Friday, April 30, 2010

Bye baby bunting... Wait! Oh no!

Have you read the lyrics to that lullaby?!? We at Chez Mango are appalled...

Baby bunnies are what it's all about, lately. Morning, noon, and night, it's time to feed the bunnies...Two of them are doing extremely well, two are doing okay, one is doing almost okay, and one isn't doing as well as we'd like. (In any group, there's a scrawny little runt, it seems. Why is that the one we always cheer for?)
As you can see in the photo, they're starting to get a little... um... well, grungy. If there was a Mama Rabbit, she'd be licking them clean. Unfortunately for them, they have a Mama Human who isn't going there. I don't care how cute they are, I'm not going to lick them...
We've been giving them a quick wipe-down with a damp washcloth, and buffing them gently dry, trying not to chill them.
They're still a little ooky.
Between spilled formula (they're messy eaters) and perfectly normal bodily functions, they're going through my kitchen towel collection rather quickly. (After this is all over, I am totally buying new kitchen towels...)
Sometime in the coming week, their eyes will open. Maybe they won't be so messy when they can see what they're doing...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Houston, we have a problem.

In between all the crazy things going on here, including bottlefeeding rabbits (and getting peed on by the ungrateful little wretches sweet little bunnikinses), I've actually been doing some knitting. Yeah, I was surprised, too.
Slight problem.
I was almost done with the ribbing on the cuff of Skew when I decided to try it on.That's as far as she goes, folks. The ribbing will go over my instep, but the leg of the sock won't. The only way I'm going to be able to wear this is if I pull a Cinderella's-Stepsister and chop off a hunk of my foot.
The frogging has already commenced.

And if anyone thinks I'm not entitled to whine about our weather up here, this is what it was doing this afternoon.

My daffodils and tulips are pissed.

Goldie just stands there going "WTF?"

Mother Nature is a right mean bitch.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I was honestly going to do a post about knitting, but the Universe has bitten us on the butt once again...

We were excited because one of our rabbits had her first litter. But before we could even send out birth announcements, she got out of her cage and was killed. (We suspect a dog did the evil deed. A wild predator would have dragged her into the woods. The evidence shows that whatever did it entered and exited by our long driveway, and was comfortable spending time out in the open right next to our house. Don't even get me started on my leash-law rant. We've had trouble with 'visiting' dogs before.)
Madman rescued the babies from the nest box and brought them inside.

Here's three of the six babies -

They're a little bigger than a mouse.

And now we're doing this

at least 3 times a day. (We've since bought smaller syringes - that was the only one we could locate at short notice. )

They're messy eaters, so you have to stop and wipe their faces now and then.

Check out the two on the left side of this picture.

They're actually the same size, but baby rabbits seem to have a lot in common with accordions...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Itty Bitty Chicky

The last chick to hatch is a bit of a runt. The other hatchlings tower over her - the Cornish X chicks are giants compared to her.And she had a problem with poopy-butt. (Anyone who thinks chicken poop falls under the realm of TMI should feel free to skip down to the pictures.) New hatchlings can sometimes get stopped up and are unable to poop. Madman checks them several times a day, watching for signs of the equivalent of a cork in the works. (Never in his wildest dreams did he think he'd grow up to be a chicken butt-wiper...) Needless to say, being unable to poop is a serious risk to their health, especially since chickens don't urinate and defecate separately - it's all combined in one big juicy dropping. (I did warn you about TMI, didn't I?) Unless we can get them unstoppered, so they can poop freely, they'll weaken and eventually die. That first unfettered poop is a hallelujah moment.

So, the poor little runt wasn't doing well. She wasn't showing interest in food or water, and every time she tried to settle down for a nap she was getting trampled into the shavings by her ginormous binmates.I finally felt so sorry for her that I scooped her up and cradled her in my hands, just so she could have a few moments peace, without being booted across the floor.

She cuddled around in my hand, and promptly fell asleep.

She slept for about 5 minutes, then woke up, blinked her eyes a couple of times.
And pooped right in my hand.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aw, to hell with it - I gotta be me...

Since I really like taking pictures of chickens, and since we have a lot of chickens to take pictures of, post 300 is ChixPix. (This is a knitting blog, after all. What's a knitting blog without lots of pictures of chickens?)

The big fat yellow chicks are the Cornish X chicks we bought; the cute little brownish red ones are the ones that we just hatched ourselves.

