Tag Archive | bunnies

The Downside of Raising Animals

This post might be too graphic for young readers and those with a weak stomach. I will post the cute pictures first!

 

Most days I really enjoy the animals that we raise and they bring me more joy than sadness.  This morning however, was not one of those times.  We have a doe that has been struggling as a mother.  Aurora, we have learned, does not play well with others. For the last six months she has been living in our “Bunny Barn” with the rest of our rabbits.  While in the barn, she was not being a very good momma rabbit.  She would not put her babies in the nest, and she would not cover them up when it was 10 degrees outside.  We lost a lot of babies this winter as the result of this.  All of those babies were dead when we found them, it was sad, but there was not much that we could do.

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So we took the hint, and this spring we moved her out of the Bunny Barn.  This was her last chance to prove that she could be a good momma.  She lives in her own hutch that sits in my garden area, her new set up is in the picture above.   She can see the whole yard, the dogs come and sniff her and the kids can poke at her more than they could in the Bunny Barn.  However, even with all those stresses, she seems very happy in the garden.  She kindled six kits early yesterday morning, she built an amazing nest and she pulled way more hair, than needed in June, to cover them up and keep them toasty.  We were so proud of her.

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When I investigated the kits better to count them and remove any still born, my heart sank!  One of her little kits was born with no skull or skin covering up its brain.  (I put at picture at the very bottom of the post).  I called our amazing, trusty vet, and friend to ask if there was any hope of saving this little one.  Sadly, the answer was no.  Our baby had Encephalocele, this is a congenital birth defect that happens in gestation when there is not proper development of the nervous system.  There was no way this rabbit could live for very long and it would suffer if it did live.  So even though this was the most active kit in the litter, I had to humanly kill it so that it did not suffer anymore.  Our kind vet suggested putting it in a bag and putting it in the freezer, even though it was not the fastest way, it was the most peaceful, the baby would just go to sleep.   The other choice I had was to break its neck and that would have been even more difficult for me to do.

At the end of the day, I am glad that the rest of the litter is still doing well.  I am sad that we lost the one, but it is much better than losing all of them like we did this winter.  I am happy to announce that Aurora is being a much better momma now, she lays in the door way to the nesting area and protects the babies.  She built them an amazing nest, without a nesting box.  I hope that other rabbit people are able to  learn something from this sad story.

 

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The first weekend in August, Love it!

The weather has been amazing for August, which has been wonderful and has allowed us to be very productive.  

Our bunnies are getting big and it is time to wean them off their mommies. We have turned our unused chicken coop into a bunny nursery.  There is enough room for all 15 of the babies to be able to run and play until they are full grown.  We will be removing the bunnies from their mothers gradually over the next week.  So far it is going great and everyone is enjoying the extra space and room at the water bowl.

The kids picked the rabbits that they are going to be showing for 4H.  These rabbits will get a lot more one on one time than the other rabbits.  We want them to be used to being handled as well as used to noises and other animals.  Everyone in the family is enjoying the extra cuddle time.

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This weekend we also worked on the aquaponics system.  Building it is taking longer than we really wanted it to, we were hoping to have it up and running over a year ago, but the supplies was more expensive than we thought.  We are also struggling with getting ideas from our heads, to paper, and than to final product.  We are learning communication skills that are beneficial to our marriage.  I think the important part is we are still married and still making progress on the system, both wins in my book.  We are now at the plumbing stage, very frustrating, but hoping to take small steps everyday and keep moving closer to our goal.  I will be starting seeds indoors this week for the system, so it needs to be up and running in less than two weeks.  I have confidence that we are that close!

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This weekend I also experimented with making gluten-free pop tarts.  I used the pie crust recipe from my last post and filled them with the jams that I have made this spring and summer.  I baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until golden. They are amazing.  I can’t wait to bake some cinnamon ones!  It was crazy easy and super tasty.  We have already eaten them all and I need to make another batch.  

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As far as harvesting veggies goes, we are still going strong with peppers.  The tomatoes have slowed down quite a bit and so have the cucumbers.  We had our first ever cantaloup today, it was wonderful.  We should have let it sit on the counter a day to soften even more, but we ate it in one sitting so it must not have been that bad.  

Time for me to go have my tea and relax for the night.  I hope everyone has a great week.

 

Spa Day

Oh blogging how I have missed you.  I am not even going to try and explain where I have been for the past year, just know I am happy to be back!

So summer is in full swing. Our garden is growing wonderfully.  We get a basket of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers every day.  We have already harvested one planting of potatoes, our spring peas, green beans, soy beans, and blue berries.  We have more peas, carrots, cantaloupes, butternut squash, pumpkins, garlic and beets that are still growing.

We started with a new batch of a dozen chickens this spring and they have started laying.  We get about 10 eggs a day. We have three new rabbits, American Chinchillas to be specific,  that we added to the farm this winter and they have 15 very cute baby bunnies that are 4 weeks old now.  We will be selling them in 2 weeks.

OK now that everyone is up to date… On to Spa Day at our small farm.  We had a mamma rabbit that had some fur matting that need to be cleaned.  It was very warm this weekend so we thought that a bath would help clean her fur as well as cool her down.  Not ever having given a rabbit a bath, I was not really sure how this would go.  I expected clawing, biting and that it would look more like bathing a cat.  I however, was greatly surprised.  The rabbit seemed to enjoy the bath.  She did not try and get out of the utility sink, she did not try to climb my arm.  She was just happy to just sit there.  At first I just assumed it was because this was my very easy going rabbit, but when I then bathed the “jumpy”  rabbit she was quit content to just be bathed as well.

I think that this is something we will do after all their litters are old enough for us to be messing with mamas.  The reason we had to bath mama in the first place was left over afterbirth.   She was having some hair matting and skin breakdown.  We bathed her using mild soap, clipped the mats and applied A and D ointment to the skin.  We did not use soap on the rabbit that did not have any matting, we just used the water to clean her up and cool her down.  Since this did not seem stressful to the rabbits, I think that we will do it again to help keep those hard to reach places nice and clean.

Since it was deemed a “Spa Day” we did not want to leave anyone out, we also bathed a chicken.  We have two chicken coops that share the same outside area.  The coops are made to fit 6 chickens a piece very comfortably.  Our chickens are “special”  and they have decided to cram all together in one small coop.  There is just not the roosting space that they need, so there is one chicken that has taken to roasting right under the other chickens.  I noticed that she was “dirtier” than the others, especially on her belly, since she spent all night sitting in other chickens poop!  So we brought her inside and rinsed her off as well.  Again I would have expected a very upset chicken.  She was totally O.K. with it.  She seemed to enjoy the one-on-one attention and the wash down.  Who knew?

So, now everyone is clean, toe nails clipped, bottoms washed and cages cleaned.  It was a wonderful day on the farm!  Here are some pictures of the bath experience!

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