Our First Egg!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The 10 Kits are Here! with pictures....

winchester and pumpkin have a litter of 10 kits! Winchester has 3 legs, Pumpkin has one. Both have good bodies and wool. Both are very dense. More pics of kits & progress notes on the page "Pumpkin & Winchester's First litter" >>>>

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New Chicks ** Coming Soon!

So, this year I said I would never get more chicks, only feathered-out pullets. Then, I found a breed that I could only get in chick-form.

Background: We have a coop that isn't working for us in the side yard, was used only temporarily while building big coop/run. It is a "mobile" chicken tractor type coop. We have been trying to sell it to someone who has a big enough yard to accommodate moving it with the large footprint (8x5 ft). We have too many gates.

I can't stand parting with it for 200.00, as we paid twice that. But, no takers on CL. It has a rather small upper deck nesting/coop area that is super easy to clean out, but...not too roomy for roosting.

Thus: we decided to get bantam hens & roo. Now, the lady at the feed store was kinda....skeptical ....about the ability of a bantam to fill a fridge with eggs. However, we are taking a stab at it. They lay from 4-5 eggs/week per hen, that are 1/2-2/3 the size of "normal" eggs. "Normal" eggs have a big variation in size, depending on breed and age of hens.

The Chicken Math: But, you can fit more bantams into tight spaces. They are good for backyard & urban settings, and have a tender meat that is larger than a quail when through laying. We figure at 4 ft/bird outdoor space....we can fit 10 of them into our little coop. IF they were all hens, laying 4-5 eggs/week, that are 1/2 the size of normal eggs, then our little hens would lay the equivalent of 20-25 "normal" eggs per week. That's a lot of eggs!
Dark Brahma Bantam roo, hen

Gold Laced Cochin Bantam, hen

Gold Laced Cochin Bantam, roo

Partridge Cochin Bantam, hen

Partridge Cochin Bantam, roo
We can also potentially sell chicks for show/pet/livestock. We ordered some pretty boutique-ish hens, with flashy feathers ^^^ . The Dark Brahma Bantams are not as broody as the Cochins/Pekins, and the Cochins will brood all eggs for us & raise chicks.

Modifications: Our little coop will require a larger roost/coop part, which we will build onto the back, as well as needing one side roofed in, and a large box/raised bed garden on the bottom. That a way, we can do the deep-litter method that is working so well for us in the larger coop.

And I have to brood the damn chicks. Grrrr.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

West Coast Classic show results!

We attended the HUGE West Coast Classic show this weekend. And, I swear I will never do all three days again. Whew! It was exhausting for people AND rabbits. I think in the future one day is enough. I suffer from crowd exhaustion myself, and get pretty snippy at times.  The rabbits were all pretty crabby and stressed on day three.

In terms of goods and booths, it was fun to see the angora booth, with yarn and angora spinners (kicking myself for not getting a photo). Picked up two great books about spinning and caring for Angoras (future post). Evan also bought polymer clay french angoras, and a cage. We are thinking of making these ourselves. We picked up some awesome handmade felted soaps and felted bunnies from Black Diamond Rabbitry. We got to hand out our new business cards.

We sold our sweet bunny, Oyster, to Kelly and Christine from Southern California. We sold Coal and Cinder to Elodie, an amazing mom, spinner, and farmer from the Sacramento area. Sad to see them go, but to great homes! We now are lacking in rabbits to sell...thus...upcoming breeding.

We registered Winchester and Pumpkin with ARBA. Winchester won his third leg, this time as a senior, and he will be a Grand Champion now! Hot Cocoa got two legs, and did well competing against adult long-time breeders in the Angora Specialty Open (consistently came in second). We were surprised by Hot Cocoa, as she has consistently been judged second or third to her litter mates at previous shows. Oyster won his first leg for his new owners! And Baked Potato won first place, almost got a leg, but lost out to dad, Winchester. Both Winchester and Hot Cocoa were purchased from Black Diamond Rabbitry. Oyster and Baked Potato are our rabbits, bred from their stock.

Baked Potato and Black Diamond's Spook being judged

Hot Cocoa and Black Diamond's Heather being judged on shoulder width
Pumpkin (with a very short wool coat) being judged. She is not "in coat" yet.

We mainly lost some points due to the softness of our baby coats on our juniors, although it cannot be said that we did poorly at these shows by any means. Our juniors are not yet balanced out with lots of guard hairs, and some have very few to no guard hairs. I don't find this to be a problem, Winchester has always been cottony, and will soon blow his first coat and start to grow "real" wool, which will be exciting to see. His kits still have two months left competing as juniors to balance out more. Since Winchester is already a Grand Champion, I don't think their future is dim by any means. They take time to grow into real true adult wool coats. The dam of our juniors is well balanced with plenty of guard hairs. Pumpkin, who is just about a year old, is just starting to grow in her first ever adult coat. It just takes awhile. I am excited to see how the remaining juniors grow!
Oyster's show comment card went home with his new Mamas. Baked Potato's not pictured yet.