27 May 2018

On the chick hatching idea

I borrowed Frank's spare incubator, and got it almost filled before the rain started the other week.  I had already filled my incubator, which has resulted in only two surviving chicks out of 42 eggs set.  I only had nine eggs develop, so 33 eggs were clear/not fertile.  Three chicks hatched, but one was on its back doing the dying cockroach the next morning.  I had also set eight eggs under the Black Swedish hen and Minty, the Ameracauna hen I got from Luanne.  Of those eight eggs, only one chick hatched, but he (?) is doing quite well under the Black Swedish hen's care.  She was wrapped too tight even before she went broody, and the hormones of broodiness made her absolutely psycho until that chick hatched.  Now she is just an angry dragon-mom.

Refilling the incubator is on hold due to weather.  We had about four days without rain this week, and during that time we went to get the new bunny hutch, I went up to Tractor Supply to refill the feed shed, and yesterday went to the grocery to refill our fridge and pantry.  Hubby had gone into town before the previous week-plus-of-rain started to fill the two five gallon fuel cans for the generator, as it really only takes an average-strength thunderstorm to knock power out.  And now, we have the first named storm of the year out churning in the gulf, but the feed shed has plenty of critter chow, the fridge and pantry have enough food for another two weeks, and we have two full fuel cans for the generator in case a tree comes down on the line somewhere.  We're both low on the money side of things, but we won't need to go anywhere except for one appointment up in Palatka.

Oh, baby bunny update:  Gracie's one little kit didn't make it in with Brooke's two huge hungry hippos - but those two are seriously large!  Shalimar is down to three kits, and I suspect the one that died was the one I couldn't get to eat when I was handfeeding them.  I did do a supplemental feeding on one kit, and will check again this afternoon to see if another is needed.  Charky wasn't pregnant, but ought to be as of last night.  I'll pop Brooke in with Jack this evening (she was bred to Larry for the hippos) and Shalimar in with Larry this time.  This should give me a clue as to where the size of Brooke's and Larry's two kits comes from - or if it's a combination of both parents.  I am wanting large, meaty Rex-furred bunnies like these two babies.  I'll get pictures of the kits after they've opened their eyes and gotten more fur - baby bunnies are born nearly-naked, and with their eyes closed like kittens.

24 May 2018

Katrina has a new wabbit hutch

Today we went to collect the new Wabbit hutch from Frank the Wizard. He has been working on his design for quite a while. Katrina commissioned one.

These are the pictures Frank sent us while he was building the one we bought.

It's very heavy and very sturdy and very professional in appearance. Frank takes a lot of pride in his work and it shows!
We had to take it apart to put it in the truck, I drove home carefully as it weighs a LOT!
Unloading the truck took just a few minuets much less time than packing it into the truck.

Assembly was fairly easy to do on my own. The parts have weight to them but everything was marked and predrilled so it was just a matter of situating the parts and putting the deck screws back in place.
                                              This took maybe an hour total to reassemble.

It looks like a lot of space for these rabbits and they look quite happy in their new luxury home.

I think that is about it for now. 
Thanks for reading!

23 May 2018

Baby bunny time

Let me get my days straight here .... today is Wednesday, so Shalimar kindled Monday evening.  I went out for a cig before evening critter time, about 1830, took the dog out with me, and as I was sitting there I got the very strong impression I needed to go check the bunnies.  I thought to myself, "But we'll check them in less than half an hour," but the impression got stronger - I needed to go check the bunnies.  I walked over, and there was Shalimar, with five kits on the wire floor.  I had planned to put in the nest box at critter time, as that was day 30 for her.  Oops - apparently rabbits can kindle as earlier as day 27!

I don't know if it was lack of the nest box, or the armadillo crashing around (it sounds ten feet tall and bulletproof when it moves around) but Shalimar was stressed or freaked out and started attacking her kits.  I "EEEK!ed" and grabbed them up, then took them inside and pulled a small jar of goat colostrum out of the freezer.  This right here is why I save some in small jars.  I ended up staying up to almost 0200 trying to get warmed goat colostrum in those kits with an eyedropper, because the small kitten nipples I have are just a little too big for them.  I lost the runt that evening, but it had born the brunt of Shalimar's attack.  One kit has only one ear, but is otherwise fine and wriggly and hungry.

Yesterday when we got back from picking up the new rabbit hutch (hubby will post on that) I checked on Shalimar and discovered not only did she look down, but she had pulled a bunch more fur, and bundled it up into the size and shape of a kit ... basically, she made herself a baby doll.  I mentioned this to Frank when he called to ask how the reassembly of the hutch went, and he said he'd never heard of that before, either.  First, I put back the kit who was refusing both eyedropper and nipple, and Shalimar set out to gussy up her nestbox.  I put the other three in shortly after, and I have a happier bunny doe.

