Around here, there is a clear difference between our rabbits (food) and our bunnies (friends). Bunnies have names and become a part of the family, while rabbits get to processing weight, and are then processed into our deep freezer.
The hides are preserved in salt, which makes them hard like rawhide, then treated in diluted battery acid and hand pulled to make them soft and pliable. While many people recoil at the thought of fur clothing and housewares, I think that it is better to not let any part of these creatures go to waste.
On a slightly more disgusting note (jump to the next paragraph now if you are casually observing this site)… The end trails from processing our rabbits and chickens is used in our ‘fly buckets’. They invite the flies in who then lay eggs in the leftover bits and their larvae drop from holes in the bucket into the watchful gaze of our chickens who love the easy protein. And the cycle of life continues…
Bugs is our Alpha male. He is our main stud and he is huge! Bugsy boo love when I use alliteration with the B sound. He perks up and dances around his cage waiting for me to pet him on his side. Do you know how dogs kick their hind legs when you rub that one spot on their side? Bugs likes to lick my arm uncontrollably when I pet his side. He has no control over himself and will lick walls in his cage or even lap at the air if he cannot get to my forearm.
Q-Tip, or QT (cutie), is one of our original breeding mothers. She has been retired to our living room now, but she was a phenomenal bunny momma. She consistently had 8 kits and nearly every one survived. QT and bugs have a special relationship and seriously enjoyed each others company, but only 1 thing happens when you put a mature male and female bunny in the same area for a bit. Mix any two of the same sex and all you have is a fight. Rabbits really do best as solitary animals and feel better that there is a cage between them and the next bunny.
Snowball was the other original momma, but she got sick and received mercy last year. She is in a sort of pet cemetery where we place the few critters we would not eat. She is next to Red, a chicken who we stopped a fox from eating, but only after he punctured her several times. Red also received quick and painless mercy after we realized she was not going to get better.
Lucky is my sons pet. He was next in line on the day of his slaughter and while I took a break, my son grabbed the last rabbit of the day and played with him in the yard. This ‘rabbit’ was so docile, curious, and playful with my son that he instantly earned the name Lucky and changed his status from rabbit to bunny. He is still with us and still attention starved, even with constant attention from all of us.
Our other two bunnies do not have real names. We distinguish them by location as in Yard bunny and House bunny based on which side their cages are on. These two mommas are the daughters of Snowball and both of them are huge! This is the first year they are mature, so we have yet to see how well the babies do.
Their poop is better than chicken poop at being fertilizer. It is very low in ammonia and very dry, so it can go directly on to plants without burning them. It composts well, it can be ground into a sort of dust quite easily, and the rather uniformly sized poo-balls can be easily screened though hardware cloth to sift out straw or dust. Believe it or not, organic gardeners buy this by the 5 gallon pail, or by the pound.