Bunnies growing up

Our baby bunnies are about a month old. I’ve noticed they have been drinking less and less from their moms, and eating more of their mothers’ food.  The moms, Wind and Fire, have been seeming like they’re starting to get a little tired of being crammed in with their children, so I moved the babies today. We have two extra hutch compartments, but one needs to have the door fixed, so I put them all in one side for now. We will fix that door soon and split them up when needed as they grow.

I was worried the two batches may not get along, but they are so young that they are pretty friendly with each other.  Here is everyone in their new / non-cramped housing:

bunnies 1
Here you can see the bunnies – Our white Californian, Wind, had white, gray, and white/gray bunnies.
bunnies 2
The brown ones are our Rex, Fire’s babies. Everyone has the same Dad – Earth, our American Chinchilla Rabbit.
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Some of the white bunnies have pink eyes like their mama.
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Here is Wind, relaxing in her much larger space.
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Here is Fire, looking for some treats (grass/dandelions), which she will get to enjoy all of, since she won’t have to share anymore.
earth buddy
Here is Earth (or Buddy – my son is attempting to change his name to this, but I still like Earth).

This is the first batch of our planned three for this year.  I’ll be breeding them again in the next couple days.  That way the females have a little break between each litter.  We won’t breed them in the wintertime.

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Chicken moving day!

Today we put our older batch of chicks (this year’s “teenagers”) outside, into one half of the coop.  They are still a little leery – they went from a cardboard box with a screen on top (to keep them from flying out) to a large open pen and half of a building. So they are a little overwhelmed. Plus on the other side of the fence are some large creatures that look similar, but are a little scary – the adult chickens.  Everyone is settling in ok though.  We’ll be moving the smaller chicks in a couple weeks, when they are big enough and have all their feathers.  For now, here are the teens in their new home.

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Here they are, meeting the neighbors
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So small compared to the adults
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They have a lot of room.
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They settled in a bit and started playing, jumping around and sparring with each other
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Here are the scary neighbors checking them out. And my husband posing in the background.
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Checking out their new home

Happy dogs!

For the past couple years, we’ve had a small, roughly 35×30 foot, fenced portion of our yard for the dogs. Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on expanding the dog run to encompass most of the southwest corner of our yard.  Today we finished the fence. The dogs love it!  They now have 3 to 4 times the space they had before. Here are some pictures of our happy dogs playing in their much larger yard.

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Downey running, near my son’s (currently on the ground) tire swing. Atat is peeking out  from behind the tree.
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Nova running. There is enough space between the dog run and the duck pen that we can fit the lawn mower between.
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All of them, running. The patch of deep grass in front of them will be turning into my son’s small garden – we will be fencing that.
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Nova and Atat near the fire pit
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Downey exploring
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My son Daniel having fun with the dogs
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The dogs chasing each other
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More running
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Having fun
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Daniel and Atat

Busy Springtime

There has been a lot going on lately around here.  After my last post, no more chicks hatched. We ended up with 22 hatched out of 42 for that batch.  I candled the remaining eggs – 10 were empty, and 10 just didn’t hatch. And then a day or so later one of the chicks who had hatched died.  So we now have 21 small chicks, and 4 larger chicks. I’m done with hatching for the year – we now have 43 chickens including our adults.

Here is one of our larger chicks, Escape Artist’s daughter:

esky daughter
Looks like her mama. Also tries to jump out of the box just like mama did.

We vaccinated the chicks for Marek’s last weekend. The older chicks were given it at the same time – may be a little late but it’s better than nothing. We only had the one vial and didn’t want to try to split it up, especially since this was the first time we’ve ever given it.  My chickens from last year were all vaccinated at the hatchery. I don’t know if my 2-year-old chickens were vaccinated. Either they were or we don’t have Marek’s disease here, but I have heard that it is all over the place.  I’ve read that it takes 2 weeks for the chicks  to build up any immunity after being vaccinated, so next weekend we might move the older chicks outside.   We were going to add another little chicken house for the youngsters, but we’ve decided we will do a split coop again – we have the room in the chicken house, with two separate rooms, and fenced runs on both sides, so we can keep them separate but all safe and comfortable.  The smaller chicks will have to go out later – they are still too small.  I’ll have to integrate them with the larger chicks when they do get moved, but there are so many smaller ones I think they’ll be able to hold their own against the 4 larger chicks then. Here is one of the smaller chicks:

red head maran
I think she’s one  of the Marans (or came out of one of those eggs), but she is black with a red head. I noticed her feathers growing in stick out a little bit, like a frizzle chicken. We’ll have to see what she ends up looking like. She’s one of my favorites from this batch.
frizzle wings
Here you can see some of the feathers on the top part of her wing stick out, away from her body. I’ve never seen that before, but hers are doing that symmetrically on both sides of her body so it must be what she is supposed to have happen.

We lost one of our ducks this week. We had a male (we think) who had some trouble with his feet – he wasn’t really able to keep up with the group when they were moving around, we had noticed.  In their pen that didn’t matter so much, but earlier this week I was outside and noticed he seemed to be stuck in the pool. I don’t know if he got sick, or just got stuck in the pool and got too cold. I took him out and set him on the grass in the sunshine, and dried him off a little with a towel. I hoped he would get better, but he died a little while later.  Here are our remaining 11 ducks:

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It looks like someone had a pillow fight in our back yard, with all the duck feather dander everywhere. 

