Well, I don’t know if I can give the colony the credit or not, but we have another successful litter!  For those keeping score that’s 0/3 successful litters and 0/10 live babies out of our previous hutch system vs. 2/2 – 14/16 babies still alive in our colony system.

It’s getting pretty exciting here.  Chocolate Fudge a.k.a Fluffy a.k.a whatever name they call her on any given day gave birth on Sunday morning.  She attempted to bury a dead kit on Tuesday and successfully buried her entire litter.  We dug them out and all were fine except the dead kit and one other that was squished in the burial process.  We removed the dead kits and she resumed caring for them.  They are all adorable, although I’m a bit sad that it was the two chocolate buns that died.

Tiramisu gave birth this morning to seven healthy kits.  It appears we have a white, two solid blacks, one solid brown, and three broken (speckled) babies.   She is doing a WONDERFUL job of caring for them and the nest is really beautiful.  I’ll post pictures of it soon.

I went out there late this morning only to find Opal making a grand nest for her babies.  We expect them today or tomorrow.  Butterscotch is also expecting today or tomorrow.  Unfortunately, she’s young and seems to be pulling hair randomly all over the colony pen.  Hopefully she’ll find a special spot for her little ones as well.

The young does are incredibly curious about the nests.  Opal and Tira are very defensive of their area, while Fluffy is definitely not.  But she’s such a space cadet anyway.  I barely hold on hope that she’ll raise all seven of them.   I’ll try to post pictures today or tomorrow.  It’s been incredibly exciting around here with 16 new buns and expecting more.  We found a few Monarch eggs yesterday plus one teeny tiny catepillar… How fun!  Incubator hatching is expected to take place on Sunday and I’ll try to post pictures of that as well.  So far it appears 34/37 eggs have survived to Day 17.

New update:  We caught Butterscotch giving birth in Opal’s nest.  There are two separate bundles of buns in the nest – one group of 6 and one group of 4.  The question is – same Mama or different Mama?  Opal and Butterscotch are NOT happy at having the same nest and are fighting.  I don’t know if Opal gave birth in there before Butterscotch or if she just wants her nest back.  Butterscotch we literally SAW giving birth to babies, so we know at least some of them are hers.

Pictures of the colony and rabbit teepees.

Colony eating greens.

Colony eating greens.

Junior does checking out the new digs.

Junior does checking out the new digs.

Tiramisu's Burrow

Tiramisu's Burrow

Above you can see how Tira enclosed her teepee.  She has filled in the front and left the back open.  Inside her burrow the entire front is filled in.  But within the middle is a bundle of fur, and if you notice, there is a lot of BROWN fur.  She doesn’t have brown hair so she’s been stealing fur from other mamas.

Inside - There are 7 babies in there!

Inside - There are 7 babies in there!

Fluffy's Nest 'O Buns

Fluffy's Nest 'O Buns

Fluffy's Mini Me

Fluffy's Mini Me

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I haven’t posted in a long while!  But we resolved to shut off the internet and cable for at least Spring, and probably Summer as well.   Am I frustrating you all?  😉

It’s been incredibly busy here and I know ya’all want pictures.  Incubation didn’t go well for us.  Apparently when more experienced hatchers say, “Don’t open the lid for the three days around hatching,” they have a reason for it.  Listen carefully.  The reason is H-U-M-I-D-I-T-Y. Very important apparently.   We have five surviving chicks out of our 36 eggs.  It is vitally important to maintain the proper humidity.  We know better now.  We’ll start another round of hatching eggs soon.  In the meantime, we have pictures of the new chicks to share with you as well as pictures of our four little Pekin ducklings.  The ducklings are for Rebecca as she has wanted them forever.  Technically they are a meat breed.  And BOY!  They are messy!

And the ducklings have made friends with the chicks.

duck-meet-chick

The shell has pipped:

pipped-eggs

A little Auracana just after hatching:
hatched-chick

And a bit more fluffy:

 getting-fluffy

I can’t promise I’ll be posting terribly often…  I’m enjoying all of my spare time with the kids these days!  I’m surprised how much time just “checking my email” and whatnot managed to steal from my day….  And pleasantly inspired to have it back.

The hens are laying… Finally!  I had a stern talk to them about the responsibility of the laying hen.  And, I’m not going to lie, the possiblity of chicken soup for useless chickens.  I don’t think I made much of an impact…. But I have eggs and that’s good enough!

 

And Goat Pictures!

Praise is growing up!

Praise is growing up!

Praise

Praise

Heidi is bigger too!

Heidi is bigger too!

Remember when she was little?

Remember when she was little?

We’re all sick here with the exception of a lucky few, so this is going to be short and sweet…

Went to a farm on Sunday and picked up fertilized eggs.  A variety of colors for a variety of chickens.  They’ll all be cross bred, but I’m not starting with $8-$12/dozen eggs to see if our incubator works!  The neighbors charged me a whopping $1.50 per dozen 🙂  They even threw in a free cat, lol. 

A variety of eggs!

A variety of eggs!

 The intention had been to  make our own incubator.   We went to Lowe’s and tossed the necessary equipment into our cart.  I was pretty excited.  But then we added up the bill and to make the incubator would have cost us approximately $65.  This incubator (a still air Little Giant) was $40.  That sweet and handy husband of mine has intentions of adding a fan to it.  (Old computers ARE good for something!)  For those of you who would really like to make your own, you can find great instructions at the Backyard Chicken Forum here.

Little Giant Still Air Incubator and Sweetest Pea

Little Giant Still Air Incubator and Sweetest Pea

 

Personally if I were going to recommend one, it would probably be the Hovabator brand and NOT this one, but you know what?  It was local and it was cheap and it was there when I had eggs.  Now, that said, we’ll be curious to see what kind of hatch we get…  If I got 50% I’d be happy.  If I  get 2/3 to hatch, I”ll be thrilled!  Honestly, with as many times as the kids have gotten on the table to “just look” if we get two chickens we should be ecstatic.

Eggs!!  In the Incubator!!

Eggs!! In the Incubator!!

This is pretty exciting for me.  It’s supposed to be for school, for the kids, blah, blah, blah.  We all know this is for Mom and that she’s probably the biggest kid of all.  But it’s pretty exciting!  Now, to just remember to turn them 3 times a day.  

For those of you also doing this, check out the University of Nebraska’s Embryology page.  Links to see candling, developing embryos, and more.  For those of you who don’t think you can do this because you can’t keep the chickens, local farmers are MORE than willing to “loan” out the eggs and then take the hens off your hands.  As a matter of fact, you’re doing all the hard work and they’re getting chickens!

*Do you realize sick children do not interrupt?  In here 15 minutes already and nothing…  Yup, that’s how you can tell they’re sick.  Have a good day.

 Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Miss Prissy!

Guess what I’m making this weekend?

An egg incubator.  Yes ma’am you heard it here first.  We’ll call it a homeschooling expense, shall we?  (Even though we really know it’s just for mom.)

Link for those interested:
Great Incubator Instructions