My hands hurt. My back hurts. My legs hurt. Yesterday was clean out day. It has been in the minus -6 to -10 with a wind chill every day this week. Everything is frozen.
I started with the chickens. I had to literally shove them out the door as they screamed at me not to.
I scraped as much as I could out, then threw in some clean shavings. Then off to the rabbits.
I have this hoe that I use. It it very short and you can screw a longer handle into it. After digging out the frozen shavings in the floor pens, I moved to the cages. I love the slide out pans. Just take them out and dump them. Usually. But not this time. I scraped and banged and scraped some more. I don't know how other people clean their cages, but I don't know what I'd do without that hoe.
Then I went out to my parents where my chicks are. 19 birds in close quarters with very little outdoor time. Again, the shavings on the bottom were frozen solid. It took me almost and hour and a half using a snow shovel and a lawn edger.
I cannot wait for all this snow to disappear so I can start my barn. And I will be employing a poop board and sand instead of shavings. I want to get my birds home so they can get the attention they need.
Breeding animals is hard. Rabbits don't breed "like rabbits." They don't want to be bred at all this time of year. I've tried all the tricks. Adding apple cider vinegar to their water, giving black oil sunflower seeds, switching the buck and doe in their cages, taking them for a drive. The only thing I haven't done is give them longer days with lights. But all I have is a LED solar light. That does't give much light. I've got to get these animals bred. Amelia is so upset by the thoughts that she actually jumps clear out of Chester's cage. I believe Georgia is pregnant, but only time will tell with her...
The chicks are growing so fast! They're eating me out of house and home. A 50lb bag of feed lasts about 1 1/2 weeks. I've started asking the folks at work if they have any old food they want to get rid of. I don't think I have very good breeding stock for my Marans, but if they lay darker eggs than the ones they came out of, that'd be fine with me.
So here I am waiting for my rabbit to give birth. She's due tomorrow, I palpated her at about 10 days and thought she was positive. I saw at least 3 successful fall offs. Lately, I've felt nothing. A few weeks back she wanted to be bred, that was my first clue. Second clue was that her attitude didn't change, she's normally very grumpy when bred. So I put her in with Chester, just to see what would happen. One successful fall off. I'm pretty sure the first pregnancy was a dud. I don't think she'll be having any babies tomorrow. She'll guess all I can do is hope for the best. I need to get all 3 of my does bred within the few days so there will be babies for the 4H'rs.
On another note, I've got 2 hens that are now laying again! Just waiting on the last one...
July 20: This rabbit has still not produced any litters. I've treated her with PenG, incase she has hidden vent disease (syphillis). I'm going to wait until August and then try breeding her again.
Update: After a year of trying and still no babies, she's now living in a pet home with her half sister and two other rabbits. She is best friends with a Flemish Giant!