Monday, January 16, 2017

Lagomorphologist Not Needed

Today I decided to let two of our black New Zealand rabbits, Betty and Barbie, out of their cages to play on the floor while I did some work in the barn. I thought it would be nice for the bunnies to get out and play with each other and maybe bat a ping pong ball around. So I picked everything up off the floor, moved the extension cord for the heat lamps out of reach and made a barricade to contain them in the 10' x 10' area where the rabbit hutch is. Yup, looks like this will work just fine.

I got Barbie out of her cage, held and pet her for a couple minutes and set her down on the floor. She seemed to really enjoy the extra space as she calmly hopped around checking everything out. Yup, looks like this will work just fine.

Not being sure if the two had ever been together before, I got Betty out of her cage and held her for a few minutes so she could see Barbie was on the floor. When Barbie hopped to the other side of the area, I placed Betty on the floor. The two looked at each other for a few seconds and continued investigating the area. Yup, looks like this will work just fine.

Seeing that everything was going smoothly, I stepped over the barricade and was about to start working again. Wow, this is going really well. Then they hopped over and began touching noses, checking each other out. I thought that was pretty cute, so I got my phone out to take a picture for Nancy. I looked down for maybe 5 seconds to unlock my phone and turn the camera on. When I looked back up, boy was I surprised!

Barbie suddenly lay flat down on the floor right in front of me. Then it happened. I mean from the time I stepped out, to well, this, it was maybe a minute. Thing were going so well, but then this. I quickly realized, as sweet as she is, Betty isn't a "Betty", she's a "Barney"! And proud of it!

I was so astonished, since I thought they were both girls this whole time, I forgot to take a picture. As I was regaining my composure and futzing with my phone, a flood of of scenarios began running through my head about what 32 days from now might look like. Then they start doing it again!. Bam! This time I am ready. I start rolling video. Barbie is flat as a pancake on her belly, and Betty/Barney is climbing on to give it a second try. Then a third try! Jeepers man! Suddenly I realized the scenarios playing in my head may all come true if I don't do something right now!

I put down my phone and picked up Betty/Barney - whatever - to take a look at, you know, him. Yup, looks like Betty/Barney is a little lumberjack. After I put him back in his cage, I picked up Barbie to check her out. In a side-by-side, I have to say Barbie is in fact a girl, and Betty/Barney is actually a Barney. Just to be sure, I took Bucky out of his cage to checked him out. Crap! Bucky looks just like Barney. One good and maybe telling thing is there was no "blue dress" stain on Barbie. Would there be? Who knows. I should probably just plan on getting a few more cages, sooner than later, because you don't have to be a Lagomorphologist to figure out what just happened.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Chickens Ordered

I ordered baby chickens today from McMurray Hatchery! Since I prefer to eat fresh eggs, fresh broasted chicken, and salted chicken with mayo sandwiches, I ordered 6 Buff Rock hens, 6 Barred Rock hens, and 15 mixed Rhode Island Reds. That will give me 18 freezer chickens and 9 layers. Oh, and Bonus! I got a "free rare exotic chick", for free! Um, I hope they mean "chick-en". Must be. I mean it was free, right? I told my son Tim about it. He asked, "Do you just get her for the day, or what?"

After spending quite a bit of time going to YouTube "U", I think I'm ready. I just ordered a "kill cone". Wow, that's something I never thought I would say, or even know what it was. Life is somehow becoming less sterile that it always seemed to be, in a new way. Yup, this is good. Soon enough, I will experience a different kind of reality, at arms length.

New Zealand Rabbits

December 30, 2016

In the quest of finding something new and different to do, I decided to walk a less risky path, to do something more antitheses of my last 30 years, something very basic. Since I have never walked in the shoes of a farmer or rancher, I thought it might be worth experiencing at least a tiny piece of what I think is an underappreciated life and career. Farmers and ranchers feed the entire world. What would do without them? I'm thinking many would go hungry!

So after a lot of research, Nancy and I drove about an hour to go look at some black New Zealand rabbits for breeding stock. When we arrived, we looked around the large farm and saw hundreds of rabbits, including black, white, and red New Zealand, California, Silk, and a few others. The rabbits looked like they have been well cared for, and the three black New Zealand rabbits the seller offered were perfect for what I want to do.

Having prepared the 6-cage hutch in our barn ahead of time, the rabbits were able to move right in when we got back home. I am very excited and looking ahead to the coming Spring, actually March 15 and 29, when I will breed the two does. Around April 15 and 30 we should have two bunny batches out of the ovens.