Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I think I bond TOO much with my animals!

Today I was feeling all kinda blahdiblah. Couldn't get off my backside to get started on the stuff I had planned for today. Finally, after a dozen of mental kicks up the proverbial I get into my little sheltered garden and start prepping the raised beds for the raspberry bushes to go in. That meant weeding and pulling out some sun flowers that had done their dash.
Off to the rabbits to give them a little treat and what do I find in one of the cages: a cold kit laying outside of the nursery part. I grab it to dispose of it and it's still alive. Stone cold but still moving. Quickly do a check inside the nursery and find four more kits wriggling around! Take the cold one with me, get a hot water bottle ready and carry it around for a while, turning it all the time til its temperature has risen a bit. As soon as it felt warmish to my touch I put it back with its siblings, as this is the best way to keep baby bunnies warm.
As this is a bit unexpected, they were due 7 days ago, I begin to wonder if the other doe, they were mated on the same day, might give birth as well. I keep a beady eye on her, but stay away from the pen. Don't want to upset her!  Anyway, in the afternoon, just before getting the kids from the school bus, I notice she's pulling fur out furiously and has already put a huge load into her nursery nest. By this stage I'm internally squeaking with excitement and delight.
Once I'm back with the kids we go and listen. They are very quiet, but there are distinct "birthing sounds" coming from the nursery. And Wanda, the doe, has blood on the tip of her nose. So we leave her til I can see her out in the run having a drink and cleaning herself. Go and check, and another 5 kits. All a healthy looking size and wriggling like they should at 10 mins of age!
The important thing is now to wait and see if all feed well. Out of the ten, seven are white, 1 black and 2 light or dark brown. It's kind of hard to judge the colour at this stage. But once they're a couple of days old and the first fluff appears on them, it'll be easier.
This is a relief, as I had been wondering if either my bucks and/or the girls had gone sterile. This was the second mating and I had all but given up hope. I'm not sure why they took so long, I assume the approaching autumn might influence the incubation time. Who knows, I just have to remember that for the next autumn matings.

And as for the bonding question: was I feeling restless and all that because of the impending births??
I hope not! I'm intending of breeding the rabbits throughout the year and can't really get into this state just because a doe is about to give birth!! Let's wait and see. Today has turned out to be a good day after all: baby bunnies and gardening done. Now I just have to feed the goats, the piglet, milk a goat and put my children to bed!
Easy Peasy!


Sunday, March 18, 2012


Farm life is a LOT harder than you can imagine:
I thought after having slogged my ring off for the last three days building a piglet and goat proof fence, I could enjoy a little bit of quiet indoor time baking bread and cakes.
Now the Southerly is coming in and I've got a tummy bug, I'm running all over the place again to make sure everyone's fed and got access to good shelter before the rain hits. The wind is already colder so I know by the time the rain falls I better be organized.
That's it now: our menagerie is complete: yesterday we picked up Thumbelina, a Berkshire/Saddleback cross sow. If she behaves and is easy to manage we will keep her for breeding more piglets. They will be for the freezer though.
She was quiet laid back, only minor squealing while I carried her into her enclosure, but she was a bit weary.
Until I milked the goat last night and gave her some of the milk. I think I'm her best friend now. This morning I gave her some bread and pear peelings and she continued to stay close enough for a scratch.

The goats on the other hand are extremely perturbed by the presence of this little grunty one on their paddock! I'm sure they will settle and I'm pleased I didn't try to just put them all together.
On Saturday we discovered that a funnily behaving chook had been sitting on a nest and we've got now another 5 chicks!
This shows you how silly the weather is: we're now in Autumn and the animals are behaving all over the place.
Anyway, they'll make good replacements, either for the freezer or for laying eggs.
But, they needed to be caught and put into a hutch as well, they are way to little to fare well in a Southerly. AND we've got marauding hawks, magpies and cats!

back to bed and hopefully it'll be only a 24hour bug!