Who would have thunk it?

I was told rabbits were sensitive creatures, but I didn’t really believe it.  I believe it now.  The other day I was talking to a man who raises New Zealand and California rabbits.  He feeds a high end rabbit food (Manna Pro).  He said that there are people who get away with feeding low quality food, but they have to keep their rabbits constantly on antibiotics.  I posted somewhere (I can’t find it now) that commercially raised rabbits were the most medicated of all meat animals and now I see why.  I’d sure like to go through a day without finding any dead rabbits.

It’s so cold this morning I am leaving the rabbit barn shut up until the sun starts to warm things up.  It isn’t going to get too warm today.  I’m going to freeze my butt off tomorrow at the Farmer’s Market.  Yesterday was the last warm day for a while and I took advantage of it and went up to Rock House Farm and spent quite a bit of time with the farm manager.  It was nice.  I learned a lot.  Got some good photographs of the pigs.  I could have followed the pigs around all day.  They are so entertaining.  Watching them act as pigs naturally do is extremely gratifying.  The meat is more expensive than what I’d pay in a grocery store, but that the animals are raised in such a humane manner makes the extra money worthwhile.

We had a wind storm last night and Gwen’s pod got blow up on top of the stock trailer.  I haven’t gone down to look at it closely, but it looks like it may have been damaged.  We’ll need to re-think her shelter.  I might start closing her up in the last extension to the milk parlor when the weather is going to be bad.

Yesterday morning, one of the goats, Heavenly, was not looking well.  She had some mucus coming out of her eyes and vagina (lots of vagina stuff going on here these days).  She’s dropped and looks close to kidding, but she hasn’t bagged up much.  Instead of putting them in the back pasture, I decided to bring up a wheelbarrow-full of alfalfa hay and let them fill their bellies with that.  I also gave Heavenly a feeding of alfalfa pellets as well.  She seems okay now, but she’s not great.  Her coat doesn’t look as good as the other goats. According to my records, the earliest she should kid would be the 20th of January.  Hopefully she’s okay.  Lately I have not been letting the goats free roam because they have been going up to the neighbors quite a bit and I don’t want them getting into trouble up there.  I know why they are going up there: there are areas of really lush grass; but there’s also a lot they can get into that they shouldn’t.

I brought home three bags of organic alfalfa pellets and a bag of kelp from Rock House Farm.  I just got off the phone with a local feed mill that I’ve used in the past to mix feed to see how often they mix medicated feed and was told rarely, the only medication they ever add is Aureomycin (which does not appear to be toxic to rabbits) and that they did clean their hopper out well after mixing it.  So I’m going to head up there Monday morning and have the alfalfa pellets mixed with oats, barley and sunflower seeds.  The alfalfa pellets are a little bit large for the rabbits so I’ll have them slightly pounded before mixing them in.  I’ll use this mixture for Gwen, the goats (on the milk stand) and the rabbits.  Because the rabbits get alfalfa as well as grass hay, they should do okay on this mixture.

I’m about frozen solid here in the office so I’m going to end this post now and go and do something.  I really need to get the house cleaned, but I also would like to get some things done outside like cleaning out the rabbit and goat barns.  The goats waste so darned much hay it isn’t funny.  I’d like to be disciplined enough to clean up under their hay feeders every morning and tote it down to the horses to eat.  Once it falls on the ground, I don’t care what kind of hay it is, the goats won’t eat it.  We could raise a herd of horses and cows on what the goats waste.

Until later …