We made our first two sales this weekend! On Friday we sold one of our “pet type” lop rabbits to a couple who wanted a bunny for their grandson. They came by the house around 7 pm and picked out a nice black and white lop rabbit. We boxed it up and off it went to live with a (hopefully) loving child. The $5 bill above is part of the $15 from the sale of that rabbit.
Then on Saturday we made another sale. On Monday a customer from Campbellsville called and placed an order for 2 of our meat rabbits. She wanted to pick then up on Saturday, which is good because after processing they need to chill (literally) for a couple of days to age the meat. Since we’ve only raised these rabbits for half of the normally required grow-out period of 12 weeks I did the math and figured out that $2 per pound of liveweight would give us a profit and provide us the hourly wage we’re looking for from our farm endeavors. Because these rabbits dressed out at 60%, that means that we’d be charging $3.33 per pound dressed. I think that our price per pound will go up on those rabbits that we raise from birth, however.
The customer bought the live rabbits from us, and I dressed them as a courtesy for them. So on Wednesday I had to process rabbits for the first time. The processing went smoothly and the rabbits did not suffer, but it’s still a little graphic for me to describe in writing. If you want to know how to process rabbits there are lots of good books, internet articles, and videos that you can google. After processing the rabbits and composting the remains, the meat went into the fridge to age until Saturday when the customer picked it up. I felt like an actual businessman writing up receipts.
Now here’s where more patience comes in… I figure that I work around 11 hours a day for 6 days of the week and for 2 hours on the other. That means I work roughly 68 hours per week. We’ve been here 14 weeks so far. That means I’ve worked about 952 hours so far. I’ve made $39. That means my hourly rate is……. 4¢. And that’s without subtracting the expenses yet. Ouch.
This week has been really busy, as usual. I’ve chopped and cleared out our bamboo patch to a more reasonable and aesthetically pleasing arrangement. Tomorrow I’m going to cut all the leaves off of the chopped bamboo to make poles to dry and use for the garden and building Lifestyles Lane structures. The leaves will go into the gardens to compost for spring plantings.
Fall plantings are in place and finally sprouting after a small rain this week. We’ve had several weeks without precipitation, so it took a little while for the seeds to sprout. The plantings include spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, peas, carrots, onions, and parsnips and are all growing now. Hopefully they can evade the feet of the turkeys who come by every day to debug the garden. They’ve really dented the squash bug populations. The butternut squashes are now curing in the office for a couple of weeks until they go into the basement for storage. Then into pies and soups!
The turkeys also do lots of other fun things. See below.
They are doing well and their growth rate really seems to be taking off now. They are also getting bolder and will explore further from the poultry house every day. They will go all the way up the hill behind the house and halfway out into the front pasture, so their range is now about a half mile from their “base.” Now we just have to see what we’re going to do with them. One has been committed to fill an order (thanks Aunt Sheila!) and one will be our Thanksgiving supper. We have 1 male and 2 females of the Chocolates and Black Spanish turkeys, so if no one else places any orders we may save them until spring and try to breed our own turkeys for next year instead of ordering them.
On to the caprine kingdom! The goats seem to be doing great! They are making short work of the brush behind the house that was too thick to chop down or bush hog. The goats have changed that. Each section that they go through is eaten down to the point that I can now go through there with the machete and clear the rest of it out. They really enjoy the brush and eat it preferentially over the grass they have available.
Maggie, the goats’ livestock guardian dog, is doing a great job watching over them. She does take a little getting used to, however, because she watches over them at night by announcing her presence with authority. That means a lot of barking. 🙂 Unlike the other livestock guardian dogs we’ve been around, Maggie really enjoys human attention. I went into the goat paddock the other day to fix the shelter that the goats had broken a part of and I could barely accomplish any of the repairs because Maggie kept sticking her basketball-sized noggin in between my arm and my body wanting to be petted. She really is sweet.
So it’s Sunday. The dogs are sleeping on the couch, the goats are playing king of the mountain on the gravel pile, the turkeys are catching grasshoppers, and the chicks are cheeping. Good day!