Featured Rabbitry #11: The Tree House Homestead Rabbitry. An interview with the owner of The Tree House Homestead Rabbitry.
1: Tell us about your rabbitry…
My rabbitry is a small 10 hole rabbitry. We converted our small barn that was originally designed for llamas and alpacas into one for rabbits. I have 4 bucks and 6 does from 4 “separate” lines. I focus exclusively on the critically endangered and rare American Chinchilla.
2: What rabbit breeds do you raise and why?
I raise American Chinchillas. They are an American Heritage breed and are in the top 3 of the rarest breeds. The American Chinchilla used to have the highest amounts of registered animals of any of the recognized rabbits in the United States. No other breed of rabbit has surpassed that mark and I want to do my best to get our rare Am Chin numbers back up!
I also decided that I wanted a breed that was a “dual” purpose animal. Meaning it wasn’t just a rabbit that is a pet. American Chinchillas make wonderful pets and have great personalities and are gentle little creatures. They also grow quick on minimal feed, have large litters, and the does in general are excellent mothers. They have nice pelts as well which is one of the original purposes in the fur trade during the 1920′s-1950′s. They make a fabulous addition to any backyard meat raiser or homesteader be it the city or country. They make great pets and 4H projects as well. I actually can’t think of a downside to this breed one bit!
3: About how long have you been raising rabbits?
I have owned rabbits for close to 3 years. It has only been the last year that I decided to actually focus on breeding and raising good quality healthy food for our home. I selected a breed for those specific purposes. I have always had pets and animals: cats, dogs, gerbils, mice, rats, guinea pigs, turtles, llamas, alpacas, sheep, turkeys, and chickens. I have to say that my bunnies are by far my favorite.
4. Who has helped you the most with your rabbit project?
There are two people who come to mind that I have learned the most from and who have been the best resources for good, solid rabbit information. I met both of them on various Internet rabbit forums and actually met up with one at a show. Donna Williams and Franco Rios. There have also been numerous helpful folks at shows, on the Internet, and other backyard breeders. Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits by Bob Bennett is about the best book around and one I highly recommend. Rabbit folks are just plain friendly and helpful.
5. What is your favorite rabbit memory or experience?
My favorite experience/memory with a rabbit was when at a neighbor’s property who raises a mixed breed for meat. They had some junior bucks together in a cage and they all came up together to see me and say “hi” the way bunnies do. Seeing all their little bunny faces along side each other was so cute and I asked right then and there if those rabbits were for sale and bought them all!
6. Do you currently have any rabbit stock for sale? If so please provide details…
Yes I do- thanks for asking. I currently have 3 litters of both bucks and does. There are several in each litter that are high quality that I would be proud to sell to anyone wanting to add some American Chinchillas to their family for a companion or for livestock purposes. Prices are $25 each with pedigree and $15 each for non-pedigree pet quality. I am happy to mentor as well. I breed all year long so someone can contact me anytime and I am happy to reserve an individual or duo/trio/quad for them. We are located in a rural suburb of Tacoma, Washington. I currently do not ship animals and only sell for local pick-up or I can drive to meet as well for someone making a longer trip looking for American Chinchillas. For current updates on the happenings in my rabbit barn, please check out my website at www.thetreehousehomestead.com