Thursday, June 4, 2015

Growing kits, growing chicks, and another broody hen?

Ok, I'll be honest, the baby picture up front is mostly just because they're cute, and why not. We've been very busy so we haven't done rebreeding yet, but it's time. We need to get that done this weekend so we can have an appropriate number of litters this year. Especially since we're introducing The Critter to solids, and he finds basically anything we feed him delicious. I didn't know such a small person could drink that much milk AND eat that much food!

 Between all of the litters on the ground right now we have 16 kits. Some of those may be going because we have interest from a local in breeding stock, and we may be providing that which would bring us down a bit, not that it's a problem to be doing so. It does however mean it's time to kick production up a bit if we don't want April to REALLY be the month of the hungry moon next year. With the Critter eating, and the Lady of the House eating more because she's nursing I figure our normal production should be fine, but we may need to up our breeding stock numbers once the Critter is a bit older if we're going to be sticking with mostly produced on location rabbit meat to meet our non vegetable needs. I'd like to do so, and so far it seems reasonable to do so, especially as we get more into chickens to supplement. The Lady of the House loves eating chicken, and so as long as we have a rooster and hens, we should be able to have a reasonable quantity of chicken as well. After all, we only want the %50 of chicks that are female to grow up and stick around. The rest of them are going to get killed and turned into dinner. If that process isn't too arduous it seems like a good deal to me, because with moms raising the chicks it's very little work.

Speaking of chicks, more photos of them because they're great. They are doing very well, and I love watching them. I'm trying to not get too attached to them for obvious reasons, at least 2 of them are statistically going to be male, and well, they aren't going to be sticking around. They are growing so fast though, they already are starting to grow tails defining their little ball bodies, and are feathering out and developing patterns. The genetics of chicken colors is much more complex than that of rabbit colors, and is something that we may be exploring in the future, during the winter. Either way, the chicks are growing well, and quickly, and since we're still very much in learning mode since this is our first time they have a lot of our attention. The fact that the Critter loves watching them doesn't hurt. One of the challenges I had getting more photos this morning to supplement the extra the Lady of the House got to show the growth was that Mr. Bond in anticipation of food kept getting in the way. Alternatively he was guarding them, but it was in the same pose he uses to anticipate being fed, so . . . . I think he wanted more than the food I'd put down. Since the loss of two of the hens I'd figured they'd be a bit more careful about where they went, but yesterday when I got home they were down the driveway where the fox hit just a few weeks ago, so I guess their confidence is already back. Hopefully they're a little more alert, and we don't have more chicken losses shortly. At least though they are sticking around the yard a fair bit. One of the things I'm going to have to figure out is the free range benefits vs how much damage they do to the garden equation. Last but not least, one of the Cinnamon Queens appears to be broody, so we'll see how that goes. I moved the eggs from the primary laying box to the one next to it. If she's on them tonight, that's great! More chicks would be good, but definitely emphasizes the get another coop up timing quite a bit!

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