What I wrote to Dusky’s breeder:
Dusky kindled about 1 AM this morning.
I checked her this morning 7:30 AM. She was out of the nest box and hungry. She ate with good appetite after several days of reduced interest in food.
The kits were well snuggled in her nest with a good covering of her fur. One kit on the outside edge of the mass of babies was cold. It’s feet and belly were in contact with the rest of the kits when I pulled the fur back, warm which gave me momentary hope that it could be revived. Not sure if it was weak / unlucky and being on the outside edge was enough to kill it, or if something else was going on.
There were 7 kits total, including the dead kit.
I did not count colors, I did not attempt to sex (I can sex adults, babies not so much). I kept my contact with the kits very brief. Dusky was concerned about me messing with her babies. They were vocalizing and she hopped back in and (I assume) nursed them. By the time I’d finished taking care of outside chores (maybe 20 minutes) she was out of the nest and everybody was quiet again. I peeked and confirmed kits were recovered and warm then let her be.
I have the dead kit in the freezer in case you want to look at colors / sex. A bit morbid but these things happen.
Do you have recommendations for ensuring Dusky has what she needs beyond rabbit pellets and hay?
Give a shout when you would like to come over. If you have time while you are here, I’d like to understand rabbit conformation a bit better. Reading is one thing however nothing like someone who understands helping translate word into the animal in front of you. I am working from home this week and nearly anytime will be fine.
Mama and two calves in front of our house. And crazed Cardigans.
I love that smack dab in a city of many hundreds of thousands of people, moose and (rarely) bear walk through our circle.
A memory was niggling at me and I finally recalled it.
I bought a Shetland pony named Spirit with my paper route earnings when I was 11. She bucked. A lot. And was unridable. I broke her to harness and she helped me do my paper route every day. On Sunday mornings we would finish the paper route at the Circle K next to her pasture. She would wait outside while I bought a hot chocolate and a donut to share.
There’s a point to this nonsense. I promise.
Spirit grew to love our Circle K visits. She discovered that she could leap into the compost bin in the corner of her pasture, and from there she could leap out of her pasture.
She would trot next door to the Circle K and stand by the door until somebody opened it. Then she would amble inside looking for a donut and her hot chocolate.
Thank you Barbara for sharing your Ellie in the compost bin story which prompted this memory to resurface.
More stuff completed this evening. This looks like a lot but most of these things were 10-15 minute tasks.
- Attached a silver tarp to the top of the rabbit roof to reflect the sun and reduce the temp under the roof.
- Set up a fan to blow during day to keep rabbits cool.
- Planted half of the garden pea seedlings.
- Gathered a tote of manure and uneaten hay bits from under the rabbits and spread around the invading raspberries.
- Installed Waste Control System 1.0 – I expect to make multiple changes as I figure out how to let the urine flow out to buckets and the poop separate so the odor stays under control. The urine is supposed to be great at heating up compost piles so if you are in Anchorage and want to try that with your compost pile, come get pee. Rabbits pee about a cup a day, so I’ll be collecting a quart a day probably. Plenty to go around.
- Power washed the pool (again), patched the hole, leveled -kind of- the legs, installed the filtration system and started filling the pool. Scott and E were big helps with this.
- Mowed the lawn with Scott’s aid.
- E set up and installed the yellow jacket trap and the fly trap.
- Set up the Mosquito Magnet.
- Played with rabbits, chicks, and a wonderful child.
- Watered plants.
- The soffets are too well insulated with the 1×6 boards I installed in the coop resulting in hot chicks. Spent some time fiddling with options so I don’t cook the babies.
What is next?
- Moving all the detritus away from the house.
- Installing the tool racks I uninstalled several years ago when I painted the garage wall.
- Put the outdoor tools up properly.
- Set up a wood rack to get my bits and pieces of lumber off the ground and semi-organized.
- Fertilize and reseed the lawn.
- Plant potatoes – I better get that done ASAP if we want a harvest.
- Plant the kale and lettuce.
Almost there. Will be in maintenance mode pretty quickly.
I hope my Chantecler eggs arrive soon.
Modest progress tonight. Completed unit 7 assignments for school. Cut and installed six 1×6 boards to block the open soffits on the coop. Provided Dusky with ample supplies for her nest building endeavors. Weed whacked the ridiculously long grass on the side yard then drug a 30’ section of old pool wall as a weed blocker. Scott shifted three of the tomatoes into this newly created space. I have a hunch the reflected heat from the house south facing wall will yield fruit. If it doesn’t scorch them.
Weed whacked the front strip on the road. Weed whacked the area of the yard we keep dog free for E. Lots of long grass left for another day.
Had a followup visit for my brain stuff leftover from the 2014 car crashes.
Enjoyed working with the rabbits and chicks with E. There is a calmness to doing simple husbandry chores that is sweet in my soul.
Got a tiny bit done tonight.
End triangles of the coop are insulated. All rabbits are on automatic watering system. Chicks are moved into brooder in coop on a bucket waterer. Over deep shavings so no more 3x a day poop cleanup or changing their water.
Yay to fewer livestock chores!
Roof is complete. I’d have preferred a light colored opaque roof but <shrug> not an option. I’ll make a sun shade so I don’t bake the rabbits. They’ll appreciate the light come winter. Need to run watering lines to buck side. Need to set up waste management system. Hen house is empty and airing out. E is delighted to have a playhouse (temporarily). While I wanted to move the chicks into a brooder into the hen house tonight, I’m happy I did the deep cleaning instead.
I like this before / after (incomplete) image.
Precious Treasures moved. Power wash and paint. Gate pulled to be shifted closer to hen house and widen run a couple inches. Roof extension up – incomplete. Watering system installed (incomplete). Rabbits installed (incomplete).
Next steps – complete the extension. Arrange a manure / urine separation and collection system to manage odor. Chicken proof the tops of the rabbit cages. Chicken proof the run. Install the gate. Create covered accessible rodent proof cover for the feed. Create a weatherization plan to ensure optimum comfort for rabbits and winter chore efficiency. Cover existing hen door to run and cut a new door. Build then Install new nest boxes that permit egg gathering without entering coop. Hang tarp to limit rabbit visibility from the road (would you believe people have had their animals stolen?). Tidy detritus scattered across yard. Finish cleaning coop and install the chicks.
Whuf. I’m tired thinking about it. Listing it out keeps me motivated.
Clean house somewhere in there. Laundry is done-ish however the rugs need a wash and floor needs sweeping.