Friday, October 30, 2015

Goodbye Summer

More like good riddance. I'm so glad Summer is over (for the most part anyways). I can't stand the heat anymore, it just makes me feel sick. I started out Summer by slicing my hand with a very sharp, dirty pair of hoof shears. It was a bad judgement call when a doeling started kicking her leg. With the little steri-strips the clinic gave me to hold the wound shut, I was kinda useless for a while, as if I used my hand for anything it would pop the strips off. I have been blessed that I hadn't had a wound like that, since a rabbit bite the end of my finger when I was around 3 years old. I did discover that large amounts of Ester-C worked great to keep my hand from hurting.

I wasn't going to have any baby bunnies in the Summer, because of the heat. Then I remembered "Duh, the does have nice cool holes they can kindle in.". So three litters it was. One doe kindled as expected in her hole, doe # 2 decided to use her house (because she was never able to dig a tunnel off of it, because the dirt is too hard in her pen.), and that resulted in a couple lost kits. One kit got lost when it blindly crawled off on a hot day. I think an animal got it. I had to put a second one down that got abscesses. So that left 4 kits in the second litter which were doing great. Then when they were about 3 weeks old my mom stopped putting food in the chickens feeders in the back of our orchard, because of rats. The chickens of course had feeders that she was feeding them with up at the front. Well this I guess caused all the rats to come up to the backyard and they ate the face off of one of the kits, and attacked a second that survived from litter # 2. I am so disgusted with rats and the things I have seen them do to animals over the years. I don't know how anyone can keep them for pets! They will eat your bunnies face off!

There was also litter # 3 by a doe I named Gypsy. I picked that name for her, because she was the one that ran loose at her previous owners place, and would return to feed her children at night. She had a nice hole and at kindling time spread a bunch of hair around her pen. I checked her hole, no babies. She filled in the entrance, they do that, but she was digging a tunnel in the other direction. She had milk, but no babies to be found. So after 2 weeks I had assumed she had a false pregnancy. I put her in with the buck for another go around. I thought it was strange that her milk hadn't dried up. I think it was only a few days later that baby bunnies appeared in her pen! 

Oh no! They were darling, but their mother was just re-bred, so I made sure to bump up her nutrition. I took the kits away a week before she was due and she's done just fine. She has some of the prettiest babies: castor, blue, blue otter, lilac, lilac otter, and lynx.

The garden didn't get planted till REALLY late. I can't remember if it was mid or the end of June when my mom planted it. We moved the garden area up to what was the main chicken area. As soon as the plants got past the shock of transplant they took off. Thanks to all that chicken manure. But unfortunately she had to replant many plants and seeds. The rats and ground squirrels think she planted everything for them. They ate off entire rows of beans as they emerged, and ate all the cabbage plants I started. She had to plant the beans 3 times. I guess third times the charm. We sure enjoyed the Provider beans while they lasted. My dad and I never tire of them. Just cook them with a little bacon and oh they are so good. That used up all our bean seed planting 3 times in one year. I had gotten Boyd Craven JR.'s books Backyard Meat Rabbits, and Beyond The Pellet: Feeding Rabbits Naturally for my birthday. He wrote about a heirloom seed company called Everwilde that sells none GMO seed, and have really good pricing. So I checked them out. They carried Provider seeds. Yay! And extremely cheap. I was concerned about the possibility of them selling seeds with chemical treatments on them, like I have received from some other places in the past. So I contacted them to ask. They responded that they only carried a few different types of seeds that come with the treatment on them, with a list of which seeds it was. Luckily it wasn't anything I wanted to order. So I placed my order and when my package arrived I couldn't have been happier. All their seeds are sealed in gold colored plastic packages that can be resealed with a ziplock type closure. I read that someone after getting dirty planting, put their pants in the wash forgetting they had put a packet of seeds in their pocket, and when they pulled them out of the washer the seeds were unharmed. I think that's a pretty good seed pack. Especially when its at no extra cost. Plus the seeds are supposed to last a lot longer in these packets vs. being stored in paper packets. We shall see.

I already have some comfrey growing in my garden, but it doesn't do a whole lot, because of where its planted. I want to grow a plot of it, so I can feed it to the rabbits. I have seen an advertisement running for years for comfrey root cuttings, so I used some of the money from bunny sales to place an order. I actually didn't even know if it was the time of the year to start their roots, and for once in my life I didn't feel like looking it up. I figured it wasn't the right time, I wouldn't be receiving them for a while. Not even two weeks after mailing in the order my little bundle of root snippets arrived. I followed the instructions they came with, and planted them in 4" pots, because I wanted to be able to keep a close eye on them, till they become a good size plant to put in the ground. The instructions said that they will start to emerge in about 2 weeks. Its been 3 1/2 weeks and I haven't seen anything yet. I'm not giving up. If they don't do anything I'll order some from someone off e-bay. There are a lot on there and they are better deals. 

The first day of June my mom and I had to drag all our stinky bucks home from our neighbors pasture. They had begun to come into rut and the does were coming into heat, including 2 month old doelings. What is wrong with these animals? Don't they know what time of year it is?! Their breeding cycle obviously doesn't have anything to do with day length. Just like they still don't know how pigeons know how to fly home. So over the past week our goats have been delivering kids. It started with a 7 month old doeling turning up with her own little doeling she delivered all by herself. Then my moms 8 month old doeling delivered a great big white buckling again unassisted. A 7 month old doeling had a set of twin girls. She had them after dark, so I helped dry them. They were fine the next morning when I checked them, but something happened later in the day. The mother took one a long way out into the field and it was laying their injured. I brought her home but she died. We think she got stepped on, and was bleeding internally. The mother wouldn't stay with the other kid. She was HUNGRY after getting 2 kids out of her, and just not mature enough. We brought the surviving kid home. She could have cared less. That changed the next morning when she woke up with a swollen udder. We brought her home,set her up in a dog pen, and gave her daughter back which she gladly accepted. Our mature doe Daisy had great big white twins, again unassisted. 1 doeling with LaMancha ears, and a buckling with big floppy ears and a big Boer head. That completed our out of season - kidding season. Or so I thought..... Since writing that earlier I went to check our goats for the evening to discover our doe Violet in labor! We didn't even know she was pregnant. She had a great big chocolate colored doeling. So who knows if the goats are done kidding, and to think this is going to start all over in March.