Geoff Lawton's Rabbits

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by thepoolroom, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've seen rabbits mentioned in passing in a few of Geoff Lawton's videos and articles, but I've not been able to find out any information on how he raises them. I understand he has them at both the Greening The Desert II site, and Zaytuna Farm.

    Has anyone that has been to either site seen the rabbit setups? Could you give a brief overview?

    Even better, could you give a highly detailed overview with photographs and/or video? :)

    I'm also interested in how other people are raising rabbits in a permaculture system. The only concrete information I've been able to find so far is from VelaCreations (https://velacreations.com/).

    I'd love to read about more setups!

    I've currently got my breeding rabbits in suspended cages, growing out the young ones in movable rabbit tractors - I've modelled my setup after Joel Salatin's. Now that I'm comfortable with their care and handling, I'd like to move towards something with a higher level of welfare.
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've seen his set up at Zaytuna 2 years ago - it may have changed since then. He had three arrangements - one was suspended cages within the chook / duck run so that manure dropped to the ground and was added to the bird stuff and eventually this all runs downhill into the food forest. He also had cages suspended over worm farms in the bamboo grove near the polytunnel nursery so the poo ended up with the worms. And he has a rabbit tractor about 2 m x 2 m that is used to prepare the ground for future food forest planting. From memory the chooks follow on after the rabbits, but I may have that wrong.

    I don't know what breeds or how long he keeps them until harvest or how he manages his breeding.

    I think that rather than trying to use someone else's system the way to go is to use the input / output exercise that you learn in a PDC. Draw up a table of what rabbits need - food, shelter, water, sunlight, etc etc and what rabbits produce - manure, meat, skins and their behaviours - chewing grass rather than digging it up - think of EVERYTHING you possibly can about the essential rabbit-ness of rabbits. Then work out how you can meet those inputs from your property and how you can use their behaviours as a useful function rather than it being destructive and how their outputs can feed into your system as an input for something else.

    That way you come up with a unique solution that works for you rather than what works for someone else.
     
  3. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    great answer eco, thanks.
     
  4. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks for the additional info.

    I've been through the input/output exercise thing (by the way, rabbits do dig up grass!), and my current system is working well in those terms. I'm not going to claim I've thought of every possiblity, though. It's always helpful to see what others are doing - I often pick up interesting ideas from others to tweak my own systems.
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I didn't know that! As a QLDer I'm not allowed to keep rabbits (you have to be a licensed magician…. seriously) so I have no personal experience with them.
     
  6. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yeah, your rabbit laws are very strict up there! I didn't know there was an exception for magicians - it sounds funny! They must have a powerful union :). I wonder how many a magician is allowed to keep, and whether you could "rotate stock" regularly, if you get what I mean.
     
  7. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    From the Dept of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
    So you need to be a magician who works for a university! Doesn't say how many you are allowed.
     
  8. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    When we first moved to NSW the first thing I got the kids (OK I lied - the first thing I got me ,but pretended it was for the kids :) ) was rabbits. I'd wanted a rabbit since I could stand up by myself, but being a Queenslander that wasn't going to happen.
    We almost got ferrets too, but thank god one of the cute little blighters (& they're cute as all hell when they're just kittens) sunk its teeth to the bone on my finger just before I could reach for my wallet! Narrow escape that one :)
     
  9. Rick Larson

    Rick Larson Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Messages:
    743
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yikes! Bloody I bet. Thanks for the lesson. :)
     
  10. Nigel Richards

    Nigel Richards Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    eco4560; great advice, can't agree more - trial and error, exploration, experiment...DESIGN, should be the goal of all of us.
     
  11. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It took the pet shop owner plus a by-stander to disengage the naughty little blighter from my finger. I was too busy willing myself to stand really still & not shake my hand around like it was on fire to be of any help :) That & trying hard not to cry! :)
     
  12. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0


    You've got it nailed there Nigel :) Design is everything :)
    And yeah - trial & error & exploration & experimentation & getting it wrong all pushes you towards good design that gets it right :)
     
  13. Spidermonkey

    Spidermonkey Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    If it helps I was at Zaytuna last year doing my PDC and I noticed that the rabbit tractor cages had mesh bottoms so the rabbits can eat the greens and the waste can fall out but the rabbits couldn't tunnel out. I would imagine that you would have to move it round a bit more often than a chook tractor though as they would only be able to eat what they can reach through the mesh.
     
  14. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Go for guinea pigs - you can free range them & don't have to worry about them digging.
    I've run mobs of them free range. They love it & thrive, but you have to keep them out of the veggie garden cause they just help themselves :)
    I dunno how anyone can eat a guinea pig though ... I can't even eat a rabbit - I'd have to be starving to death to eat a guinea pig : /
     
  15. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Maybe you have to start shearing them Helen. When they kick you in the back of the head, you'll want to murder them.

    Hmmm - No - it does't really work for guinea pigs does it.
     
  16. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,519
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0

    No. It doesn't. They are the cutest, most defenceless, sweetest lil' critters you'll come across.
    There's a permaculture mob up in Hervey Bay I think that eat them - they had a video about processing them somewhere. They do them in a jaffle maker :( :( :(
    Like I said, it'd be a cold day in hell I ate a guinea pig ...
     
  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's Elisabeth Fekonia. She's a Noosa Permie person and runs lots of courses. I've been to a few and have eaten lots of her food but never a flattened guinea pig. Mores the pity. Would be nice to try it out on someone else's GP first in case they weren't that tasty before committing to the whole shebang!

    I reckon I could knock a GP over the back of the head with a spanner and get it ready for tea. They remind me of rats rather than cute bunny wunny's.

    Big animals like cows and sheep are a different issue. I'm not so sure I could stare one down and smack it hard enough to stun it!
     

Share This Page

-->