On a beautiful spring day this week, Mel carried him outside to his favorite spot and for hours he scratched a fallen tree limb and enjoyed the sun on his body. We knew it was coming. This was his last rally. For days he had neither drank or eaten. The odor of death bombarded my sinuses when I was near. Isn't it a strange ability to have? Being able to smell death approaching? But it is a sense I've had since childhood. Later that evening, he died.
The second death was Kieran, my meat rabbit buck. This was totally unexpected. You might remember Kieran got out of his cage a couple weeks ago and was sowing his wild oats with the local rabbit population. A sweeter dispositioned rabbit as I could ever ask for. He was a fantastic sire for our meat rabbit needs. I walked into the greenhouse and found him. I was doing my morning chores which included watering the seedlings. It looked like he had suffered a shoulder injury. But he returned home to die. The greenhouse entrance is in front of Colleen's cage. It looks like the local pet store has closed so we are currently out of the meat rabbit mode. I may buy more, but not immediately. I've had Kieran for three years and he was my boy. I usually tend not to be too sentimental about meat stock, but this death stung.
This blog started out really morbid. Now onto other things with a more brighter outlook. The chicks, although they've gotten so big that they don't resemble the tiny puff balls they were, are doing well free ranging on their own on the property. They still are scared of us, but I have found that if I sit still they will come within hand reach of me. All twelve have survived! Yippee! I had expected to loose a few. They are now flying, eating, scratching, fighting, and getting into my garden like regular chickens. We do have two roosters each of Buffs and RIRs.
The new carport rabbitry/chicken house will be delivered on the 25th. Then the building of the run and dual coop begins. The chicks will hate being cooped up. They have taken to roosting on the porch rail at night. So they'll be fairly easy to relocate once it's complete. We've been so busy with dismantling the old coop, spring cleaning, and the garden...we forget to bring the camera along until well into the projects at hand. Bad us. We'll have to do better.
Our four remaining New Hampshire Red hens will continue to free range. They've taken to roosting in different spots at night. Each one in a separate spot instead of as a flock. Without a rooster to corral them, they've taken to doing their own thing. They won't associate with the chicks other than to pick on them. One hen we've named Brat. She picks and mounts all the others. She is copying Cuddles' old habits as lead hen now that Cuddles is gone. Brat is taking on rooster characteristics now too with a larger comb and wattle. I'm expecting to see tail feathers any day now. This isn't as strange as it sounds. It happens in roosterless flocks. The only problem is this hen is not the protector and provider for her flock. She is a greedy bully. She chases everyone away from the food. She attacks the other hens at will. She may be destined for the canner if she continues.
All the other animals on the homestead are faring well. With the warmer temperatures the bugs have returned in abundance. Several butterflies, moths, and bees are busy pollinating our plants. As soon as the carport/rabbitry/chicken house are done other destruction/construction begins. The new driveway goes in. The electrician rewires/restructures the panel box for the house with dedicated circuits for the barn, rabbitry/carport, and the rabbitry/storage. The plumber comes in to work on the well water pipes. A long list of need to do comes into play. One step at a time.
Until next week...
Y'all have a blessed day!