We’ve had a lot happening in the chicken/duck coop lately. The ducks are doing well in there with the chickens. It has been a little more humid when I open the coop in the morning, but some of that could be the fact that we are constantly getting rain – this summer was abnormally wet, and it has continued into September. Luckily the temps are more autumn-like. We started with straw bedding a couple years ago, which turned into cob on the floor – thanks to the ducks, the humidity moistened that cob layer so I was able to finally get it all off the floor today. They now have a super-clean freshly cleaned coop floor. (We switched to pine shavings and it’s been really nice – it doesn’t turn solid on the floor and it smells nice when you lay it down).
We have been getting eggs from the 2nd batch-hatch hens, and are up to about a dozen-plus a day. My third batch chickens are only 2 months old, so they will start laying later.
We have a whole lot of roosters, and more coming up. I gave one of our youngest, from the third batch, away to a friend who needed a rooster. With some of the youngest chickens it’s still hard to tell which gender they are, so we’ll have to see. We will have to cull some roosters, and I was planning on doing that a couple weeks ago, but I ended up waiting – they are still with us for the time being. We’ll probably start culling some when it gets a little cooler. I sold our lone bantam hen to someone who had other bantams. One of our large roosters mounted her and I was afraid he was going to kill her, so I rehomed her quickly.
We have a lot of tiny bunnies – 13 at the moment (11 with Wind, our white rabbit, and two with Fire, our black rabbit). They are growing pretty quickly, and they are so cute.
There’s a space behind the doors of Buddy/Earth (the dad) and Wind’s cage, and her babies keep going over to visit. At first I was worried that he’d hurt the babies, and then I realized that he was being nice to them. He would lick/clean them, and they kept going over to visit. But then he started getting too excited – actually looked like he was humping the air near them – so we are not letting them over there anymore. If we find them over there we move them back with mom. They will be moving into their own cage soon, once they are all weaned from her milk.
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:
We were at Tractor Supply today picking up animal food, and saw that they had chicks and ducklings in. We are hatching our own chicks this year, but we saw the ducks and decided to get some. My husband has talked about wanting ducks for a couple years, and I thought it would be fun to add some ducks to our farm. We got 12 Pekin ducks. Pekins are supposed to be really good for both eggs and meat, but I’ve heard they are very tame and can follow you around the yard like a little cloud of dogs. I like the idea of that. Ducklings peep a lot just like chicks, and brooding them is very similar to brooding chicks. They also eat chick starter, and can be fed and housed with chickens. We’ll probably give them their own space, but time will tell. Below are some pictures of our new little fuzzy flock:
I went out to feed the rabbits the other afternoon, and the door of my white bunny’s hutch fell off when I opened it. I had to quickly figure out where to put her while I figured out her door. We have a cage outside that we usually put them in while we clean their hutches, but it is currently covered in snow. I was in a rush, so I thought, “oh, I’ll put her in with the black female, since they lived together before.” That was a huge mistake.
They immediately started fighting – the black rabbit (her name is Fire) was not happy about the other one (Wind) being put in HER cage. She attacked and I heard crazy squealing, and I quickly grabbed Wind out of there. Phew. There was rabbit fur everywhere. Fire even bit me as I was pulling Wind out of her cage. Luckily nobody was hurt, but they did not seem very happy.
Here are the fighting rabbits:
I brought Wind into the house, and put her in a cat carrier while I went to look for the cordless drill to fix her door. The piece of the door that the hinges were attached to had split at that spot from the weight of the door. Poor rabbit – the dogs were trying to see what I was carrying around the house with me. I was able to keep them away most of the time, but I’m sure she was not happy. I found the drill, and then brought her outside with me to figure out her door.
I then realized that we have an empty hutch that I could have put her in in the first place. The hutch that the babies are in is 2-sided. We enclosed the side that they are in, to block the cold winds and snow, but the other side is still there, just not enclosed. I wouldn’t want to house her in there for very long, but it works in a pinch. So if this ever happens again, I have that option.
At that point my husband heard me dealing with the mess, and came out to help me with the door. We got it back on with a new larger hinge, and Wind is safely back in her hutch now.
I told my coworker about the rabbit fight. She sent me the below video – I’ll have to get my chickens involved in crowd control in the future:
We’ve been very busy this month. In my last post, I said I would get some pictures of snow… well, then it melted. But on Thanksgiving, which was a couple days ago, we got about 4-5 inches. So we have snow again.
Here is Nova. We got her about a month ago, from our coworker. Nova was her son’s dog, when he was in the Air force in Georgia. Now he moved back to town and is going to college, and couldn’t keep her, and my coworker felt bad that Nova was home alone during the day. So we took her in. She gets along great with our other dogs and she is a sweetheart.
The chickens aren’t minding the snow so much. I have heat lamps in the two rooms of their coop, so they can go in and warm up their feet if they get cold. Our batch last year (which we still have the hens from) didn’t like to go out in the snow. I’m not sure why they don’t mind this year, but they don’t.
Last weekend we went up to my cousin’s to get the original hutch that I got with the rabbits. We have set it up near our other rabbit hutch, so it’s now Rabbit Row:
And here are the little baby bunnies:
The rabbits have been doing ok with the cold so far. We’re going to add a tarp to the front of the hutches to block wind from the inside. That’s one reason I positioned the hutches into “Rabbit Row.” – I figure it will help block wind somewhat. I’m already planning on a new setup once spring comes – more of a rabbit shed, I think. I’d like to add a run of some sort so they can hang out in the grass also.
We’ve also decided on names for the adults. They are Earth, Wind, and Fire. (my husband came up with it) – The gray buck is Earth (since he’s on the left), the white doe is Wind, and the black doe is Fire.
The farm is pretty much ready for winter. It’s a nice time to just cozy up inside – we don’t have a lot of projects we can do outside in winter, except reinforcing animal housing and doing normal feeding chores each morning and night. I like that it’s kind of a relaxation time. Of course I’m already planning in my head what we’ll do when spring comes.
I’m a little late with this post. This November has been a little strange, with warmer temps than normal… that is, until a few days ago. I took some pictures last week, before we got snow, when we were in the 50s temperature wise. The snow started a couple days ago. We only have about an inch on the ground right now. We’ve had some flurries here and there, and now our temperatures are in the 20s. Brrr… Here are some pictures of our pre-snow November.
I’ll get some new pics soon to show you what our snow looks like. I’ll also update on the baby bunnies – they have grown a lot in 2 weeks.