We checked and counted Maple’s litter Friday after she had settled a bit. There are 4 kits. 3 are dark colored and 1 is light colored. We are definitely disappointed in the litter size. This is the second litter ever from our buck Peter, and the last one he sired was only 5 kits from a doe who usually has 9-10 kits with our other buck. Maple has never been bred before, so it could be her, but with Peter still not giving us a big litter I am beginning to think it might be him. We will breed him to our other doe, Fuzz, who routinely gives 7-8 kits when bred with our other buck, and if that litter is small too it will be the final proof we need that he gives small litters. If so, he will be replaced with another buck.
Despite the small litter size, we are very happy that Maple did so well and put all her kits in the nest and has been feeding them. We are also excited to see what colors they all turn out. This is our first ever (in 6 years of having rabbits) multi-colored litter. So that is fun!
Ebony, Maple’s sister, is pulling fur and building a nest this morning. We expect kits by noon. She was also bred to Peter and this is also her first litter. It will be interesting to see how many she has, and whether they are different colors or not.
We finished insulating and doing the board and batten on the interior walls of the sheep stall this weekend. It looks great!
You can see what the walls used to look like in the background of this silly picture of a chicken on the sheep:
And here is what they look like now:
So much nicer. And warmer. And just in time too, because both sheep have spent two heat cycles with a ram during the evacuation, so we are very excited to say that we are expecting out first ever lambs somewhere between Febuary 24-April 9 of 2014!!! We had originally planned to not breed them until November/December so we would end up with April/May lambs and not be in the coldest part of winter for lambing. We routinely go below 0 degrees F in Jan-March. But since they were evacuated because of the flood, and ended up at the farm where the ram we wanted to breed to was, it only made sense to go ahead and put them in with him while they were there. So we did. But we feel good about this stall and it’s insulated walls. With proper bedding, and getting the lambs dried off quickly, we shouldn’t have any problems.
Both these sheep are first-time breeders. And they are still a bit young, especially Stella, since Longwools mature later, so there is a chance one or both didn’t take. But we are hopeful! And the breeder thinks that Fiona at least did.
The sheep will be coming home mid-November. I can’t wait to get the last of our “refugees” back home where they belong!
Speaking of which, Violet and Ferdinand (the cow and calf), will also be coming home mid-November. And Violet has also spent two heat cycles with a bull. So we are getting her back pregnant as well (hopefully). Her due date is somewhere between July 4-Aug 24 of 2014.
Once the sheep and cows are back, all the evacuated animals will be home again! We will be back to “normal.” And what a blessing that they all got bred while they were gone!
We also did the board and batten on the exterior of the upper chicken coop this weekend. While we were working on it we calculated and realized we have built an $1800 coop for about $100! I will be posting this week more details about how we managed to do that.
I am continuing to knit away at Christmas presents. I just haven’t finished anything and thus don’t have any pictures yet. I hope to finish another one this week and will post pictures when I do.