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January 31, 2018

Mulberries

We have started a small orchard of trees that will be coppiced for rabbit feed.

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There’s an area in between the cabin, workshop, and rabbit barn that seems like a great place for a garden. Unfortunately, the soil isn’t that good and there’s a lot of shallow roots from the oak trees that shade it. So, we decided this would be the perfect spot to do a coppice garden.

Coppicing is when you can cut a tree or shrub way back and it will regrow, bushier than ever. The white mulberry tree is one that is excellent in this capacity and makes a great feed for our rabbits. We will also add rows of black locust trees at a later date.

We have planted 100 of the little trees, about two feet apart in rows that follow the contour. It’s pretty hard to see them at the moment, as they are dormant (therefore have no leaves yet) and small, but they should become more visible in the Spring.

If they perform up to expectations, we should be able to coppice them every three months, and once they mature, each plant will produce about 5 lb of leaves per cutting. They are high protein, similar to the nutrient profile of alfalfa. This is a renewable and long-lived form of producing a high protein animal feed.

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