Fodder · Rabbits

Hutch & Fodder

Hutch / Cages

The new hutch frame is not complete.

However, it is in a state of functional disarray.

Before installing the cages.

Half of the roof is on. I changed my mind, mostly due to mechanics of the situation, and thus I need another roofing panel. Of course, I made the change after the trip to the hardware store.

I made changes, for mechanics, to the structure, slightly. In doing so, I forgot why I’d had those exact placements. So the cage took forcing into position.

Cages installed.

However, the cages are in place, and the first cage has an inhabitant. In the far corner in the above picture, you might barely see a blue tarp? There’s a cage under that, sitting on top of bricks, sitting on top of the lid of the compost bin. That’s the larger of the palomino does. I’d hoped to keep the two together for a little bit longer, but had to makeshift that arrangement the very first night they were here. She’s now in the first cage of the new hutch. That’s got a side protector up and full roofing.

That back corner has been cleared out, and I can do a bit of jiggering to add onto the main hutch frame, to allow for that cage to be hung in line with the others. First I have to cut it down, though, as it’s a 30×36. Not really a loss: that back 6″ of wire is pretty rotted out, anyway.

I may decide to add another support to the front/center of the main structure but I need it left open for now.

For the record: working in a freezing drizzle, with everything coated in a light layer of ice isn’t what I really think of as “fun.” Climbing up on a ladder (to screw down the roofing) that’s got ice on it even less so. Thankfully, I didn’t have any mishaps, just a few scares.


I started the fodder experience about this time last Sunday. The first pound of wheat seed was weighed out and covered in about 2″ of water. That first batch is now coming in at about 4 pounds, 10-11oz. I think it has room to grow a little bit more before being divvied up for animal feed. We’ll see how it is tomorrow.

Batch 1, Day 6 of growth.
BatchWeightDay (of growth)
#14 lb 10.7 oz6
#24 lb 0 oz5
#33 lb 1.2 oz4
#42 lb 12.6 oz3
#52 lb 5 oz2
#62 lb 5 oz1
#72 lb 2 oz0 – soak finished this morning
#81 lb-1 – soaking, est. weight pre-soak

I don’t have weights previous to this. For some reason, I hadn’t really thought about it. I had measured out what was a pound of seed with the container I’m using for scooping, and that was it.

It will be interesting to see how the batches that started with the LED are different or not in final mass. They visually appear to be greener and further along in development. Guess we’ll see if that’s shown through with the data.

Visually, “about doubled” is right for the seeds post a 24 hour soak, so I’m glad to see the weight reading is close to that. The first batch wasn’t quite doubled with the 8-10 hour soak. The first two days of growth show no real change — by day 2, you can start seeing a few adventurous seeds peeking about, but the growth really starts happening on day 3. There, we see a 7.6 ounce change in weight. I’m not quite sure why there’s only 4.6 ounces of change between days 3 and 4. I even re-weighed it to be sure that reading was correct. However, then it cranks up to a 14.8 oz gain the next day, and a 10.7 oz gain the day after.

It will be beneficial to keep track of the weight changes per-batch, as well.

7 thoughts on “Hutch & Fodder

  1. I can appreciate the micro nutrients from the greens and the change from basically a carb to a protein the rabbits can utilize, but how can there be any weight increase other than just water? This is all very intriguing.

    1. While plants can uptake nutrients from soil, their primary energy source is light and C02. That’s photosynthesis. Light + C02 + water == growth.

      Photosynthesis overview.

      During the initial growth stage, the nutrients are being supplied by the seed / embryo. The primary energy source is light (which is why the LED grow lights made an impact as fast as they did) and air.

      1. Seems like I remember something about “matter can neither be created or destroyed”. It seems for the mass of the plant to increase it would have to take mass from 1) water or 2) soil 3) Air. In this case since there is no soil, it can obviously take the mass from the water or air.

        So, is the weight of the water being considered? I think any increase in weight would be negligible if the water input is accounted for. And by negligible, I mean 0.

        Help me out here. I’m an accountant!

        1. The weight of the water input is only part of the equation. The plants are *also* pulling carbon dioxide from the air, and using the light (energy input) to convert that to mass. In this situation, there’s been minimal water input apart from the initial soak. I run a quart of water through, and it basically keeps things lightly damp. Most of the water runs off from the daily rinsing, and even more than half of the water the seeds are soaked in isn’t used.

          Without the carbon dioxide from the air to be converted into glucose and structure, there is no growth or mass addition. Cell walls are made from carbon-based structures. The C02 is critical to the growth / mass addition. Light enables the plants to convert C02 to glucose and structure. When there isn’t light, the plants exhale O2 (oxygen gas), while they (for lack of a better word) sleep. So I have the LED grow lights on a timer to give a reasonable amount of rest time for the seedlings.

          And, yes, the law of thermodynamics applies to biological models, but the basic grade / high school understanding most individuals have of the concept is … inadequate when applied to biological models. It is not strictly “input in” equals “input out.” There’s heat loss and energy loss, as the individual (plant, animal, human) is not a closed system. (The Law of Thermodynamics applies in the purest sense to ONLY a closed system.) There’s also enzymatic activity, hormone regulation, and other regulating/influencing factors into input vs output.

  2. Regardless of the mass increase, I think this is a great way to feed some does. I will look into it further. The feed at the store is too cost prohibitive and in the winters and, even in Texas, the feedbill goes through the roof. Keep the updates coming! Loving the blog.

    1. Oh, yeah. My dad was telling me that *layer pellets* have gone up to $16 a bag, and rabbit pellets are like $20 a bag. O.O He’s in the Bryan-College station area.

      I’m paying $10 and $12.50 respectively. It still adds up FAST.

      There are a lot of youtube videos on the topic. Everyone seems to have slightly different experiences and results. I’m actually surprised I got anything to grow; I’m not very good with green things. 🙂

      1. We bought some pigs from a lady in Houston who did this in her house for her sows…. seemed like a lot of work for a “snack”. But for 4 does and a dozen chickens, I can see it providing a large percentage of their diet. Thanks again!

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