra. And since odds are 50% will be roosters (and when you crow, you go), and you can now have 8 birds in Seattle, you should get 16. That means plenty for the freezer, or to cull if they turn out to be disagreeable.

What would be disagreeable, you ask? Things like pecking all the other chicks bloody, or you. This fellow has earned solitary confinement for such deeds. There is some foreshadowing with the fire pit I think.

In case you were wondering how to tell if any of your chicks are roosters here are tell-tale signs: enlarged comb, red jowels developing, and this kind of look.

A sort of crotchity, “Just what do you think you are doing?” look. A sort of “Make my day, Simpson” kind of look.

And the latest additions at last are bunnies.

El Diablo and Nibbles have joined us.

Someday, hopefully soon, they will join the chickens. I’m still working out how I can give them a chance to hop around once a day without risk of them coming into contact with chicken, duck or dog poop. In the meantime I’m cleaning up the garage so they can hop around in there. Easy access from the house means that Lander, now nearly 5, is spending a large portion of his day in the cages petting them.

The elevated dog house here is our existing chicken coop.  I’m treating it like a cape cod and simply adding on a new wing.  Har.

How about you?  What is happening in your barnyards this spring?

Backyard Meat

Image from The Reluctant Gourmet

If you are a vegetarian then once again this post is not for you.

On Saturday, June 5 from 8:30 – 10 I’m once again venturing into new territory and would like to drag a few of you along with me.

Brad from Abundant Acres will be showing us as much of a backyard rabbit operation as we want him to, conveniently at his condo in Bellevue versus his farm in Toledo, WA.

If you eat meat and are striving for a sustainable lifestyle rabbits are the optimal meat source. They are highly efficient processors of food to meat, require a small amount of space and little to no carpentry skills to get set up. Processing them compared to other animals is quick and easy, requiring no special equipment or setup. The offal can be used as raw pet food or go into the garbage can or compost.

You can control the number of rabbits by managing the amount of time your breeding stock spends together and because they live in enclosures rather than in a yard setting you can have them on an apartment balconies or outside in virtually any scrap of yard you can spare. Cages are fully closed and stack-able which allows for efficient vertical farming and helps protect them from urban critters like raccoons, dogs and cats.

Brad has consulted heavily with Daniel Salatin of Polyface Farms in setting up his rabbit operation. And tho the rabbits are housed at his farm in Toledo, WA he maintains a city life, family and several business in Seattle as well so we’ll get to glimpse his personal rabbit quarters at his home in Bellevue.

Brad can give you guidance on setting up your own backyard rabbit operation but the main thing he is doing for us is demonstrating how to process a rabbit. We’ll be buying a live rabbit from him (or you can arrange to buy breeding stock of your own) and processing the rabbit ourselves. You will leave with a processed rabbit for your fridge or freezer and a new set of life skills to live more sustainably, not to mention a new way to significantly reduce your food bill should you choose to set up your own meat operation.

If you are interested in attending this lesson please email me ASAP since there are only a few spots left open. It’s annettecottrell(at)yahoo.com.