This is not a post I want to be making. It seems like that’s all I’ve done lately, but I know it is not. There has been new life mixed in with all of the death and I think that is the only thing that is making this bearable. Last night I told God that if he wasn’t going to heal Piper, to please take her so her suffering could end. I knew that if he didn’t, I was going to have to do it today, and I didn’t know if I could bear putting down an animal that I loved so much. Piper died this morning. My mother had gone out early to check on her and she was gone. My husband and I buried her and placed a rubber tire surrounded by a small decorative fence on and around her grave to keep the chickens off it until the grass has a chance to grow back.
The kids want to name our future dog in memory of Piper. I think that would be a lovely tribute to her, but it might be difficult, too. She really was a remarkable rabbit. Even my mother felt a special bond with Piper and has taken turns keeping an eye on her with me for the past few days. I will miss her so much. She was the matriarch and my first doe and my best mother rabbit. I am just so exhausted from all the loss this very short year so far.
And now I have to move my thoughts away from death. I have 15 rabbits left to care for, two of them pregnant. I have 10 little ducklings who need me, too. Life goes on. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t even seem to hesitate. I am trying to take joy in what I can and watching the little ducks splashing around in their first little tub of water is joyful.
I thought I was a little crazy to breed 3 does to be due at the same time, but now I am glad that I did it. I will still have two litters due around the 6th. No little red ones, though. Piper was the one carrying the chance of that. I have to make some decisions for my rabbitry now. I had planned to space breeding out quite a bit further with six breeding does and four growing up over the next few months. But now I am down to four breeding does and only one of them can be bred to Leo and currently is. I cannot take the risk of breeding Phoebe to Leo again and I won’t take the risk of breeding him to Andromeda. I don’t know where the genetic flaw came from, whether he carries it as well as Piper, but I think he must, so absolutely no more line breeding with the whites.
The next breeding will be Phoebe with Wildfire and Andromeda with Starbuck. I don’t know what I’ll do with Leo because Serena is his daughter. I won’t breed him to her. I won’t breed him to Kalia when she’s old enough either, she’s his granddaughter. He will have to wait until July when Sienna is old enough to breed and even then I’ll have to make that decision carefully. I may retire him. Or maybe sell him.
I have the opportunity to bring in a new red buck in a couple months with the new red doe I will be bringing in so I think I’ll do that. The breeder has three or four lines so they will be unrelated to each other and two litters are due at the end of this month. I am still hoping to mate young Serena with young Alexander this summer (untried doe and buck), get a good litter, keep the best doe kit to raise, send the rest to freezer camp, and sell the parents as a proven pair.
Serenity and Lola have both started nest building. Serenity even pulled some fur, not much, but enough to be noticeable. All of my rabbits do this around day 21 or 22 in their pregnancies. I don’t know why. I think the nesting instinct kicks in early. It’s too early still to give them nest boxes though. They will just poop in them if I put them in this early. They are due on the 5th or 6th so I will give them nest boxes on the evening of the 31st. I need to clean them. They have been collecting dust all winter. I’ll also give them a good bleaching as well. We also need to clean the urine guards and make sure they are up on all four sides of the pregnant doe cages. They perform the same purpose as baby saver wire in the doe cages.
Hopefully tomorrow the husband can start work on the brooder boxes for the garage. I’d like to get the ducks out there once they are two weeks old. The smell gets strong in the house, even with changing out the bedding every day. The brooder boxes will be 4 feet wide by 4 feet long by 2 feet tall. I will use two heat lamps in two corners with plenty of bedding both under them and between them and then the food will go in an unheated corner and the water and little swimming tub will go in the other unheated corner. I’m not sure what Mom will do in the chick brooder, but probably something similar.
Once the brooder boxes are done we will start on the duck house, or as my husband is currently calling it, Fort La Duc. I haven’t told him it should technically be Fort du Canard if he is going to try to go all fancy pants French on me. Duc actually means duke. Who knew two years of high school French would ever come in handy for more than the occasional trip to Canada? Perhaps La Maison du Canard would be better. I had come up with a great name for it the other day, forgot to write it down, and now can’t remember at all. *sighs*