....obviously never had a rabbitry. Seriously, the crap that's been going wrong seems to be outweighing the things that are going right... and that probably isn't true, but you know how it feels when setbacks just keep happening.
For starters, let's discuss the watering system. Ryan spent quite a bit of time hooking up a rain-barrel watering system so that we didn't have to keep filling up water dishes for each of the rabbit cages. We purchased some nipples online so the rabbits could drink whenever they pleased, without the risk of them pooping in their drinking water. At first, it seemed like it was going to work pretty well... but then the water froze. We needed the water warmer for the barrel, and thanks to the donations we've received so far, we were able to purchase one!
"YES!!!" we thought, as the water in the barrel started to warm up nicely. And then.... the water in the lines going from the barrel to each nipple froze. And then the T-connectors that linked the tubing to each nipple started breaking. Why? Because they're cheap plastic.
So shortly after this happened, my parents surprised us with a visit (they live in Missouri and I hadn't seen them since last Christmas)!! My dad is pretty handy in various areas, and they spent quite a bit of time outside in the barn messing around with the rabbit set-up. They insulated the lines to help keep them from freezing, and again... everything looked great. Until..... the water got TOO hot. Seriously the little rabbits were gonna burn their tongues. According to the description of the warmer we bought, it is "Thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary." Well, it was operating when it wasn't necessary obviously.
So then Ryan and my dad went to the hardware store and purchased a timer for the warmer, which would allow us better control of when and for how long the mechanism warmed the water. Ryan first set it to come on for 30 minutes, then go off for 30, etc. That still kept the water too hot. Then he readjusted it so it came on for a shorter period of time, and stayed off for a longer period. Hooray! That seemed to work! The water was nice and warm, not scalding, and the rabbits seemed quite happy.
Until...... we forgot about sexing the rabbits and chaos ensued one night when one of the males in our silver doe's cage started to get possessive of the females and began fighting with one of the other males in that cage. They were literally screaming and chasing each other in circles around the cage, which got the rabbits in the adjoining cage riled up, and soon the whole cage was swinging from the rafters.
Ryan took one of the males out and put him in a smaller cage by himself, and eventually slaughtered him as we needed meat, and it also solved the issue of him fighting the other male to the death. Or so we thought. Why? Because there was actually one more male in that cage. Yep.
We ended up making a few more small cages so every rabbit that needed to be separated could be, and Ryan recently reattempted to hook up the barrel watering system (and it works!), so for now, all is as it should be. Let's hope it stays that way!