Category Archives: Rabbits

Weekly Recap/Observations – September 5, 2014

-In an effort to be better about “putting up” our harvest I froze some of our zucchini.

-I also picked more wild blackberries from our property and froze them for future use (by the way, those wild blackberry thorns are MEAN!).

-I’m hoping to dehydrate our ground cherries and possibly our cherry tomatoes this weekend.

-We also made pasta salad w/ garden pickings – ground cherries, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, herbs – boy was it tasty!

-Trace built two more rabbit cages for growing out litters – we’ve found they gain weight better if we remove them from mom at about 6 weeks.

-Clover’s litter is getting bigger and, unusually, she has two jet black babies and seven of the normal grey color. She was bred to Winston – her father – so I wonder if it’s a recessive gene showing up.

-Penny’s chicks are growing real feathers and coming into their colors – we have two gold/caramel chicks, one black and one while with black speckles.

-The large guinea has taken to hanging out with Penny and her chicks. She seems to have adopted a sort of nanny role.

-White Penny (aka Penny #2), now known as Nickel, hatched three chicks the other day. She left the nest only a day after the third chick was hatched – unfortunately that chick didn’t make it through the first day/night. We cracked the remaining unhatched 6 eggs – 3 were fertilized, 3 were not; this gives us a 66%(ish) fertilization rate.

-I did some reading in an old (from 1905) poultry book and it’s recommended you remove the first hatched chicks for a day or so and keep them “in a basket by the fire” until the rest of the eggs hatch and then return them to the nest. I could see how doing that would keep the hen on the nest longer and give the rest of the eggs a chance to hatch.

-We’ve been exploring options for feeding our chickens something we can mix ourselves instead of the store-bought pellets. This would be good from a sustainability perspective. In addition, since we’re allowing the hens to raise their chicks we struggle to give the chicks their food (high in protein, low in calcium) and the adults their food (medium protein, high in calcium) without the chicks and adults crossing over. I’ve been reading posts of others who feed their chickens a whole grain diet to figure out our best option (here and here and here). The trick will be finding bulk grains cheaper than the feed store pellet food.

-Trace pulled more mulch out from under the rabbit cages and spread it on the garden. He also pulled the straw from under the chicken roots and started a new compost pile in the front yard (where the chickens won’t pull it apart).

-Trace and I put chicken wire above new cages so that the poor baby rabbits didn’t get chicken poop on them.

-We lost two hens over the course of the two weeks – our Rhode Island White and one of our Americanas. My best guess is bluecomb was the culprit but it’s hard to know for sure.

-We’re now down to only 19 hens and 5 roosters. Luckily we have chicks

-Michael (our black & white rooster) was limping badly for a couple of days but seems to have recovered.

-The poor dogs are covered in fleas – I went ahead and bought , chemical flea treatment, as much as I would prefer to have a more natural solution, the chemical stuff seems to work better once the fleas have taken hold. Maybe next year I can work on more natural preventative measures.

-The goats continue to enjoy the day they are moved – this week it wasn’t until Wednesday – THAT was their Best.Day.Ever.

(Just a quick note – we’re not that productive in a week – this covers the last TWO weeks in our world!)

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Weekly Recap/Observations – August 15, 2014

Well first, I can’t believe I forgot a post last week!

-It was a big week too – our chicks hatched! “Penny” (honorary title bestowed on any brooding hen) sat on 8 eggs. 4 hatched after 22 days. 2 tried to hatch and didn’t make and the other 2 didn’t hatch at all. (I need to dig out the unhatched eggs – we want to crack them and see if they were fertilized or not.)

-Egg production dropped for a couple of days. We’re not sure why although we were a day and a half late refilling their food so that’s a definite possibility. It’s also been extremely hot (for WA) and we’ve had two broody hens.

-As mentioned above – we have two broody hens, “Penny” who hatched the chicks and “Penny 2” who was broody awhile ago and we tried putting eggs under her but she only lasted a couple of days. She’s broody again so we’ve put another 9 eggs under her to try again. So far she’s beat her record from before and has stayed on them.

-We continue to move the goats through the property. Their favorite day of the week is the day they move – NEW GREENS!

-I attended a “Goat Husbandry” class at Left Foot Farm (where we got our goats and Samson). I came away with a manual and confirmation that we’re basically doing things right.

