Xander – the 1st of many

My first entrance into this new life of learning and homesteading started with Rabbits.  Well, one particular rabbit, Xander, a rabbit that I got from the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society.  He is a black and white, neutered Dutch rabbit, and the picture below was taken on his first day home at our house.

Xander pic web

He has turned into my mascot, but he was intended to be the first of many rabbits that I was going to raise as part of a micro rabbitry in my home.  And yes, for those who already see a problem with my understanding of “neutered” and rabbitry, he was always intended as a pet rabbit.  My partner (the one in the blue shirt in the picture), had a few criteria for me starting this project.  As mentioned in my earlier post, I am a fairly impulsive person, and it was deemed wise to see if I liked keeping rabbits by starting with “a” rabbit rather than starting with many.  My co-habitation with Xander worked out well, and so began my foray into the wonderful world of rabbits.

One thing that I must stress about city living.  It is a legal nightmare (depending on your city and neighbors) to do things that are outside of what is considered “normal” for city life.  I checked my local laws about keeping rabbits, and the law clearly states that I needed 75% of my neighbors signoff to keep more than 1 rabbit. A qualified “neighbor” was someone living within 150 feet of where the rabbits would be housed.  At this point, I proceeded with my plans, because that definition actually applied only to one neighbor of mine that I get along with well.  My main point for stating this last paragraph is to check with your local city/county regulations before starting any project, as finding out the project is not legal after you get it going is heartbreaking.

I managed to obtain cages and supplies, as well as much information from the internet, and was enjoying this new path in my life.  My next step was going to a regional American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) show.  I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone that is interested in rabbits, either for pets or raising them as either a business or a hobby.  I had tons of reading and internet research under my belt, but I learned quite a bit more in the short hours that I mingled with breeders and folks at the show.

So off I went to obtain official licensing from the city and search for my starter rabbits.  (Can you hear the screeching tires?)  Well, to make a long battle short, my local animal control officers politely, and upon much discussion, steadfastly maintained that the law was written wrong, and that I had to obtain signatures from everyone within 150 feet of my entire property line… And due to the long and skinny piece of land I live on, that was about 9 households, of which only 3 would actually talk to me.  So, in the end, my indoor rabbitry is on hold for the moment.  Not to worry – there are many other projects both in progress and planned, so even though this was my first road-bump, it certainly didn’t stop me.

This current situation drives the libertarian side of me absolutely bonkers, but I have no desire to turn this post into a gripe session.  Eventually, I will get the required permission and/or land upon which I can re-start this part of my homestead.  I still am really fond of rabbits and Xander, so I will probably still occasionally post info and fun regarding them.

One absolutely fascinating part of my learning curve regarding rabbits and starting out with livestock that I will end this post with is the economics of feed stores versus pet stores.  For Xander starting out, I purchased feed and timothy hay from a local chain petstore.  Once I was officially setting up, I made my first visit to a feed store, and was blown away with the difference in price.  Local chain (LC) cost versus feed store (FS):  LC Rabbit feed – 8.99 for 10 lbs versus FS Rabbit feed – 10.99 for 50 lbs; LC Timothy Hay – 7.99 for 4 lbs versus FS 5.99 for a bale of approx 40lbs.  The quantities are a little much for a 1 rabbit house, but even at that, feed stores are a fun place to explore.  (If there is anyone out there who is interested in splitting feed store supplies with me, post a comment in the blog and we will connect.)

Categories: Animals

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