Oh we got spoiled with the spring-like temperatures we’ve been having all winter.  Everything was rock-frozen hard!  I gave Rose (our LGD) the rest of a pot of sausage soup that I made earlier this week and when she was finished, I filled it with water to soak and forgot to bring it back in the house.  I needed it this morning because I wanted to start a pot of chicken noodle soup so Wally went out to get it.  I finally got the block of ice out of it.  Of course, when it’s this cold, we have to haul water for the animals.  We still need to go out and get the ice out of the rabbit bowls.

A Chin doe that I’ve been having a hard time getting bred kindled Friday morning.  She had eight babies.  I considered bringing them in last night, but I didn’t and it seems they are okay.  All I did was stick my hand in the nest box and I felt warmth so I assume at least some of them are still alive.

Yesterday after I got through with the farmers market Wally and I drove to Morganton to meet the Rock House Farm Manager to drop off the coolers and then we went and picked out 40 baby chicks.  We got 10 Buff Orphingtons, 10 Barred Rock, 10 Rhode Island Reds and 10 Americanas.  We decided to go with different breeds because we like the different colored eggs.  The chicks are so-called straight run which means they were not sexed so we’ll get some roosters with the hens.  The roosters will become soup material.  Once these chickens are up and laying, I’ll bring the older chickens to the processor and have them processed as stewing hens.  Then that way we won’t be carrying so many non-producing chickens through the winter.

The place that we got the chicks was quite impressive.  They might be getting meat birds down the road and if so, I’ll probably get a batch of them as well.  The chicks are in the office in a large, heavy-duty cardboard box.  We put shavings on the bottom of the box and covered them with hay.  Right now, they are eating oats and barley, but I need to add something with a little bit more protein.  I’ve mentioned before that there are Squash Bugs still living in the house.  Now, when I find them, I toss them in the chick box and watch the chick races begin.  I’m hoping that I’m training a few generation of Squash Bug Assassins.  I think now if we do raise a batch of meat chickens, I may be able to tighten up the fencing around the perimeter of the rabbit house and install the meat birds in there when they are old enough to be outside without a light and keep them there until they are old enough to be butchered.  We gave up on keeping the laying chickens out of the rabbit barn, but while I’m raising the meat chickens, I can close up the barn to the laying chickens and keep the meat chickens in there until they are old enough to butcher.  Still don’t know where/how we’ll keep the laying hens until they are old enough to run with other chickens.

Remember the batch of 10 baby rabbits that I brought in and was hand feeding?  Only one is still alive and he’s less than half the size of the surviving siblings that I left with a Creme doe.  I believe the other rabbits were chewing his hair off so I brought him in the house and put him in a cage in the so-called family room.  Last night, I heard him screaming.  One of my cats, Onyx a/k/a “Killer” stuck his paw through the bars of the cage and hooked him.  I was afraid he wasn’t going to make it through the night, but so far so good.  I need to find him a home.  I don’t know that he’ll ever grow full-sized.  I call him a “he” but I don’t know what sex he is.

Wally and I are pretty well set to just hole up in the house for most of the day today.  It’s going to be too cold outside to do much of anything.

Until later …