Notice the size difference. The Cornish chicks are two days older than our chicks, but twice the size. (They're meat birds - they've been bred to grow really really fast. Within a week, their main focus in life will be eating. And eating some more. With some snacking. And then more eating. It's rather frightening to watch...)
I love our little guys - they're not the least bit intimidated by the larger chicks. As far as they're concerned "we're just all chicks together" - they join in whatever fun is happening, without seeming to notice that they're getting knocked ass over teakettle half the time. Whether it's a mass game of "Let's all peck this one little tiny spot on the wall" or "How many other chicks can we step on in order to find the perfect napping spot", our little ones are right in the thick of things.

I couldn't get all 7 of our little new hatchlings into one shot, since they move way too fast and have no concept of posing for the camera. And that's the final count from this hatch - seven little Rhode Island Reds or possible RIR/Orpington crosses. (We briefly had eight, but the last little hatcher didn't make it. Sometimes they just don't, no matter how hard we wish them to. It's the hardest part of raising animals.)
Seven out of 27 eggs is not a good average. We're suspecting the rooster is playing favorites out there, and not sharing his affections with all the ladies.
In his defense, there's a lot of ladies in his harem. We're going to be getting him an assistant.
Whether he likes it or not.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Here come the chicks, part two

I was going to say "Oh, look! We have pips!" But we've already got a hatchling -

Poor little thing has a piece of eggshell stuck to the back of her head...

There are more pips, but Madman just started a guess-how-many-chicks-will-hatch contest on Facebook, so he doesn't want me to tell how many. (Which I think is totally unfair - I was blogging way before he was facebooking.)

As an aside, this is post number 299. So far, I've hit every milestone post with an "Ooops. Guess I should have actually had something to post about." So, this time, for post number 300 (ta-da!) - any suggestions?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

First, the Good -We haz chix! There are 50 little Cornish X chicks in a bathtub box in our living room. (Any similarity between that picture and one of the circles of hell is due to the heat lamp we have hanging over the box. Very red light...)
Then there's the Bad. The chicks are a day early. Just like they were last year... And once again, our soon-to-hatch chicks

are going to be starting behind the boughten chicks.

Our last hatch-batch are just about ready to be moved outdoors. Here's a pic of the little hooligans cuties, all feathered out. (Well, mostly feathered out. They're a bit scruffy looking, still.)

These two are saying "Poor Mama..." Because the Ugly? It's April 15th. I spent most of the day doing our taxes.
I would rather take out my own spleen with a rusty soupspoon than do taxes.
But we figured out back in February that we were going to have to pay in this year, for the first time ever. So there was no real incentive to get them done early. So, what do you think happens when you tell two procrastinators that there's no hurry?
Granted, for the last two weeks, we've been saying "Oh, we'll have to get those taxes done soon." And nodding at each other. And that was about as far as we got.
The worst part? I had to do them manually. On paper. Like back in the Dark Ages of the 20th Century.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Clouds don't have to be gloomy...

It's a nice change from the clouds I usually have to look at. (I need sunshine... Srsly.)
Go here for some fun of your own! (With many thanks to Margene and kmkat for pointing the way.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Today is Madman's birthday.

Mother Nature sent him a gag gift...

Not quite spring, yet.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gettin' Nekkid

No, not Madman and me...
(Well, not right now, anyway.)
Today was the big day for the sheepie crew. A manicure and a haircut for each. (And just in time, too - today got up into the 80's, and there they were in their heavy wool coats!) We found a very nice sheep shearer who arrived bright and early with his gear, ready to give the little fuzzlumps a whole new look.
Goldie drew the short straw. On her best day, she's nervous and flighty - if we had caught and shorn one of the little ones first we never would have caught Goldie at all. As it was, it was an ordeal. She didn't know what was up, but she was pretty sure she wanted no part of it...
Here she is, flat on her rump, getting her nails done, while Madman and the little folk look on.
Let the shearing begin!

Goldie is old enough that she's been down this road before, but the little ones were baffled. They're only yearlings, so they've never seen anything like this in their whole lives..."Goldie! What the hell happened to you?!?"

Merlin was the next to be caught, trusting little soul that he is.

A quick hoof trim, and the haircut began.

"Just a little off the top, please... Hey!!"

Even a pretty new collar didn't mitigate his disgust with the whole undignified procedure. (He's got his upper lip rolled back so far that you can see his gums...)

By this time, even Onyx, who's not the sharpest thumbtack on the bulletin board, had figured out that her number was up.

In typical brat fashion, she led us a merry chase, but was finally bagged. (And as we caught each sheep today, we were extremely happy that we had chosen Shetlands. They're a little nervous, but at least they're small enough that you can pick them up and carry them.)

And here's Onyx with her new summer 'do.

Misery obviously loves company...

And the best part?