Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats
Birthday: September 5
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LaHara hasn't been put to the test of guarding -but I think the males are better for that. We had a castrated male for many years and he was so intent on the sheep care.
We have the Katahdins now because they are less work for us and I no longer need fiber. So with them -no shearing or tail docking. They are a meat supply for us. They are nice sheep.
Hi Myra - I had a good size hutch for my first girl - Jessica. She was such a love - she trained herself to a litter box so she was often in the house or in my shop when I was spinning or weaving. I used to put her on the lawn in a dog pen thing - the kind that you can fold up but I would be out there close by. She was so great - used her at many spinning demos and she would just calmly sit on my lap. Also took her to several nursing homes for demos -she just seemed to love people. I did find that letting people pet her didn't work well -it could mat her wool and being a meany I never let children handle her. Later I had quite a few angoras as I had a fiber business - always had a booth at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Or. When I had quite a few rabbits I had hanging large wire cages - also always straw lined. I've seen rabbits with sores from wire cages and I never had anything like that. I kept them very clean and never had fur mites either. I've heard people that have that also. At that time we also had a small flock of romney and romney cross sheep for the fleece. I had large machinery for processing wool for spinners so did a lot of dying - but most of my sheep were colored. Had some beauties. Now with the garden and my spoiled little goats I hardly get time for spinning and still have bags of wool in my shop - maybe this winter I will get busy again. I'm sending a picture of my spinning with Jessica - when I was quite a bit younger. Age creeps up too fast.
Enjoy your rabbit -I miss them.
As for cages/hutches/pens, you can easily build what ever you want with just hand tools for much less than it costs for a commercial cage. I built all mine. Some are fancier than others. If some design idea doesn't turn out to work well, I can just take it apart, and use the wire sheets in a different configuration. Wire rolls are easy to work with, I use several different types, and Lowe's stocks all of them. The J-clips might be harder to source. TSC used to carry them, but our local store discontinued their rabbit department. If no luck, try the websites for Kublertantz (spell?) or even Strombergs (better known for chickens) .
I'm sure you already know this, but just to be sure, hay is very important for a rabbit's digestion. Whatever the goats get should be fine. I just use what they waste for my rabbits. After endless attempts at the finding the perfect goat feeder, it just seems to be inevitable...my goats waste hay like there is no tomorrow. The bunnies get heaps of waste hay daily.
Saw your concern about wool block, couldn't remember what they called it. I promise -get papaya tablets. Will work to clear it right up.
I raised angora rabbits for quite a few years when I had a fiber business. Something I found most important was papaya tablets. They can die of hair balls but mine loved papaya pills, begged for them and it kept them clear. Even in a bad case of hair balls - disolved tablets syringed into them helped clear it out. I had a wonderful cream colored angora doe for quite awhile. Have pictures of me spinning from her back - used to take her to spinning demos. She loved all the attention.
At the time that we put the angoras in the garden, we only had a 2-foot high chicken wire fence, so it was probably way too easy for a predator to hop over the fence and get them.
With a basic working knowledge of rabbits, you very well might be disappointed in Storey's Guide. I found it useful in the older version, long ago, when the internet was not so extensive. I have corresponded some with the owners of Ranchito Bar H (IIRC, that is the name) in pursuit of that elusive Satin. They ARE pretty. The Satin angora does have a reputation of not having all that much fur to harvest, however.
If you like hand spindle spinning (and you haven't come accross it yet), you must watch the videos of "Fleegle" spinning on her Tibetan and Russian hand spindles. She also has some info on her experience with angora. She is an expert with her tools.
We mostly fed the commercial rabbit pellets. Great idea about putting a board in her cage. We got the not-so-brilliant idea to let our rabbits run around in our garden one year in the spring before we planted, and in about 24 hours, we'd lost both of our does to a predator.
I believe the basic book on rabbit care is Bob Bennet's Raising Rabbits the Modern Way, although the title may have been changed to Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits. Should be the same content. This author takes a "my way, or the highway" approach, but still has sound useful information. I also like the House Rabbit Society website - this is more of a pet keeper perspective, and assumes the owner loves the rabbit. Lots of insight here on emotional health, and medical issues. The House Rabbit Society's founder (?) Marinell Harriman (spell?) also has a good book, but it is slender. The website probably has more useful info, although I haven't visited in a long while. It used to be very good.
What type of angora? French, English, German...? I was only able to acquire the English variety locally. Loved them, but they mat terribly. The French is supposed to have more guard hairs, and less of a problem with that. I've kept bunnies for years -some breeds for meat, some for pets. It has been a long time since I had an angora.
Winding River Farm (Bev)
Rachel Whetzel at MigMog Acres
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