Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Second Chance...


Welcome to the Rabbit Report... All is not well in the Bunny Barn. Tauriel gave birth to nine kits Wednesday afternoon. She pulled fur, however she had the babies on the opposite end of the nest... By the time I got home from school, the kits were ice cold and not moving... They were all bluish gray with sickly white underbellies and I started to panic. I didn't know if they were all born dead, or what had happened. I called the Goodwife and she told me to get them inside ASAP. I brought out a large bowl, stuffed it with hay and laid a warmed (in the dryer for a few minutes) towel down, then picked up one of the babies. It was limp and cold, and I laid it in bowl with little hope for life. After three more I pulled out a baby and cupped it in my hands. I tried to massage it and breathe warm air on it. The kit moved its front legs and squeaked at me, and I hurried the rest inside. Once inside, I laid them on our heating pad.

 The one who had squeaked and moved started moving and squirming around on the pad. I stole Tauriel's fur from her nest and brought it inside to put the babies in. I breathed and massaged and rubbed and soon several more were squeaking and moving around.


video
P.S. Sorry about my shadow, its kind of in the way almost the whole video, but the main point is my little narration and I couldn't really stand to the side and do the same thing...

The Goodwife told me to put them in warm (not hot) water (excluding their little mouths) to try and warm them quickly, then stuff them in a towel on Tauriel's fur. I did so, dried them well, then set a towel down so they wouldn't burn on the heating pad, then wrapped them snug in mama's fur and some hay.

 
When the Goodwife got home, she concluded that four of the babies were dead (which I assumed because they were limp and unmoving) and the others were moving and squeaking, so we took them back out to Tauriel. We packed them in her fur and checked on them again before bed. One of the babies were already cold, but we made the difficult decision to let nature take it's course. In the morning, the five surviving kits were dead. The Goodwife said that sometimes once the babies get cold, even if you spend time reviving them, they never spring back into full life. It is sad, but just the way things are sometimes. That morning we put Tauriel in with Spartan (because a lot of rabbit breeders put a doe directly back in if she loses her litter, it isn't bad for the rabbit) and he bred her three times. After school I put her back in with him and he bred her three more times. However, she is still hateful and rude, and even worse this time!! We are seriously considering getting rid of her, but haven't decided if we want to sell her as bred or wait until she has this litter... Raising rabbits is not for the faint of heart, and it can get quite upsetting at times. But what I am going to show you tomorrow makes it well worth it!
Until the next Rabbit Report, hopefully more cheerful...
 
 

Monday, January 26, 2015

We've Got Water!


The Man and I were recently talking about how we don't have a source of water on our land.  We are on city water and I can't stand it, as it smells of chlorine so badly it almost burns my nose!  I'm really surprised our animals will even drink it, although they do so without complaint.  However, lest you should think I'm a whiny baby, I'm very thankful to have city water (right now) because we don't have to worry about power outages or running out of water.  Here's another however, however, I don't like feeling as if city water is our only option, should we ever need to go another route.


Ok, so that leads us to this blog post!  The Man came in from working on his new quail pens and said..........Hey!  We've got Water!

Our land is split into two sections.  The bulk of our property is on one side of a dead end road and that is where our house, the goats, chickens, rabbits and pigs when we have them, live.  Right across the dead end road is the remainder of our property....


This used to be quite full of junk when we first bought the place.  We've been working on stuff over on the part of our land that our house sits on, and working with building outbuildings and fencing and such and haven't done too much with this side of our property.......


But inside this cinder block enclosure.......


Is this!!  That's a well my friends......


And we wanted to know how deep it was, so we can start planning on putting in a "pitcher pump", or hand pump......


So how do you measure the depth of a well?  It's terribly difficult and complicated....go get some paper and pen so you can write down how to do it.......

Ha!  Just kidding, it's easy peasy!  

Get a long ball of yarn and about 5 nuts....or washers....or a heavy rock even and tie to the end of the yarn.....


Then drop the weighted end down your well, slowly and being careful not to drop the whole shebang down there!


Keep feeding your weighted line down the well.  Once you reach the water, you'll know it because your weight will stop swaying side to side and will pretty much just go straight down...and once you hit bottom you'll know, although it's a bit trickier about that.  You have to feed it down slowly, and just "feel" when it's on the bottom and not going down any farther.  This isn't an exact science, but will give you a ball park figure on how deep your well is.....


