This has been a very rough last few days. I am sicker than I’ve been in a long time (haven’t kept food down in 5 days, I’m starting to suspect an ulcer) and it has just made things very difficult. Stuff still had to get done, but I’ve had to count on the rest of the family to pick up the slack. It is really making me rethink some things. I am reducing my homesteading plans somewhat. I just don’t think I can handle having goats or pigs or sheep. And I’m not sure about having a big flock of any type of birds anymore, either. I think we are at the capacity of what we can handle if I am incapacitated and the kids have to step in. Maybe a little beyond it.
My husband and my mom are going to butcher all of the Pekins tomorrow and 2 of the male Welsh Harlequins. That will bring our flock of 13 ducks down to 7. Once the duck flock is down we will start working on integrating the Barnevelder pullets with the rest of the laying hens. The turkeys are getting a little rough on them and there is a lot of squabbling going on.
We butchered rabbits a few days ago at 11 weeks old, all of Serenity’s and all but one of Lola’s. Starting and dress out weights are below.
5 lb 12.2 oz———-2 lb 15.9 oz doe
5 lb 14.0 oz———-2 lb 15.8 oz doe
6 lb 8.2 oz———–3 lb 5.8 oz doe
5 lb 7.2 oz———–2 lb 13.4 oz doe
5 lb 9.8 oz———–2 lb 15.6 oz buck
4 lb 14.2 oz———-2 lb 7.2 oz doe
5 lb 2.6 oz———–2 lb 10.6 oz doe
4 lb 10.6 oz———-2 lb 5.1 oz buck
And 2 pounds of liver.
The bunny we hand fed with a dropper after Lola died is still quite small. We put her in with Firefly. They get along very well. Firefly seems very happy to have a companion and so does the little runt. She did not like being alone all day after her siblings were taken away. I don’t know if we will keep her or not. We may keep her as a pet. We may sell her as a pet. I don’t know if we can butcher her. That’s the trouble with rescuing kits. You love them more than you should. She hasn’t been named, though we do refer to her as Blue Bunny because when she was little we had to spray her with that blue spray a couple of times. If we keep her she will have an L name after Lola. Either Luna or Lily or Lila.
We are reducing our rabbit herd adults. It has gotten up to levels I am not happy with handling. Andromeda goes to live in a colony situation the first week of July and a woman is coming tomorrow to hopefully purchase Fiona and Funny Bunny as a breeding pair. I am thinking of selling Leo. He’s a good buck, but I can’t get him to stop rolling in his poop. He will poop on his tile, roll in it, then push the poop off the tile and through the cage wire into the dropping pan. As soon as I get him cleaned up, he does it again. I love him, but I’m tired of it. If I sell Leo I will keep Alexander in his place. Alex is a dream rabbit. The plan has always been to sell Serena (originally with Alex) after she has her first litter and they are weaned and to keep her best doe kit. But I may sell someone else instead. I don’t know.
For sure I am keeping the following:
I think I want to keep Persephone, but we will see what type of mother she is. I am debating between Serenity and her daughter Serena. I am debating between Alex and Leo. I might even put Starbuck on probation at some point as he likes to jump and spray his pee on my son. Which is not as irritating as Leo and his rolling in poop habit. At least not to me. My son on the other hand…
Andromeda’s 3 kits and Phoebe’s 2 kits need to be weaned soon. They will be 8 weeks old in a few days. I am waiting to see if Fiona and Funny Bunny go tomorrow to determine which cages to put them into. I also need to sex them, though it doesn’t really matter for another 4 weeks and I am pretty sure that Phoebe’s will be at butcher size at the 11 week mark. Actually I think one of them is probably going to hit butcher size at the 9 week mark.
Kalia got her nesting box today and immediately started digging in it. Serena has had hers for a couple of days, because she was wanting to nest build much earlier. Both are due in 6 days. I hope it all goes well. I don’t like doing two unproven rabbits at the same time, but I didn’t have a choice because of the deaths of Lola and Piper. It’ll be the same for Persephone and Cinnabun, but when I breed Sienna I will breed either Phoebe or Serenity so we can get back to having a veteran mother with a newbie mother. I am not sure which one. I want to make sure they are both good and healthy and are at their previous weights before breeding. Phoebe needs to gain back 10 ounces still. I haven’t weighed Serenity, but I think she is probably a pound lighter based on appearance.
Everyone is switched over to the 17 percent protein feed again except Firefly who is eating about 90% of her old feed and 10% of the Conway. We are doing a very slow switch for her since the first time we tried to do it with 75% old and 25% new, she quit eating for a few days. She is 5 weeks older and 3 months old now and hopefully able to handle it better now. She hasn’t quit eating this time, I’ve seen her doing it, and the food cup has been going down.
The gardens are doing well. I didn’t think the cucumbers responded to the rabbit poop fertilizer, but by the 3rd day after applying it they were all green again and flowering, so it just took longer than the other plants did. So we no longer have any struggling plants. I’ll try to do a video update soon. We have ripe raspberries and a handful of both blueberries and blackberries that are ripe, too.
We took all of the composting bedding off the property yesterday and the day before. I had a friend who wanted it to start a deep mulch garden on her new farm. It was getting ridiculously high and needed to go. It didn’t smell, but we were worried about keeping it that way. It took 4 compact pickup truck loads and was a lot of hard work. I did what I could, but that wasn’t too much. Basically just rode out to the farm with the husband and helped unload, which is a lot easier than loading, since we just raked it off in the spot it needed to go.
We have to move the duck coop again because the neighbor is complaining. The Pekins do quack, I’m not saying they don’t, but they will be gone tomorrow anyway, so it will be much quieter after that. They are way quieter than his two yappy dogs who bark constantly whenever they are outside, or his ham radio that comes in over our speakers, but we are moving it to the other side of the property anyway, because he might call the health department on us and while we don’t have codes that limit the number of animals we can keep, we do have to keep them from becoming a nuisance. And we don’t want people coming out here that might be PETA types and deciding that because we butcher our own food we obviously can’t be good animal owners. So better to just move the darn thing again, even though it weighs a ton and has to be taken apart and put back together. Our other neighbor doesn’t care.
The new ducks haven’t been laying since we brought them home. I hope that once we reduce the duck population they will feel a little less stressed. The Pekins pick on them a little. But once we butcher it will be the four new girls, Addy, and the 2 drakes so the numbers between new and old will be more even. I will be switching to a layer feed with the next bag I buy so that might be what is going on as well, that the flock raiser isn’t quite enough for them. Hopefully that is all it is. I’d hate to think the guy I bought them from sold me old ducks instead of the one-year-olds they are supposed to be.
And I think that about covers it.