Today Phoebe’s first litter is three weeks old so they got their first weigh in. They are quite a bit smaller than Piper’s third litter. I attribute this to the fact that for the first week milk was being split among nine kits for Phoebe versus seven kits for Piper, and still 8 kits for the last two weeks for Phoebe. Also the heat has played a major factor. Phoebe gave birth on the hottest day of the year so far and the first week of their life the temps were in the 80′s and 90′s. Also this is a first litter and Phoebe was not quite five months old when she got away from us and accidentally bred with Leo. She was not as grown out as she should have been. The kits do look healthy and strong and are fully using their back legs now and not just army crawling with their front legs.
I thought I’d post Phoebe’s litter’s weights with Piper’s at 3 weeks old for comparison.
Phoebe Litter One——Piper Litter Three
Kit 1: 8 oz——————Kit 1: 10 3/8 oz
Kit 2: 6 1/8 oz————Kit 2: 10 1/2 oz
Kit 3: 6 3/4 oz————Kit 3: 12 1/4 oz
Kit 4: 7 5/8 oz————Kit 4: 14 3/8 oz
Kit 5: 6 7/8 oz————Kit 5: 12 oz
Kit 6: 6 7/8 oz————Kit 6: 10 1/2 oz
Kit 7: 7 3/4 oz————Kit 7: 12 1/8 oz
Kit 8: 7 oz
Kit 9: Deceased at 1 week
Total Litter Weights:
3 lb 8 1/4 oz
5 lb 2 1/8 oz
You can see it is quite a remarkable difference. I expect with her next litter the kits will probably be larger. Even Piper’s smallest kit at 10 3/8 ounces is still 2 3/8 ounces bigger than Phoebe’s largest kit. Also the spread of weight between each litter’s smallest and largest kits is about double.
Now for Piper’s Third Litter’s Current Weight at Ten Weeks Old:
Kit 1: 3 lb 6 1/8 oz
Kit 2: 4 lb
Kit 3: 5 lb 5 oz
Kit 4: 4 lb 8 3/4 oz
Kit 5: 4 lb 12 oz
Kit 6: 4 lb 6 5/8 oz
Kit 7: 4 lb 7 3/4 oz
Total Litter Weight: 30 lb 14 1/2 oz
Total Gain From Last Week: 4 lb 8 1/8 oz
Andromeda, Kit 3, put on 13 ounces this week! I am wondering if this is due to the change in feed from 15% protein to 18% protein, because the week before they had only put on 2 lb 14 1/8 oz total. I think at the rate of growth I am seeing right now, that Kits 4 through 7 will be at slaughter weight by 12 weeks old. Kit 3 we are keeping. And Kits 1 and 2 will need to grow out until 14 weeks old. Everyone but kit 1 put on a tremendous amount of growth. Kit 1 has never grown quickly and has always been the runt. Kit 2 has always been smaller as well, but still has usually managed to be about 1/2 a pound heavier than Kit 1 and 6 to 8 ounces behind the third smallest kit. It is interesting to see how they grow.
The rabbits stayed in today, because one, it was cooler and windier, and two we wanted to saturate the range grass with water. Since Sunday is one of our watering days and the weather cooperated we took advantage of it. We still had the fans going in the rabbit shed, because 76 degrees is still pretty warm. The rabbits didn’t seem to mind not going out today.
The chickens were irked with the sprinkler though. They wanted to go on the grass and they kept trying, but as the sprinkler came back towards them they hollered indignantly as they get wet and ran away. They repeated this for over an hour before finally giving up with bad grace and hanging out under the apple tree. When I went out at five to weigh kits and turned off the water, they came running so fast. Pipsqueak and Henrietta promptly found the only area that didn’t get wet and threw themselves down to take dust baths, while the rest of the flock went in search of worms brought to the surface by the irrigation.
When a chicken comes out of a dust bath they like to shake. If you are too close to them you end up getting an unpleasant amount of dirt shaken onto you and in your mouth if you are in the middle of saying something. It is more unpleasant than getting shaken on by a wet dog. Ask me how I know.
I got a few more blueberries and blackberries picked today. I’ve about caught up with the current stage of ripening. I think I am going to try to plant some kale. It does well in cold weather so if I plant it now and it matures late it will still be harvestable for chicken fodder. The rabbits like it more than chard and carrots so I’d like to plant a good amount. I’ll need to plant it on the far side of the house, though, where the chickens never go even if they get out. I really hate not having a garden this year.