Today I wandered outside to feed the chickens and the sun was shining and warm. Like many other people I have been waiting desperately for spring and today I finally had my first taste of it as the warm sun hit my face and a warm breeze crossed my cheeks. It was very exciting for that quiet moment in my yard, but there was work to be done and the cold settled back in.
There’s other anticipation on the homestead as well. Four wheaten ameraucana eggs went into lockdown yesterday and today some quiet chirping was coming out of my incubator. Two of the eggs have been wiggling, two others candled developed but haven’t really moved. Fingers crossed it turns out!
Diamond had her first litter yesterday. This turned out to be one of the most dismal litters thus far and a new experience for us. In her confusion over having kits for the first time, Diamond did not build a good nest. She gave birth to seven smallish kits, and in her frantic birth she over-cleaned them. This is not uncommon in new moms. They begin cleaning the blood off of their newborn kits, nick or nip something and the kit begins to bleed. Then the doe continues to clean the bloody parts, but they are cleaning blood out of a wound in the body. The result is they tend to accidentally eat parts off of their kits. In this case we had one baby that was missing it’s whole head and half of it’s rib cage, and another missing it’s ears.
Additionally the kits were uncleaned, uncovered and very cold. The result was we took a risk and brought the kits inside for the night. By morning we had lost all but two, a healthy kit and Earless are both well. I treated Earless’s ears with iodine and we’ll just have to see how they do. They went outdoors again for a few hours to get fed and it looks like to may have worked.
Soup is due to kindle in just 1-2 days. If that happens and does well, we will simply foster these two kits into her litter. By that time Earless’s ears should be mostly healed up and we can immediately re-breed Diamond. Then she would be due to kindle right after Lucy, Evo and Iams in case we need to foster again.
Lucy, Evo and Iams have been bred so that I can have a fresh batch of kits in large quantities. Lucy has been re-bred quite early to encourage her to have a larger number of kits in her next litter. Evo’s breeding to Nutro marks the end of her time with us. After this litter she will no longer be with the herd as we will be trying to keep a buck out of her and removing her once she either fails her litter or weans them. Before coming to us at just over 2 years old, Evo was once capable of being a good mom and has produced a couple of decent litters with us, but all around she’s not been an ideal rabbit. She’s getting older and is no longer suitable to our operation, but we would like to keep a buck out of her to start our line for getting a buck to replace Nutro who is also getting on in age, while keeping a lot of his great genetics around. Iams’s breeding is to see if she can improve her litter care on a different buck since her last litter was huge (11) but she didn’t have a healthy well-cared for litter and lost all but four.
We are anticipating my sister’s child this week. It’s an anxious time, though I am nowhere near enthused about having a baby across the street there is still a sense of anticipation. She is due almost any day now.
The last of our anticipation is for some plants. We are beginning to start seeds shortly, building our “greenhouse” like boxes for seed starters and setting up some lamps. We should have some sprouted seeds pretty soon, onions, cauliflower and broccoli.
It’s a month of anticipation as we wait for spring! It’s coming soon! We can pull through… Just anticipate it a little bit longer!