Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Preparations For Litter 2, and Reality Reminder

Dawn has begun nest building preparations for her second litter as of this morning. When the Lady of the House went to put hay in, Dawn was so eager for it she was taking hay from the Lady of the House's arms. We were a bit surprised by this turn of events needless to say, given that this is day 24 of her pregnancy, and we wouldn't be expecting kits for 4 more days.

Dawn could be having her litter earlier than expected, or more likely as the research the Lady of the House just did, she is just preparing early. Apparently early preparation is often considered the sign of a good litter. The advice she has located recommends letting them do it, and remove the nest and let her rebuild if she soils it. Given that Dawn never soiled the nest last time, I'm not too concerned about it happening this time. Sunny one hutch over seems simply, as she usually is, Grumpy. 

 In the confusion and extra focus on Dawn this morning, due to me being tired and lagging we didn't get baby weights for a third day in a row. They seem to be growing well, but without weight checks it's impossible to say for certain. Why haven't we gotten weights for the babies? Well, mostly because I have been VERY tired.
Reality Check
This past weekend was a reality check for me, and is the reason I've been tired. Fortunately it wasn't a reality check with serious consequences, just being too tired to get out to work in time And get weight checks for a few days.

When you own livestock, you can not be as spontaneous about going to do things.

This isn't news for anyone with a dog, or most pet owners. But it is very much important to remember. This past weekend on Saturday at midnight I went to the last showing in Harvard Square of the Full Body Cast. It was important for me to go because I'd been cast for a long time a number of years back, and it was a big deal to me. I did my normal wake up at a little after dawn, do farm chores, did work on the studio, went in to Boston, saw the show, came back. By that time it was 6:30 in the morning, and I had to be up at 8:30 to do farm chores and get to work on time. Having worked another full work day I again was dragging in the morning on Monday and missed another weight check. Today we got moving a little slowly again, and Dawn's actions got us distracted.

What is the point of this story? If this had been when the new litter was born, or there had been a sudden heat wave there would have been chores I would have to do no matter what. And that is just with both of us going out for a long night! It reminded us that we can't just both go out of town and go to a con anymore. We need to arrange a house sitter, or a feeder and teach them what needs to be done. In the summer it needs to be someone who can come by mid day and swap out the ice bottles on a hot day. Anything out of the normal of our day to day schedule needs to fit in with our livestock, or have something done to take care of their needs. 

Obviously as the Lady of the House and I are concerned with animal welfare this is a major concern for us as we want to make sure our animals live happy healthy lives. It isn't just a concern for animal welfare activists though, it would be an important consideration for anyone with livestock they don't wish to be deadstock. It is definitely a consideration for anyone who is starting to homestead, as your life transitions to the new patterns perhaps it is best to start with plants, because animals make more urgent demands that can not be put off 'till tomorrow.

Weight Charts
Obviously both weight charts don't have weights for the last 3 days because, well, we didn't take the weights for the past three days.

Dawn's Litter Weight Chart

Sunny's Litter Weight Chart

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