Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Extra Farm Time

So cold that they didn't want to go out. 
Slowly, but surely, water is being restored to the areas affected by the chemical spill last week. It looks like we may actually go back to school this week. Starting on our normal routine again is going to be challenging. Our last day of school, before Christmas, was December 20th. Since that day we've had a nice long Christmas break. We didn't go back the first two scheduled days because of the Polar Vortex. The next day we went back with a two hour delay. Then we had one full day. That was the day of the chemical leak into the Elk River. We haven't been back since.

I hate that we are not in school because of the chemical spill. I really hate that our friends in that area have gone without water for almost 5 days now. Don't throw things at me, but I am really enjoying our time at home. Between the cold and the rain, the weather hasn't been super co-operative for getting things done outside, but we have managed a few projects.

This winter we tried something new for our bunnies. We moved them into what was originally intended to be a goat house, but was converted last summer for broilers. We don't raise broilers during the winter. The shed was empty at the end of the summer. Caring for rabbits in the winter, is not that challenging except for water. Keeping them in water was always difficult, and one of the reasons we stopped raising rabbits for a few years.

This year we decided to put the rabbits inside for the winter. We didn't move the hutches inside. We put the does and weaned young ones loose in the pen. We did move one pen inside for the buck. You know what can happen if the buck has free access to girls. Well, we wanted a little control on that. We had to make a couple of adjustments early on because we had a couple of escape artists, but after that the whole system worked well. Instead of the normal rabbit water bottles and hanging feeders, we moved a chicken feeder and waterer in. The only time the water has frozen was during the Polar Vortex when temperature lows were around zero and highs in the teens.

We bred two of the does. They did fine with the kindling. The kits did well until about a week and a half. We lost a few then. I think it was because they were able to get out of the nest and too far away too early. We are going to work on a better set up for that.

They now are about three weeks old. I love the babies at this age. So darn cute!

This one wanted to hide in Kellen's sleeve and pocket.
Nolan is taking rabbits to the fair this year. We used some of our extra time this week to have him work with and sex the rabbits. We definitely have unique rabbit personalities in that barn right now. This doe was a screamer. Rabbits rarely make much noise, but when in pain or scared,  they have a horrible high pitched scream that makes your hair stand on end. I have never heard a rabbit scream like this one. Catching them and holding them is not normally cause for screaming. She screamed from the moment I put my hand on her. I was trying to hold her and calm her, and she just kept screaming. It was torture for us all.

Then she did another crazy thing. Once Tim got her situated and calmed, she played dead. She just laid there on her back perfectly still for the longest time. I've never seen anything like it. She doesn't have a name yet, but Drama Queen may be fitting don't you think?

We culled the extra bucks. We culled some old hens. We've moved hogs, loaded hogs, and switched their pasture. We've did a little organizing, a little canning, and a little cleaning. We've watched a lot of movies, played games, and spent a lot of time together. It really has been super enjoyable, but I am glad people are getting water back. Glad that we may get back into the normal routine soon! Of course, there is snow in the forecast for the next few days. ;)

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