Obviously, first and foremost the babies are doing well. The one small weak one did not make it, dying the night after I posted concerns about his health. The rest of them however are as you can see doing well. They didn't get weighed today due to the rain and cold weather, but their eyes are opening.
Here you can see the first of them who's eyes are starting to open adventuring. They are growing well, but they are fairly small in comparison to litters growing in the summer. I will be going into that further in a post with fewer pictures and other things going on. Below you can see a close up of a very serious looking baby rabbit with an eye half open. The fur on them is gorgeous, and I think that the Lady of the House has convinced me that we should hold on to Dorado, at least until we can find an unrelated buck.
I am very curious about how the babies continue to grow, and how the cold will affect the quality of meat and fur. We know the fur will be better quality, but how much so. The babies from Dawn's last litter that are being butchered now have amazingly better quality fur than the summer babies. The skin is also thicker making it much easier to skin them without botching it, and cutting holes in the hide. If there is a similar jump with this set of babies, we may have to reconsider our breeding scheme, and figure out how to make sure babies survive in the colder weather.
Our other concern is Twilight. She is one of our favorites because of her personality. Sure, she can be a little demanding. Ok, a lot demanding, but we really enjoy her. That said, if we can't get her to accept breeding and have babies, we can't afford to keep her. She has a gorgeous conformation to go with her personality so we're really hoping. Below you can see her informing us that life is very hard, and that we need to give her more pellets. She's never, ever in her life had any pellets at all and is starving.
And if you believe her I have a bridge to sell you. Anyhow, to try to cope with her refusal to breed we are going to be trying something different. Once the last of Dawn's last litter is butchered, we will be putting her and Umbra together in the big growing out hutch for a while. We will watch carefully to make sure there is no fighting. But we figure if Umbra has time to work his studly charm on her she will come around and accept breeding. I think the standard practice of in, wham bam thank you ma'm and out isn't working for her. We don't want to do forced breeding because it doesn't feel right to us, and we'd rather make accepting breeding a positive thing for the rabbits rather than something they fear. Obviously in general we are trying to avoid having them fear anything about their day to day lives. Above you can see one of the remaining three of Dawn's last litter. They are big, strong, and have gorgeous coats. I'm holding off on butchering the last few so I can show a friend how it is done. As you can see though, they're good looking rabbits with solid conformation. They are all about 3 kilograms at this point, so around 6.6 lbs. Well into roaster weight rather than fryer weight, but that helps the fur be better as well.
What else is going on? Well, working on the wood pile obviously. I haven't had a lot of time to work at it due to usually being home from work after dark. Even so we have quite a lot of wood stacked up, and nothing that has been split that is not yet stacked. In the interests of a big safe block of piled wood we have been doing effectively random stacking. How ever wood stacks and sits in a stable way, we put it. It looks a bit haphazard, but it isn't going anywhere
Also in the same area, the Studio. I really keep meaning to get photos of what I am doing in there but I have been just getting things done, then looking at them and saying, "Well damn, I forgot to get photos." What I have finished at this point is building the shelves that will be our entertainment center entirely out of reclaimed wood from pallets. The shelf brackets since they will be holding up things like the TV and my video gaming consoles and computer (Yes, I'm a computer and gaming nerd too) are commercially purchased and can hold my weight with the TV safely. I'll try to get photos as I'm building the next segment of shelf to show you how it's done since it isn't difficult, just time consuming.
Gardening has also been occurring, but not the pretty gardening that we can show off. Right now we are preparing for next year. One of the important steps of that was getting the garlic in the ground before everything freezes like a rock. It isn't pretty, and it doesn't look like much but this bed has five different kinds of garlic growing in it. We purchased seed garlic so we could grow it, and we are going to be trying to set up a growing system where we have edible garlic every year that we're growing ourselves. Garlic could probably be its own post because, like a number of crops it has a two year seed cycle.