Of the dozen bunnies in the three colony litters, we decided to keep one back as a future breeding project. Of the eleven remaining bunnies, nine have people who have spoken for them and have scheduled meetings to pick them up. That just leaves two... Both are black bucks. I think this may be the first time I've been this close to selling out an entire litter before they're even ready to leave! I'm hoping nobody backs out, but realistically, it's another two weeks before they can go, and that's a lot of waiting.
The saint bernard puppy that we put a deposit on died. I guess they were puppy piling and ours was at the bottom of the pile and suffocated. My heart is broken, but my husband has decided to take the last remaining female in the litter instead (the people who put a deposit on her backed out). It's his father's day gift, so I have no say in it. I wasn't fond of that one, but again, this will be his dog, not mine.
Yesterday evening when I went to refill food and water for the brooder, I found a chick laying on its back. I thought it was dead, but it moved when I picked it up. It was plucked clean from the shoulders to the tail except for wing feathers. I sprayed it down with BluKote and put it in the other side of the brooder with the more mellow chicks and the ducklings. It just laid there under the light. Some of the chicks would come and pick at it, and it made no effort to move. The big duckling started pulling on the wing feathers and I decided the bird deserved a dignified death. I put it in a little box with some bedding, got a small waterer and put some feed in the box, and brought the box up to the living room. Yes... I know... I brought a chicken into the house. It was going to die anyway, I didn't want to always wonder if it was pecked to death or if I did enough to help it. So in the box in the living room the chick was left. I checked again before bed and it was laying down with beak near the water. This morning the kids checked in and were surprised to find it standing there, pecking at the food we'd left for it. It was still lethargic, made no effort to really move around, but was eating and drinking (and pooping). I took some photos to share with the identification group I'm in. Turns out she's a girl, and before she looked like a bald eagle, she was properly feathered to be a Columbian Wyandotte chicken.
In the meantime, Peter Pecker (the mean gosling) is in the kennel of shame until further notice. I posted an ad to try to sell him, but it seems my description is gathering more laughs than actual interest. Yes, his name is Peter Pecker - because he's a dick and he pecks the other birds. Yes, he's in the kennel of shame. He's a naughty bird. I look forward to the day he does outside and joins the flock - and Josh cleans his clock and sets him straight on his behavior. Because clearly his siblings and the chicks are not standing up to him. He was causing mini stampedes through the brooder when he would go all T-Rex on a bird and it would scream and everyone would run. It seriously was starting to look like a feathered scene from Jurassic Park... He'd stalk his prey, or start a stampede so he could select a victim amid the chaos. He's a real jerk. I love my birds, but this guy is earning his place in the oven as Christmas dinner... if I don't sell him first or he doesn't meet an unfortunate end when Josh won't tolerate him harassing the other birds... or my husband has had enough and throws him out before it's warm enough. Poor Peter Pecker is facing a rough future. He's $10 if anyone wants him.
Tomorrow is the day we are supposed to put the eggs in the second incubator, stop turning them, and increase humidity, so the babies can orient in the egg to the proper position to hatch. One minor glitch though... I went to set up the new still-air incubator yesterday. I hate it. The temperature gauge on it is clearly not set properly as it wasn't reading the temp right in the house. It came with another thermometer, which looked wonky and had uneven intervals - and that one didn't match up to the house temp or the thermometer on the incubator. So I pulled the one out of the good incubator that we've been using to make sure the temps match up. In picking it up, I must have bumped it in just the wrong way because now the glass part with the red indicator isn't secured to the back with the numbers, so depending how I put it back in, it shows a ten degree variance. I put it in anyway... So once the incubator was fired up and running... I had three thermometers and all of them were reading different temperatures. Which make me question the humidity gauge. I didn't like it, I didn't trust it, so I asked Tony to make an emergency stop today before work to return the still air and spend the extra to buy the better one that we are currently using to incubate (a second one to be our hatching incubator). He couldn't find the receipt for the still air incubatore, so he didn't return it, but he called on break to say he's got the new one in the car. I'll have to set it up tonight so it's ready for eggs tomorrow.
As for winter sowing progress, we now have sprouts in Jumbo Pink Banana Squash, Galeux D' Eysines pumpkin, Yellow Monster Pepper, Connecticut Field Pumpkin, Japanese Black Pumpkin, Jimmy Nardello pepper, Rezha Macedonian Pepper, King of the North Pepper, and Clemson Spineless Okra.
I'm hoping some of the less cold tolerant sprouts survive the next several days. We're supposed to dip below freezing again tonight.
Today I collected five eggs. To a seasoned farmer, or someone with a nice flock of chickens or ducks, this might seem unimpressive. But to me, it's a very special number right now. We only have five female birds... This means that every hen laid an egg today... Even dear Matt who has us questioning her gender with her very sporadic egg production (this is her third egg).
Today I had to bring the five fruit trees back in the house again to prevent them from freezing. They're in buckets so they can be moved from the entryway (where all our other plants are awaiting warm weather to be planted outside), to outdoors to save space. I think it's futile anyway because I'm fairly certain we bought five dead fruit trees... No growth at all... And despite having "Guaranteed to grow" right on the package, the website of the company has no information at all, and of course since we bought these months ago, no receipt either. Disappointing. And expensive.