24 Carrot Rabbitry

City-fied Self-Sufficiency

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Archive for July, 2012

Warning: Sporadic Posting Ahead

I’m sure pretty much everybody has moved at least once, so the craziness associated with it should be well understood!

Our moving day should be sometime in the next 2 – 3 weeks.  As you know, the actual moving day occurs in the middle of the move as a whole event.  Before moving day, there’s the packing, readying the new home, packing, getting permits, meeting contractors, packing, cleaning, contacting utilities, and packing.  After moving day, that’s a whole ‘nother level of craziness as you UNpack (and realize that somehow, even though you have all your boxes, you’ve lost half of your stuff!).

Then there’s the fact that I haven’t learned what sort of internet access there is out there.  I think there’s no broadband… at least, that’s what I heard a lady at permitting tell someone else.  When it was my turn, the poor gentleman who was helping me with my permits was having such a time spelling our name correctly (it’s Amish and a bit unique), that I forgot to ask specifically about internet access.

So anyhow, please bear with me as my posting will probably be a bit irregular for the next month or so.  Not that it’s ever been really regular, but I’ve been getting better.  :)

I will try very hard to keep y’all up on all the exciting things going on at our new little homestead!  My next post, which I will start working on as soon as I click the “Publish” button on this one, will fill you in on what has happened so far.

My last post, on hand-feeding baby bunnies, took me a week to complete!  :o  That’s how little we’ve been here lately.

Handfeeding Baby Rabbits

Squeak, one of our does, had trouble producing enough milk for one of her litters.  She hadn’t had any trouble before, and I don’t know why she had trouble that time, but she did.  My helpful friends at RabbitTalk advised me to give her some rolled oats (old-fashioned plain oatmeal) lightly coated in blackstrap molasses.  Blackstrap contains many nutrients, and can help a doe produce the milk her babies need.

It did indeed help, but she still didn’t produce enough.  So I started looking up recipes for baby bunny formula.

I found several.  The ones I came across first involved using canned evaporated goat’s milk, and then mixing it with water, syrup, and egg.  I found in some forums, however, advice regarding powdered goat’s milk for rabbits — to mix it at double strength.  Baby rabbits drink so very little.  Their mother’s milk is very rich, to give them all the nutrition they need in a very small amount.  There were remarks that the kits raised on the formula with the water grew up looking malnourished, so I figured maybe that was the reason.

Evaporated goat’s milk is already double strength, so I took the formula recipe I had, cut it in half so I wouldn’t have as much waste, and eliminated the water.  This is what I ended up with:

1/2 Cup evaporated goat’s milk
1 egg yolk (kinda hard to cut in half, so…)
1/2 Tablespoon corn syrup

Cow’s milk is not as easily digested as goat’s milk, so that’s why most recipes suggest goat’s milk.

I poured a little into a small bowl, and then microwaved it for 5 seconds at a time, stirring it well with a fork each time I stopped the microwave, until it was really warm — a little too warm for the bunnies, because by the time I’ve stirred it the last time, taken it to the table, and filled an eyedropper, it’s cooled to just about the right temperature.

I fed it to them with an eyedropper, only about half a drop to a whole drop at a time. Handfeeding babies takes a while, but I don't want them to aspirate the formula. The divided upper lip rabbits have makes it especially easy for the formula to travel to the nose. We were always ready with a towel to quickly dry their little noses. They don't make much noise when they get their noses full of formula. They just suddenly start opening their mouths and moving their heads around. Sometimes they'll produce the quietest sneeze you can imagine.

Some of the babies were very receptive right from the start, and very eager to drink the formula. Others took a while to get past the fact that this HARD GLASS THING IS TOUCHING MY LIPS! Once they realized that hard glass thing had yummy food in it, though, they were fine with it.

I fed them about two half-droppers before they zonked out.  They didn’t look as full as they would with a full feeding from Squeak, but I was only trying to supplement her, not replace her.  As they grew, I increased the amount.

Then we discovered that one of Squeak’s ten babies (about 4-5 days old) was missing. After looking as well as we could on the chutes and around in the dark, we called it quits and hoped he had burrowed into a pile of dropped hay we had let grow too large. The next day, we started pulling the hay out slowly, and, sure enough, he was in there, alive and frantic! He was pretty warm, thanks to all the hay and the fact that this litter managed to fur out early. He was hard to hold, he was so desperately searching for food! So we gave him a formula feeding, too.

Hungry, hungry baby bunny sucking on his toes!

"Stop taking pictures and feed me... I'm about to dry up and blow away here!"

ILoveBunnies commented that the formula looks like egg nog. I started thinking… double-strength milk, egg yolk, sugar… it basically IS egg nog!  Guess I’d better hold the nutmeg, though.

One of my more resistant popples, finally won over by the formula.

Look at the little tiny teeth! We had to hold this one's head until he realized he was getting fed.

One of the two babies that did stuff himself on the formula. They both started looking like toads with wide, flat bellies. That's when I learned that you can overfeed them, and it will cause their organs to shut down. The other one died, but I withheld a couple of feedings from this one, and then limited his intake after that.

A couple of them got really messy!

I realized that it wasn't always the same ones that were smallest, and I wanted to keep track of the ones I had started supplementing, to see how they did in comparison. I took some enamel (I can't remember if it was nail polish or some of Shay's train enamel), and marked the backs of the ones I had started out with.

Now they would stand out from their littermates!

The enamel stayed on for a couple of weeks, long enough for me to see that the supplementing ultimately helped them catch up to the others. When butchering day came, they were all almost the same size.

