I did take the time today to go out and get updated photos of the colony does and Snowflake's (now grown) kits, and I updated the Rabbits page. It now includes upcoming breeding pairs as well as currently bred pairs and currently available litters.
Today it was actually above freezing before the snow started, so I decided to pair up several does and bucks. Bacon was paired to Celery, and while Celery was interested, Bacon refused to lift. Calliope was paired with Mister Cellophane, but he didn't seem interested at all. Calliope was loose from her cage two days ago with Beagan, so there's a possibility she's already bred. MooMoo was paired with Little Timmy and I think he may have had one fall off, but she immediately turned on him and started attacking. I separated them immediately. Raisinet was paired with Fabio and there was one witnessed fall-off, so we're hopeful for some babies there. Spotty was paired with Servine, but he wasn't interested and she spent her time figuring out how to push the lock out of the way and bump the door open. Gretchen was paired with Yang, but he made no attempt to breed; he just kept banging his food dish wanting to be fed. Lilith was paired to Rascal and he gave it a valiant attempt, but I didn't see any actual fall-offs. We'll have to wait and see.
I wonder if I should pair them back again (same does to same bucks) tomorrow to see if the slackers perk up some. I've never had this much trouble getting rabbits to breed!
The colony rabbits look like they've pulled fur, and #3 found a nest while catching bunnies for photos this afternoon. No babies in there though. Luna (the white barn cat) has seemed very fond of going in there the last month or so. I suspect she may be eating baby bunnies as soon as they're born. I'm not sure how to prevent this from happening, since she's the same size as the adult rabbits, who'd need to have access to the nests too.
After barn chores, #3 and I went to put the water bucket away and noticed the ducks and geese playing in the pool. I stopped to count them. Four geese, nine ducks. Nine ducks. We looked in the barn, but sure enough, only nine ducks. We've lost half of our flock this winter, including every last one of the Indian Runner or Runner cross ducks. They're all gone. This harsh winter has taken it's toll. We will not be getting more Indian Runners. Right now we have several Rouen or Rouen cross, Khaki Campbell cross, a black Swedish mix, and one Pekin. I'd like to get some Ancona ducks, but they're fairly expensive (over $8 each from the hatchery). There's a spring auction coming up at the end of the month. While I don't need any new rabbits this year (that's a first), I will have my eye out for some ducks if they look to be heavy breeds and go for an affordable price.
Oh who am I kidding? It's a spring auction after a particularly harsh winter. Prices will be through the roof with people wanting to replace their lost livestock too.
In a perfect world, I'd like to add Ancona ducks, a Toulouse goose, a pair or trio of Bourbon Red turkeys, more guineas, some Easter Egger chicken hens, and a new puppy to our homestead by the end of the year. I guess we will just have to wait and see how things go, if we have the finances for it, and if it works out for us. I think the garden takes priority over livestock right now though. The livestock is eating up money, while the garden will provide food which will hopefully help us to save some money.