We got through yesterday and today with the same number of animals we started out with, 15 rabbits, 15 chicks, 9 hens, and 10 ducklings, which I consider to be a major accomplishment, not to mention relief after what this last month has been like. I did butt checks on all the animals, no signs of diarrhea, no signs of pasty butt, no signs of muddy vents. Everyone has clear eyes and a happy demeanor. Everyone is eating and drinking. I hope the worst is behind us.
Serenity is nesting like a crazy woman. She’s got a week to go. Lola has done a little bit, but not to the extent of Serenity who is just full on hay mustache every time we give her new hay. She is eating quite a bit of it, but not before she makes nests out of it. We will put the nesting boxes in for the two pregnant rabbits tomorrow. Lola is grumpy. She keeps giving me the stink eye. More so than usual. But she’s like that when pregnant. Serenity is sweet.
We had Serena out for a little bit and then Alexander had a turn out today. They are such sweethearts. I think they are going to make a lovely breeding pair for sale once they are proven. Just lovely personalities.
We will be slaughtering the last three kits (Phoebe’s) on Monday, when it is supposed to stop raining. One of the does was getting very aggressive towards the other two tonight. They are only 14 weeks old so I wasn’t expecting that yet. I will get one of the spare cages cleaned tomorrow so I can separate Miss Aggressive.
We went down to the farm we buy our meat from today. We get our beef and pork there and sometimes lamb. I wanted to get some beef tallow to grind into our rabbit meat, but they didn’t have any, just lard. My mother won’t eat pork so I don’t want to put lard in the ground rabbit. They said they should have some in a couple of months though when they start the late spring slaughtering. I got several extra pounds of hamburger to can this week and we will be canning 3 chuck roasts.
We will also can some of our ground rabbit meat with taco seasoning in it. We have to grind it first though. I love having canned meat on the shelf. It is a real life saver when I feel too yucky, tired, or lazy to really cook. It really helped me to stay on the pantry challenge. I am off it now. The husband and I picked up Subway sandwiches on the way home from the farm. I don’t care though. I did fairly well for the two or so weeks I was on it. Well, enough to know I could do it if I had to, but I’m glad I don’t have to, even if that is what I am ultimately working towards. I much prefer my 95% 50 mile food shed (5% not, because I still buy citrus and bananas and flour and sugar).
I’d like to make some jerky this week as well. I keep trying to find some recipes that don’t use nitrates, but so far have had no luck. Also trying to find one without a lot of sugar or honey. Or any. I just want salt and spices and non-GMO soy sauce, but no MSG or MSG act-alikes. I don’t want a seasoning mix because it usually has cellulose powder in it. I don’t want to cure it, I just want to dry it, even if it means storing it in the freezer for safety. I don’t think it would last that long anyway. *sighs* I do wish sometimes we did not have so many allergies in this family. If I smoked it and then dried it, would it be safe to store vacuum sealed but on the counter, does anyone know?
We got the garage brooder boxes built for both our ducklings and my mom’s chicks. I will take pictures and post them in my next post. The first one took about an hour to build, and the second one, which is how it always goes of course, took about 20 minutes because we knew what we were doing. We will move the ducklings out of the tub tomorrow, I think. We put three inches of sand in the bottom and we will use a kitty litter scoop attached to a bamboo pole to sift out the poop. We won’t move them until tomorrow.
I cleaned out the tub tonight and gave them all fresh bedding. They seemed very appreciative, though I know it will be filthy again in the morning. Or possibly in an hour. Or 5 minutes. I’ve had to do this pretty much every day or the smell is just overwhelming. I tried just putting the fresh bedding on top of the soiled bedding to extend time between cleanings, but that is really not ideal. The sand will work much better, though. And any sand that gets wet will dry pretty quickly as that is the nature of sand, especially under the heat lamps.
Tomorrow we are going to try to get the fence put up and some cages washed if it doesn’t rain too hard. We need the fence up so we can plant the clover and keep the chickens out of the seed. Maybe we can move the outdoor rabbit hutches behind the rabbit shed, too, and get the one mended before we do. But who knows? The husband and I worked pretty hard today and we may be lucky if we can even move tomorrow.