Heat!

The past few days have been hot, not terribly hot, but hot is hot.  On the weather last night, however, the forecaster said that towards the end of the week, we are going to suffer with “volcano heat.”  Lovely.

Yesterday I went into the goat shelter and saw a black snake sticking out of what I believed was a burrow that one of the yard rabbits dug to have babies in.  The other day, I found three dead chicks near the mouth of the burrow.  I thought maybe the mother rabbit killed chicks that came too close to the burrow.  I tried to fish the snake out, but he went deeper into the burrow.  I dug it out a bit to try to get more access, but couldn’t reach him.  The mother rabbit was on the other side of the fence with a very concerned look on her face.

I gave up on getting the snake out and moved away.  The mother rabbit promptly came back and went part way into the burrow, then backed out.  I guess she saw all she needed to see.

I had an errand to run and when I came back, the snake was part way out again and this time I was able to fish it out.  Damn!  He must have been about five feet long and he had been dining on something be it baby rabbits or chicks or both.  I put him in a trash can and drove him down the road and let him go.

When snakes start showing up around the chickens it’s a sign that the grass in the pastures is too high and needs to be cut.  That’s on the agenda this weekend.

There was a time that I really wanted to be Animal Welfare Approved for rabbits, but I refuse to risk the little rabbit babies by putting them on the ground.  I don’t feel like I can adequately protect them.  Before he ate so much, that snake could very well have gone through small holes in wire.  Imagine if I came about that same snake in one of my rabbit tractors so full of baby bunnies he couldn’t get out.  I feel like I am doing the best I can for the rabbits and that’s the way it will have to be.

I just put out another litter of bunnies and their mother.  It’s fun to watch them when they first come out.  I feel like the rabbits in the tractors are cooler than the ones in the barn.  I have several does bred and due to deliver July 1.  Hopefully they will do okay.

I was  lucky enough to score six GORGEOUS Dark Cornish hens yesterday.  I had seen them before and wanted to buy them then, but the owner wouldn’t sell them.  He changed his mind and I scooped them up and sent me home with ten young chicks.  I also found three young Delaware/White Rock Cross roosters from a woman I’ve purchased chickens from before.  I saw the parents and they are nice, big birds.  Now, we are all set to begin breeding our own meat birds.  Now if I can only get the manager of the processing plant to call me back so I can schedule the White Rock chickens that are going to be ready to be processed in four to five weeks.  Most irritating when owners of businesses do not return phone calls or e-mails.

Today is going to be the coolest day of the week and I have to go to Hickory to make deliveries and do some errands.  Yesterday, Wally killed the two older rabbits I had set aside to make sausage so I need to pick up the ingredients for that.  Tomorrow I’ll need to process some young rabbits.  If it isn’t too hot by the time I get back from my errands, I would like to try to get down into the jungle garden.  I can see I’ve got green beans to harvest.  Need to make some cold salads to eat towards the end of the week when it’s so hot.

So much to do!  I had better get out and get it done.  We put the goat babies up last night, but I went ahead and let them out this morning to do the milking for me.  We really don’t need the milk this morning.  That may change because we might be getting two piglets.  Wally and I need to talk about that some more.  If we get the piglets, we’ll need to wean at least the buck kids so we’ll have enough milk to feed pigs.  I am hoping to get another Jersey bull calf, but that’s been proving difficult; of course if we go and get piglets, that will be when we get the call to get a Jersey calf.  We’ve got one Jersey steer who will be ready to be processed by the fall, but we need to get a young bull in place for when Gwen needs to be re-bred.

Well, I guess I had better get my butt in gear and get out and milk those goats that need to be milked.

Until later …