Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Driveway done (mostly), and poison plants.

Well, we finished the driveway. Of course I don't have photos of any of the work, or the completed result because I forgot to get the completed part, and most of the time working was in the rain, or my hands were shaking too badly to get photos. So instead, here's a bunny.

Well, really it's a couple bunnies but you're most interested in the kit in the foreground. This is the smaller of Dawn's two kits. It's hard to get good scale on it because Dawn's so far from the camera. Anyhow, both of them are doing very well!

As for the driveway, in 2 days of work we moved ~18.5 tons of crush which comes out to about 15 cubic yards into ruts, and spread it across the driveway to crown it. The only tools we have for it are a digging shovel, a short digging shovel, and an iron rake. Appropriate tools for this, transfer shovel (broken fiberglass handle), bobcat, tractor, earth mover. I suspect mule or horse team would also be useful for this. Either way, without those we just did what we could, and for the most part it worked out. I really wish instead of 6, 3 - 4 ton piles the driver had been able to slowly scatter it down the driveway, but we got what we got, and can now use the driveway. It didn't even wash away in the recent hard rains!

Below the cut I'm going to talk more about how the baby bunnies are doing, which has both good, and learning experiences on our part.

So, here's the good news. For the most part the kits are very healthy, and despite not giving them the time they should have had early on to socialize them due to being focused on the wedding, they are all friendly and social. We had Adventure Bunny a few times as one of the kits found her way out until I could manage to close up the hutch. She enjoyed being out for most of a day each time, and then would come right up to me to get put back in after she figured out she couldn't get back in on her own. She's now the biggest of the kits, so clearly the adventures didn't hurt her in the slightest! Soon we're going to be putting Splash's kits in with Dawn's kits in the big grow out hutch that's currently empty.
One of the things we're deciding on at the moment is how we're going to mark Dawn's kits to distinguish them from Splash's kits. I'm thinking just a simple sharpie mark on the ears of the smaller litter, in this case, Dawn's. They're fairly distinct, but it's good to be sure when we're considering keeping any of them to make sure we know the full lineage. As a note, with 4 kits, and 2 moms, Splash, Streak, and Splash's kits go through 5 cups of feed, and some greens per day. In greens I'd say they go through a bushel a day. We'd been doing a lot of just greens days, but had a learning experience come up. You'll notice I'm talking about 4 kits when last time I mentioned there were 5. Well, we learned that not all of our weeds are harmless. I'm not going to post a picture of the dead kit, so you can read on safely.
 This is some of our weeds. As you can tell, we've let some of the yard get a little Too overgrown. Since we found out that Goldenrod is fine to feed to rabbits, we started doing so. Mixed in is Aster, that's also fine. We found out that in this picture of Goldenrod and Aster, there's a third type of plant that looks the same. It's in the right foreground, can you tell the difference? It's called Dogbane.

For reference: Goldenrod, Aster, and a rather anemic link on Dogbane.
The plant Right is goldenrod in immature form. Aster looks similar with narrower leaves, and fewer vanes. Both have a furry looking stem which doesn't show up well in the photos I managed to get. Dogbane Below in it's immature form looks very very similar. The only really distinguishing characteristic is that the stalk is smooth, and it has a somewhat milky sap and a ropy or fibery pith as opposed to the fairly normal green one in the other two. It also has a somewhat redder stalk which is starting to show up now. The up shot of this is, Dogbane got put in with Splash and Streak. We didn't know it until we got up in the morning, and one of the kits was dead with blood coming from it's mouth, and diarrhea. By the time we arrived it was already dead, Streak who hadn't had kits yet and one of the kits were sitting in a corner nodding their heads, and not eating. A second kit was huddled in the corner barely moving, and a third was sitting with it's head back and twisted around. We got lucky, they'd eaten little enough that all but the already dead one survived.

What did we learn from this? We learned that if there's something off about a plant we're cutting to feed, check it. If you don't know EXACTLY what you're feeding the kits, or yourself, check. If you don't know, be safe. We're going to keep feeding weeds, but we are definitely taking away from this that if  you aren't sure, double check. We got cocky, we've been feeding weeds for a couple years now, and never once had a problem. We got complacent, and a kit died. Hopefully that's not a mistake we're ever going to make again!

So, Thursday, hopefully, I'll have yogurt making!


  1. May I suggest testing the sharpie-marking before you need it? If rabbits wash their ears as much as similar animals the marks might not last as long as you would expect. If they don't last you might want to think about notching. I've never done it (though I've done ear-punches, but you can't do that with a rabbit) but I'm sure there's a right way and a wrong way. You might also consider ear-tagging (like on cattle), but I don't know how expensive that would be.

    1. Good call, thank you for the suggestion. I think the norm for rabbits is ear tattooing, so I might just need to look into finally getting a tattoo clamp.

  2. which must repeat itself several times. Pay attention to your driveway for warning signs that potholes are on the horizon. If you see an area in your driveway cracking, be proactive and patch the cracks up before they turn into something worse.iron fence