Thursday, April 23, 2015

Splash's litter, snow, and a chicken in on the game.

It's nice to have lots of babies on the ground again, especially at this point where we're watching them get bigger day by day. These are the three that Dawn's Daughter gave birth to.

 I'm actually going to be soliciting everyone for input on naming Dawn's daughter. We've mostly stuck to lighting phenomenon for naming our rabbits, but we're happy to branch out with Dawn's daughter. So far her babies are doing incredibly well. Today at 5 days old they are 116, 111, and 106 grams. That's an average weight of 111.00 grams, and an excellent growth rate of 113.65%. For 3 babies an excellent growth rate is to be expected, but we also have Splash and Dorado's litter on the ground right now, and some time soon we're expecting Twilight and Streak's litters to hit the ground which should be good. There's a lot more baby rabbit photos below the cut.

Splash's litter is not doing nearly as well as Dawn's daughter's litter, but there are also a lot more kits in it. That said, things aren't all on the bad side due to a single, or a couple kits. As you can see they look a lot less developed even a few days earlier.

04/22: 52, 52, 48, 46, 41, 37, 37, 32, 22
04/23: 56, 51, 47, 45, 38, 36, 32, 31, 20

As you can see, there's weight loss almost across the board with Splash's litter. The overall percentage growth for the litter is -3%. I'm not sure if that's because they hadn't been fed yet today, problems with getting all of the kits fed sufficiently, inexperience, or Splash's oddly shaped nest that's very burrowed into the straw. That said, the first couple days are always a little dicey for babies.

Right is the smallest kit that started at 22g, and has dropped weight to 20g. I don't expect this one to make it, but we can always hope that it will pull through. In a situation where there wasn't such a huge body weight difference I would consider fostering the smallest kit off to Dawn's daughter, but with this size difference I think it's probably just a little too much for this situation. It may be the wrong choice, but I think that in this situation it has more of a chance to get food with where it is.

Obviously we're going to be keeping a close eye on this litter as they grow, and hope that they start to make an up turn tomorrow. Below is a photo of me holding all 9 of the kits. It is always amazing to me when I can hold 9 baby rabbits in both hands. This morning I was holding all of them as I picked them up and weighed them because it was cold, and I needed to keep them all warm. I ended up with 9 babies in one hand braced against my body while I weighed with the other hand. The thing you can't see from the picture is all of them trying to dig in my hand because this isn't their nest. They were back in their nest moments after this photo, and their very worried mom promptly came and sat on the nest, which is really something that should be limited to chickens. Rabbits are supposed to just leave their nests alone and hope everything goes well. Speaking of chickens sitting on nests . . .

We have a chicken that's gone broody. One of the Australorps has decided that she needs to sit on the eggs. Last I checked there were 5 eggs under there, so we're looking to find out if any friends with fertilized eggs in the area would be willing to trade some eggs to us, or give us some eggs to stuff under her. We'd love to have a variety of chicks come out of her. One of the things I'm going to be doing over the next couple weeks is find out about chicks that are being incubated and raised by a chicken instead of out of a box of chicks. Most of the information I have is for the just getting started raising hatchlings, and I suspect things are going to be somewhat different with a mama hen watching out for them. I know some folks around here have experience with it, and of course I'm going to be doing research online because that's what I do with any new situation. Right now my primary thought is how do we get the chicks coccidiostat as they're growing. We'll figure that out as we go and learn from the experience of others who've done this.
Last for today, and most assuredly the least, this morning we had snow on the ground when we came outside. That particular feature is why I was rushing through weight checks, and made the Lady of the House VERY grumpy that I roused her to get photos with me while the Critter still slept. As a note, waking a  mom who's nursing a very active 5 month old that sleeps in 2 - 3 hour chunks is done at one's own risk and is not officially recommended as a homesteading practice by us the Hillside Homestead blog.

This weekend since I wasn't able to get out and do more fence pulling during the week I'm going to be out working on doing more fence and structure removal. I need to figure out exactly when, but it's probably going to be Sunday for most of the day. I look forward to having more news about kits when I get back to you on Tuesday.

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