21 May 2016

Crazy critter week

Very, very busy week with the critters here, starting on Monday with first baby Silkie chicks that had to come out into the brooder tub because the two black dragons were so deep into nest setting mode they pecked at anything moving too close to their nest ... including the newly hatched chicks.  Then Monday afternoon, hubby called to me to come outside and identify something ... "Baby bunnies!"  Except only one of the three was still alive.  I hadn't put the nest box in because Brooke gave no hint of impending labor or delivery.

We've had some heavy downpours this week (though no flooding, thankfully) and the first really heavy wall-of-water rain flooded the brooder tub.  Hubby just happened to hear baby chicks cheeping, and went out and saved three of the four in the tub, which he moved into his workshop until last night.

The squirmy little bunny kit started off a bit chilled, then I held Brooke on her back, cradled in my arm like a babe, so the kit could nurse.  The kit kept going from teat to teat, and I could hear it sucking vigorously, but it would take 20-30 minutes before I could see the milk belly.  Brooke wasn't making much milk.  We also caught her using the nest box as a litterbox, so I pulled the nest box out and set it in the brooder tub so baby bunny would stay warm and dry.  When I got home Thursday afternoon from Tractor Supply to pick up some feed and kitten bottles, the kit was lethargic, barely responsive, and looked emaciated ... so I called up Lynn, who used to breed and raise a LOT of meat rabbits.  She told me Brooke sounded like the textbook problem "newbie" mother, and that she usually figured her first timers would have small litters and then lose them all through clumsiness or benign neglect.  I found the kit cold, stiff, and dead the next morning.  Lynn says I can breed Brooke back two weeks after the kits were born, and she ought to do better with the next litter.  If she doesn't, Lynn recommends "into the frying pan with her!"

I sold Harry Houdini and Cocoa to my friends Caroline and Frank yesterday, then today I drove to the other side of Gainesville (good grief, there are a lot of goat people on that side of Gainesville!) to pick a new Nigerian Dwarf doe/nanny, who is registered and looks to be a great compliment to Brownie if I feel inclined to sell registered kids.  The option is there.  Here she is, Honey Road FRP Tangie, or just Tangie for short.
Honey Road FRP Tangie, Nigerian Dwarf doe
Ain't she purty?  She's technically oversized, as in too tall and would be disqualified from the show ring, but I didn't buy her to show.  While she hasn't been milked this year, the lady said she did milk her last year and Tangie produced quite decently with tolerably good milk stand manners (especially when grain is involved).  She's two years old, a couple months younger than Chocolate, and kidded twice now - single birth both times - with this year's kid born four weeks ago.  The lady said she wanted to finish this year's kids on the bottle, as that makes them a lot more people-friendly.

So, two kids leave here, and one nanny sans kid arrives ... and all that milk will be MINE!  Mine to make all sorts of cheese with, and still have plenty to keep us in caramel coffee creamer and me in yogurt.  Now all I need is a decent cheese press, so I can make colby, cheddar, brick, swiss, and whatnot.

Oh, almost forgot to mention sending out guinea eggs - 45 to Lynn (who also has my incubator to hatch them with, along with her whites) and then 15 went home with Frank and the kids, but he probably won't let the kids have anything to do with them.  LOL

Just think - this is the short version, and doesn't cover planting.  It's been quite the busy week.