Critter Update

Originally, I was going to post about my pumpkins or a full post on our new rabbit hutch system in all its glory.

Then, something crazy happened today. It turns out, you’re never too old for surprises.

So, instead, I’ve decided to give you an update on the animals you haven’t seen since they were chicks–or even since they were eggs. Plus, some details on our newest additions, and at the very end… our surprise. It’s both embarrassing and exciting all in one.

I want to start from way back in July. Remember when our Wheaten and Blue Wheaten Ameraucanas were hatched? They’re all grown up now. Three of the five we bought from the Spring Maryland Poultry Swap turned out to be roosters–two of those roosters went to auction. They didn’t do well there, but, we at least stopped feeding them.

Unfortunately, as you already know, only 9 of the 24 eggs we set made it. But you know what’s great?

As I predicted, eight of the nine were hens. EIGHT! Originally I had only been hoping for two or three more hens to round out a breeding flock, and sell what was left. But when I got eight….

Let’s just say I had to do a bit of rearranging. My blue and black Ameraucanas are now in the Maryland Poultry Swap pen (except for that stray rooster in the picture above–he’ll be gone by breeding season–I’m just waiting for our Whizbang plucker to be built) and I’ve let the Wheatens take over our original pen and coop. This will be my pure Wheaten/Blue Wheaten/Easter Egger pen.

Of course, I’m clearly suffering from chicken math, so the fun doesn’t stop there.

These are the four chickens I got at the Maryland Poultry Swap. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with them because I currently have them in the 7-day chicken coop (now with walls!–a post on that once it’s painted), which was originally supposed to be used as a brooder for chickens next Spring. By the way, they have blue eggs…. Do you see a theme? I love blue-egg-laying chickens!

Well, folks, these are Cream Legbars. Crème de la crème of blue-egg-laying chickens. And the rooster? I’m a little leery. He is either going to make an excellent rooster or he is going to be a man-killer. When I go to feed them he stands in front of his ladies and postures, protecting them.

The problem with my newest chicken additions is I cannot mix them in with the other chickens without sacrificing something or hitting Mike’s breaking point of what he will tolerate with all these chickens we have scattered about.

In the meantime, I’m threatening the quail that if they don’t lay me something soon I’m going to kick them out and use their home as the brooder box instead.

This setup was actually a steal. $30 and it’s well-built, and it even managed to travel home on the roof of our car on a 40-mile drive. And it’s the perfect size for the nine quail we have.

Unfortunately I don’t have a better picture of them when they were little. But they were adorable little pieces of living popcorn popping in my hand. They still pop and they’re awfully pretty but since they were born at the beginning of August and should have started laying mid-September?

Let’s just say they need to start paying their rent soon. We only have two animals on this homestead that live here for free, and their names are Huck and Dixie (someone please tell this to my pen of 6 Delawares and Ameraucanas that haven’t laid in over a week).

Out of the 36 quail eggs we set, we ended up with 11 hatching. I’m not sure the cause of the bad hatch, but a lot of them never developed. And of those 11, we had good luck until, two days in a row, we lost two.

That was the hardest thing I’ve experienced yet–we’ve had incredible luck so far. The only chickens that have died have been at our own hands. But these two quail died and I had to pick them up and get rid of them.

Since then, no problems. Just Messy-Beak Pete.

He/she eats fine. Until we’re ready to cull a few (it’s time to sex the little freeloaders), this little guy will keep on living.

And next to the quail cage is the thing I’ve been most excited about. The thing that reminds me of my childhood, and maybe even Mike of his.

The rabbits.

That’s right. That’s two rabbits above. A doe and a buck.

And the star of the picture above is not Evie, it’s Aza. And she is not a buck.

That’s right. Evie’s a boy.

Right there is a picture of “Evie,” now JJ. We took “her” on a little errand with us today with thoughts of breeding “her.” Obviously, I hadn’t checked the private area since we got our first rabbit, and as soon as our friend flipped “her” over, something didn’t look right.

We had a boy!

I’m a little sad about this, because with our recent decision to switch to American Blues, I didn’t need a buck. But he’s just so friendly and even-tempered that I couldn’t help myself, and I decided to bring him back home with me with Aza.

Aza was bred back to her sire before we took her home, but it was a poor show and we’re not sure that the breeding took. We will find out in approximately 28 days, and will palpate her in about two weeks.

As for JJ, the rabbit formerly known as “Evie”? We will probably breed him to our new doe at least once. From there, we’ll see what happens. It depends on cage space and when I get our American Blues. He’s got a few options: He stays on the homestead as part of a breeding pair of Silver Foxes, he gets sold to someone looking for a heavily silvered boy, or he goes into the stock pot.

Only time will tell.

But today, he got a pardon, and my rabbitry just doubled.

2 thoughts on “Critter Update”

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