I did some research and decided on the Silver Fox. They are an American breed, and a heritage breed, and according to The Livestock Conservancy, they are considered a threatened breed, the second most severe ranking as far as the level of danger of the breed not surviving. They are large, docile rabbits known to be good mothers with large litters. Raised mostly for meat, they also have a unique pelt that will stand up on end when petted the wrong way. They are born either black or gray (called blue by breeders) and at the age of 3-4 months get a lovely mix of white hair in their coat which will stay that way for the rest of their lives. It took some searching, but I was able to source some purebred Silver Foxes and have had a buck and two doe for a while now. We always like to give a breed a test run first to make sure they will fit well on our farm, and I love these rabbits. So recently, I decided to get a bit more serious, and introduce some new bloodlines to my small rabbitry. I found a lady in Albion and was able to get a new buck as well as a completely unrelated doe.
I sold a couple bunnies over the weekend, one person told me she'd been wanting Silver Foxes and had been looking unsuccessfully for over a year for stock to buy! I feel that heritage breeds and homesteading in general are things that have more awareness and more people are interested these days. Rabbits are something people with a homestead dream can start with, even if they are living within city limits that have livestock restrictions, like the other folks that came by to pick up a rabbit this weekend. I look at my recent rabbit purchases as an investment not only in what I do here, but what I am able to offer others. I read in a Livestock Conservancy email that one individual set a record, making over 1 million dollars selling rabbit breeding stock. (It wasn't Silver Foxes, but another heritage breed.) I have been jokingly telling friends and family that I'm working on building a bunny empire which will make me my fortune. I'm kidding to an extent, I'm not sure I'm devoted to rabbits specifically enough to break that record, but I am confident that there is a market for them. Selling things like rabbits, or chicks, or turkey poults is something I really enjoy. It is work to keep straight who is related, when babies are due, and of course there is the daily work of caring for my stock. However, seeing new life is something that is always enjoyable, and it's great to be the person that helps someone else start or improve their flock or rabbitry, and makes it possible to obtain the heritage breed they had their heart set upon. It's also a nice source of income, especially in spring when we have a lot of expenses but the farm stand has yet to open. This bunny empire thing is exciting, and I have plans to work on my chicken empire a bit this year, too. So not only am I a farmeress, I'm now an empress as well...the big question now is if that means I can start wearing a cape or something fantastic around as part of my new uniform!