Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Post con exhaustion, and 8 years as a partnership.

Chicken picture just because! They haven't been getting much attention since we put up the tarps which they're finally starting to get used to. We need to put something more solid up to keep the tarp from sagging because that not only bothers the chickens, it makes taking care of them much more difficult since it's too low and we have to duck to get in and out of the run. So far the cold doesn't seem to be bothering the chickens.

The rabbits themselves don't seem particularly bothered by the cold weather, but it got highlighted that we as caretakers definitely have a bit of a problem with it between the con weekend, and this morning. Frozen water bottles to be precise.  Right is one of the water bottles that was a particular problem, namely the bottle of Halley and Comet's large hutch. They were unable to get water out of it for at least a day, and potentially longer due to the fog of lack of sleep, the absence at the convention, and driving back and forth to said convention. The rabbits are all fine, both moms and the kits, however lack of free access to fresh water is a concern. We think we've fixed the problem at this point and they're fine today. But the big take away from this right now until we find something's actually wrong with a water bottle is, remember to take in the bottles during the night. It's now just too cold for the water to stay liquid over night and letting the bottles and mechanisms within them freeze is just asking for damage, and doesn't help the rabbits. 

Of course the good solid freeze starts right on time at the end of October well before Dawn and Sunshine give birth to their upcoming litters. I'd have to look back at my records to see exactly when the litters are slated to be born, and this is a quick post sort of day. So anyhow, they should be giving birth in the next week or two. Sunshine already has a full nest up and ready, and Dawn started nest building today. For now she's mostly just making a mess of any hay we put in, and I'm going to put a bunch of straw in to see how that goes. I'm really hoping for a better cold weather litter experience than last time. This is somewhat of a reminder to myself to put plastic over the roof hutches before the snow comes. I suspect even a thin layer of plastic will do a lot to prevent further problems inside the hutch.
One of the things I was starting to panic a bit about was finding the time to kill and dress out the current crop of teenagers since we're going to have new litters on the ground soon. Then I realized, I don't have to do that so promptly. The soon to be moms don't currently have babies at all, so I can be a little more relaxed about finding time and emotional fortitude to kill the teenagers. I'm probably going to do the harder, but more logical in this situation phased killing. Take the largest first, then work down to give the smaller kits a bit longer to grow out. As you can see Right they're all a bit silly with only one rabbit at one food bowl, and all of the rest of them at the other. This situation rectified itself fairly quickly of course.

So I promised an update on how the con worked out with commuting and taking care of the rabbits. It was tiring. You'd be surprised just how much you want an extra 45 minutes of sleep when you're working on 5ish hours of sleep. Especially when you're losing that 45 minutes to go out into the cold and your body isn't quite producing enough heat due to fatigue. We're probably going to be doing this next year, but we're also going to limit the hours we're at con more and just realize that maybe we can't do everything we want at the con and take care of the animals.

No rabbits nor  homesteaders were harmed in the doing of this.

Last but not least, it's my 8 year anniversary with the Lady of the House. Fortunately she keeps putting up with me, and helps keep us on course as a household even when things have been a couple years of hard times. My thanks to her, and here's to another good year of learning and growing with her.


  1. Happy anniversary to you both. Was wonderful seeing you at the con. Hope Mike's reaction to your story about the rabbits didn't offend you :)

    1. Great to see you as well! No offense was taken, I feel as advocates for animal welfare and our form of ethical eating that taking offense at questions and concerns would be counter productive. I'm always glad to talk about what we're trying to do and listen to ideas, concerns, and even just distaste.