The Dying Time Newsletter Volume 36

Here's what readers of Tap Doubt have been saying

Odie 5.0 out of 5 stars
Great Movie Material!
September 11, 2016

Nick Kuiper owns an environmental cleanup company-until he suddenly doesn't. His primary aim is to get his company back and protect the integrity of the business he's worked so hard to build. It turns out that won't be so easy. Tap Doubt isn't just about getting the company back, oh no, there is a much deeper evil going on! This story is like the Energizer Bunny. Every time you think you can take a steady breath and relax for a minute, it throws another twist your way. Along with the threat of death, betrayals, and constant drama, there are some extremely humorous moments. I laughed until tears quite a few times.

This book is an impressively crafty work of fiction & excellent writing! Hope we'll see more of Nick in future stories. Great job!

Sakuracj 5.0 out of 5 stars
A definite page turner 5***** read that grips right to the end.
October 10, 2017

It was fantastic, a real page turner and kept me interested right up until the end. I was enthralled with the concept of the story and all the machinations that went on as the story unfolded. Congratulations on a remarkable book. Definitely a 5*****


For those of you interested the my progress with the first draft of Freedom Rising (Book 3 in The Dying Time Trilogy) it is slow but steady. It's coming, my friends, just slower than I'd anticipated.


Hey Folks, how has winter been treating you?

Up until two weeks ago, winter on our Suburban NW AZ homestead had been mostly mild, warm, pleasant and uneventful. I'd been rock-barring my way though our caliche to lay PVC lines and drip irrigation to my raised bed gardens and fruit trees, when all of a sudden winter decided to act like WINTER! It got cold (for here) with night time temps dropping into the teens and low twenties and highs in the 40's with a wind chill that I should have paid better attention to--because I got sick. In fairness, I DID have to get the hoop houses covered to protect my seedlings from freezing, but had I realized that effort would result in two weeks of largely sleepless nights due to a hacking cough, low grade fever and a nose that couldn't make up it's mind if it wanted to be plugged up or running like a river I'd have let the plants freeze and stayed healthy. Okay, enough about my misadventures.

