Friday, April 4, 2014

.... And Then There Was Summer

So, as per usual in middle Tennessee, we go from frigid blizzards to searing heat – well, if you consider 80 degrees searing. The sun is so much more intense when you get a warm spell in early spring before the trees leaf out. We haven’t had time to adapt!

Neither have the rabbits. I've been keeping a close eye on them, during this summer spell. Lucky it has also been dry and breezy. They really haven’t appeared to be too stressed by it. They were stretched out but otherwise seemed alright. It feels like it’s going to get warmer today than yesterday, so I went ahead and put frozen water bottles in their cages.

Coy shunned her water bottle

Turn has the right idea

I’m having concerns about the site of their shed. It will be in full sun during the heat of the day throughout the summer. But it really was the only practical location, considering the direction it needed to face. The backyard probably would have been better (shadier), but I just do NOT trust the dogs where the rabbits are concerned. Well, really just TWO of the dogs. But they are the two that stay in the backyard. The front of the shed should be in shade the whole day, so hopefully that will help. And I’m going to train the grape to grow over it, so that should help as well. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get very many litters in before the heat sets in, especially if COY isn't already pregnant.

Speaking of whom, I am going to test breed her on Friday, as long as it isn’t too warm again. I’m pretty sure the rain is supposed to move in sometime in the next couple of days. That should cool things down.
And, finally the Baytril seems to be kicking in, as this is the first time she has been symptom-free. The other two have also continued to have clean noses, so I think we are finally out of the woods. Big relief.

After several days of little green treats throughout the day, I picked them all a big salad this morning: new grass, white clover, cleavers, violets, chickweed, dock, blackberry and honeysuckle. I didn’t gather it as early as I wanted, since little buddy got fussy and needed a nap. So unfortunately most of it wilted before they ate it all, and the rising heat sapped their appetite. They still enjoyed it though!

The heat doesn’t seem to bother the young buck nearly as much. He cleaned up his little mountain of greens and begged for more!

Now that the rabbits are in good shape, I need to turn my attention to the chickens. Normally we don’t have any health issues with them whatsoever, but they all appear to have scaly leg mites. They apparently get infestations from filthy conditions and wild birds. Sadly the cleanliness of their roosting house has suffered over the winter, with the addition of our boy. And the wild birds are always coming in and sharing their food pan, so I’m sure that combination is what did it.

So one of these mornings I’m going to have to catch each chicken, scrub their legs down, and slather them with Vaseline. At least that’s what the books say. I’m sure there are some essential oil treatments I could use, but I’ll go with the cheaper option at this point. At least we only have four.

I’m not one to get squeamish when it comes to animal ailments, but something about this condition really gives me the heebie-jeebies. Just looking at them makes my skin crawl and itch like crazy. [shudder]

Ian has, not surprisingly, shown a remarkable affinity for the outdoors. He is content for hours to be outside, sticking his feet in the grass or watching the chickens scratch and the dogs play. At least when he isn’t tired, but then I guess most babies are like that.

Despite worries about the rabbits, this warm spell has been a blessing for all of us!

Diapers drying in the spring sunshine

 Every spring the flowers bloom, the trees leaf out, and the migrating birds start to arrive. And yet it is always a miracle and a joy we never tire of.

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