Results for tag "rabbits"

frosty frost

After quite a brown & dry beginning to winter, the region has been blanketed with snow. In the mornings, we’ve had relatively warm air currents leading to some spectacular hoar frosts. Don’t you just love it? Our animals are all doing fantastic in this new season- rabbits come with their own fur coat, and we are raising our youngsters outdoors so they can grow healthy and sound with lots of hay and room to romp about in the sun and fresh air. We’ll be offering fresh rabbit throughout the winter, email us to reserve yours. Rabbit is an incredibly nutrient dense meat, very healthy and lean- delicious marinated and grilled, or stewed with herbed dumplings on top.

Rabbit is the new local grass fed meat!The ducks are insulated with not only a down jacket, but also a plump layer of fat. Our lady layers are blessing us with eggs MUCH later in the season than ever before….which can only mean they are very content and happy with their new duck barn, deep bedding, hay for snacking, constant fresh water and days spent sitting outside in the sun. We absolutely love our ducks! Look for the Holiday Special going on now until Christmas at several of the Twin City Co-ops. We did have a couple of episodes with a hawk scoping out our ducks, which is very scary for them and for us. The safety of our ladies is extremely important to us! And so- we got the ducks some guardians, a pair of French Toulouse Geese. They are drop dead gorgeous, very calm and are doing a great job patrolling the duck pasture and keeping an eye on the sky.Still scratching your head over gift ideas? Please know we have set up a PayPal account in order to sell our handmade goatmilk soaps online, and shipped directly to your door! These soaps are the most moisturizing EVER, being made up of 50% goatmilk! There are 8 “flavors” to choose from, let us know if you have any questions about ordering. We can customize your mix of flavors and wrap up gift bundles with festive ribbon so they are ready to go. Our soap is sold by the pound, as the bar sizes vary (they have a rustic look from being handcut.)  Thanks so much for your support!

thanksgiving plans?

How about something different for Thanksgiving? Our pastured rabbits are doing magnificently, and will be raised outside on grass until the snow flies. The next fresh rabbits will be available on Saturday 11/3rd. $20 each, limited availability- email us (farmers (at) ltdfarm.com) to reserve yours.

We’re getting awesome reviews of our rabbit:

The rabbits we picked up are amazing. These may not last as long as I thought, but we’ll see. I braised one in red wine with carrots, leeks, garlic and a strip of bacon to keep it moist. 325 degrees for 2 hours. It was amazing. Thanks again for supplying a truly great product! It really shows when something is raised healthfully and with care.             and then this…..

We grilled one of your rabbits on Sunday. Have to say, it was the best quality rabbit meat we have ever had! Rubbed it down with olive oil, garlic, fresh orange zest, and some fresh thyme, oregano, sage and tarragon from our garden and then smoked it lightly with olive wood. Turned out incredible! Juicy, tender and flavorful. Thank you for the love and care you obviously show your rabbits and all of you animals. The quality of the meat is testament to your efforts.”

We do specialize in raising AMAZING turkeys too! We’re signing up the last of our small group of pastured, beautiful turkeys. They are $3/lb and we require a $20 deposit to hold a bird for you. You’ll come to the farm and pick up your beautiful turkey on the day it was harvested. Once you’ve had a fresh LTD Farm turkey, raised on pasture, with love and respect, fattened on organic grains and humanely harvested on the farm where it is not stressed…..well, you’ll never be able to eat a different kind of turkey. Start a new thanksgiving tradition we welcome you and your family’s involvement with the harvesting days! building a deeper respect for the bird your holiday dinner will center around. Email us to sign up; farmers (at) ltdfarm.com We harvest our turkeys here on the farm, the weekend before Thanksgiving. They keep perfectly in a cooler with ice until you are ready to roast!

How do you like to prepare your turkey? Ever year we always do the same thing, and that’s because it ALWAYS works: Low and Slow and Long. You will have the most succulent results, never ever  a dried out turkey!  You’ll have an easy time arranging the tender, juicy meat in piles ready to snarf down. It’s essential with this method, to keep the turkey covered. An enamel coated canning pot works great for really big birds! Breast side down, rub with salt and pepper, maybe throw some herbs under the wings and some chopped onions and garlic in the cavity. Throw the neck and giblets in to roast as well. Cover with lid or tightly with tin foil. Put in 350 oven for 1.5 hours then reduce heat to 250 and roast slowly for 3-5 more hours, depending on how large your bird is. Keep covered, when it starts smelling unbearably delicious, pull it out of the oven, check to see that the turkey is done (usually it is falling off the bone tender!), recover and continue on your other meal prep. The turkey will stay hot, covered for at least 2 hours.  Wait until you are ready to serve to take it out!

