Clearly the title gives it away, we've added a few new faces this year. It seems like forever since I've been able to sit down and actually finish a blog but here is an attempt that is way past due.
Let me start by introducing some new babies! I have searched and searched this entire year for a very specific rabbit. ENGLISH LOPS!!! Now let me tell you about these guys for a second. They are the most docile, tender hearted rabbits you could find. They're considered a fancy breed, but occasionally used for meat (Not my intentions at all). Jason took some convincing on these guys but he finally caved after the first arrived at the farm. We started by getting Thumper, he is a very sweet and young Broken Chinchilla Buck. He comes up to you every feeding, pulls on your sleeves and just wants held the entire time. He's such a charmer. After thinking about it for a little while, we decided to get into the Lops, alongside the Lionheads. They differ slightly in the fact that there is practically zero grooming involved, but they do come with their own difficulties. They will eat you out of house and home.
The English Lop originated in England (Duh!) and started as a fancy breed. It was bred to create a rabbit that was docile and also able to grow larger ears. Just for example, from tip to tip, Thumpers measure 25". They're ginormous!!! Now for the crazy parts. Their ears are the main way they regulate their temperature. They use the veins running inside of them to either cool off or warm up. If they are out playing in the rain or snow, they could easily freeze their ears. This ends up being considerably dangerous for them, even deadly. Mine are housed safely inside a draft free, heat lamp infused shed for the winter. Summer, they'll be ventilated to keep fresh air circulating. Over the summer we are able to bring them out in the yard and they will literally stay right with you throughout the yard. They have a tendency to want to be close to companions. Like I said before they are such a sweet and docile animal. Perfect for parents wanting a pet for their children. Easy to care for, low grooming needs and heavy enough that the child wont be able to pick them up. The only down side (only when you have ten and counting) is they consume quite the large amount of food. So naturally we added a couple more.
I came across Peter Cottontail. He's a little older than Thumper and much more mature. He really isn't into playing much, unless he's in the yard and decides to do some jumping. He's still quite sweet, and minds his own business and enjoys spending his days tucked away in his cage. He is such a handsome boy and I cannot wait to breed him with our female. Speaking of female, let's introduce her!
This is Blossom, (Thumper and Blossom, get it?) and she is such the little ham. Every single time you open her cage she dances. I'm not sure if its because she knows she's getting food or happy to see you? She'll let you fill her bowl, then instantly grabs the food scoop, places her face inside of it and growls. Such a funny little girl! She'll be about 7 months this month so she isn't close to breeding age but when she is, I cannot wait to see what she'll produce. Until then she is the perfect addition to the rabbitry!
These guys need large cages, so of course being the sucker for taking care of the babies I had to get to work. I though long and hard about how to go about this. I could build some, I could buy some or I could even give them outside runs. I happened to be in Tractor Supply (natural habitat at this point) and stumbled upon some stackable cages. I had these as a kid and eventually wanted to upgrade to these at some point. They stack on top of each other and have individual pans underneath them. This is perfect for when you have multiple cages to clean and very little time to do it. So easy to throw in the compost bin, or if you're me, you just toss them into the flower beds over the fall and winter and let it decompose during the seasons. Quick and easy!
These cages can begin to get very pricey but, I saved up some money and it was the obvious choice for me to be able to save space and keep everyone happy. The E-Lops get larger sizes (36"x36") and the Lionheads, being a dwarf breed get a smaller size (24"x24"). With kindling does (pregnant females) I like to give them larger cages to make room for growing babies and to keep mom stress-free during the grow out stages.
With all of that being said I can touch base on the other animals! The chickens... Oh for gods sakes the CHICKENS! They are the queens of the yard. We put up a portable fence to be able to expand their run. This was a slight failure. 3 of our girls are constantly jumping it and wreaking havoc on the flower beds and terrorizing the neighbors dogs. Thank goodness the neighbors don't mind, we just apologize with a dozen eggs a week. We are getting roughly 18 eggs a day. The sad thing is, I don't even like eggs. It did come in handy though when doing some Christmas baking.
Now let me tell you the reason I'm not allowed to go to Tractor Supply alone anymore.
I came home with some new critters. I have an obsession with ducks and geese. Always have loved them and had them as a teenage. I just think they're so graceful and beautiful when they're floating on ponds and lakes. With that, I'm now the proud owner of 6 Ducks! I got Khaki Campbells, they're a hardy duck able to withstand our cold Ohio winters and hot summers. They also will start laying at around 6 months and continue to lay roughly 300 eggs a year. I lucked out and got 3 pairs. How was I suppose to know that I would have the perfect pairing of males to females when I picked them out of that warm horse trough. I cannot wait for them to grow up and possibly start setting on eggs this Spring!
I think that's about all I have for animal updates. The other part of my life is far too chaotic to update you on. And I don't think the internet has a large enough bandwidth to tell you everything. If anyone has any questions or wants to reach out me personally please don't hesitate to email me (It's much faster that way). firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, keep on farmin'
Michael, The Little Happy Farm