I’ve about had it with the rain. It is icy and the ground is saturated. The chicken yard looks like the photo above. Well, minus the ducks, as we have chosen not to raise ducks (or as we more commonly refer to them around here, raccoon magnets) this year. Walking through it nearly sucks your boots off with every step. I’m ready for summer. Or at least the nice part of spring. At least when we had the ducks the rain was a little more enjoyable, because they went grubbing with such joy and relish. I miss having them, but I don’t want to raise them in town again, so they will have to wait for the future when we have more land and a pond and a way of locking them up when necessary that they aren’t resistant to, so that they don’t get eaten by raccoons.
I suppose part of my irritation with the rain also has to do with my cold. I’ve been nursing a cold ever since we got back from California, but it wasn’t until this week when the weather went downhill so badly that it really began to take hold. Colds always leave me cranky because there is always so much to do, especially as a homeschooling mother, but not enough energy to do it all, or sometimes any of it. As I’ve said often in the last three years, chickens don’t care if you get the flu. And I guess I can add rabbits to that, too. Because rain or shine, sickness or health, one of my most important responsibilities as a livestock owner is that they have to come first. They need to be fed and watered in a timely manner each day. The chickens have to be let out to range and the rabbits need to be pet and snuggled (well, maybe not, but it benefits all of us and perks me up). And then again in the evening the chickens need to be shut in the coop and the rabbits need to be fed and watered again. So out I trudge in the rain when all I really want to do is curl up and go to sleep for 24 hours. Possibly 48. Just long enough to get through to the other side.
Oh, well, I will get over it. I still managed to do a good clean out of the rabbit cages, but I do think we may need to build a third compost area for the soiled bedding. I spent some time really going over the kits today. The female I was first thinking about keeping because she’s biggest doesn’t seem to have ears that want to stay up straight, so now I’m not sure. One of the kits is a lot smaller than the rest. I don’t know if it is a boy or a girl, because it really does not like being on its back and I didn’t have a towel handy to wrap it in. I am hoping once the new cages come it will have a better chance at getting to the food and put on more weight. I mean it is eating, but the bigger rabbits tend to push the smaller ones out of the way at the feed trough. It is so well-tempered and not scared of us at all. I would be tempted to keep it just for that, but the whole point of meat rabbits is you want the ones that put on weight fast to be in the breeding lines, not the ones that take forever. It does have perfect ears though.
We finally got a lock installed on the outside of the rabbit shed. The door has been flying open in the nasty wind storms and I had been using an old blue jean leg shoved in the door to keep it from opening, but there was even one day where that didn’t work and a lot of water blew into the shed. Not on any of the bunnies fortunately, but they don’t like the door banging, it startles them. I think we are going to put one on the inside, too, just so I can latch it when I am in there and not have the door banging around and the wind coming in on me. They are simple locks, just the one hook and eye style.
The husband has never been so happy to have muck boots. We had to special order them off a website since he has size 16 feet. They only go up to the tops of his ankles, because he has massive calves and none of the muck boots were big enough up there. But these ones are perfect for less than six inches of mud. This is the first time he’s had muck boots in years. Probably since he was a kid and his sister raised pigs for 4H or FFA and he ended up helping a lot. I will need to have him transfer the feed bag from the back of the van to the rabbit shed tomorrow as we are running low on feed and I didn’t want to leave a bag in the shed until we had a door that was locked. Only one bag fits in the bin with the lid on, so I didn’t want to risk something getting in there and nibbling through the feed sack and the van was as good a place as any to store it. The bag is a bit heavy for me. I have bad wrists and hands due to major tendon tearing when I was younger, so anything over 20 pounds I risk dropping. 40 pound feed sacks are well over that margin.
I hope the cages don’t take too long to get here. I want them to arrive while the husband is still here to help me with assembly. I can put them together with the help of the kids, but DH is just very adept at that sort of thing and it always goes faster when he is helping to put things together. Plus I don’t know how much force will be necessary to use on the j-clips. Fortunately both kids are pretty strong, but I have very little strength in my hands. We’ll manage though. He is gone so much that we have learned to do things in alternate manners to get them done if we have to. Where there’s a will there’s a way. One way or another we’ll manage. We always do.