It’s been an amazing stretch of weather here on The Welcome Homestead with only a couple of nights in the last week or so dipping down cold enough to freeze the rabbit’s water bottles. Actually, it’s only the ball and tube on the bottles that has frozen, not the entire bottle. Chores are much easier not having to deal with the frozen water and we’re looking forward to this weather lasting as long as possible.
Dawn hatched out three chicks from the original ten eggs. Two mysteriously disappeared during the course of her sitting and two partially hatched but were crushed and died, likely from other hens trying to squeeze in to lay an egg in the nest, despite the fact that there are eight other perfectly good nests basically begging to have eggs deposited in them. Three formed but did not hatch and were laid to rest in Mr. Compost Pile. The three chicks seem to be doing well and are active and learning from Mom how to scratch for food and do chicken stuff. There are two brownish chicks and one yellow one and Momma hen has turned into Momma Bear. She’s aggressively chasing away any other hen who gets too close to the chicks and pecks the crap out of my hand when I reach in to pick the chicks up to check them. She has hatched out two batches of eggs so far this year so her mothering instincts seem to be in full gear. The warmer than usual weather should help her raise the chicks in the coop and they will be starting to grow feathers soon so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Three more rats were caught this week which makes about eight this year so far. It’s the first year with rats here and we’re hoping we can keep up with the population or even get ahead of it but apparently rats are very difficult to get rid of once they’re established. The ground under the chicken coop and feed shed is laced with tunnels and there is evidence of fresh digging most mornings with a fresh pile of dirt here and there. There also looks like there is a tunnel entrance/exit in the rabbit colony so we’re a little concerned about that. We will continue to put out traps and will buy more if necessary and hopefully we can keep from getting over run.
Lucille Bunnyrabbit continues to maintain a lovely deep nest full of fur but no little ones. It’s very disappointing but there are renovations due on the colony so we hope the updated facilities will help her get settled down if we can start working on it now due to the great weather. Future plans may include the purchase of a new doe to introduce some new blood into the mix since we have been “keeping it in the family” since the first rabbits were purchased in Feb. 2008. Fred is the son of Adam, our first buck, so we hope we can continue the lineage down the bucks side of the family and have one of Fred’s sons available for when he reaches The Big Sleep.
Once again, we wish everyone a safe and productive week.