Featured Rabbitry #8: The Wild Woods Rabbitry. An interview with the owners of Wild Woods Rabbitry- Jennifer and Alana Schmitt
They are Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders located in Arkansas
1: Tell us about your rabbitry…
Currently we are a two person (twin sisters) run rabbitry. It’s not a full time job for us, but it’s expanding. We’re approaching our fledgling operation with enthusiasm and pragmatism. All in all, not bad for accidentally getting started in the bunny business. You can visit our facebook page at www.thewildwoodsrabbitry.com
(Which links to our Facebook page till we get a website finished).
Our family farm has a lot of resources to assist in constructing and maintaining our rabbitry. The 160 acre “Tree Farm” provides us with logs to saw on the sawmill, into lumber for any imaginable structure. We have an 8000 sq ft furniture shop, filled with woodworking tools. That is our primary occupation. The five family members hand make Arts & Crafts furniture…… www.dryadstudios.com
The first building we built was an 8 cage “kindling” house. It is super insulated, and stayed above freezing in some 15 below zero weather this winter. We can also cool it in the murderous Arkansas summers, if necessary.
We then began, and are now completing the first 8 large, free standing cages. Each is 8′ x 5′ x 5′ tall, and can be divided into two separate units by sliding a divider board in the middle. We made each unit 2 levels, with a steep ramp to keep the bunnies exercised. The first 8 buildings will be enclosed in about a half-acre fenced yard, that will be divided for exercise in good weather. It is our firm belief that a healthy bunny needs to be “happy” and be able to do some of the things a bunny likes to do. They have hollow logs, and rocks, thickets of pussy willow, and patches of vetch to frolic and hide in. We are currently digging post holes and burying water and electric lines into the area to be able to light and water the entire enclosure.
We have to tip our hats to our beautiful Pyrenees Guard Dog….”Ursa”. We are near the Buffalo National River (6 miles) and Ozark National Forest. We have Bear, Coyotes, Foxes, Bobcats and even Mountain Lions on game camera videos, only 200 yards from the rabbits. Ursa just had puppies, and we kept 2 more…..”Belle” and “Zuul”. The three of them work full time to keep all of our stock safe.
2: What rabbit breeds do you raise and why?
Our breed of choice is Flemish Giants. We were attracted to their almost puppy-like personality and enjoy their gentle nature, keen intelligence, and willingness to interact with humans.(They truly are gentle giants).
3: About how long have you been raising rabbits?
Professionally, 2 years. Unprofessionally, 5 years.
4. Who has helped you the most with your rabbit project?
Rocky Altic, of Hillbilly Rabbitry, an old time rabbit breeder. He’s been the deepest well of knowledge and first hand wisdom with Flemish. He’s worked with us since our first contact and has been an endless source of information about everything. No exaggeration, we can never say enough good about his help. His enthusiasm is contagious and there has never been a conversation with Rocky that we did not leave smarter.
5. What is your favorite rabbit memory or experience?
Do you have all night? LOL
Well, the very first experience is one we always come back to. Several years ago we’d been taking a Sunday drive with the family and paused on a deep, winding, back-road in the forest to admire our new county-line sign. It was very unusual to see a bright green CARROLL/NEWTON county line marker on a VERY rural dirt road. After a moment we noticed two small, white rabbits under it, peering out from behind a pile of dirt. After a mad chase through the briars and brush piles, the bunnies gave up.
Someone had dumped two little pet-shop white rabbits in the middle of nowhere. We did not have to think of names, their names were right there on the sign….Carroll & Newton. As we drove off with our prize, a large red tailed hawk crossed the road about 50 yards from where we spotted the bunnies. they wouldn’t have lasted the afternoon.
After rescuing them, we deduced they were a male and female and that we’d have a litter in 28 days. 28 days later, the female had a litter. And then later that afternoon the ‘male’ had her litter as well. So, as you can see, we’ve come a long way with rabbits.
6. Do you currently have any rabbit stock for sale? If so please provide details…
We have two 11 month old bred pedigree does available, and we have a waiting list for our upcoming litters. We would be happy to add anyone who is interested onto the list (Waiting list members would of course get first dibs on the litters, before I offer the rest for sale).