Then we went back to the main yard to measure.  We used a 100' tape and first measure how much of the yarn was wet.....about 16 feet.  That means we've got 16' of water in our well.  


Then we measured how much total string we used......


It's a loooooong way, as you can see.......


We had 90' of dry yarn, plus our 16' of wet yarn for a total well depth of approximately 106'

What does that mean for us?  Well we'll have to figure out the best type of non-electric pump for this depth of well and then begin plans for getting it installed.  Then we'll test the water with a home test kit and hopefully have good drinkable water in the event of an emergency!

I've got hopes that it will be good water as it's the highest point around, there are no septic systems close to it, and it isn't around any farm ground for pesticide run-off.  Of course that doesn't mean much nowadays because that stuff can seep into just about anything!  :)  However, it's a start!

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.  John 4:14


Till next time.....I remain yours in Christ,


Friday, January 23, 2015

Babies At Two Weeks...

Welcome to the Rabbit Report! On Wednesday (the 21st) Eden's litter of seven turned two weeks old. Their eyes are open and they are growing!




Such a wonderful mother Eden has been! :)
 



We wanted to weigh the babies at two weeks, so we got our handy dandy scale and our breakfast bowl to put the little bunnies in so we could weigh them.
We brought out paper and pencil and recorded the weights as we went. Here are the recorded weights of Eden's litter at two weeks...
 
1.) 7.48oz
 
2.)  7.90oz
 
3.)  9.42oz
 
4.  6.98oz
 
5.) 7.55oz
 
6.)  7.76oz
 
7.)  7.83oz
 
As you can see, one of the babies is rather small, and another is rather beastly in comparison to the others... Here are some comparison pictures of the two.
 


 
We aren't sure if the beastly bunny will stay the biggest or if the weights will even out as the litter gets older and starts eating real food, such as pellets and hay. We shall see... The babies are growing SO quickly and they are almost ready to come out of the nest! (Pictures will be posted shortly of this) While we had the scale out we weighed three of our older rabbits as well...
 
Presley- 4.8 pounds (seven months old)
Spartan- 7.1 pounds (seven months old)
Elvy- 8.2 pounds (four months old)
 
Tauriel and Eden weren't weighed due to Tauriel being bred and Eden having a litter in her nest.
 
Spartan is rather small for a silver fox. Elvy is three months younger than him and weighs a whole pound more. She is certainly going to be a large rabbit! Normal adult silver fox rabbits weigh between ten and twelve pounds, and they dress at the highest percentage of any rabbit, meaning their weight when they are butchered is very close to that of when they are processed. (You don't lose a lot of weight in the process of harvesting the rabbit, it is mostly meat, which is great for our purposes!)
 
Stay tuned for another Rabbit Report!   
 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Even MORE Events From Saturday! :) And Rabbit Toys For The Ingenious...

Welcome back to the Rabbit Report! Saturday was a busy day INDEED! Today I am going to talk about Stick Time and rabbit toys.

Rabbits are just like beavers, they enjoy chewing and nibbling on things. In fact, Spartan often chews on the metal of his cage. And if they aren't given something to chew on, sometimes their teeth can get too long. If you would like to know what this looks like, you can search "malocclusion in rabbits." Some of the bad cases are pretty horrific, so if you are delicate you probably shouldn't look it up. Basically, their teeth get very long and can overlap or stick out of their mouth at odd angles, etc. This can make it difficult to eat and pretty much participate in daily life. So sticks help to prevent this, and it prevents boredom as well! Some good choices are mulberry branches and maple branches. Some branches are poisonous to rabbits! So be very careful when doing this! Our rabbits LOVE sticks and usually the bark is gone from the entire branch in a matter of minutes! Their favorite parts are the red buds at the ends, so springtime is a really nice time to do this, when all of these buds are on. However, it's nice to do it all year round for your bunnies :)  
Presley and his stick

Presley sitting pretty for mommy :)

video
Spartan and Elvy :) 
video

And Presley :)
 
 
The bunnies love their stick time! 
 
 
Next up, I am going to explain how to make rabbit toys for the ingenious. Some people don't want to or don't have the money to buy rabbit toys. But they need toys too! This is an VERY simple way to make rabbit toys that our rabbits love!
 
