Cynthia, I think you already have some great ideas. Especially about the bunnies and chickens!
I did that when I was a kid and I *loved* it. I learned so much. This is an odd fact about me but...from the age of 12-15 I actually had my very own rabbit business. I had certain breeds that I would mate and sell (I know not PC to some here but I was a kid) and I learned so much about animals, business, caretaking etc. It really helped me to be super responsible at a young age too. I just can't say enough about how all of the various animals in my life affected me as a child. Very positive. I definately think you should do that.
Also, I would *not* go for the cable. I hate to say this but so much on TV is so fast paced that your kids might find a new meaning of boredom when the TV isn't on.
If you're going to do any television viewing though I do think some nice videos would be best. There are some really amazing ones of dolphins with beautiful underwater pictures and things like that. We're TV free with the kids but I can see doing this when they're older.
I did have an idea that I don't think has been mentioned. What about your kids getting involved in some volunteer work? Maybe look into it and see what could be available. I think some really great learning and positive life experiences could come from that.
Sorry you don't have more resources there. I think you and your kids will be able to work this out though. Good luck!