The kids caught Luna (one of the barn cats) with a baby bunny in her mouth. Bunny was warm and unharmed, but we can't figure out where the baby came from. Spotty had her litter a couple days ago, no babies since, and her cage has 1/4" mesh so a baby couldn't have gotten out. Thumper has no fur pulled and isn't nesting yet. Snowflake was panting a bit, but no nesting. The kids said they found Luna under Snowflake's cage, so I put the baby in her nest box hoping she'd accept it and pull some fur. A while later, the kids reported that Snowflake has not taken an interest and baby was getting cold. So we warmed it back up and ended up adding it in with the youngest colony litter. They're already growing fur, but it's the only option I had.
While in the colony building, the kids found our big buck had died. Kin hadn't been well lately. He started losing patches of fur and he wasn't eating as well as he used to. I figured maybe the ladies were picking on him. Tomorrow I plan on cleaning out the entire building and bringing in fresh bedding. Better safe than sorry. I had been considering replacing him since watching him chase babies in the last two litters. I guess now I don't have a choice.
My replacement options are fairly limited. Today I sat down with #3 and consulted her on her thoughts on a new buck. Together we looked at each of our bucks, their genetics and colors, and ruled out using any of our adult bucks. Now we are considering keeping back one of our buck babies. Will it be Skittles, who is absolutely adorable, but comes from a diverse genetic background? Or Peter Parker, who'd be breeding back to his mom and aunts, but would throw a lot more long haired babies? Right now I'm leaning more towards Skittles, just for the color diversity he'd being in. It would also mean having another crack at Bennett's genetics. I do miss Bennett. He was an awesome breeding buck. Still kind of kicking myself for selling him. I only have one of his grand-daughters and one of his grandsons left (Skittles' parents).
And to kick the whole day into another level of disappointment and sadness, this evening Hermione was struggling to breathe. I know she'd had a goopy eye yesterday and the day before, but this came on suddenly. She passed away late tonight just before I typed this up. She was just hours short of being three weeks old. Now it's just Harry left, and one of his eyes is a little wet. I'm worried. But our vet won't see babies until they're six weeks old. So we have to get Harry through three more weeks before we could even hope to get him real medical help if he gets sick. We're going to watch him closely and hope for the best. We're madly in love with him.
We did have one bit of happiness today. We found Matt, the missing duck. She's built a nest just off the side of the yard in a nice well hidden area. She's sitting on 8-9 eggs (according to my husband who braved to bother her with a flashlight in hand tonight). I don't want to destroy her nest, and I'm not willing to set up the incubator and brooder again, especially this late in the season. I was worried if we moved her, she may abandon the nest. So I took the wire top from a cage and gently set it over her tonight. It doesn't sit even on the ground, it won't stop predators from coming, but it may slow them down, or at least give her that much more time to wake up if she's sleeping. We will have to take it back off in the morning and put it back on at night. I don't even know if she's going to be able to hatch out and raise ducklings now. It may be getting cold by the time they hatch. Let's see, if she went missing yesterday, we can start our egg incubation count from there. That means eggs may be due to hatch around September 24th. That's a really late hatch considering how slowly ducks feather out. I don't see this working out. I have to give her big credit for building such an awesome nest and hiding it so well. I hate to just shoo her off it and take the eggs away. This may need further thought. I may end up just taking her eggs and sending her back to the barn. For her own safety and so we don't get our hopes up for babies that either never come, or die soon after.
I continue to have allergy and sinus issues. I wonder what's blooming right now that's setting my allergies off so bad. It's not just me either, because #1 and #2 are also suffering from the sniffles.