After setting up the hutch, I moved Charky, Gracie, and Brooke over, wanting to give Shalimar a day or two before moving her and her kits.  This morning there was a BUNCH of light colored fur under Brooke's section, and she had two big and fat kits.  One has Larry's markings.  Gracie had been pulling fur since yesterday, and finally kindled just an hour ago - just two, one already dead (a BIG blue that may have gotten stuck too long in the birth canal) and one little wriggly black one.  I'll move the survivor over with Shalimar's crew to replace her runt, and also because single kits don't usually make it due to lack of littermates to keep warm with in the nest.  Well, there's also the bit about Gracie's history of killing her kits.

Now, I am just waiting for Charky to kindle.  It's her first time, so she'll likely be late.  Oh, reading Monday night while the milk warmed, I saw rabbits usually have kindled by day 35 .... but the person who wrote the book I need to buy says she's had a doe go 40 days.

08 May 2018

Goat pen complete.

Hello again.
Small update, Last weekend I finished the new goat pen. We ran out of fencing just before I could put on the last side. But it's all done now. 

I was really pleased with my work.
Until this morning.

Cocoa Puff took a running start and jumped the fence.  That fence is 48" tall. 
Oh well. Back to the old drawing board I guess.

Aside from her feat of goaty acrobatics we're very happy with this new pen. It's keeping a something resembling of Order. 
The less trouble they get into the happier we are. haha.

Thanks for reading.

09 April 2018

Getting caught up

I am way behind on updates here, and hubby apparently didn't feel he had anything to say while I was gone to my son's wedding, so here we go:

  • I sold three kids before I left on my trip: Andre, Timmy, and Tyche.  All three went to pet homes - Andre pretty much sold himself! - and that gave me travel money.
  • I sold three more kids this past Saturday: Brownie Junior, Hansel, and Snickers (Cocoa Puff's daughter).  Brownie Jr turned on all the charm we never knew he had and got himself a pet home, and Hansel and Gretel won over a young couple, but they want to breed and get milk, so I mentioned the 3 week old Snickers as a potential bottle baby and they agreed to come out to the property to see her.  It was love at first sight, and when the gal asked if she could hold Snickers, I watched her just MELT when Snickers turned, looked her in the eye, and batted those baby blues.  I have full confidence Snickers will be every bit as spoiled as mama Cocoa Puff.  They said they'll probably change Hansel's name (no big deal) but they love the name Snickers.
  • Hubby accomplished his mission while I was gone and kept the milk production up.  Even though he ran two gallons through the cream separator after picking me up in Palatka, I still had to make a cheese the very next day, and have been making quite a few cheeses since returning home (all cheddars right now) as I am bringing in between a full gallon and a gallon and a half each morning.  And this is with Maggie still over at Frank and Caroline's to breed to Harry Houdini (Prim's son, if you recall).  Hubby will have plenty of cheddar cheese stocked up before I switch over making butterkase (has an umlatt over the "a") when it warms up.
  • Tractor Supply has had Gold-Laced Wyandottes TWICE now for Chick Days.  Both groups were labeled pullets only, but the first group was actually a straight run as I have at least four cockerels out of eight.  I got with one of the assistant managers yesterday about that, proposed a working-out on some more chicks, and he found that agreeable as I took home another ten chicks.  I forgot to ask if they know which hatchery they're getting their stock from, but either way it's a potential new infusion of genetics.
  • The week after Chocolate died, a possum got my best hen Beauty.  Yes, I still mad about that ... we trapped and killed the culprit (I thought we were going for a raccoon), but that doesn't change the fact I did not get to hatch any eggs from her.  This is back on my mind as I get ready to fire up the incubator and two hens in the broody house are setting eggs (to be replaced as soon as the rain stops).

18 March 2018

Cocoa and here new baby!

Katrina had a dream the night before that she was out of the house and that I called here to tell here that Coca was having here baby.  And then it happened!


This little one will have a name very soon.

03 March 2018

Companion planting herbs article

I tend to pick up the current issue of Herb Quarterly if it looks to have an interesting article or two most seasons.  Tractor Supply usually has it, although I could not find the summer 2017 issue in any of the usual places last year ... I probably ought to subscribe.  I'll get round-to-it.

This season's issue caught my eye the other day last week, and then I got really excited: an article on companion planting with the focus on herbs!  I have Louise Riotte's books Carrots Love Tomatoes and Roses Love Garlic (both in one hardback volume), along with Tammy Hartung's Homegrown Herbs and Miranda Smith's Your Backyard Herb Garden, which have some notes on companion planting as well.  Just starting with the HQ article and a stack of 4x6 index cards, I can tell this will be more of a series of posts than just one long post, so I thought to post up my sources in case anyone wants to get these and follow along.  David the Good over at theSurvivalGardener.com has expressed an interest in my notes on the topic.  Right now I am thinking to divide the herbs into common versus uncommon and annual versus perennial, so it's looking like there will be four posts all told.