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Tomato Adventures part2

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

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Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I cannot remember which thread had a topic about setting their portable chicken coops over their square beds.......I set my rabbit cage over my raised bed. The rabbits will be spread out into the other cages as soon as I pick up another water bottle.

I won't be planting my tomatoes and other veggie plants in this bed until the first of April. The rabbits have 3 to 4 weeks to fertilize it.

4 female rabbits and one male rabbit.....all brothers and sisters.

Thumbnail by CricketsGarden
Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

Jnette asked questions about the rabbit cages in the previous thread.

I have 6 other rabbits.. 2 (bucks) will be gone by the end of the week. ..2 others are pregnant. One mama rabbit due today. The other is due Friday. They will have anywhere from 5 to 8 babies each.
The cage in photo was pre- made. I have two of those. I think they cost $75. I made one cage with 1/2 inch hardware mesh to keep snakes out of cage when babies are born. Have another cage that is snake proof that someone else made.
I think the 1/2" mesh was $12 for a 2x12ft roll at Tractor Supply.

They are meat rabbits and we will eat rabbit.

Total rabbits today= 11 with two litters on the way.

My son bought a doe rabbit yesterday with a cage. The man selling the rabbits was disappointed cause he bred his does so he could sell rabbits for Easter and non of them had any babies. I felt this rabbit last night and told my son she was expecting and he should put a pile of hay in her cage. This morning she was pulling fur and making a nest.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

I fooled around and have not yet bred my 3 does this season. My 4 rabbits cost me $7 a month in feed and they convert it into the very best garden fertilizer there is. It can be used without worry of burning plants.

Last year I dug a hole with a post hole digger about a foot deep between my pepper plants and filled it with rabbit pellets. I had outstanding peppers. I plan to do the same thing again this year and will add the process to some of my tomato plants.

The fertilizer alone makes keeping rabbits worth the cost. The butchered babies are just an occasional treat.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

I may have contributed to a couple of threads regarding rabbit tractors as a childhood friend's father had a set-up for his rabbits which I always thought was genius. His was set up on wheels and rolled along the brick bed borders. I always thought the bunnies enjoyed the change of scenery.

Congratualtions on your son's good buy.

I wouldn't mind doing rabbits, my dogs would love it! =( Maybe in a few years. The Corgis aren't really the problem. They leave anything in a cage or coop alone. Its that crazy sheppard/healer mix someone dumped at our house a few years ago. She's a darling really. But a heat-seeking missile when she smells bunny. Good for my garden but she has impulse control issues ;~/.

My tomatoes should be going outside in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to try the shade cloth this year and see how far I can extend the tomato season in to summer. I love garden experimentation!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

So, how different is building a rabbit hutch than a chicken tractor? The GardenGirl has a chicken tractor that sits directly inside her raised beds. She moves it as necessary 3 months before planting.

Could I do the same with a rabbit hutch that sits over the bed? The poo would drop right down into the bed.


Tonto Basin, AZ

Quote from terri_emory :
. . . .crazy sheppard/healer mix . . . heat-seeking missile when she smells bunny . . . .impulse control issues. . . .

Haa haa haaa haa ha!

We got one of those.

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)


I raised meat rabbits for a while a few years ago. I think the most I had at once was 30 does. They definitely produce plenty of fertilizer! It would be fine to have the rabbits over raised beds. I would still keep them in wire-floored cages, versus an open-floor chicken tractor. Keeping them out of the dirt will help with some parasites that could be a problem in the dirt.

My cages were all wire, 1"x1/2" welded, galvanized wire bottoms, with 1"x2" wire sides and tops. I made them 2' wide, 2' tall, and 4' long. For non-pregnant does and bucks, I put in a divider, for 2' x2' cages. The brood cages (for pregnant does and litters after weaning) were the full 2' x 4'. They were assembled with "J-clip" aluminum rings. The cages could be hung, or rested on bricks/blocks. There is absolutely no reason that the rabbits couldn't be raised over garden beds. Since their manure is less hot than chicken, they wouldn't have to be moved so long before actually planting the bed. Also, earthworms LOVE rabbit manure. Many commercial rabbitries also raise worms in the manure.


Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Sh.....don't tell my pet rabbit. He has the run of the kitchen, he is box trained so he almost always uses his cage. When I clean it the contents always go it the garden. It dosnt take long to see the benefits of rabbit poop.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Now, see, if I could train a bunny to the kitty litter pan, I could work with that, too.

Uh, who butchered your meat rabbits? I don't think I could ever "kill duh wabbit..."

So, if I did rabbits over the beds, do I need at least two? I know some animals prefer life with a companion. But, two females, or two males, since I don't want to breed more bunnies. Which pair would be more agreeable?

Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)


You could keep them "together" as in side-by-side in separate cages. Two males will definitely fight. Two females may get a little irritable from time-to-time but won't fight like males will. For just a few...if you don't plan to raise and butcher, you might get pets from a rabbit rescue.

As far as butchering, we did occasionally, but I sold most of my rabbits to a commercial processor, "Pel-freeze". They took them live, and processed at their plant. You can buy rabbit in some grocery freezer sections.


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok. I'll be looking for rabbits already frozen, and rabbit recipes!

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

It has been another long tiring day. I had customers in between the work and I had to show a rental mobile home in between work plus ...........gosh, fed the chickens, re-constructed a few chicken nesting frames....gathered eggs and more eggs.....
Those rabbits over the raised beds are really putting out some heaping piles of fertilizer in only a few days...SWEET.
And my sons new doe rabbit did have 5 babies today by lunch time.

I did not take pictures today....I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off ..... I like it that way. Anyway, I lifted the lid on the tomato trash can and saw a few roots making their way out the drain holes. Sweet.

The tomato plants that are upright in the tomato turvys are doing gang busters compared to the upside down tomato.

I tilled the garden plot today for the later crop of mater plants. It finally dried enough to till it. Good thing too cause the weeds were happily on their way. The garden plot will only have Better Bush tomato plants. I will have enough vines to tend to already.

Got half of the tomato plants that are in 4 gallon pots twined and tied up. Gotta work on the other half in the next two days. The plants are getting tall fast. I don't want them falling over.

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

will finish stringing up the first 200 tomato vines today. The plants are growing about an inch a day.

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Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

How do they grow so fast? I wonder about that with my own plants too they grow so fast. You are so organized how long will it take you to string up 200 vines? Are these the plants you posted a picture of at the beginning?

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

What gorgeous tomato plants!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm still trying to figure out how those tomatoes are growing under the greenhouse, with the filtered light? I keep reading that they need 6-8 hours of DIRECT sunlight every day. I know the greenhouse temps are controlled, but the light doesn't look all that sun-shiney bright.

Please explain.


Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

GG, I don't think greenhouse cover filters the sunlight all that much unless there is shadecloth on it. At least my greenhouse experience was that the sun was VERY hot- especially when I was having to work in it!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Jo, forgot to tell you your seeds were sent yesterday. Should get them tomorrow I would think.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Jo!

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

It is very hot in the greenhouse and very bright. It gets something like 99 percent direct light and 200 percent heat during the day. The last picture was taken just before a storm. = cloudy

It takes about 4 hours to twine 200 vines with several breaks to dry off. :)

not sure if these are the same plants I posted in the begining. I will have to go look.

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

from left to right.

Feb 4
Feb 27
Mar 3
Mar 8

the plants are about 8 weeks old now and will flower in a couple of days.

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SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)


Hutto, TX

I have a question about raising rabbits. My son recently purchased a 45 acre farm 5 miles outside of Marble Falls Texas. I am building a big garden for his family. There are many outbuildings on the property including a house, 2 story barn, and this goat pen?. I would like to make this a rabbit hutch. Is this a suitable structure to raise rabbits. How do I get started? Can someone take the time to walk me through it? I would be very grateful for the info. Thank you in advance.

