Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Overdue update

A new day, a new set of baby bunny faces. Well, really right now it's the same set of faces, but as they grow so fast it can feel like a whole new set of faces. Above are three of Twilight's current brood.  Much like their mother they are very engaged with anything involving food. That naturally includes us since we're involved with the appearance of food. I wanted a photo of Twilight hovering over them, but all of them were blurry dark gray mountains that didn't look so good sadly.  Overall, Twilight's kits are growing the crazy rate we expect, and we're happy to see that. Everyone is going to get re bred soon, so they'll only be with their mom for another few weeks for which she will be profoundly grateful, the're eating her food!

Dawn on the other hand never likes having her kits taken away. We'd considered fostering off kits and doing another round of breeding given that she and Sunshine between them had 5 kits. Neither one of them likes their kits being taken away, and Dawn in particular does go looking for them. Her kits are growing well, and despite not getting quite as much handling as we'd like to get them they aren't constantly scared. I definitely am going to be trying to eliminate those wasps before the next round of babies so I can check on them, and as much as they like being able to go into their hidey hole and being completely out of my reach,  I need them to be at least somewhat in reach so I can handle them and check on them.  On the up side, Dawn cleans them constantly so I don't have to worry about that, but one of them is particularly unwilling to be handled and with a place I can't get at the kit makes it hard to socialize.  You can see the kit in question Below. Overall the behavior isn't bad, just not as good as I want it to be. 
With the time commitments I've had we haven't been doing the weight checks, and we really need to start doing that again. The benefits in socialization are so important and the data is useful. I'm not sure how realistic it is to do daily, but we really need to be doing it regularly at the very least. It's a matter of making time to do it which is easier said than done. At a certain point though it doesn't matter, you just have to do it.
Sunshine and her kits are doing alright, but I will say that this next round of litters will be our last with Sunshine. Her temperament isn't good, and for the most part she passes that on to her kits. She has foot problems because she doesn't clean herself, and regularly urinates on herself if we give her a stone to sit on. The nervous level she has just isn't good for her or us unfortunately. Some of her kits are very beautiful as you can see Below but the downsides just are too high given that she produces average litters at best, most of which tend towards fearful. We don't even feel we can pass her on to another breeder due to her consistent problems.

Last of the rabbits, but certainly not the end of the update, the teens. They are also nearing the end of their time with us. A smaller litter, we've let them get a bit bigger than we normally would for weight of meat over quality of meat. Especially since we still have a bit in the freezer from last year. (Note to self, defrost the freezer) All of them are doing well, and while they look gangly the're strong and in good shape. The rabbit that's in the center with darker ears has something of an odd ear set. His ears are on backwards it looks like. Between the dark ear shade, and the backwards set, it's odd. We're going to be keeping an eye out for that showing up in future litters coming out of any of our does. That is categorically Not how they're supposed to look though they don't inconvenience him at all. For meat it isn't a huge issue, but we try to make sure we're breeding quality animals as well.
On the other side of the house, our garden is doing as well as we can expect. The peppers are starting to ripen, some tomatoes are starting to ripen, and we learned we hadn't paid enough attention when we got cucumber plants! The plant we got was called a silver slicer. The cucumbers in my hands Left are both from the same plant. The one on the right is what it should look like, and on the left is one that's perilously close to being ripe. As a note, ripe is not necessarily what you want out of your cucumber because that means the seeds are ready and the flesh will be bitter. Fortunately we got instructed that one should be removing the fruits from the plant early and often to keep the cucumber producing. Once we removed everything on the vines, we suddenly saw a burst of new female flowers and cucumbers. it's been a wonderful snack, and encouraging given the slow production on the tomatoes. We learned that it's a natural consequence of the non staked method of tomatoes we had going this year. In the future we're going to make sure we have tomato stakes, but for now we just hope we'll get a decent harvest despite the cold year.
Finally, the dog. He's still doing well and is enjoying his morning romps. With a kid on the way we're trying to make sure he gets used to being calm even when he doesn't get a lot of personal attention from us so he doesn't freak out when a kid is taking %99.9 of our collective home time. We'll see, but I think as long as he gets some ball time every day he'll be ok. It's kind of startling to look ahead and realize that we could have a healthy kid in arms within 6 weeks, or it could be 8, maybe 10. But either way, 2 months is likely the outside before we add a kid to the list of what's on our little homestead. Quite an adventure.


  1. Too bad about Sunshine, but you're right, temperament is *very* heritable so unless she has some other fantastic trait, she isn't great for your colony. Have you been keeping the furs from your rabbits? I thought I remembered you saying something about it a long time ago.

    Could you use sticks from the woods for tomato stakes? I always used bamboo as a kid, but that's because we had bamboo for the vineyard.

    1. *grumble* It ate my reply.

      We could have used sticks from the woods, but we didn't have time this year and it got away from us with a lot of other things. We have bamboo left over from last year, but the weight of the vines and fruit was too much for the bamboo so we didn't use those to prevent the plant damage we saw last year.

      As for the furs, we have been freezing most of them that are worth keeping, some don't come off well. We'd like to get back to tanning, but we haven't had time. We'll probably be doing alum tanning in the future to save time, and for ease of having a supple leather as opposed to the much more time consuming egg tanning which we prefer.