Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Awash in a sea of baby rabbits.

Awash in a sea of baby rabbits, there are worse things in the world if you enjoy small fuzzy creatures. Right now we temporarily have 23 babies, 13 teenagers, 5 Creme breeders, and 2 American Blue breeders on the ground. It's quite a hand full.

I'm not just talking about the hand full you see Above and Right, I'm talking about food consumption wise. When we have just the breeders, even if pregnant, we go through a 50 lb bag of rabbit food every 3 weeks or so, and a bale of hay every month or so. We're going through 50 lbs of feed every week to week and a half, and hay every two weeks. It'll probably be even faster as we hit full swing with these babies eating solid food before the teenagers that are currently eating everything they can find get butchered. While it's definitely something we've planned for to some extent it is difficult to actually have a good solid budget understanding of how much you're going to be going through. I'll be talking about one major windfall in weeds below, but for now I'm just talking baby rabbits. The kits Above are the five that Dawn gave birth to, and they are doing quite well for the most part. If you're interested the weight chart is available Here. At 6 days old the biggest baby is 156 grams, and the smallest is 78 grams at exactly half the weight of the largest. The average weight is 117.8 grams almost half way between the two. Despite the small size of the smallest baby it's been growing well enough I'm not thinking we're going to lose it which is nice. Losing kits is always a rough thing. Dawn seems to be doing well though, and the warm but not hot weather means they're having an easy time of it.

The other group of slightly older kits is Twilight's trio you can see Left. When I say older I mean they're a week old instead of 5 days old, so it's a fairly minimal difference in actual age. Number of kits wise we're a little disappointed in Twilight's litter, with only 3 kits what's well below the average we expect of 6 kits. However, the size difference is staggering. The weight chart for Twilight's litter is Here if you're interested. The biggest kit is a gigantic 216 grams at 7 days old, and its siblings are 143 and 142 grams. The kit I was joking was Kronos last week has continued with the monster size, and is already bigger than one of my not tiny hands. It's also extremely active. It's hard to tell just how much bigger monster kit is than its siblings above, but the white one is the humongous baby. We've seen larger kits before but this is kind of crazy. We'd thought about fostering some of Halley and Comet's babies to Twilight, but the size and development difference is just too large for us to expect them to survive sadly.
Speaking of Halley and Comet, we're thrilled to report litter sizes of 9 and 6 respectively. Halley's chart is Here and Comet's chart is Here with for the most part good news on the weight and growth numbers. On their 5th day of life Halley's biggest baby today is 123 grams and the smallest is 60 with a litter average of 96.56 grams, Comet's largest is 111 grams and the smallest is an unlikely to survive 50 grams. While it's unlikely for the smallest baby in both Halley and Comet's litter to survive, that's still a very good number for each of them. More importantly though we can say that for sisters at least we can have the two of them in one hutch and they can have litters together at the same time. To our surprise as you can see Above they've just had both of their litters in the same nesting area, and they are totally mixed up. The babies seem to have some sort of Brownian movement going on with the same babies not really tending to be together between any two checks. For now that seems to be working out alright, and we'll keep you all updated as things go on with the baby pile. Our biggest concern at this point is just making sure that all of the babies get fed, so we'll see what happens.

So, on to chickens, they are starting to grow up and gain their full size and grow in to some of their more normal behaviors. The Lady of the House has been spending more time with the chickens than I have been so she could probably do a better write up on them than I can. However, it has been fun watching them growing up and figure out how to be chickens. We've been trying to give them as much time out of their run as we can which was one of the few benefits of both of us being sick from last Thursday through Sunday. While they were out and about  the Lady of the House got some fun pictures of them chickening around in our undergrowth. They have definitely been expressing a lot of their instinctive behaviors darting from cover to cover, scratching for anything they can find, and nibbling everything. They've also been solidifying their hierarchy. The top chicken has settled out to be Haystack Right. Below her is somewhat more variable right now at least as far as I know.
Below is a photo of one of the oddest behaviors they have that is really tough to actually convey in a non moving image. When out and about at certain points all of them will collapse into a random pile of wings, feet, and competition with each other for the best (though I totally can't figure out what's better about it) spot. It's kind of bizarre and at first we honestly thought they were all just having a group seizure, but it seems to be a group bonding ritual that is very important for everyone. They also seem to feel the need to all do it together despite it being plenty warm without cuddling together. There's a lot to learn about our little dinosaurs and their behaviors and we're enjoying watching them.

So, our Squash has been doing relatively well but we have one frustrating thing going on. All of the flowers are male. Squash like some plants have male and female flowers, and ours seem to all be male inclined. The photo Left is of a male flower, and you can look the difference up since I'm not a big expert on it to be honest. It's just a little frustrating to see all of these nice looking flowers setting every morning and going out to check and see about making sure any female flower gets pollinated and none of them are female. We're hoping we get female flowers soon, and are going some research to see if there's some sort of nutrient thing that would modify how many male vs female flowers set, but we honestly don't know yet. It's just an odd sort of learning experience.

The other Good news Bad news thing going on is that some of the tomato plants just aren't staying stable with the lighter trellises. On the good side that's because our tomato plants are getting to be over 6 feet tall, and full of tomatoes, so we'll be getting our first crop of tomatoes soon, but I need to figure out something to keep these upright without spending more money. I'm thinking to grab some tree branches and stick those in the ground as makeshift trellises for now, and see about what we can do better next year. I'm still thinking T posts and cattle panels if we can come up with the money, we'll see about that.
Good news bad news done, let's move on to good news. Our cayenne pepper plant seems to be doing very well as you can see Right. The Lady of the House and I are really looking forward to making our first fresh salsa with ingredients from our own garden. The peppers certainly look like they're going to be accommodating so we'll see how that goes. We don't want to count our peppers before we harvest because there's always the possibility of pests predating our potential peppers, but we'll see what happens.

And finally in the bad news, nope, good news! The plant Below is a weed of a family of weeds known as Smart Weed which is related to Knot Weed. The one below as far as we can tell is Water Pepper, and it's overtaken large parts of our yard near the drainage creek. The good news about this is it grows incredibly fast and it is edible to rabbits! In fact it is apparently particularly good for their stomach. So we've found a solution to two problems, rabbits eating a lot, and an annoying odd weed that cropped up in our yard.

1 comment:

  1. Nice I wish I had some pets!

    But i would need help..