Sunday Homestead Update

It’s been COLD here lately.  Most mornings this last week we woke up to temps in the area of -10F to -18F.  Makes for some cold barn chores.  When it is that cold we leave the animals inside the barn and coops.  We hot mash them all (except the sheep, but they get a luke-warm bucket of water to drink).  And we can usually let them out by noon when it warms up a bit.  Our daily temps have been in the 20s.  All the animals have been holding up well to the cold.  And this week we are supposed to warm up to the high 30s during the day and teens at night…rocky mountain heat wave!

Rabbits

Justice was due for her first kindling this week.  She was due Wednesday.  Monday she began to build an elaborate nest with hay and fur pulled from her belly.  She continued to make it bigger and refine it through Wednesday…still no babies.  By Thursday night when there was still no kits and yet she was nesting like crazy we knew there was trouble, we have had this happen before.  Sure enough, Friday night she kindled 5 dead kits.  She did a wonderful job of putting them in the nest and covering them up, but they were all born dead.  We have had this happen one time before where a doe’s labor dragged on and on and by the time they were born they were dead because the labor took too long.  We aren’t sure if the cold temps made her body hold on to them too long, or if the first kit got stuck for awhile, or what.  It was a bummer.

We are glad she is now a proven doe, and has shown that she knows how to kindle and tuck them into the nest.  We will re-breed her in the next few weeks once her lactation dries up and she seems healed from the delivery.  Meanwhile, we will check her mammary glands twice a day for mastitis as she dries up and keep a close eye on her for any complications from the delivery.

Indy’s kits are a week old now and doing great.  Growing and thriving.  There turned out to be 9 of them.  She is such a great producer…our best doe at this point.  She is a great mother as well.

We wanted to breed our third doe, Liberty, this last week.  But she was not receptive to the buck at all, probably because of the cold weather.  We will try again this week during our spurt of warmer weather.

Sheep

Fiona and Stella have returned from the breeder.  We are discussing option for preg-checking them.  If the price is reasonable we might go ahead and have them ultra-sounded because it gives us a much better time frame of when they are due (within a week or two) and will tell us how many lambs they are carrying.  But if it is too expensive we will just do a blood test, which will tell us whether or not they are pregnant.  In that case we will have a 45-day window of when they could be due, starting the second week of April.  It is fun to think about spring lambs again this year!

Lily and Violet seemed very happy to have their mamas home, and we like looking out and seeing a flock of 4, instead of just 2.

In the Farm House

We have been enjoying a lot of wool-related activities inside this week.  The girls are enjoying their new loom, we are spinning both with a spinning wheel and the hand spindles, plus there are knitting and crochet projects going on.  I am close to done with 3 different projects – looking forward to posting pics as soon as I finish.

One thought on “Sunday Homestead Update

  1. Too bad about the kits. I hope she (and you) have better luck next time! Those temperatures just don’t sound habitable by human nor beast! Brrrrrrrrr… Good luck with all your breeding activities during your “heat wave” this next week 🙂

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