Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August is Gone

We've been busy. Between the regular work travel and farm projects, we have no idle time. Even on holiday weekends, we are working. Yesterday we offloaded a huge load of telephone poles and other very heavy lumber from our 16 ft trailer, so we can use the trailer to pick up more farm supplies tomorrow. Joe can make that little Kubota tractor do some pretty interesting maneuvers!

As the summer is winding down, we are picking grapes, making grape juice, grape jelly and jam and still will have more grapes! I think (hope) we will be finished picking this week. We have harvested about 150 lbs so far and have probably at least another 100 lbs to harvest.
On August 14 two of our rabbits delivered live babies -- one delivered 11 live and the other delivered 3 live and 1 dead. The mother with the 11 babies was clearly going to have trouble raising all of her young, so, on day two, we took the smallest of the runts and moved him to the other doe, rubbing the new baby in the other doe's fur which lined the nest. Morning of day three, all looked fine, doe 2 was nursing all 4 of of the babies in her nest. So, we took the next tiniest runt from doe 1 and added him to the doe 2 nest. Again, doe 2 never batted an eye... she now had 5 blind babies to care for. By the evening of day three we decided that there was still one runt in doe 1's nest that was not adequately competing for food... so we moved her in with doe 2.

Now, all babies were being fed and starting to get fat. Doe 1 was doing very well raising 8 of her original 11 and doe 2 was doing a fine job raising her 3, plus the 3 from doe 1. All was well in the baby bunny world.
On day 9, all babies started opening their eyes. It seems the little white babies from doe 1, which is a New Zealand, did not recognize they were different from their adopted brothers and mother....a black Rex, who we mated with a brown Dutch Lop Ear. All happily slept together, ate together and began to explore together.
On day 12, Joe was mowing and weed-whacking and managed to destroy a wild rabbit's nest. Only one baby was found alive, and he was SMALL. His mother did not come back to the area, and Joe decided we needed to try to nurture this youngster. Judging from his size, he was about the same age as our babies. So, we put him into doe 2's cage. Doe 2 was immediately protective of him. He was timid and did not interact with the other babies at first, but, by morning, I found him snuggled up with the others, all comfy in their nest.

Today is day 18. All of the 14 babies born on August 14 are getting BIG and chubby. They are all hopping around, starting to eat solid foods, though they are still nursing. The little wild baby knows he is different. He just doesn't care. I do not see him nursing, but he hangs out with "mama" while the other fatties sleep off their most recent meal. He eats the grasses and the hay and has started eating the pellets. Last night was the first time I saw him drinking from the water bottle. In comparison to the other babies, he is tiny. To me, he looks like a full grown rabbit, but a super miniature one... nothing really looks "baby" about him, except his size. At any rate, he thinks the other babies are great playmates, but they sleep a lot more than he does. I find it fascinating to watch their interactions.

The dogs and the goat have their own world to explore. Ever since the death of our milk goat we have had our other goat in the same yards as the dogs. They get along famously. I'm sure we will get another goat one day, but for now, Whitey seems to be doing very well with the dogs for her playmates.

Meanwhile, back in the chicken yard, the original 9 baby chicks are really looking more like adults now.... they are just over two months old. The 3 purchased baby chicks and the 3 hatched on August 12, are still babies. We are still not sure how many of the 15 in this new lot are roosters and how many are hens.

Right now, they are just another part of this entirely enjoyable adventure we call, "Cardinal Farms.