If there was ever a time I felt I should bash my head in or give up– or both, it would be today.
Trevor and I do a full farm sweep every few days just to give everyone a thorough wellness check, other than our regular check-ins during feeding and closing times. Yesterday it was the bee’s turn. Usually during the cold and windy months, we give the hive a little knock and listen for the quick buzz of the inhabitants assuring us that they are, in fact, home. This time we had no such luck. After opening up the hive, it was evident that they swarmed due to the same wax moth invasion that Hive #2 suffered from just a month or so ago.
Our rabbits have recently decided to breed again since moving here in March. Last month, Philly give birth to some great looking kits… on the wire and they did not survive. She is usually a fantastic mother so I decided to give her another shot and immediately rebred Philly and one of our other does, Indigo. Tonight, Indigo had her first litter… on the wire. But more so, they were under-developed and stillborn. Not terribly uncommon for a first-time rabbit mother, but certainly disappointing. To prevent another “oops” litter with Philly (who is due in a few days), I have put her in a solid-bottom cage with lots and lots of straw bedding. It is on the small side, but I cannot lose another litter because of these empty headed rabbits.
When I asked the universe for a chance to start fresh in the new year, I didn’t really mean like this. I am frustrated to the point of seriously considering selling off all the rabbits and chickens to start over with new stock. Right now I only have Fruhlingskabine rabbit BUCKS, no Fruhlingskabine rabbit DOES, and I think that these does from other rabbitries just aren’t cutting the mustard because they haven’t been bred for this area and climate and weather and smell. Same with the bees and the chickens.
My new goal in 2015 is to buy and breed for sturdier stock. Wimpy stock is getting me nowhere. I need sturdy, Viking stock or something. I need animals that can lay eggs in the snow, birth their young with rabid predators scratching at the door without so much as batting an eye. I need animals with gnarly scars and battle axes and survivor’s spirit. Animals with strength and resilience.
I am tired of this death farm I’ve been running. It is pretty sad when a bunch of turkeys out in a tarp-covered hoop house are more resilient than the rabbits living in a lush, insulated shed. The rabbits don’t even have bobcats circling them like the turkeys do. Those turkeys are hardcore.
I am now looking for any and all recommendations for animal breeds who are: super resilient, hearty, sturdy, happy, and can withstand extreme temperatures (both heat and cold). First-hand experience only. Wimps need not apply.