If you ever dry your hands or go to the bathroom you probably use paper towels or toilet paper. If you don't, well then I can't help you... Anyways, after you finish with the toilet paper or the paper towels you end up with one of these...
 
And what do you usually do with these? Throw them away right? Well not anymore! You can cut these babies up into smaller pieces (if they're paper towel ones) and leave them whole if they are toilet paper ones. 
 
When you are finished cutting them up (paper towel rolls) you should have a bunch of smaller tubes, like so...
  Put one in each of your rabbit's cages, and stuff hay or other treats in them, or just leave them for your rabbit to throw around and play with! Presley loves to pull hay out of the roll, and Spartan loves to pick it up and throw it across his cage. Another good thing about these toys is that they are decomposable, so when they get wet and soggy from their water bottle or if they use the bathroom on them, you can take them right out of their cage and put them on the floor to be raked up later with the hay and manure and taken to the compost pile!  
 
Thank you for reading, and very soon I will post the weights of Eden's litter at two weeks, which was Wednesday. Until the next Rabbit Report! :)  






Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Feed Mixing Day!

What could have put this look of giddy anticipation on the face of my beloved Tulip??



Feed mixing day of course!  

I feed grain here.  This can be a bit of a controversial issue, but it's what works out best for us.  If the time comes when I can phase it out and it not be detrimental to the health of my goats, then I will do so, but where we are and with our working outside the homestead it just won't work right now.  

So to that effect, about once a month or so, depending, it is feed mixing day and the goats get all excited over it.  they hang over the dutch door and beg, and scramble, and look all sweet because they want me to give them a little sample.


So here is all the different stuff that goes into our grain mix here.

  In IL I was very spoiled as all I had to do was call the grain elevator and tell them I needed to order "my" mix.  They had it all on file and in about an hour I'd go pick it up in bags.  Then I'd just dump the bags in the old deep freeze in the barn and that was that.  However, the only grain elevator down here that will do custom mixes, requires that you purchase a TON (yes literally a ton, 2000 lbs), and I don't need anywhere near that much at one time. 


We put 3 parts Omolene 300 horse feed....


1 part beet pulp shreds....


1/2 part alfalfa pellets...... 


and then two big double hand-fulls of BOSS


I mix it all up one "part" at a time in a bucket......


And then dump the mixed bucket in this trash toter....


And then do it over and over, until I've used all the Omolene.  Once I've used two bags of Omolene, I put the remainder of the beet pulp and alfalfa pellets in their respective bags down into the trash tote, all the while with Tulip, Star and Ollie begging at the door......


Once I empty the first bag of Omolene i toss it out the door and one, two, or sometimes all three goats will climb inside to see if perhaps I may have left a delicious morsel or two......


When I'm all done, I let them in to hoover up the scraps that dropped.....



And then all that excitement necessitates a nice long nap........


Until next time.....

God bless!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Eventful Saturday At The Bunny Barn!


Saturday was quite eventful, and I could not fit it all in one post! So many things needed done out at the Rabbit Barn!
 
First, everyone got their toenails done... They grow so fast!
 Elvy...
Presley...
 Then Spartan...

And last, Eden!
 
We didn't do Tauriel's toes because we don't like to do anything that causes stress to pregnant does, as it might negatively affect their kindling. Everyone did a very good job! So much so that I gave the bunnies a little reward...
 
Everyone loves a little recreational time, so all the buns got a little bit to hop around the Bunny Barn!
video
 
Elvy's Recreational video :)
 
 
 
 Presley is trying to tell Mommy that he is ready to go out!


 He spent the majority of his time underneath Spartan's cage, trying to figure out where that other buck smell was coming from!
 
That is, until he found Mommy's hay stash...
Okay Presley, your recreational time is over now...
 
 
Spartan had a big ol' time :D
 
 
 
 
 
Tauriel didn't get her toenails cut and we wanted to eliminate any stress, so she didn't get taken out of her cage for recreational time, and we didn't want to take Eden away from her babies, so she didn't either.
 
Phew... That barn is DIRTY in all of those pictures... I'm almost embarrassed to post those pictures!
 
 But don't worry...
 We took care of that too!
 
All of that hay and rabbit mess (which is great fertilizer by the way) got hauled down to our future garden spot in the wheelbarrow :)
 
Such an eventful, beautiful Saturday!
Stay tuned for another Rabbit Report, still on the events of Saturday! <3