-The older keet continues to hang out with the goats but has also taken to wandering into the chicken area. They don’t seem to harass her too much. And she’s very curious about the younger keets.

-We moved the chicken run into the yard outside where the chickens roost and then moved the 10 keets from the enclosed coop to the more open run so that they and the chickens could start to get to know each other.

-Clover kindled on Wed. She built a great nest and had all the babies in the nest box. The 9 babies are active and squeaky.

-The garden is flourishing. We’ve been harvesting herbs, tomatillos and zucchini regularly and Trace has been using all in omelets for dinner. It’s quite fun to have a fully home-grown meal.

-We continue to have decent heat. I’m hoping that the heaps of green tomatoes start ripening soon.

Weekly Recap/Observations – July 25, 2014

-Trace picked up 25 bales of hay that we stacked by the rabbits – it looks like a “real” farm now!

-We lost a keet – not sure how, possibly a hawk – down to one now

-We moved the goats over, it was not the easiest process and we definitely need to get the additional posts for supporting the corners

-Took Flint and Samson up to Whidbey Island with us – they did very well both with the long car ride and the ferry

-Finally got some rain – the garden is happy as we’ve been somewhat lazy about hand watering

-‘Penny’ is still sitting on a clutch of 8 eggs

-Trace moved Daisy’s babies to their own grow-out hutch

-The chickens seem to like the baby cucumbers so the one I picked a few weeks ago may be our only one this year

Weekly Recap/Observations – July 18, 2014

-Harvested our first cucumber

-The chickens have discovered the cucumbers and determined they like the newly budding fruit so our first cucumber may also be our last

-Harvested two handfuls of green beans – apparently they were growing quite well hidden under their leaves

-Trace “harvested” 5 from Artemis’ litterĀ – we saved out two females to take over for Beatrix (who turned out to be Buster)

-We gave Buster to Rob who was looking for a younger male as Bugsy isn’t doing so well these days

-We bred Clover this week

-Trace visited Phood (our pig at Rob’s) and helped move the pig pen

-We have another broody hen; we’ve set her up in one of the rabbit grow out cages as it’s been so warm we wanted her someplace that would have good air circulation. I put 8 eggs under her.

-Our Premier1 fencing arrived. We’ve set it up and moved the goats, their house and their spools into the area.

-The guineas won’t leave the goats for very long and have no interest in roosting with the chickens, so we’ve let them be

-This week was still warm (mid-80s) but it’s cooling down and it looks like we should get some rain this weekend

Weekly Recap/Observations – July 11, 2014

-Re-mulched the garden with straw/hay from under the rabbits and then watered everything

-Trace also mucked out under the chickens and started a pile for that to compost (throughout the week the chickens spread it out looking for bugs to the point there is no longer a pile)

-Trace went to the feed store and picked up the goat, rabbit and chicken food for the month as well as straw and hay

-Brynn watched the animals for us overnight Sunday; seemed to go smoothly

-It’s been a hot week, at least the goats’ water has been dry every night when I’ve arrived home

-Artemis kindled; Trace counted 9 babies

-We opened the door for the keets so they could wander in the goat yard; they seem to be enjoying the freedom and have not flown over/out (yet)

-Temps were mid to high 80s all week

-Pumpkin plant is huge and has flowers – fingers crossed we actually get some pumpkins

-Zucchini is doing well – a couple of small ones have started growing

-The herbs are struggling with the heat – I think I put them in the wrong bed, they should be in one that gets shade earlier

-Everything else seems to be growing well and enjoying the heat (especially with the mulch holding in the moisture)

 

We Have Bunnies!

After a number of unsuccessful breeding attempts we worked with our friend Rob and did some rabbit exchanges.

The results of which were: Winston became a dad about two weeks ago. We bred him with Rob’s Cali and they produced 10 offspring.

And, today Artemis had 7 kits (6 alive, 1 dead). We bred Artemis with Rob’s Bugsy. The only one who did not successfully breed was Clover. We tried to breed her with Bugsy the same day Winston and Cali bred.

We’ll have to decide what we do from here. It’s likely that Artemis and Winston will get to stick around. Clover, however, will likely move on. None of us really want to harvest her so we’ll either pass her along to Rob or find a new home for her elsewhere.