Here's your monthly dose of Prepper Information.
Rabbits vs Chickens—an Update
By Raymond Dean White
Here’s some additional information on keeping rabbits—which I am kicking myself for not including in the original article which appeared in Volume 27 of this newsletter.
First: You need to think carefully about the number of rabbits you want, which will depend upon the size of your family or group and whether you are simply raising them for meat and hides or for income.
For example, if it’s just you and your spouse you might only want one doe and one buck. Why? Because when you put the doe in the buck’s cage to breed (NEVER the other way around) and she “takes” you will have 28 to 31 days before she “kindles” (which is rabbit speak for “gives birth”). She will have anywhere from 1 to 15 kits (baby bunnies) in a given litter. Let’s say she averages 8 per litter. Do the math. You started with 2 and now you have 10. Her kits will remain in her cage until weaned 5-7 weeks, at which time they’ll usually get moved to a cage of their own. By the time they are 8-10 weeks old it’s time to slaughter them and process them into food, whether cooked (for immediate consumption), frozen, canned or jerked (for long term storage). Note: some purebred rabbits, even if they are small or medium breeds, will need 12-13 weeks to reach slaughtering size.
Typically, you will use four pounds of feed to get one pound of rabbit meat. Sticking with our example of an 8 kit litter you would need 32-36 pounds of feed to get them to slaughtering size.
Since your doe can easily be bred every 3 months without stressing her, you will get four litters per year. That’s anywhere from 24 to 60 meat rabbits per year. If you are raising medium-sized rabbits, like Californians, each bunny will dress out to about two pounds of meat. So, you will get an average of 16 pounds of meat every three months. Which means you need to dig out your pressure canner and/or your vacuum sealer and be ready to put in a long day processing meat roughly every three months.
Now this four litter per year deal only works for folks who keep their bunnies indoors as most does won’t breed during winter months. Let’s assume your hutches or cages are outside and you only get three litters per year.
That translates to 48 pounds of rabbit meat per year—just from ONE doe. And a rabbit can easily live for 7 to 10 years, producing a total of 336 to 480 pounds of rabbit meat for your table.
Now this assumes you have no infant mortality—and you almost certainly will have some, as almost every single first time kindling doe will have at least one kit on the bare wire of the cage before she figures out what’s happening and moves into the nest box you provided. A kit needs to be kept warm and will die of exposure if not warmed and placed with its mom within ten or so minutes of birth. Also keep in mind that a few first time mothers will have zero maternal instinct and may refuse to feed her young, may reject them totally, and may even eat them—all things you need to keep a sharp eye out for. Nevertheless, the upshot is if you raise rabbits you will get lots of meat with relatively little effort.
My wife and I originally thought we’d start with just two does and one buck, but after doing this math we decided to go with just ONE doe and one buck. Also, here in NW Arizona it’s often warm enough, even in winter, for does to breed.
Keep in mind roughly half of each litter will be females so if your breeding doe stops producing she can be replaced by simply allowing another female kit to reach 6 months of age, (again, assuming you are breeding small or medium-sized rabbits—larger breeds take up to 9 months) by which time she’ll be ready to breed. If you need to replace the buck, they take about a month longer to mature to breeding age than females—so figure on 7 months for small to medium breeds. While most breeders say to give a doe six months so she’s fully mature several say that if you start breeder her at four to four and one half months she’ll be more productive.
In my earlier post I told you rabbit meat can be substituted for chicken in any recipe and, while that is true, some cooks say rabbit meat can absorb spices more than chicken so you’ll want to experiment with your recipes to see what balance you prefer. We generally use simple spices: salt, pepper, lemon pepper, garlic, onion, bell peppers and Poultry Seasoning and haven’t noticed any problems.
I also forgot to mention potential income sources from raising rabbits.
Meat: Some restaurants offer rabbit on the menu. Some supermarkets offer rabbit. You could provide that for them. A few states, Arizona is one of them, prohibits the sale of rabbit meat to restaurants, supermarkets or anyone else so be sure you check to see if selling meat is legal in your area. Aside from meat, there are other benefits to raising rabbits:
Fur and Hides: One is that you can sell the pelts for a bit of income to offset feed and vet bills. Though on a small scale this is unlikely to be profitable. Also, if you do intend to sell pelts, breeders recommend you raise white rabbits as their fur can be died any color. Young rabbits have thin skins so tanning their hides requires practice and patience. Leatherworkers, primitive skills adherents and tanneries are your market here. And if you don’t want to, or don’t have time, pelts can be bagged and frozen until you can tan them or sell them as is.
Fertilizer: I only mentioned in passing that rabbit fertilizer can go directly into your garden without being composted first. While this is true, you can also feed it to your worms if you do vermiculture and that will convert those droppings into wonderfully rich worm castings for your garden.
Wool: If you raise Angora Rabbits, you can sell their wool, though once again this is best done on a commercial scale. And to maximize profit, many Angora breeders spin the wool into yarn or thread and sell finished products.
Selling to Laboratories and Universities: Rabbits are used in a variety of labs for medical research, cosmetic research and others I’ve never heard of. I’ve no idea how to break into this field but know that others have done so. As a rule, the labs seem to prefer New Zealand White rabbits.
Selling Rabbit Blood: See labs above. Rabbit blood can be mixed with sawdust and use it in your gardens or with chicken feed mash and fed to your hens. Some use it to thicken roux, sauces and gravies.
Pet Food and Treats: Rabbit ears, once dehydrated, make great dog treats. So does lungs (raw or dehydrated) and offal. Rabbit liver is much like chicken liver. People who feed their pets on the raw food plan will buy whole raw rabbits to feed to their dogs, cats, (or even snakes). Also Zoos and wildlife sanctuaries will usually be happy to take offal to feed their carnivores—though they may want you to donate it.
Good luck charms: You can make and sell rabbit feet charms. Okay, I never got this at all. I mean, wasn’t so lucky for the rabbit, was it? But folks do buy such things so…
Last but not least, well okay, maybe least, a rabbit’s tail can be attached to a stick and used to pollinate flowering plants—like a Q-Tip, but better.
Pet Stores: You can sell bunnies to pet stores or direct to your own customers. Contact a few pet stores in your area and work out a deal, or, if you have ethical problems about selling to pet stores, advertise your bunnies for sale—perhaps in the livestock or pets section of your local newspaper and on Craigslist and other online marketplaces.

While there are people who make a living using their rabbit production for all of the above purposes, my wife and are really only interested in the meat and droppings. I may tan a few hides to make slippers, hats, purses, mountain man bags, or other articles, but those will be for personal use, not to establish a business income.

OH, and to check out TAP DOUBT click on either of these links.


See you next month, when I'll be writing about planting potatoes in grow bags and straw/wire towers.
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