It's getting towards peak cuteness, not there yet but the opening eyes days are always some of the most fun for us on the homestead seeing all of the little ones opening their eyes and experiencing the world for the first time. We haven't had any instances of nest box eye recently, but we always keep our eyes out for it so it doesn't become a problem.
With a night in the low 40s last night we came out with some concerns about the safety of the babies since the cold snap had been a surprise even to us. The sisters Halley and Comet had all of the babies in the two litters in one nest instead of spread out over two, three, or four as has been their normal, and everyone was warm and well. Most of the babies in the two litters are doing well with one baby in that nest dropping weight between yesterday and today, but still at a healthy size. I'm hoping that doesn't become a trend, and don't expect it too, especially as they open their eyes. There's sort of a funny behavior that has developed in Halley and Comet, they're both a little nervous temperament wise, but they also want to make sure the babies are ok. So when I'm doing weight checks one will come over and poke me, and dart off, then the next one will, and so on until I'm done and both of them come piling in to the nesting area to check on the babies. It's actually kind of cute in my opinion.
Twilight's three monstrosities of kits are doing particularly well. Her smallest kit is almost 70 grams larger than the next largest kit in the current set of litters, and when we're talking the 100 - 200 gram weight range for most of the kits right now that's really significant. Her monster kit, the white one is currently 402 grams, 100 grams larger than its closest sibling, and as you can see from the picture Below Left is already fairly independent. It's interesting because seeing such a small litter was discouraging for the Lady of the House and I because we really needed a good sized set of litters to make sure we have enough for the winter. However, seeing the growth rate differences between the litters is really interesting. For those of you who are interested the weight charts are here.
Twilight, Dawn, Halley, and Comet.
So for the most part the babies are a bunch of good news with one notable exception, the smallest kit of Comets that we'd separated out and brought over to Dawn's litter in hopes being with fewer kits would help. In the picture Below you can see it hasn't grown. This might be our first instance of failure to thrive. We check every day and every day it's been fed fully, but still isn't gaining weight, and today started losing weight again. We've been hopeful, but I'm not sure it's going to make it at this point which is always upsetting. I made the prediction to the Lady of the House that this was going to be it's last morning, and I hope tomorrow and the next day prove me wrong. Don't leave on bad news though, good news is below the big picture!
We had a scare on Sunday, the Lady of the House was home working on art and around the property and thus let the chickens out to meander about and enjoy chickening around. It also turns out Sunday was a weird weather day with mostly sunny followed by random storm bursts coming out of no where. One moment the chickens were doing their thing, and the next she looks up and they're scrambling off into the woods making unhappy sounds. When she called them back and did a head count, they were short one. The chicken on the right of the Top Right photo, Eagle. She didn't come back through out the day, and wasn't back at hutch closing time in the evening, and at that point we feared the worst. Some critter got her, an eagle, or worse, a fox. With the encouragement of a friend in the area who has chickens we hoped for the best, that she'd decided to try roughing it and would realize it isn't all she'd imagined it to be. Monday morning we went out to let the girls out, and she promptly sprinted back to the run. She seemed surprised she could get in, we figure she'd tried in the early morning before we were up to get in and was discouraged. She's mussed, and nervous but healthy and back with her sisters, so we're happy about that. It could have been a sad loss, but due to good fortune wasn't.
Before I sign off for the day, a quick run through of the garden. The corn is growing too slowly and almost certainly won't produce before autumn hits, especially if cold mornings like this are the norm. However, the tomatoes are (finally) starting to show some color. There's obvious ones like the little spot of red Left, but we're also seeing the blushes of color start to show up on the closest tomato to you in the photo Bottom Left of one of our Sun Gold Cherry Tomato plants. We're hoping to be getting our first major crop of tomatoes when the Lady of the House gets back from Otacon early next week. Our biggest problem right now is that the tomato garden is totally a jungle, we really need to remember to plant further apart next year! That said, somehow they are for the most part thriving.
The other plant of interest is the squash, which is still nearly exclusively setting male flowers much to our frustration. We have two and only two squash set so far, and we're hoping for more though our hopes aren't too grand. We have the Spaghetti Squash Right and Below is Harry's Squash which is a local variety of acorn squash I believe that seems to be growing well. Unfortunately we just can't seem to get more squash out of the plants at the moment, so I think we'll just have to try to do something more right next year. The growing season isn't over yet either, so we'll see what we can manage!
Signing off for today, and hopefully Thursday I have good news on the baby bunnies, and I'm going to be talking about switching rabbit food.