Farm & Fibre at Eidolon: Rabbit Hutch & Nesting Boxes.

The other day we built another hutch for our boy Angoras!  In a couple months we'll be building a couple more (hopefully; Peaches may be pregnant!), so we're getting good practice at building our hutches.  A well hidden rabbit is a happy rabbit, and so we built nesting boxes too! 

Our hutches are pretty awesome:  We designed them back when we had rabbits in Utah.  They're low to the ground so the short mamma (Jill) can easily take care of them.  They are 8' x 2' x 2', with a divider wall to split the space in half, so we keep two rabbits per hutch.  Angora's aren't small, so they need a good amount of space to live comfortably.  

Not all rabbit breeds are the same, so before anyone makes a comment about us using hardware cloth on the floors of our hutches; Angoras have a nice layer of wool on the bottoms of their paws, so no, their feet aren't hurting walking on the hardware cloth, and we keep enough hay down for them to add extra comfort.  We raise Angoras for their wool, so we want all of the poop and pee to just fall through the bottom of their hutch.  This helps keep their environment clean.  

When we had dwarf rabbits in Utah, we used hardware cloth in their hutches too, but we included a solid space for them to lay.  To be honest, I hated that solid space because it was always soaked with pee, stinky, attracted bugs,  and a pain to keep clean.  I suggest laying down hay over the hardware cloth; it's easier to keep hutches clean.          

To make sure the hardware cloth is secure we put it in between a wooden frame that is screwed together.  This keeps the raw edges hidden, and keeps annoying predators from just ripping out the hardware cloth.  Then we assemble the frames by screwing them together, and that is the basic structure of the hutch.  

(Raz doesn't like hanging outside for too long without his comfy pillows; we're those kinds of pet owners, we brought the pillow outside so our dog would be comfortable.  Spoiled!)      

We assemble the hinged roof on the hutch and it's finished!  We like to give the outside of the hutch a coat of stain (not pictured here) to help protect the wood from weather.  

We built our nesting boxes out of wood and hay, because we don't like the simple metal nesting boxes sold in stores.  The metal nesting boxes look too industrial, and we like our rabbits to feel at home in their hutches.  

We designed our nesting boxes to tie down to the hardware cloth with wire; which is why the boxes are only three walled.  They are 15" x 10", the floor inside is covered with hay, (the rabbits take care of making their bed in the nesting box themselves mostly), and we weaved hay through the wooden strips of the roof. This allows us to only put a thin layer of hay over the boxes during the hot summer months, and insulate the roof more fully during the cold winter months.  

Heat is a bigger danger to rabbits than cold, (naturally rabbits burrow underground, it's nice and cold under there), and our rabbits are covered with warm wool fur (7 to 8 times warmer than sheep wool), and we live in Texas so keeping our rabbits warm isn't going to be a problem.  Our nesting boxes are to provide a safe place for them to hide.  A well hidden rabbit is a happy rabbit!    

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Hutches and nesting boxes are rabbit approved!

Wool & Woolens at Eidolon House: Angora Wool for Fiber Arts.

We've been collecting wool from our sweet Angora rabbits for about five months now, and we have some to share with you!  Most of what we've collected we're using for our own projects.  You're welcome to shop our Wool & Woolens web-store HERE!  

Exciting news!  We're expecting a new litter of Angoras in a few weeks!  Wish us and Peaches good luck!  Although, I think she's going to be a great mamma.  

Here is a preview of the lovely wool we have available for fiber art enthusiasts! 

We sell our wool in 1 oz packs for $12.00 (not including shipping).  One ounce of angora fiber can yield up to 100 yards of spun yarn depending on how thick the yarn is spun.  Most spinners suggest blending Angora with another longer wool to ease hand spinning, but we've been spinning our Angora pure with drop spindles and the yarn has turned out great!  Check out the listings HERE!      

Happy Spinning!

Homestead at Eidolon: Rabbit Play Yard

We've been wanting to build a little play yard for our rabbits since the day we brought them home.  We've been quite busy in the bindery restoring fantastic books and documents, so we decided to divide and conquer.  I tackled this project while Joseph finished up projects in the bindery.  

I am a girl, and so I like our homestead projects to match and look well put together;  just as if I were putting on an outfit for the day.  But we're on a tight budget so we had to get creative:  Buying fencing panels pre-made is convenient, but also pricey, so we hit Home Depot, our favorite store, and decided on building our fencing from scratch.  

The fence is only two feet tall; if the rabbits really tried they could technically jump over the fence.  But Angoras are not as jumpy as the other breeds of rabbits we've had in the past, thankfully; and playtime will be supervised. Building the fence small meant we could get three fence slats out of a regular 6' cedar slat, and that's where the savings came in.  The play yard is 8' X 8' or 64 square feet.    

Friday evening Joseph built a nice fire for me, and I got to work cutting the fence slats.  Saturday I assembled the panels and the gate.  I stained the gate, and put a clear sealant on the rest of the fence panels.  Sunday afternoon, Joseph and I assembled the panels into the cute play yard and stapled a plastic netting around it on the inside.  

Rabbit Approved!

Introducing the Angoras!

Our first animal addition to our little homestead here at Eidolon House is four beautiful angora rabbits, and we are so excited for this new adventure!  Rabbits are really sweet animals.  We had dwarf rabbits back on our homestead in Utah, and were completely heartbroken to leave them behind when we moved to Texas, (we gave the dwarf rabbits back to the breeder we got them from).

We have been getting into fiber arts and we both have a great interest in spinning wool to make yarn, string, felt, etc.  There is something really rewarding about beginning a craft or project from the very beginning of the process:  Raising the animals that produce the wool we make into yarn for our knitted or woven projects is just cool.  

We'd like you to meet our Angora rabbits!

This is Peaches.  She is a white mix English and French Angora.  

This is the ever so sweet Peaches.  

She is a white mix English and French Angora.  

This is the handsome Charlie Gimli.

He is a red mix English and French Angora.

This is the lovely Harriet.

She is a white mix English and French Angora.

This is our friendly giant Beans.

He is a chocolate mix English, Giant, & French Angora. 

We've been in collecting wool mode for now.  All that means is we brush them out about 3 times a week and save the wool that comes off of them.  Brushing them also ensures they stay clean and free of mats.  Angoras shed their wool naturally about every 3 to 4 months so brushing helps pull out all that under coat they're naturally shedding.  They love being groomed, and we love holding them and giving them treats while we brush them.  

Not all animal fur is classified as wool.  I feel like I should mention this because we've gotten interesting comments about saving dog and cat fur etc., which we have zero interest in doing.  While technically you can spin any kind of long fiber; when it comes to animal fiber, we're only  interested in what is commonly classified as wool.

Welcome to Eidolon House, rabbits!  We already love you!