Pasture-Raised Rabbit Paddock System, Julie Engel, WI

My Name is julie Engel and I received a sarah grant in 2010 and it has helped me a Lot [I] Have Rabbits as you can See or maybe you can’t see [um]? and i [raised] Them on Pasture and The Sare grant Funded several key Aspects of Moving the Project from Sort of Working To Working Better and Those Aspects, [Were] [Kip] Mortality Record-Keeping and The Fencing System that you see here as Part of the Sur Grant I received Funding to Buy A computer Program and Install it on my Computer and That has Helped Greatly to Keep Track of Genetics and then, also Keeping Track of How Many are Born and Where They are and How Old They are and Who has good Mothering skills and who I should Keep and so I’ve Been able to effectively Keep Track of that Data and Use it to Breed the Dough’s that are the Most effective [Mothers] and to put Down Those that are not and So I went from About 17. Dough’s at the Time of the grant and Now I have [52] 53 and Not all of Them are Are Reliable but again I use that Computer Computer Program To Look at the information that I’m Gathering and See if The Dough Meets the Criteria that I’ve Set Forth and then Using [That] Information is Whether or not she Stays in The Breeding Cycle or not so and it’s Been Really Really Helpful to Have that To Have that Computer Program Another Aspect of The Sare Grant Focused on the Fencing and This type of Physical Barrier Fence is what I developed I? Used to use electric Fencing I used an Electra net from Premier one That, was meant for Poultry and? I had about A 23% escape loss And i built This physical Barrier Fence and I went from A 23% escape, loss down to Zero so Even Though Sometimes Rabbits Make it out Periodically are You Usually Well I have always found them and put them back in and so it’s been A really effective way [to] Control Where The Rabbits Are Which of Course then, has A great Impact on the Landscape Because I’m Controlling how much and How Aggressively They Graze in A Certain Area so the Rabbits are Entirely Dependent [upon] The Forage for Their Nutrition I don’t supplement With Pellets or any other type of Off Farm Feed in The Summer and so Having this Fence and Having them stay Where They’re Supposed to stay and Allows Me to be able to have that Control, over The Pasture and Then Also over Their Nutrition so this fence is a Hog Panel and Hog Panels Are 16 feet [Long] I cut Them in Half so they’re eight feet Long and There’s Chicken wire on the Bottom 24 inches and Then I sewed A skirt at the Bottom and That Takes Away the visual Cue for the Rabbits To dig Here Because if They See light under The Bottom of the Livestock Panel or the Hog Panel I should Say Then They tend to Gravitate to that Section and dig under at that point and then They can get out But This skirt Is [a] pretty effective Barrier it Stays on the Outside of the Fence and I kick it up towards the Hog Panel and It Keeps the Rabbits from Digging under the Fence They’re allowed to dig in the Middle of the pen but They don’t dig out Rabbits Have a great Great Potential and They Are Herbivores but They, also Have Tapping Bottom teeth Unlike A ruminant and And so they are very effective at Grazing Things and Taking Forage Down to the Ground and I think They can, be used as you can see here this Pasture is somewhat Scrubland and I think They Can Be used very Effectively to renovate Areas As Long as They’re Controlled Effectively and in Combination Probably With other Mechanical Types of Mowing and other Types of Things to Keep the Thistle Down They are The Most effective and efficient Converters [of] Forage and to meat and They’re Small and I think it’s Really a nice Supplement To Operations That Already Have Diversified Grazing Going on They eat Different [Types] of Plants in A different Way and They can Layer Out Or fill out the layers of of A diversified Building Operation So I feel like it’s just kind of a win-Win-Win Situation they’re also Really Healthy Rabbits Like This Grazed Like This Have Virtually no Fat and Virtually no cholesterol so it’s Really Heart Healthy meat Rabbit in General is Really Heart Healthy and then Pasture raising them Having Them 100% Forage fat Forage fed Or 100% Grass-Fed and I Think Ratchets Up the Health Benefits Even more so um It’s a win for the land it’s A win for the Producer it’s A win for the Consumer [I] think that it’s A Really Good System [to] implement on A sustainable farm All right so We are About to move the rabbits from the Section that they are Currently? Grazing to the Section that They will be Grazing They have Been in This Section for about 32 Hours and They will Move Into This Section and I Expect Them to Take about I Don’t know Anywhere from 30 To 36 Hours [to] Completely graze this Down to Look like what it is here and so in Order to Do This I have a modular system each Panel Is 8 feet Long So I have Three Panels Heading Staff and I have Five Panels Heading east and then I don’t have any Three Panels on that Eastern Arm and so I’m going to pick up these Three Panels and Move Them Into Those Western Arm and The Reason I’m Picking up this Panel Here is because the Rabbits will be Attracted and Come and graze Right Here and Usually as Soon as They Shove Their Face in some Forage they will not be that interested in Traveling that far but Should, They Be curious They Usually go in A straight line and so they’re going to hit that Fence and Not escape While I’m Setting up the western arm Usually? It Takes Them a while to figure out that that western Edge Is open Hi Kiddos you know, you’re going to move don’t you And so I have enough Time Because I’m Taking it from The Northwestern Corner Moving it to the South Eastern Corner I have enough Time in that Space so let’s See if it Works we’ll See We’ll See if I [proved] Myself right and If the Rabbits Cooperate Which you Never Really know With These Mysterious Little Creatures Kick it, oh, come on you guys Come on you Guys Come on you Guys So it doesn’t Look like There’s 180 Rabbits in Here but as. They all start Swarming across I Guess Seeing is Believing right you

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