Here’s a video of three of them at three weeks, not long before I stopped supplementing them (it’s at Vimeo, which I’m new to, so hopefully it works).  Enjoy — it is pretty funny:

embedded by Embedded Video

vimeo DirektHand Feeding Baby Bunnies

Here’s a link to the video:  https://vimeo.com/46203530

Random pix…

Here are some pictures I’ve taken, but hadn’t gotten them into posts yet.  So here they are!

The kids alerted me one day to a baby blue jay inside the rabbitry. No idea how he got inside the screen, but he was trying very hard to get out through it. I figured he was probably trying to get to where he was supposed to be.

I picked up the wayward little bird and looked him over for injuries. Then, we looked under the edge of the fig tree, right next to where he was in the rabbitry. Sure enough, there was his brother, patiently waiting for Mom to come back with some munchies. I placed the baby close to his brother, but he was scared and promptly hopped back out. So I caught him and put him under there again, and he stayed.

The Near East crepe myrtle right outside the rabbitry. These are my favorite crepe myrtles, because their blooms are big and loose, rather than tight clusters. The color is light pink.

This is a pitcher and basin inside a 200+ year old house on the grounds of the museum for which we volunteer. This shot was not planned or set up. I walked into the house, and the sun was peeking through the corner of the window and falling on the table, illuminating the pitcher and basin. I pulled out my LG enV3 cellphone and took the picture.

ILoveBunnies, tending the fire in the open hearth, as she helps cook in the mid-1800s detached kitchen at the museum.

A scruffy-looking broken red baby bunny, exploring the patio table.

Bunny-Wan Kenobi holds the one and only broken black we've ever had.

A stained-glass window at a church we visited.

A bird's nest we removed from the screen over the garden.

NOT TO BE SOLD UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES... but it can be yours for 99 cents at a local thrift store!

We are all doing well since the accident.  Thank you all so much for your prayers!  I and my mom had a little soreness, the kids had none at all.  We sold the car to a scrapper, because it didn’t have collision coverage.

Today, we bought a 2000 Mercury Villager Sport.  It has good pick-up, and handles right well.  With room for 7, it should handle the 5 of us plus lots of groceries or whatever.  We really needed a minivan, but hadn’t planned to go about getting one quite this way!


I was looking forward to posting today (actually, it’s after midnight now, so that would be yesterday at this point), because we went and closed on the land today, and paid for it in full!

Then I forgot a very important fact.

I forgot that the most dangerous time to drive is when it has just been lightly raining for a little while, after a long stretch of no rain.  When there’s just enough water to lift all the accumulated oil out of the crevices of the pavement, but not enough to wash it off of the road.

In spite of the fact that I was following at my usual paranoid-grandmother distance, I slid into the back of an SUV.  I looked at my mirrors, looked ahead again, and saw that the SUV ahead had stopped.  I normally would have started slowing down before being that close, but I still had a good bit of room.

I know I still had a good bit of room, because I had time to do a decent bit of stuff.  Once I started slipping, and I realized I wasn’t slowing down quickly enough, I checked my mirrors for the lane beside me.  Then I turned and looked to verify it was clear.  I turned — and kept turning — to pull into the next lane, but the car kept going straight.  I finally realized I wasn’t going to avoid hitting the SUV.

No one, as far as we can tell so far, was hurt.  I’m getting a little sore, which is to be expected, since I had myself good and braced against that steering wheel.

I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven that even in this, He protected us all, including the two in the other vehicle.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve hugged and kissed my kids this evening!

How to get noticed by a giant. ;)

I’ve read select articles and columns on WorldNetDaily for years now.  And for several of those years, I’ve looked forward to the commentary articles by a lady named Patrice Lewis.  I love her writing.  The straight truth in conversational style, the sometimes wry humor, the personal stories.

One day in one of her articles, she let slip that she had a blog, and provided a link to it.  She has a BLOG?!?  I must go visit!!  At that time, it had a different name, I think.  Something about a front porch.  Anyway, I enjoyed the same conversational style and humor there, with more personal stories.  Eventually, she got her own domain, Rural Revolution, of which I have been an avid reader, and sometimes commenter.

Some while after starting my own blog, I spied the question, “Want to exchange links?” on her sidebar.  Well, of course, I’d love to exchange links.  But I’ve just got this little blog, and Rural Revolution, well… it’s HUGE in comparison!  How could I expect the author of such an Awesome and Humongous Blog (with Gazillions of Visitors) to exchange links with my tiny little dirt-floor hut on the internet?

I had visions of standing next to a very friendly but truly tall and intimidating giant, contemplating how to get its attention.  Shall I call out at the top of my lungs?  Hop up and down and wave my hands in the air?

Well…. turns out, all I had to do was ask.  I finally got up the gumption, and I was so nervous as I tapped out the email, I actually forgot to provide a link to my blog!  She emailed me to ask for it!  Hahahaaaa!

Rural Revolution... quite possibly my favorite blog, aside from that of my own beloved Shay.

I do hope you will visit her blog and enjoy it as much as I do!  I have learned so much about various aspects of self-sufficiency from Rural Revolution.  Sometimes, I just click on random tags in the left sidebar to read posts I’ve missed.

And if you’ve come here from Rural Revolution, welcome to my humble blog.  I hope you like it!

I and my family live with my uncle, in the city near the junction of two Interstates, on a 1/2-acre lot in a very ritzy neighborhood (my grandparents bought wisely long ago).  We have struggled with raising vegetables and fruit trees on land that holds water, and with quietly raising meat rabbits in a neighborhood that most likely would not approve.  With my uncle about to get married, we are about to realize our dream of moving back to the country.