Gravy- Take about 1 1/2 cups flour,whisk in 2 cups turkey drippings in a saucepan. Heat now on medium heat, whisk constantly as it cooks until it begins to thicken. Add in slowly: 2 cups drippings, whisking constantly. Keep adding turkey drippings until desired texture is achieved. Salt and pepper to taste!

Don’t think you like leftovers? Simply fill freezer bags with the leftover meat and freeze! Wait until january and you’ll have some delicious turkey sandwiches. When you buy a bigger turkey with saving leftovers in mind, you get a better value because there is a higher meat to bone ratio.

 

Rabbit Doings

We’re excited to welcome onto our farm four sisters, 6 week old Champagne d’Argent rabbits! They are one of the oldest breeds of rabbit, originating in France. They are born black and slowly grow to be more silver, and they are gentle and relaxed. We’re excited to bring an old breed into our rabbitry.

We’ve decided to add a few more does to the rabbitry, and introduce a heritage breed into the mix for vigor. These young does won’t be ready to breed until December, but keeping breeding livestock is a waiting game. Our goal is to provide our customers with fresh delicious rabbit every month, so we needed a few more momma rabbits to keep our cycle going throughout the year. Since we built the goats a whole new goat shed, the rabbit shed has room for more occupants, but we’re not going to get carried away. We have a working farmstead, and we only have enough labor and money to keep animals that help pay for themselves in some way. One thing we were not quite prepared for was how excellent rabbit poop was for fertilizer. It’s almost worth it to keep rabbits just for their poop.

Merry is getting ready to kindle, hopefully:

And Marshmallow had her second litter, 10 big beautiful kits! We saved two kits that she left on the floor and ground from freezing by dunking them in warm water up to their necks, and bundling them back with their kin. Now they are al about a week old and have a good coating of fur:

This morning it is cool and dewy, wonderful weather for rabbits and humans as well.

 

bunny bonanza

“I took your suggestion and used my raspberry-ginger brew in my slow cooker and the meat fell off the bone.

It is fat-free and very dense.

I stir-fried some scallions, China choy, and beet tops with ginger and garlic in sesame oil and topped the rabbit with teriyaki sauce.

I have enough for lunch today and tomorrow and more bunny goodness for later this week.

I wish I had picked up another, as I love pork ribs with sauerkraut and potatoes, and this would be another perfect white meat for that German comfort food.”

-Terry, LTD Farm Customer and CSA Farmshare Member

Now that we’ve raised a few rabbits in our rabbit tractor and sold them to our appreciative customers, we feel much more confident about this project. We have a few more litters almost ready to go out on pasture, and it is really a great feeling to be able to give these bunnies a really good life in the short time they are with us, with grass to nibble and good cool earth to lay on. We keep the breeding stock, 1 buck and 4 does, in our shed in cages for now, for a few reasons. One is that we need to be able to make sure they have plenty of food and water and have good appetites. We need to be able to breed them on a schedule, and we need to monitor and take care of newborn kits for a few weeks as well. We also like to collect their poop from under the cage and are using that as our primary source of fertilizer in the garden this year.

Now that we’ve started this project, we want to sit back and figure out if it makes sense to continue.

Here are the pros of rabbit raising:

  1. They provide these products: meat, fur, and fertilizer
  2. They are herbivores and can survive on food inedible to humans, i.e. grass, twigs, weeds, hay, leftovers
  3. They have a feed conversions ratio (how much feed per pound of meat produced) of 3-4:1 versus  2:1 for chickens (which are fed mostly grains), and 8:1 for cows
  4. They are quiet and don’t require a lot of space, although like all animals they will enjoy as much space as you can give them
  5. Butchering them takes 1/2 the time as butchering a chicken does for us, and we’re getting better at it every time
  6. Rabbit meat (lapin) is dense and fine grained, has the most protein of any livestock meat, has less cholesterol then any other livestock meat, and is low in calories
  7. Lapin can be used in any dish that calls for chicken. As consummate chefs we will be experimenting with lapin to see where it really shines.
  8. We are two hungry people, and one 2-3 pound rabbit provided us with two meals and a snack. We don’t really know how that happened, but it proved that the dense lapin meat made us feel fuller with less empty calories.
  9. Rabbits are intelligent and inquisitive; Momma rabbits and their kits are delightful to watch and be around.
  10. They are not fazed with cold weather, and can breed year round.
  11. Each of our does can provide us with more then 10 times the amount of their body weight per year, i.e. one 10 pound doe can have up to 5 litters a year, at 8 kits per litter. That’s about 40 kits a year, and at 3 pounds each, she will produce about 120 pounds of meat. That’s a good size pigs worth of food right there, all from one momma, and all contained in a space smaller then the footprint of a compact car.
  12. Their poop comes in a convenient dry pelletized form: organic fertilizer at it’s best.