The ducks always run away when you get near them. The chickens, much smarter, come running because they know people=food. Here are my chickens out today:

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“Did you bring us some snacks?”

Our trees are starting to fill in.  Springtime is in full swing, except we are in the U.P.  So we got snow flurries today, and it didn’t even get in the 40s.  It’s supposed to warm up in the next few days though. Here is our cherry tree in bloom:

cherry tree
Our cherry tree. My son’s pool and Slip’n’Slide are under the tree – we really haven’t had warm enough temperatures for either of those, aside from a couple days here and there.

Since spring is here, I’ve been planning the garden.  We are using the same spaces as last year, and I’m making a new space for my son. He had a little flower-bed area last year but it didn’t get enough sunshine. I gave him a big square, about 8×8 or so, that used to have weeds and asparagus, and some old rhubarb. The rhubarb and weeds were the only things that really grew there. So he’s helping me clean it up. And we started our garden plans:

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This year’s garden plan

And we started seeds last weekend:

 

more seedlings
Here is one of our two trays. I figured out we don’t need to start as much in the house as I used to.  Last year a lot of things did great just sown directly in the ground.

My strawberry patch is doing well. I put some new plants in this year. The old ones are growing well and spreading, and the new ones are doing ok.  I need to make a cover in the next few weeks or so, to keep tiny creatures from stealing my berries this year.

strawberry patch
This whole mulched area is strawberry patch, except right against the house is for raspberry bushes. I only have one in the ground right now;  a few others that I just bought this year are in pots waiting to go in.

My son and I were taking a walk last weekend and came across something extra delicious. I have been telling him and my husband about morels since we moved up to the U.P. and have not been able to find any.  We found 4 in the woods last weekend. Not many, but it’s enough to show them what I was talking about, and let them have a taste.  We haven’t had much rain this year, but now we know where we might be able to find them – I have been checking in that area again but haven’t seen much else, either because of the lack of rain, or because forest creatures are finding them first. Here are the morels we found:

morels
The four morels we found this year. They were delicious.

Chicks and bunnies – updates

I counted our baby rabbits tonight.  Wind (our white Californian) had 10 live babies! Fire, our black Rex, had 7 total – 2 died the other day, but we counted 5 alive this evening. Wind’s babies are all different colors. Some are naked pink, some are black, and some are  spotted.

For the chicks – we are still mid-hatch, and we are up to 22 hatched out of 42.  I don’t see any more pipping at the moment, but from how this hatch has been going I’m not worried. Today was their due date, and they started hatching 2 days ago so I’m going to give any stragglers until Saturday night.  So far we’ve gotten 11 Marans, 5 Easter/olive eggers, three bantams and three from our home grown eggs.   Here are some updated pictures of our newest fuzzballs:

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More chicks are here!

Our main hatch is due tomorrow  – 42 eggs in the incubator. Our chicks started hatching last night.  So far we have 8 in the brooder, and another one was just hatched a few minutes ago. There are a few more pipping now.  So far, we’ve had 3 bantams, 3 easter eggers, and 3 of our homegrown eggs hatch. There is a maran that is half hatched as of the last time I looked. Here are some pictures:

start of hatch
Here you can see some little chicks amongst the eggs. This picture was taken this morning. We had one completely hatched last night, and three in there by this morning.
first hatched
Here is another pic from this morning. You can see a little head peeking out under the large yellow incubator fan.
Large brooder
Here is the large brooder box – I was going to mix everyone together, but tonight I decided to rethink that. The new chicks are a lot smaller than these three week olds, so I will wait until the newbies are all running around to see if we can mix them. They have their own large box.
hello
Here are some new babies!
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More pictures of the babies.
chick view
More chicks
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Cute little gray and brown chicks – you can see the feathered legs on this brown bantam.
feathered legs
More feathered legs.
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A gray chick
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A tiny bantam in the foreground.
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Here are the older chicks – 3 weeks old now.
larger chicks
Here they are again. I’m worried they are too large to meet the babies for awhile. We’ll see.

 

Also, my rabbits have both had their litters – they were born yesterday and last night. I have not counted them yet so I don’t know how many each had.  So we have lots of babies on our farm at the moment.

The ducks are home!

We finished the ducks’ pen and house.  They love it! They are not so excited to go inside their house at night, but we’ve found some ways to corral them into it. Here are some pictures of them in their new digs:

duck house
Here is the house – there is a door that goes on, it’s not pictured here. But we close it at night to keep the ducks from being eaten by raccoons and other creatures. The extra fence posts in the foreground are the beginnings of our new dog pen.
duck house 2
My son inside the duck house.
duck pen
Here is the duck house, and on the right you can see the pool. The ducks LOVE their pool.
ducks in pool 2
Here they are, swimming and playing. We need to get a hard pool, with some kind of ramp.
ducks in pool 3
The ducks push the sides in so they can get in and out, which spills the water. We’ve put in steps and a ramp on the outside, but they don’t understand those very well.
ducks in pool
Here is a view of the duck’s pool, facing the chicken coop.
nosy neighbors
Here are the nosy neighbors. They were not sure what to make of the ducks when they first moved into the neighborhood, but they are getting along ok now.

Our ducks are HUGE. Larger than I expected them to get.  My uncle saw them and called them our cow-ducks, since they are so large. They are a lot of fun to watch,  now that they are in their permanent spot in the yard.