Friday, January 29, 2016

New Lambs!

When I went out to feed this morning one of the big ewes was missing. They are always standing at the fence waiting for their flake of alfalfa. Their pen opens into the neighbors field, so after throwing out the hay I walked next door. I found her a little ways out into the pasture laying with a lamb on each side of her. All cleaned up and spotless, and mommy was very alert to them. I was worried about these big ewes, because they were bottle babies. Their own mothers rejected them, and they say that lack of instinct can be passed on to the next generation. She loves her babies! And she CAN count to two! If one gets out of sight she checks for BOTH lambs. what a great start to the lambing season. One female and one male. They were sired by our Shetland ram (Eddie).

 Eddie took up standing guard.

 All the other sheep were curious about them, and had to give them a sniffing.

"Where did they come from?" At least that's what it looked like she was asking me, after checking them out.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Random Pictures

We have had a nice break in our weather. We had quite a bit of rain, and its finally starting to dry up before the next storm moves in. So I took a wander around with the camera yesterday.

 Sugar and Eddie standing behind him.

 Mugsy at her perching spot.

 A woolly feeding frenzy.

 Goat feeding time.

 Maxwell eating with his goats.

 I've started noticing some interesting mushrooms coming up in our pasture the last couple of years.

 I like these yellow ones. My battery died on the camera, so I had to pluck it out of the pasture for a later picture.

 These ones grow on an rotting board.

 This is growing on our mulberry tree in the front yard.

 Recuperating bunny. Had some tummy trouble. She liked to dump her water as you can see.

And the princess, Vicky, in her blankets.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tattooing It Up

Not myself! 
I would never get a tattoo, but when it comes to identifying the animals it is often a necessity. Since the rabbit raising adventure has been going well, the time has come to start tattooing some of these buns. Actually their ears.
When I was a kid and we had to tattoo rabbits using a clamp tattooer for shows (which was only a small amount) I absolutely hated it. Then one day we tattooed a rabbit and it jumped. They always jumped, it was a sudden shock of pain. I had it wrapped tightly in a towel and my mom was the one who stamped the old fashion clamp tattooer on the rabbits ear and the rabbit jumped out of my arms and to the floor, over extending its back in mid air. It could no longer walk. Only drag its back legs. I was so upset. I cried and begged my mom to call my 4-H leader. Thinking that somehow my leader could make things better. What a mistake that was. My leader told my mom to make the rabbit comfortable and that there was a small possibility that the rabbit had swelling in its spine and that after the swelling went away that it could regain use of its back legs. That didn't happen, the rabbit could no longer go to the bathroom, had to be put down. I was so upset thoughts flashed through my mind of getting rid of the rabbits, because I never wanted to tattoo a rabbit again.
Then I went to my next rabbit 4-H meeting. I think it was only days after this event, so I was still very sensitive about what happened. When I got there I soon found out that my 4-H leader was going to be giving a tattoo to one of the kids rabbit in the group. I broke out in a panic. I didn't want to see this happen and I didn't want to be there. I thought that was bad enough. Then my leader stood before all the kids and told them "When tattooing a rabbit, you want to hold it securely, but NOT TO SQUEEZE IT TIGHT. You could break its back if you do. Kim just made this mistake and broke one of her rabbits back." I did my best to hide my tears. I couldn't believe that she just said that to the whole group, in front of me, and it was a lie. It made me feel absolutely terrible as if I didn't already feel bad enough. Looking back I still don't know why she did that. But I never tattooed a rabbit again.
So that's why when I bought my Rex buck that I (very uncomfortably) let the girl tattoo it for me. I was so nervous that it would break its back, but I new that I needed to get over this fear. She pulled out her tattoo set and it was an Inkinator (an electric tattoo pen). That made me a little more comfortable. I had heard that they were a lot easier on the rabbits. I told her I had a rabbit break its back before when tattooing and she said "It was a clamp, right?" Yes "These are so much easier." She proceed to tattoo him and he only squirmed a little. She was having issues with her pen being clogged, so it took a while, but in the end I was happy, because his back was still intact. Yay!
Since we started raising the rabbits, they have produced a total of 57 live bunnies. I just figured that out the other night, when filling out some record keeping forms I got for free off . But 30 of those bunnies are under 8 weeks old right now.  As I said in my last post 6 went in our freezer, and I have cooked 2 so far. My dad says he doesn't want to eat bunny. I'm wondering if he is ever going to be broke of that. I really like the rabbit meat, and so does my mom. Tastes just like chicken! I have been selling the other bunnies, mostly all females, to pay for their feed and shaving and such. It's working out great. I would rather butcher the males than the females, but basically what doesn't sell will end up in the freezer.
With our numbers growing, and I have a couple pairs of does that look alike I needed to tattoo them, so I won't get them mixed up. On the rabbit group I belong to, several people have mentioned a electric tattoo pen called a KBtatts . I looked it up and at $40.00 INCLUDING the shipping, that is a LOT cheaper than an Inkinator at $100.00 plus shipping. Everyone that had ordered one said they loved it. I have also heard of another brand that is mid range in price, but have heard that it was a horrible waste of money, because everyone that buys one ends up turning around and buying an Inkinator. So I used some of the bunny sales money to place an order for the KBtatts pen, a replacement needle (gonna need one of those, so might as well order one now), the extra ink wells, both black and green ink (because I will probably be using it to tattoo LaMancha goat tails in the future, and green ink shows on colored skin), a skin marking pen, cleaning brush kit, and the KBtatts Bunny Balm. Then I bought some stuff I had also read about called Gigi spray from Sally Beauty Supply. Its a skin penetrating numbing spray sold for waxing. Some people spray this on the ear 4 minutes before tattooing. Makes me feel a little better. 
So today I got up my gumption, gathered my supplies, wrapped a rabbit in a towel, and gave it a try.
Here is how it looks.
Not to bad for a shaky first try, if I do say so myself.
She sat on my lap soundly and only fidgeted a couple of times and I think that is because they don't like the vibration of the tattooer. Then I did 6 more rabbits.
For anyone that is wanting to order their own my advise would be to leave off the cleaning brush kit, their bristles are falling out and a pipe cleaner would work just as well. Extra ink wells aren't a necessity. It comes with 2 and you can clean them out with rubbing alcohol, but if you don't want to bother with that, they don't cost much. 

I also made some cage tags out of Sculpey Clay. I got a little carried away with decorating them. Then got tired and just made little colored balls matching the color(s) of the rabbit. Now I need to glaze them and figure out some little wire hangers for them., so I can just hook them on the cage and move them easily if I move the rabbit.
Here they are ready to go in the oven.