Finally! The production model of the Cubit Press made it to my house! I have SO many things to test with it on my list. I’m supposed to be designing the branding decals, safety warning labels and writing a quick-start brochure to go in every box, but I’m really good at procrastinating.
So, I guess I should probably back up and tell you what it is first, huh? I’ve been working for a long time on feeding my rabbits naturally, and as close to free as I can get. I’ve made a LOT of progress at switching over everything in our little yard to plants that rabbits can eat, instead of just traditional plants that most yards in subdivisions have in them. I’ve authored, and co-authored a couple of successful books about that (pictured in the right margin of this page). I “have it down” when to breed my does in the spring here in Linden, MI so when the first litter of kits are weaned coincides with the availability of free stuff to feed them. (I never feed pellets to my feeders at all. Big fat zero. That’s what they cost me!) My breeders I give a little bit of pellets to, just to keep their gut used to them for my convenience, or for emergencies. Let’s face it folks, pellets ARE the convenience food of the rabbit world. They are the McDonalds. They are easy, and they are safe. (Supposedly) If an untrained person feeds your buns while you’re on vacation, you just tell them how much to scoop out each day. No worries about them feeding the wrong forage, and you coming home to a dead herd.
What I’ve wanted to do for a long time is to create that convenience and safety with my natural feeds. I learned to make hay from my backyard pasture. This summer I got a whole lot better at it by discovering an affordable hanging dryer on Amazon and putting two of them to use. Now every speck of green stuff that grows in the backyard is a crop! Rabbits waste a lot of hay though, so I can still get better. I’ve played with different kinds of hay feeders. They help quite a bit, but they still aren’t “convenient”. On the days that it’s raining and nasty, standing out there fiddling around with filling hay feeders just isn’t happening. I gotta be honest about that. So, I’ve messed around with a LOT of ideas on how to make my own pellets, with my own ingredients. I’ve searched high and low for electric pellet mills, diesel pellet mills, and PTO driven pellet mills. They all cost thousands. I just can’t justify that much money for my small herd. The break even point financially is WAY out there to do that. Plus, if SHTF for any reason, the first thing I expect to lose is electricity. Any pellet mill powered by any of the above would become totally useless without electricity. So, I came up with the idea of making crumbles from my ingredients. Quite a bit better. Pretty labor intensive though, getting the particle size down small enough, without electricity to make a cookie dough-like consistency to allow me to make crumbles by hand.
That led me to making compressed square cubes or round pucks, with something sticky to hold them together, instead of using the heat generated by a pellet mill that melts the lignon in the cell walls of the green ingredients. I tried lots of gizmos and gadgets in attempts to make them. I broke them all. There just wasn’t anything “out there” that did what I needed done. After about a year of failures, I decided that I needed help. (Sometimes I can be slightly hard-headed according to Donna, my wife) Well, I meet a LOT of people in BYMR. Smart, talented people. I took this problem to a gentleman in the group named Richard Stamper, who owns a company named Feeder West. I described what I needed to do, and what I had done that failed. I told Rich that I had broken everything I tried to put enough pressure on to do what I needed. Now Rich is a SMART guy. He thinks like I think. He brainstorms things using video for everything. That works wonders! We created a secret group just for the two of us on Facebook, and we did all of our thinking there. Rich specializes in creating medical grade, 300 series stainless steel feeder machines that last a lifetime, so we went that route. After MANY hours and days of design work and testing, we finally got to where we are with what you’ll see here now!