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.


Harry Flashman said...

I'm glad this whole year is over. It has been an unsettling one on a number of different fronts.

We are having cold weather and I have been building a fire most nights. Don't know whether I do it for the warmth or just the psychological comfort of it.

I do admire how you handle all the animals and know what to do with all the things that happen. I liked the pictures of the rabbits. I always liked rabbits. We had some for the kids when they were little, they lived in a hutch in my barn. But we separated the males from the females so as not to be overrun with rabbits.

That's a really good post, Kimberly.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

This is all so interesting. I got a pair of rabbits two months ago but the female hasn't been willing to breed yet. I think she is still a little too young. My garden did okay this year except for vine borers killing my summer squash early on and my kale never coming up. I am already planning what i will plant next year and hoping i can expand a bit. I came over from Harry's blog. :-)

Dani said...

Kimberly - we had a huge problem with field mice - getting into feed buckets, eating the crops, etc. So we set up a surefire trap for them : We had no qualms, as we were completely overrun. The snakes wouldn't even notice the loss.

It worked!!

Not pleasant to kill, but all I could think about was their destruction and disease causing incontinence...

Sarah said...

You certainly have had a busy summer! I am so sorry to hear about your hand, that sounds very painful. Rats are horrible, and I too have wondered why anyone would want one for a pet. We would sometimes have them when we raised chickens back when I was a youngster. One great means of getting rid of them is cats. Cats really do a terrific job of keeping the rodent population under control. Thank you for sharing the seed company you use, I will look them up soon! : ) May the LORD bless and keep you!

An At Home Daughter said...

I think this year was a bad year for a lot of people. Pray next year will be better for everyone.

I know you like the animals. I will be posting some pictures of the baby goats in probably a week.

Thanks so much, but I don't ALWAYS know what to do. Knowledge comes from experience. I had a horrible year with the guinea pigs, and nothing I tried made things any better. It was really hard on me, so I decided to sell all the breeders and keep some for pets.

An At Home Daughter said...


There are a lot of things that can factor in to why a rabbit won't breed. As you said age, but also diet, weight, lighting. Boyd Craven JR. has a facebook group called Backyard Meat Rabbits that might be of help to you.

An At Home Daughter said...

I actually made a couple of those several years ago, but they had a pan that would dump them off. I was thinking about making some again, but I will need to use a 55 gallon barrel to trap the rats. They can jump out of a bucket.
We even have bait stations out. It kills some, but not enough.

An At Home Daughter said...

We have three worthless cats. There are a few stray cats that come around to hunt them, but I haven't ever seen them eating one. I don't know that rats might eat them ; )
I forgot to add a link for Everwilde. I have corrected that. I was looking at their lettuce seed and you can get 1/4 pound of Bibb lettuce seed for $5.40 !!!! That would last a longggggg time, and it can be shared with friends.

Jeannine said...

Farming is not for the faint of heart! Often people move out to the country and think they can just throw some animals together in a pen and have a farm. There is a lot of work and heartache in taking care of animals!
I have raised rabbits before. I took care of one from two days old as its mother was killed. I hauled him with me to college in my pocket and would go into the restroom to bottle feed him between classes. I then transferred him to a bigger "kangaroo" pocket on my hoodie. Soon I had to bring him in a shoe box that I concealed in a large sack. His name was Nibbles!

An At Home Daughter said...


Farming certainly is not for the faint of heart. People think that the farm animals are always going to behave so perfectly and when they see their natural behavior (doing the things God made them to do) they are disgusted.

Well it's a good thing Nibbles had someone who was so caring!

Leigh said...

Thanks for the seed company link! I was amazed at their selection of native grasses.

I hate rats too. They have been our worst predators of baby chicks every year.

And I'm amazed your does are going into heat so well. Mine have been holding off! (Much to my buck's and my frustration)>

Kristin said...

The rabbits are too incredibly cute! Nice to see you back.

Kristin said...

I forgot to add, I hope all your little mamas and kids are doing well! That's scary.

An At Home Daughter said...

Your welcome. Yes I was surprised at all the native grasses and some of the flower seeds they carry.

We have lost many chicks to rats. The one thing that we have found over the years to keep them at bay, is to keep the chicks in a pen with a light on all night. If we forget to turn the light on for just one night there will be losses.

Are you sure your does aren't already pregnant? That is really strange.

An At Home Daughter said...

We have had 2 more litters of bunnies since I posted. Lots of cuteness. All the goats are doing great. We haven't had anymore born. That's a good thing. But I do think we are going to have some born earlier than we planned, because our neighbors wouldn't keep their Boer buck on their side of the fence.

Harry Flashman said...

Kimberly, I appreciated your taking the time to voice your opinions over at my place on the issue of vaccinations. You gave a very articulate and passionate counter view to my own. It's refreshing to find a young person who not only actually has views on a serious subject, but has the intelligence and intellectual inclination to express them.

Don't hesitate to do that anytime we have opposing views. It adds a great deal to the blog.