Friday, October 31, 2008

Bunnies at 3 Weeks Old

I weighed the whole litter today and can you believe they are 5lbs? Not each, don't get too excited... but that's almost a pound each! Not bad!
After I finished my torture session (handling, weighing, checking them out) I put them back in their hutch and walked over to the chickens... I glanced back and saw this...
Three of them are very brave and are hopping all around, pestering their mother, EATING FOOD and DRINKING WATER. I can't believe how fast they mature!
Dad, Mom and Baby
The chickens are enjoying new heights now that the netting is off... Now they can reach all those nice tasty leaves they couldn't get to before!
On a sad note, today (Sunday) I found one of the baby bunnies dead in the hutch. His little bum was all pasted up, it looked like he had some diareah (despite not getting any greens or other strange food)... Maybe he couldn't handle the diet change. I had noticed the other day, when I weighed them, that one of them looked a little smaller and his eyes were a little squinty. I bet it was that one. Poor little guy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SNOW!

We had our first big snow last night and I found a really good reason NOT to use bird netting over the top of the run...
I went to check on the roosters in their little house (it was about 10:00AM) and they were still in there! I threw them some cracked corn and checked on them a few more times. They didn't come out all day!The hens were all locked up until I was able to get all of that heavy wet netting removed... Then I opened the pop-hole expecting them to charge out like they always do. There was a massive rush to the door (per usual) but then a big traffic jam. They would NOT go out! They did eat a little of the snow though... after an hour of looking at it.
























Our hens are really starting to lay! This one settled in to 4 different nest boxes before she left a HUGE egg... I mean it was MASSIVE. I picked it up and it reminded me of a duck egg. Not bad for her first! (Oh, and if you're wondering about the wall art... its a recycled doll house! They LOVE IT!)
I cheated a little here... this is her egg compared with a silkie egg (which are small) But seriously, this egg had some WEIGHT!
One last funny note. I was wondering why Blueberry hadn't laid any more eggs... Well I found out this morning. Underneath one of the banks of nest boxes there is a "floorboard" I put in to keep them from laying under there. This morning I heard someone in there rustling around. At first I thought it was a big mouse, then I heard a cluck. I pried the board away and there was Blueberry... sitting on 3 eggs and ready to lay another one!! Good thing I caught her! I REALLY don't want chicks in December!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our First Egg (From our chicks) and Bunnies at 2 Weeks!

Yesterday one of our black sex link pullets (who we call Blueberry) was clucking up a storm in the coop, digging around in one of the nest boxes and tucking the fake eggs underneath her. We KNEW she was getting ready to lay an egg, she just was taking her own sweet time... I checked on her all day until it was dark... nothing! But this morning, on the floor, was this nice little pale brown egg! HOORAY! This is the first egg from a hen we've raised from a chick.
The bunnies are 2 weeks old today. Their eyes are open and they are getting HUGE! They are so adorable. Because they've grown so much I had a much easier time counting them. There are 6. They should be coming out of the nest box soon. Cher has been an EXCELLENT mom!

My MIL and I went out to the hutch and she wanted to hold one. She was trying to see if it was a girl or a boy.. I said "Don't aim that end at your face!" and POW the little guy peed on her. She hurried up and put him back in the box. I said "You should have held on to that one... he's empty!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just a Quick Update!

I just HAD to tell you all that I checked on the baby bunnies today and their eyes are open! They are SO CUTE! I'll take pictures when they are 2 weeks old... I can't BELIEVE how fast they're growing! We are planning on getting a Californian buck soon.. we're going to name him "The Big Kahuna"

Oh, and our little Clara has laid a tiny egg for us every day since we brought her home. She goes in the little love shack and cackles up a storm. She's so PROUD of herself! Too cute!

Anyway... I'll post pictures on Friday of the bunnies.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Bunnies are One Week Old Today!

The bunnies are getting HUGE! I had a little scare yesterday... I noticed that the mother rabbit was sitting up on the open partition door and using it as a toilet (YUCK!) so I decided to close it and shut her into the side where her babies are. Well, she was NOT happy! While I was elsewhere, she dug and dug at the bottom of the door and was able to rip the bottom mesh away from the wood. When I came back to check on her she was hopping around the yard! I caught her and closed her into the secure section of the cage until I fixed the bottom. I got my hammer and fence staples and started fixing it (by climbing under the hutch). While I was under there I saw one of the babies lying in the grass! He was still alive (but very cold and a little blue!). I stuck him right back in the nest box - he's still in there and is doing fine! I think he latched on to her while he was nursing and was dragged out of the nest-box - then he fell out of the hole she had ripped in the floor. *SIGH!* Needless to say I've reinforced the floor and have decided to let her have her elevated bathroom - for now. Once the babies are gone she's in for a shock though!! If all goes well with this litter I think we'll be getting another female, so I'll have to close that door. I'll need the space!

Anyway! They are just a week old today and have doubled in size! It's amazing! They are SO wiggly now I had a really hard time getting a picture!



In other news, I've let the bachelors out to roam the yard. They are having a BLAST destroying our gardens and eating the grass. They are sticking around and seem to be REALLY enjoying themselves!!
This was a nicely mulched flower bed...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We got a new hen today!

