A Bunny Raising Businessby Cedar & Sage Farm | Oct 01, 2017 | The Farm
One of the greatest things about being a mother is watching my kids develop their unique and individual traits. It amazes me how all three of my children are so vastly different, but were all raised by the same standards and examples that we set for our home.
Our middle son always has a plan or an idea. Some usually, overly complex and unrealistic dream that we are left to support until we simply can’t. I will just take a minute here to be thankful that the building of a “real Iron Man suit” phase has passed. It was several years long and even involved emails secretly written from my email account to some spammy Chinese company swearing that they could build and deliver a replica Iron Man suit for a mere $490USD when he realized that Michael’s really didn’t have the supplies to build such a suit himself.
While this very confusing and complicated trait is sometimes exhausting and painful to parent, it is a quality I hope he possesses and molds into his adult life. He is a creator and an entrepreneur. He has vision and doesn’t see the walls ahead of him; he sees his desire for his end goal. It’s a gift I wish we all had more of.
So, when he asked to use the computer last spring to look for a new barn bunny (we had inherited a friend’s house bunny that didn’t make the transition so well to barn bunny), I don’t know why I was surprised that it didn’t go according to plan. What my other two kids would have seen when they entered in all the appropriate key-words into Kijiji, was a list of all the cute little bunnies seeking a home. But, what he saw was a business opportunity.
“Mom, did you know that most of these bunnies are $45.00”? I simply told him to “look at the free ones.” “You’re missing the point. One bunny can sell for $45.00,” he told me. I calmly reiterated that “yes, that’s ridiculous, so find a free one.” This conversation continued as he scoured the computer from the kitchen island while I made dinner. Then, after a long quiet spell he said “did you know that a bunny is only pregnant for about 28 days?” I did not know this interesting piece of trivia, nor did I know that they average nine kits per litter.
I’m not sure if it was my focus on not burning dinner or my internal ‘don’t register what he’s saying and it won’t happen’ motherly instinct, but I just chalked this newfound information up to some highly detailed ad. Wrong. He was well into the throws of researching what was involved in breeding bunnies because the cash-flow was clearly very lucrative for a 12-year-old kid.
So, he convinced me that we should get a couple of the “cheap bunnies,” but “good ones” to breed. Considering this same week, he also wanted to start a furniture business, and we had just passed by the invention of magnetic shoes that I was “not helping him with,” this seemed like something we could do. What was another couple of small farm animals?
So he picked out a couple of Holland Lop Rabbits, and we brought them home. I did a bit of reading about what to expect when your rabbit is expecting, and I was pretty confident that we really didn’t even know if we had two of a different sex and if we did, it would be pretty simple.
photo credit Kara Rohl Photography
At 26 days after they moved in, I put in the cage a nesting box that Andrew so excitedly built and lined it with hay. Each day he would feed, water and cuddle the bunnies and they appeared no different than the last.
On day 28, I was at a media event and received a panicked “emergency” phone call that “the bunny had bunnies and there was a genetic mutation because they were purple.” Apparently, my daughter hadn’t done the same research into what to expect. When I got home, I checked, and sure enough, there was a wiggly cluster of nine odd-colored fetus-looking creatures in a remarkable nest of fur in our nesting box.
Over the next week, we watched as the number of bunnies dwindled to six and the others were nowhere to be found. Who knew bunnies cannibalized their young? Fun fact number 35 in bunny rearing.
As the bunnies grew, they became insanely cute creatures that were becoming harder for the kids to want to part with. But, our son was committed to his business venture. So we took photos and posted them to Kijiji when the time was right. Here is the key! The timing (by no planning on our part) was perfect, as these babies were due to be homed right at Easter.
So, while the last couple of weeks of bunny rearing seemed more like a chore than not, my son was pleasantly surprised to make a whopping $180.00 off his first Cedar and Sage Farm litter of bunnies.
Let me just say that bunny selling isn’t quite as successful when A. it isn’t Easter and B. they multiply like Gremlins after dark. Lesson number 36 in bunny rearing is that they are most fertile the first 24 hours after giving birth!
So, needless to say after a few surprising discoveries of squirming little nests, an influx of hopping hay eaters and not so many buyers, we decided to halt the bunny business so as not to overload our local shelters with our long-eared friends.
The experience was fun and educational, more lucrative for the first kid than the other two, but well worth the trust I put in him.
I have somehow been blessed beyond measure; I am married to a wonderful guy who shares in the great joy of raising our three amazing children. We recently picked up and left the city to follow our hearts, with the intention for a more simple and natural lifestyle. Both my husband and I are native Calgarians who have always been awed with the wonder of looking out at the Rocky Mountains. For us, transplanting into the foothills just made sense and we couldn’t wait to get here. It wasn’t until I was removed from the hurry of the city; that I was able to settle into my purpose and accept and celebrate the things that make me happy. Combining my love for bringing life into a neglected space, and filling it with a marriage of old and new, has enabled me to take on the challenge of rebirthing this 1980’s farmhouse. Being able to do this from home, while tackling the daily chores of caring for our farm animals is pure bliss and sits comfortably in my heart. I am chomping at the bit (along with our horses…) to continue to watch the evolution of our space take shape… And I can’t wait to fill this home with love, memories and the smell of Sunday dinners for years to come. I believe that the greatest gift in life is family, and I have been placed amongst a beautiful tribe (my late grandfather’s endearing term for our extended family). I yearn to give my children and their friends a place to melt away from the hustle; in a comfortable and pretty space, which I hope can be a refuge from a complicated and sometimes messy world. Although this move and new direction was not written down in my master plan (and I am a list and plan girl through and through), I am thrilled that the happenings which brought us here have unraveled just the way they did. I have dedicated this year to being grateful for our many gifts while also accepting my limitations with grace and courage. In addition to my home and family, I love camping, iced tea, Volkswagens and a good book… in no particular order. I hope you can find inspiration, relatability or even just a good laugh by following my blog posts as I figure out just what will unfold next.