Thursday, April 18, 2013

The next round of breeding begins, and a visit from a bear?

As usual, we begin today's post with our required injection of cute baby pictures. There are more below the cut of course along with a few other interesting photos. Including one of the damage left by what we are guessing was a bear!
Let's actually just begin with the damage. This is the area that seed gets spilled by birds using the feeder right by the window. I think this was as clear "It's time to stop feeding the birds" as we are likely to get without running face to face with a bear again, which I'd personally like to avoid.
It's also a good reminder that we are going to have to be very alert to things ripening in the garden. From what I can tell there isn't a fence, electric or otherwise that is in anything resembling a reasonable price range that will keep a bear out. Discourage sure, but keep out, no. So we'll just have to harvest quickly when it comes to that. On the other hand, damn, it turned that soil fast! If only I could get it to dig my beds for me.
Speaking of turned beds, the garlic is coming along well! It looks like all of the varieties are sprouting now with the middle ones doing best so far. We are really excited about the garlic because we love eating the stuff, and because it's a nice sign of spring coming along. It's tough to get good pictures of just how well the garlic is doing, but if you look closely you can see green all over that photo Right.

On the other hand, it's easy to see just how much growth we are getting in the seedling starting tray. Many things seem to be growing well, some not as much. The disadvantage to getting older seeds mostly from seed swaps, and the half off bin at the local garden supply store is not all of the seeds germinate. Some also come up in kind of odd ways. One came up with the seed on top of it, some the seed heads have trouble opening it seems. The Lady of the House has been trying to get as many to grow as she can. Occasionally seedlings get killed in the process, like accidentally nipping the top off when trying to open the seed head which I imagine is just a matter of practice. Right is the fast growing set of sunflowers. Those things are just shooting up on us. I really need to write down the things that are specifically doing well because I always thing I'll remember by the time I get to writing, and never do. I do however remember that the Amaranth isn't doing well in its designated seedling cups. It however apparently is doing AMAZINGLY everywhere else. I'd show you photos of it but Amaranth is tiny and we just can't seem to get good photos of it to show off. As we learn to garden we're seeing just how complex some of this is. For instance, hardening off seems easy enough. But apparently how you transplant is very important? We are going to a "Gardening 101" event tonight in Amherst which should be interesting and help with some of our questions. We also have the good fortune of having friends who do garden we can ask for help from!

And now it's time for our daily dose of baby rabbit talk. Twilight's babies continue to grow insanely fast with the biggest kit at 751 grams, and the smallest 616. For those that are interested the weight chart is here. I haven't updated the weather section any time recently because one can go online and find the data I use I tend to just go do the history all at once at the end of weight checks on the litters.
Speaking of litters, we did the first breeding of the day this morning before going in to work. Right you see Twilight and Umbra in process. She is lifting for him, but both he and Dorado with Dawn had problems getting the process right, and we aren't sure why. Both bucks are quite experienced at this point, and neither doe was clamping down. I think it may have had something to do with excitement on their part. It's good to get their derp out on experienced partners before they breed with Halley and Comet tomorrow.
Twilight herself has calmed down as a mother quite a bit. Right is a nice series of her kits crawling all over here.  The Lady of the House was so amused when one of them just crawled on, and lay down. Middle Right she captured a really wonderful "Really?" expression from Twilight. I am really curious how she is going to do with her second litter now that she has some experience. I'd say I don't think she will go nuts trying to get at me and savage me when I check on her kits in the future, but when I picked her up for breeding this morning she gave me a good solid bite on the forearm while I carried her over. I'm glad I was wearing my heavy leather shirt because I don't enjoy long rabbit teeth sunk in to my flesh. She didn't try to savage me, but it was definitely a "I don't appreciate this" gesture. Hopefully she learned from it that biting me is ineffective, but she seems a bit stubborn to learn from only one attempt.

Twilight is definitely good as a mother, but there are a few things I wish she'd learn. 1: Don't poop where your babies sleep, it's gross and I have to clean it out every day. 2: Don't assault the hand that feeds you please, I know you're hormonal but it's just not needed. 3: Please stop bowling your babies.

All of that said, we're thrilled with how well her babies are growing, and look forward to seeing how they turn out. We are also looking forward to a busy summer with 4 kits set to be born in the range of the 19th to the 21st or so of May. I think one of the biggest challenges will be continuing to get good weight checks on everyone when we have 2 dozen or more kits on the ground. We will see how that works out when the situation arises!

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