Yesterday my MIL and I stopped at a house in town that had a "Fresh Eggs" sign in their yard. When we pulled in we saw a big flock of Rhode Island Reds and in the back there was another flock of silkies with about 10 babies! We got to talking to the woman and she said that they had bought 3 silkies from a local Amish woman and they had bred like CRAZY. She asked if we wanted one for FREE and OF COURSE we said yes! So, this morning I came home with Clara, one of the original Amish hens who is named after the Amish woman who used to own her. She is also the mom of all of the chicks... so she'll be very useful next year if we want to hatch any of our own eggs. Right now Clara is living with Pani, Fluffernutter (who might also be a girl) and Capone, the little black bantam cochin roo. Oh, we also bought a dozen eggs from the woman (who was really nice)... for $1.50!!! Here are some pics!

Clara
Fluffernutter and Clara
A really cute pic of SplashEver see a green chicken??

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More Bunny Pics (and Video!)

This morning I decided to take some "real" pictures of the new babies. Since I didn't want to leave my scent on them I used a clean pair of cloth gloves that I had rubbed in the mother rabbits fur to handle them. While I had the gloves on I tried to count them - but it's not easy! I think there are 8 or 9 in there. In a week or so it'll be easier because they'll be a LOT more active! They are only a day old but are already starting to get white peach fuzz all over their bodies. Surprisingly, they also make a LOT of noise! If you turn up your volume when you watch the video you should be able to hear them :)





video

Friday, October 10, 2008

We have BUNNIES!

Well, she's done it! This morning I was in the yard doing my morning rounds and I glanced at the rabbit hutch and saw PILES of white hair everywhere. I peeked into the nest box and saw them! I have no idea how many there are (there are at least 8 in there... maybe even 10) . I know the picture isn't that good but I didn't want to disturb them too much. Hooray!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Egg Freshness

How do we know if an egg is fresh?

As an egg ages the air cell at the top (the fat end) of the egg enlarges - so an easy way to test the freshness of an egg is is to float it! The maximum suggested storage time for whole eggs in a carton is 5 weeks. You can store hard boiled eggs for 2 weeks.

This is also interesting:

Caloric Content of Eggs
  • PeeWee: 47 calories
  • Small: 56 calories
  • Medium: 66 calories
  • Large: 75 calories
  • Extra Large: 84 calories
  • Jumbo: 94 calories

How To Peel A Hardboiled Egg - The EASY way!

Instructions:
  1. Cover the eggs with water and boil on low for about 12 minutes
  2. Cool the eggs by placing them in cold water with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and ice. The baking soda raises the pH level and reduces adherence. If you choose not to use baking soda, be sure to move the eggs into cold water with plenty of ice immediately after boiling
  3. Crack the top of the egg and remove a small piece
  4. Crack the bottom (wide end) of the egg and remove a small piece
  5. Hold the egg in your hand and blow vigorously into the narrow end of the egg, which will expel it out the wide end
Doesn’t get much easier than that! Just be ready to catch it when it comes out…

Here is a video to show you how... It's really amazing!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Our New Kitten

I forgot to mention in my last post that we got a new kitten! One of our cats dissapearred last month and our older cat Elvis just hasn't been the same... So my MIL was on the look-out for a new cat to bring home. She saw this little girl at the feed mill and told me to go pick her up! We've named her Molly and she is a SWEETHEART! Now we have two black cats... Aren't black cats supposed to bring luck?
She isn't allowed outside yet
She is getting ready to pounce


Here are Elvis and Lucky
Lucky has been gone for a month... We don't think he'll be back. :(

Edited 10/17/08 To Add: I found out from one of our neighbors that her female cat has Feline Leukemia and has had it for some time. This is the same female that Lucky had a litter with this summer. The last time we saw Lucky he had lost a LOT of weight, even though we were feeding him very well. So, we think he died from leukemia. Poor kitty... :( We will be getting Elvis and Molly vaccinated for this!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Is Here!

The leaves are changing, the nights are getting cooler and rooster are coming out of the woodwork! As it turns out we have 13 roosters!! Can you believe it?? I had to build a bachelor pen to keep some of them in so they weren't all pestering the hens. We are going to keep 5 roosters.. Most of the others are going to live with a nice older man who likes to keep roosters as pets. He has a lot of land and a chicken guarding dog to watch over them. But for now, they are staying in quarantine. We are keeping "Hans and Frans" the 2 big white easter eggers as pets who we will let roam around during the day.

The Bachelor Pad
Choo Choo with HIS emerging comb.
He has a tiny little crow too (we're keeping him!)
Rambo - He's going to be VERY handsome!
Hans or Frans... Can't tell them apart!!
Audrey Hepburn who THANKFULLY looks to be a hen!
Our still unnamed Danish Leghorn


Last but not least in my latest news... Cher looks like she is FINALLY preggers! She has been gathering up any straw or grass that we've given her and has been lining her nest box with it. She has never done this before so I'm HOPING we'll have some babies in the next week or so! Cross your fingers!!!
Here's "The Dane" again... I thought this was a funny picture...
Looks like he's sticking out a massive tongue!