Thursday, August 1, 2013

Those delicate days

It's that delicate time where some babies are growing and some are struggling. As you can see above one of the average sized babies of Dawn with Comet's struggling 44 gram baby.

Not all of the babies are struggling, most in fact are doing just fine, and some are growing at staggering speed. Left is a comparison of Dawn's largest kit with the three monster kits of Twilight, and the Lady of the House's hand for size comparison. So, mostly we've been letting things go as they will, but yesterday we tried moving the smallest of Halley's litter and the smallest of Comet's litter over to Dawn's hutch since they weren't going to make it as they were. Halley's baby didn't make it through the night, but Comet's as you could see from the first photo did. It is still struggling obviously. This morning we tried forcing Dawn to feed it, and that's something we won't be trying again. It caused her WAY too much stress to her, and she's already prone to being stressed. We think we got the baby to get some extra milk in it and hope that it'll be able to pull through. If all of the babies don't make it that look like they might not we'll end up with 20 babies in this round of litters. If we can manage to keep everyone alive who is now we'll have 22 which isn't a bad number at all. Obviously Twilights are thriving which is kind of amazing to watch. It was amusing for us to watch the two black kits attempt to nurse off the white monster kit when they were out. We have to be a bit careful with them though because of their watchful mom who is always a bit of a threat when ever we have her kits out. It takes two to put them back in because of the behavior you can see Left. So far she hasn't managed to get teeth or claws on either of us this litter, but we've also been very careful this time. She'll start calming down once they have their eyes open.

We haven't checked in on the teenagers for a while, so let's see how they're doing. The short answer is, like a plague of locusts. They devour everything put in the hutch, and I was hoping to get a photo of them demolishing the smart weed I'd put in, which you can see in the back of the photo Right, but they're so person oriented that I couldn't get eating photos of them.  Opening the hutch door means an absolute wave of baby rabbits coming at you. Normally they're spread around the hutch doing their thing, but they all require pettings. We don't really mind because we like having them person oriented, it makes their lives better and easier. It's just kind of funny when you want a "Normal life" photo, and it just doesn't happen. So far we've identified one real problem with the new growing out hutch that I think I mentioned before, but we'll show you to be clear.

Shelves mean there's a solid area for them to poop, and for some reason the babies have decided the corners of the shelf are poop land. It's a mess, kind of gross, and accumulates really fast! I clear out the corners just about every day, but there's a lot of bunnies in there, and they are absolute poop factories. For now we're just going to cope, but in the long run I'm going to remove the corner floors and replace it with floor wire so if they keep using those as poop areas it just falls through and out of the hutch. One of the things we keep trying to remind people is, making a hutch easy to clean isn't just a convenience thing for us, we have to be reasonable about what we expect of our time and make it so keeping the hutches clean is not only something we do regularly, but that we can expect to do quickly. A clean hutch is a healthy hutch.
I'd mentioned that Sunshine had sore hocks which is a culling offense for the most part. We hadn't checked to see if she had it before she came in, but given how bad it'd gotten it probably didn't happen just here. That said she's starting to heal up. Fur is starting to grow back over, and her hocks aren't so angry red. We're going to keep an eye on her, and if she's doing better in 2 weeks when we do the next breeding cycle we will breed her then. If not we'll do some hard thinking on if she should be bred at all.
Finally, I wanted to address the craziness that was our exploding and falling over tomato patch. I'd initially thought to just use some big tree branches, but getting something big and sturdy enough meant it wouldn't go into the ground well. There was also the complication that a lot of the vines were sprawling in every direction. Now part of this is us not pruning as the plants grew to direct them, part of it is just the type of plants these are I think. So, I came up with a sort of hybrid concept. I grabbed an unused bird feeder hanger and some saw horses, and set up this sort of contraption that's keeping the plants upright, and distributing the weight of the side growing vines off so they don't drag on the ground or break the stems. We'll see how it works out int he long run.

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