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Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I don't know everything about rabbits but I will tell what I know.
If they have a pen like that, you have to put wire on the ground so they don't dig out.
It is best to keep males seperate from females so you can monitor and house the expecting does. Even then, some females will fight with other females but you can seperate them if and when you see a problem. Males fight for territory.
Another thing to know is, does have two uteruses from what I understand which means if they are with a buck a little later than the 1st pregnancy then it is possible that they get pg again and carry two litters at once and normally 2 wks apart and this is said not to be a good thing.....dunno why .....which is why the does should be seperated from the bucks after they are bred once. They are prone to eye infections especially the kittens after birth. This is why rabbit breeders like to keep them on clean wire elevated above the ground to keep the rabbits out of the manure.
I am still learning. I have learned more reading stuff on the net with google search. My aunt raises rabbits. She has them in dog kennels with wire on the ground but when she breeds the does, she puts them in special housing for a clean environment and safe from snakes and other predators.

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I think I lost two pounds of weight from sweating while stringing up the tomato plants. It was hot way up there. I normally do it in the late evening or early morning when it is not hot but I wanted to get this done and out of the way.

This batch of toms set up is complete.

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Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

update on the hydro trash can tom.= you can see the new suckers at each leaf node........I am keeping these. This plant will be pruned to have 8 to 10 vines on the plant.

and the big beef seedlings that get transplanted into the grow beds in the tomato house.
I want to transplant these just as they are....seedlings into the soil........but I have a fear that as soon as I do, the mice will cut their heads off. Undecided.

This message was edited Mar 9, 2012 7:04 PM

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Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

Everything looks good. The string tomatoes look like the setup you used in 08 or 09. We do tend to go back to what works for us, don't we? I know I do.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Its amazing how fast those plants grow, they do look great. I have some pepper plants that were sown on Feb 5 and by the 27th they were so big I couldnt figure out what was going on. They will be potted up this weekend, its a little late size wise but the warm weather has encouraged them to grow really fast.

Hornstrider-theres one thing I want to add about rabbits. Make sure their house is really secure, Ive lost more chickens to coons then I care to remember. I dont wish that on anybody.

Richland, WA(Zone 7b)

Cricket, that is one beautiful setup there!

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

I would think that this structure, with some work, could be made into a nice rabbit hutch. I think you would want to start out with some info on how many rabbits you want/need for what? Eating, freezer, pets, or?? Different breeds for each thing. I would not have them down on the ground tho. Like Cricket said. But, even at that the wire down there is a good thing to keep predators out. Might be difficult to clean is the only thing.

If it gets cold there it should be insulated. On one of the threads they are discussing this very thing. I will look and let you know 'cause they are talking about size of cage etc. for does and males etc. Seemed to be quite knowledgeable. I'll let you know.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Hornstrider, the discussion of rabbits is on this thread at the top of it. Take a look. Or is that where you got the idea of using that structure? Whatever, I think it will need some work,but it should be good.

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

woohooo Cricket. can't wait until mine look that way.
we just got a 24x 96 but will only put up the 48 ' first .
i don't do as many tomatos as you do :)

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I am cleaning the tomato house now......been cleaning on it off and on between other chores.... it is where the seedlings go this week starting tomorrow, including the other 32 varieties x5 for that " tomato pic nic" that I am scared of now that my grandfather asked-----what are you going to do if you have cars lined up down the road????????? Ummmm I don't know. That image scares me to death.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

LOL, is he trying to scare you? That would be a dream. To run out instead of having them left over. Then you just put up a sign saying sold out.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

"If you plant them, they will come!"
(Fields of Tomatoes)

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

LOLLLL Gym that is great ! I sure hope they do start lineing up down the road for your tomatos.

Carrollton, TX(Zone 8a)

High five for that one.

Hutto, TX

CricketsGarden ........thanks for the information. I will need to do some reading up on the subject thit is for sure. That is some set up you have there.....very, very impressive!!!

Jnette..........Thank you......I will take a look at it

Lisa (sorry...I was tired).........did you get any snow in Liberty Hill Alaska last night??? I am heading your way here shortly. I am going to the farm.

CricketsGarden.....speaking of the farm. We have another outbuilding that would make a great greenhouse if we opened up the sides, and put a clear roof on top.........Whatcha' think??

This message was edited Mar 11, 2012 8:39 AM

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Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Hornstrider, what were all these buildings originally? Seems like a lot of them, and why are they in the condition they are now? By condition, I mean they don't seem to have any reason, like what were they used for?

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