The Cons:

  1. They are fazed by hot and humid weather, and may suffer from heatstroke or miscarriages.
  2. You do have to clean their cages and nest boxes every now and then.
  3. They can be keen on escaping, and aren’t too fond of humans or hubbub. Unlike chickens, cows, or pigs, once a rabbit escapes, they are probably gone for good. One reason could be that they are closer to their wilder relatives then chickens or pigs.
  4. Some people think they are too cute to eat.
  5. They do have sharp teeth and claws.
  6. They are prey animals to most everything stalking around your house looking for a meal. But so are chickens.

The positives definitely the small list of negatives. When looked at in light of other animal’s negatives, they are certainly an easy and pleasant animal to keep. The only thing that is making it more difficult for us is that we are attempting to raise the rabbits on pasture. This eliminates the convenience and safety factor that caged animals bring to the farmer, but we think it is by far the best way to raise all of our animals; near the nourishing ground, in the sun and rain, with the green grass and bugs.

As we go on prototyping our rabbit raising experiment, we will continue to share with you what works and what doesn’t. Meanwhile, if you would love to taste this unique new pasture based food, please email us at farmers@ltdfarm.com to get on the lapin list.

storms, rabbits and dinner

Farmers in southern MN got nailed with flash floods and hail in the past few days. Our hearts go out to them. Farming is so dependent on smooth sailing in the weather department, which is completely out of anyone’s hands. Covering your bases by running a diversified farm is one way to spread the risk factor out a little. Still, a tornado could wipe EVERYTHING out in seconds. You can’t live in fear though, we farmers must persevere. There are mouths to feed, but take a moment to realize how hard farming is for the farmers. No farms, no farmers- no food.

fermented pickled radishes

rhubarb juice

We’ve been busy tending our food in the works. The garden is insanely beautiful, lush plant growth coming from well nourished strong roots. We have our animals to thank for completing the cycle! Without the pigs tilling last summer, the goats deep bedding that was composted in the garden over winter, and the ducks laying down a nice layer of fertilizer in the hoophouse, our plants would be starving for nourishment. Some farmers use soil tests, all kinds of amendments- but we just use lots of poop. The rabbit pellets get sprinkled about the cabbages and sweet corn, the ducks’ poop in the hoophouse is growing some massive tomato plants and causing our pepper plants to be loaded with fruit already! Goat poop bedding goes around the eggplants and garden tomatoes to slow-release and function as mulch, keeping the weeds down.

The LTD Farm rabbitry is bustling- we have 5 different litters right now. The 3 youngest groups of kits have just come out of their nests and are growing fast on momma’s rich milk. The 2 older groups of weaned kits are in their rabbit tractors, becoming grass-fed lapin. They are out in the fresh air, the sun and clover. It’s a wonderful way to raise meat rabbits in a happier, healthier way than stuffed into dark small spaces.

Last night we hosted a Dinner on the Farm. It was absolutely incredible. Such great people, such delicious food, such fun. We are very proud of our work here, the radiant health shining from our animals, and the nutritious beautiful food we grow and produce. Last night brought it all together. We’d highly recommend you check out one of the Dinners on the Farm this summer, check out www.dinneronthefarm.com

Andrew's Mom made this lovely display to greet the diners as they came up the path!

checking out the rabbits

we had a momentary downpour, thankfully a tent was in place just in case!

Duck barn update: We’re just about ready to move the ducks over, as soon as we get the water work done. There will be a frost-free hydrant inside the barn, so we will no longer be lugging buckets of water from the bathtub in the winter! Oh how very luxurious! The ducks are all doing very well and totally been digging the daytime rainstorms. Our Kickstarter ducklings are full grown and sassy. They’ll begin laying eggs in August and then well be able to have our delicious eggs available at a couple more co-ops.

Tomorrow we bid Khaiti’s sister Melanie adieu. She was our first “intern” experience, as she is very interested in farming compassionately. Mel did a great job helping out on the farm, and we also had some fun times making cheesecakes, attending farmer gatherings, eating all kinds of delicious meals that we prepared together, weeding and chatting, catching snakes and admiring the biodiversity of the land. Thanks Mel, we love you!