Chicken on a Mission

I don’t know what it is about Patricia, our head hen, but she always seems like she’s off to somewhere significant. She strides confidently forward, like a chicken on a mission. That mission, whether it be to find shade, a new place for a dust bath, a big worm, or a tasty spider, always seems of utmost importance. She struts more proudly than any rooster I’ve ever seen. She knows her place is at the top of the pecking order and she’s learned to revel in it.

Today all of the chickens seemed to be chasing the shade. It was hot and muggy, a significant change from yesterday, when it was just really warm and muggy. There was a huge amount of water consumption going on. It seemed like every time I looked around, one of the girls was beak deep in whichever container was handiest.

The rabbits drank a much larger amount of water today than usual as well. I am glad I did a mid-day check on them, as the kits and Piper had drank one entire 32 ounce bottle and had the second one halfway down. We had Serenity, Sweetie Belle, and Starbuck out in the tractors today, with a large board on top casting some serious shade. Even though their waterers were outside with them, they didn’t drink it until I took them back inside the shed and then they glugged and glugged and glugged.

Today is day 30 for Phoebe. She put hay back in the nesting box and seems to have made a nest in it. She has also started pushing the box around in her cage. Still have no clue if she’s actually pregnant, but Piper took 33 days to kindle so I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet and remove the nesting box.

I am planning to breed Piper on Sunday. I had thought about breeding Phoebe and Piper at the same time, but then I thought that would mean an awful lot of rabbits to process in a short span of time if they each had six or seven kits or possibly more. The husband has decided that 3 to 4 is the limit of what he wants to do in one day. So maybe I should wait a couple of weeks on Phoebe if she’s not pregnant now so that the kits would reach slaughtering weight with enough time in between them to not make it such a chore. Maybe even 4 weeks in between them.

The new cages arrived today. They were so heavy that my daughter could barely haul them in off the porch. They are staying to the side of the front entryway until the husband gets home and can move them. We went with the stack-a-hutch kit just for expediency this time. It will have 3 cages. It will assemble a lot faster and then the husband can spend more time on building the tractors. And it was a wash when it came down to it on price. The PVC hutch frame was needed for the short side of the shed though. You can only stack 2 deep on that side. Fortunately the other side is more than tall enough for the kit.

We plan to put Starbuck in the bottom one, he is not happy with the 24 by 24 inch cage anymore, and then use the other two as grow out cages. We also will then have two empty Wabbitats, so if we end up with something like six male kits and one female, we could put three in each grow out cage and then the single one alone. I don’t want to have more than 3 to 4 kits per grow out cage. We also still have the three outdoor hutches, too if it comes down to it, though one of them needs repairs.

As for the Rabbit Wringer and butcher station, we are still waiting on it. It’s been 10.5 weeks. We did get an email response finally. He said he was just getting to the April orders now (sighs) and he was hoping to have ours done and shipped by the end of this week and that he’d send us a tracking number. Well, it’s the end of this week and no tracking number, so I highly doubt it was finished. We have a little over seven weeks before we’ll be slaughtering again, but it’s the principle of the thing. When we ordered it said 3 to 4 weeks. This is not 3 to 4 weeks, nor is it the 6 to 8 weeks he later changed it to. I understand he is going through growing pains, but it’s been more than double the promised time. If I weren’t convinced it was the best method for us for dispatching the rabbits, we’d be getting our money back. All I can say is it better be worth it.

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