I discovered something a little disconcerting when I went to give Harvey and Claire their breakfast bag of salad. If I take too long to actually put the salad in their dish, Claire will express her frustration at my slowness by yanking the bowl out of my hand, flipping her head to the side, and throwing the bowl. Usually at me. I expect that kind of thing from your average two year old; from a pet rabbit, not so much. I have to cut her some slack though, I think she’s pregnant. I also think they’re a little older than the breeder I got them from said they were. Either that, or I wrote their ages down wrong (obviously I’m going with option A). At any rate, it looks like our rabbit breeding project just got moved up by three months. Which means Gene only has a few more days to section off the Bunny Ranch.
It could be a false alarm though – apparently if a female rabbit is exposed to a male teenage rabbit’s raging hormones, she can start acting pregnant, even though she isn’t. She started building a little fur nest inside her box two days ago; if she actually is pregnant that means Gene has about three days left to finish rezoning the ranch. I’m super excited to have a bunch of baby rabbits! Although if we don’t sell them all, the Bunny Ranch will need an addition. I can’t imagine having up to ten bunnies of substantial size… Harvey and Claire are already bigger than the chickens!
In other farm news, I’m sad to say we lost Pippa. She was one of my favorite chickens, and the most friendly of the flock. The scary thing is I have no idea what was wrong with her… she was fine in the morning, then by nighttime I noticed she couldn’t stand up without falling over. I immediately admitted her to the chicken hospital (also known as our master bathroom shower), but she didn’t make it through the night. At least she went peacefully though. None of the other chickens are showing any sign of illness, in fact they are quite the opposite – both the chickens themselves and their eggs are getting larger. They are also going through feed at quite an amazing rate; they take after their mama in that they eat more when they’re cold and bored.
Christmas and Thanksgiving are still enjoying their holiday reprieve. Christmas seems much more cuddly – every time I go into the pasture I’ll turn around and she’s huddled right behind me. She then looks up at me with her beautiful, pleading turkey eyes and says, “Let me live, mama”. (Okay, not really, I threw that in because Gene reads these before I post them).
Puff Daddy also sneaks up behind me whenever I’m outside, except he’s the opposite of cuddly. He’s decided that boots, any kind of boots, are his arch nemesis and must die immediately. It’s really hysterical, because he’s one of the tiniest, fluffiest of all the chickens, but he’ll give you the evil eye when you walk over to him, then without warning he’ll run straight for your feet and start pecking them.
It’s much more endearing than Sean Paul’s habit of exploding off the roost in the morning and flying straight at your face. He’s in such a hurry to get out of the coop that he’s actually bounced off me a few times. He can also execute a 90 degree turn in the air, which is rather impressive. It’s amazing what I’ve gotten used to as a farmer…what used to terrify me, such as a ball of squawking feathers and feet coming straight at me, now makes me say, oh, how sweet! He wants outside! Then I calmly turn my back and let him careen off my shoulder on his way to the great outdoors.
I’ve also found myself, on more than one occasion, finding a nice juicy slug clinging to the underside of the chicken’s watering dish. The old, non-farming Andie would have screamed, dropped the dish, and ran to get Gene to move the slimy, nasty, bloated worm. But the seasoned farm girl Andie shrieks with delight, thinking what a tasty treat is in store for the ducks. Then I grab it with my bare hands (without even an inner cringe!) and throw it over the fence, where it is met with much happiness and quacking.