Surprise!

She thought she was losing her mind. 

You may recall that several weeks ago, the rabbits were a bit on the escapey side. That’s important to remember. 

Last night while I was at work, the girlfriend was counting the bunnies from the window. All present and accounted for. Plus an extra. What.

Sure she was seeing things, she went down and investigated the blue shelter she had seen it hop into. She had noticed it was full of straw a week ago and assumed I’d done it. 

Try to remember that all our bunnies are white. The girls have brown ears and noses. That looks… grey… 

Yeah, that’s grey. Seems the girl who was out in the woods longest had a one night stand and brought back a souvenir!

Any worries we had about the rabbits raising babies on their own are gone. They raised these two for at least a week without us even knowing! Their eyes are open.

Now for the big question. Who’s the daddy? Or rather, what’s the daddy? If this was a wild rabbit, then these two kits are like mules. Strong, but sterile. If he was a feral domestic rabbit, then we now have a new color option and wider gene pool. 

The only thing I can think to do is contact our agricultural extension office and ask if they can determine species. Any other ideas? 

In the meantime, two extra bunnies! And we’ve sold five already. May or may not sell more. Might process the ones we have left. We shall see!

What a lovely skirt…

So, rats found out they could dig und r the coop. My bad. I had hardware cloth under it, but it seems that during the building process, it got into a position of poor contact and the little monsters can slip right past it. 

So, skirt it is. The first step is to dig a shallow trench that slopes away from the coop. Some will tell you to bury the wire one foot down. These people have no real experience with rodents. Rats are smart. They’ll just keep going down. But if the barrier goes down and out, it’s very confusing. To figure out that they need to move away from the barrier before digging requires abstract thinking that is ever so slightly past the average rat. 

So you dig your trench and set the hardware cloth in it. It should contact the wood of the coop enough for staples, but extend about a foot down and away. The more the better. 

Staple it into position and start to bury it. It’s ok if it’s not perfectly flush to the ground, but it should be flush to the coop. 

When you’re burying it, periodically give it a shake or step on it to ensure good soil contact, but also to make sure it doesn’t bend and create gaps where a rodent could slip through. Be sure to overlap at the corners!

When you’re all done, the wire should be barely visible, and just where it connects to the wood. 

I did this about a week and a half ago and there has been no indication that the rats have figured it out. In the meantime, we are setting traps to try to encourage them to vacate the premises. 

We tried a live trap and caught one, but since then they seem to have figured it out. Either that or most of them are too small to trip it. As such, I bought modern snap traps that are supposed to work well. Two sizes, one for rats and one for mice. I know where the little ones come out so I’ll set the small ones there and the big one near the coop. 

To avoid any bird or cat accidents, I got a few milk crates. Turned upside down, they’ll keep larger animals out but let the rodents in. I set the traps next to known burrow entrances with the crates covering the whole thing. 

Disclaimer. I like rodents. They’re smart and make wonderful pets. But when they’re under the house and in the coop, they gotta go. The Snap E Mouse Trap, under an upturned milk crate is incredibly effective. I set three traps about three hours ago. I’ve caught eight so far. 

I think the crate makes them feel more secure taking the bait. Anyway, it’s important to check the traps frequently, as they’ll learn to avoid them if they see their comrades dead in them. 

I don’t like killing, but these are fast, humane, and very effective. 

Watching my corn pop up in rows. 

The corn, wheat, and sunflowers are doing quite nicely. I’ll probably remove the bird netting this weekend. 

While the corn is partly for us (popcorn) and partly for chicken food, the wheat is mainly for the birds. 

The sunflowers, well this batch anyway, will be a bit of an experiment. We should be able to make our own sunflower oil, but it’ll also be good for the birds. 

We also have some other sunflowers, I just need to clear a place to plant them. Those are mainly for snacking and decoration. 

But in other news, Vasi definitely did her duty last night. The two older turkey poults are roughly seven weeks old (judging by the bird pattern baldness) and have been spending a few days and nights outside. Last night got chilly and they decided to sleep on the coop floor instead of a roost. Unfortunately, that meant that when a rat got in looking for chicken food, it found vulnerable birds. 

Vasi went ballistic and while she couldn’t get to them, she did alert Lady McFarmFace so fast that the rat wasn’t able to do too much damage. We think the turkey will pull through. In the meantime, I’ve got some work to do figuring out how to keep rodents out, and we have to make sure they don’t sleep on the ground again. They’re back inside until the bird heals up. 

Good dog!

They look so much bigger in the wild…

So first off, I am so sorry I didn’t get a picture. Scratch that, I’m mad I didn’t get a picture. 

About a mile and a half from home, I see something on the side of the road. I always watch for shapes and movement because deer can be pretty active here. But this was like a big shadow. 

So naturally I slowed down to be sure. And that’s when the black bear turned to look at my car. 

I think my exact words were “holy sh*t that’s a f***ing bear!” I came to a complete stop and tried to get my phone out to take a picture but it sauntered across the road and into the bushes. 

I’d like to repeat that this was less than a mile and a half from home. I’d have to guess this thing was 350-400 pounds. I’ve seen them in zoos before, but that was impressive.