Tag Archives: rabbit hutch

A small (but active) corner of the farm


We live on 2.5 acres of land. There is still a lot of it that we haven’t touched so it feels like we have a lot of space, especially since we’re doing a decent job of making the most of the space we use. This photo is a really good example of that. I think I took it in September and forgot about it until I came across it on my computer today. 

I love this photo for a few reasons: 1) it’s a good reminder of what we’ve accomplished so far, 2) it’s a hopeful reminder of the growth that will return after this winter season passes, and 3) it captures an aspect of the kind of farming we’re pursuing. 

As mentioned numerous time on this blog already, we’re trying to grow our own food in a way that works with nature and not against it. We’re trying to reuse the stuff we already have and incorporate our ‘waste’ by recycling it into our food system. We’re also trying to produce and grow things in a way that enhances our soil quality and the natural biodiversity on the farm. 

This is an image of the north side of our barn. It includes our three-tiered composting system for our food scraps and natural compostable materials found on the farm. Above the composting system we house rabbits who provide meat to the meat eaters on the farm and whose manure falls through the bottom of their cages, enhancing our compost. Gutters between the barn and the rabbit hutch capture rain water and deliver it to a rain barrel (not pictured) and a small garden area grows food for us. 

The garden shown in the photo began as a soggy, wet, shaded patch of earth when we first built the composting system. Using mulching techniques, we created a growing space, enhanced the soil with nitrogen fixing plants (comfrey) and grew jerusalem artichokes, beans, pumpkins and nasturtiums. 

What was once an unused side of the barn has become a space teaming with life. A happy transformation!

combining the rabbit hutch & the compost system


Last weekend, we completed the compost/ rabbit hutch combo. Matt and Chris built a roof over the compost so we were able to slide our rabbit hutch right in above the bins, ensuring protection against the elements for the rabbits.

Combining a rabbit hutch with a compost (aka ‘worm bin’) is a great way to create rich compost by combining the strenths of the rabbit manure and the worms below. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home=Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway puts it (and the overall benefits of working in tandem with animals) like this:

“…they employ rabbits in the garden by combining rabbit hutches with worm bins to naturally process manure into a perfect compost. This technique links two animals together and, like all well-connected relationships, provides benefits – great compost and fat worms – and solves problems, by conscientiously using rabbit manure and urine.

With animals, we extend the reach of our garden into yet another kingdom of nature. In the rich soil teem the unseen wonders that bring the dead back to life, the decomposers who work their magic on wood and leaf, on bone and chitin. Above ground are the plants, green marvels that capture the sunlight and build sugar and sap, the flowers, fruits, and seeds that feed us all. And now we bring in the animals that flit and buzz, scamper and scratch, nibble and manure. Animals are the final link in nature’s cycle. They are nature’s mechanics, accelerating growth here with seed disperal and fertilizer, retarding it there with a vigorous browse and trample. They haul nutrients and seeds great distances, from a lush nook to a dry care patch used for a dust bath, inoculating the barren soil. They process seedheads through their bodies and hoovers, mash seed into the soil, trim branches, thin the hordes of bugs. Without animals, our labour is doubled and redoubled, and we must pollinate, spray, dig, cart and spread fertilizer and fill the thousand others tasks easily and cherrfully done by our marvelous cousins. Without animals, nature just limps along, and in a garden lacking animals we must supply the crutches. By creating a garden that nurtures our two-, four-, and more-legged friends, we close the cycle and shift the burden more evenly, letting nature carry her share.” (pg. 171-172)