Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arrivals


Things are hectic as usual now that I'm back from my trip..
I just wanted to give a short update on the new arrivals on the farm.
Imagination's Gem returned to the farm and Keep's Ariel came to the farm too after my trip to visit Kristen this weekend. Both gals are adjusting well, they rode together on the trip back northwards. Despite initital mild hostilities by the time I unloaded them from the back of the car they were snuggled up together. As you can see in the photo Sally was very interested in them!
Jasmine the hare kindled a large litter this weekend while I was away but only 3 kits survive at the moment. Jazz is on her last chance in terms of mothering before she is moved out. Sage the Rhinelander kindled 9 babies, 4 marked, 4 charlies and 1 sport yesterday. I split the litters up so that each doe has 6 babies but will probably foster Jazz's 3 kits to Sage with her 4 marked so that Sage raises the showable kits while Jazz can practice on Sage's sport and charlies depending on how the babies are doing tomorrow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back!

I'm back from my whirl wind birthday trip weekend to TN and NC!
I had a great time, although the driving towards the end was exhausting. Barley my new LGD is home, he is settling into his spot in the barn well so far and although the goats are weary of the new puppy they aren't being too mean!
A huge thanks to Kristen and Tim of Keep's Rabbitry for their hospitality and kindness.
I'll have more to blog about tomorrow, just too tired at the moment and I have to work tonight!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Website is back

My website is back up, its still under construction but the bulk of it is up, I went for a simpler design/info this time around to make editing and keeping up with it easier. Now I will get rolling on the backlog on the rabbit and cavy breeders directory..

www.imaginationacres.com

I have 2 litters due this weekend, both does are confirmed pregnant. Sage the Rhinelander was bred to Theo and Jasmine was bred to Duke. Jazz has been nesting diligently so hopefully this litter will be more succesful than the last one. Sage also lost her last litter so hopefully this 2nd try will be fruitful.

Of course I'm heading out of town this weekend so hopefully there won't be any issues while the farm sitter is looking after things.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Photo Dump :)

It was another beautiful day on the farm, here are a bunch of photos!
Imagination's Sunny, he is FOR SALE, excellent personality on this cutie, he walks well on his harness/leash and is begining agility/hopping training. He is showable, but I consider him more brood/pet quality. $35.00 with pedigree, he was born on November 14th 2009. He loves head rubs and bouncing around in the x-pen.

Tristar Rabbits Samson, he's growing up! Still a bit potty but getting nicer day by day, he is an escape artist, I had to add two extra locks to his hutch to prevent him from going on unsupervised travels around the bunny barn.

Joy the bunny (not to be confused with Joy the goat) and her buddy Reuben

Pepper was all smiles today. My baby!

Pepper on guard with her goaties.

One of these things is not like the other.. lol we have alot of species confusion on the farm.

Caddy and her two surviving kids, Patches and Oreo.

I was putting in garden beds and the goats were very helpful...

Progress is being made! Reuben is such a great gardener aka sunbather.

Fiddle stretching for a leaf out of reach and a fully recovered Joy browses.

My view from the garden beds I was working on.

Caddy and her kiddos again.

Baby Wind Chime and Oreo could almost be twins!

Athena believes in taking nice long rests when grazing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Elliott

I just love getting updates from the parents of bunnies I have sold. Nearly a year ago, little Elliott went home to his new mama in PA. She took her time choosing which Belgian Hare baby she wanted and its been a great match.


Elliott lives the spoiled life, that is for sure! Thanks Kathy for sending along these photos.











What a handsome fellow!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

RIP "Panda"

And the lemons keep on coming..

I lost the littlest baby goat this morning to unknown reasons... he was very sweet and playful. I had been supplementing him with a bottle milked from Dixie since he didn't seem to grow the same as his siblings.

I wonder if there was some underlying reason for his poor growth in hindsight.

On the brighter side, Joy is doing a bit better. I'm missing my classes today to stay home with her in the hopes she's on the mend.

Farm life can be really hard sometimes.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sometimes life throws you lemons


When keeping animals there is always the risk of running into some sort of emergency or problem. Thankfully working in the veterinary field has given me great resources to turn to when I have a problem with my critters, wether it be a dislocated hare talus, a pasteurella titer or iris melanoma lasering.
Yesterday and today's animal dilemma came from little Almond Joy one of my newer goats on the farm. It seems Joy got into some kind of toxic plant in the expaned portion of the goat paddock, presumably in the woods. My skills on wild plant identification are not great so I am not sure what she got into. Needless to say the resulting toxicity has not been pretty, cud vomit everywhere for well over 24 hours now.
She's hooked up to I/V fluids in my kitchen and I've been treating her with a variety of traditional and holistic remedies in the hopes she will pull through this okay. While she's not greatly improved, she's hanging in there. My fingers are crossed for a full recovery..
One thing is for sure there is never a dull moment here on the farm, after being up all night and most of the morning with Joy, I'm going to try and nap a bit before tacking my chem lab report and chem quiz prep this evening. Well wishes for Joy are greatly appreciated..

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cute

The baby hares are weaned and just oh so cute!
Busy weekend working for me so no real content to the post today! Hope you're all having a good weekend and good luck to everyone at Jersey Wooly Nationals!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Farm Updates

Boy is it hot here in Central Virginia!!! The thermometer is inching towards 95 and its only the begining of April, luckily the weather man reports that it should cool off starting tomorrow and we will be getting some April showers.

As usual things on the farm are very busy, the updates I told you about in previous posts including the backyard fencing project and the addition to the goat pen are well underway and looking great. I've been doing yard work and regular chores every moment I can spare, tonight I will try and get some grass seed down in the bare patches of the yard and some cleaning in the bunny barn. (Thank goodness for A/C in the bunny barn, luckily every bun is nice and cool.)

I lost 2 more chickens last night to my own stupidity with forgetting to close the chicken coop up before I went out, then discovered an emorous black snake in there this morning.. yuck. I am down to 2 of my original hens.. what a shame. The ladies seem sad and are looking for their lost companions. I will be ordering 25 baby chicks to replace my lost numbers very soon, exclusively of the Delaware breed. I am very happy with the Delaware breed and will focus on it from here on out. If I'm lucky I will hopefully have baby chicks for sale in 2011, and depending on how succesful my baby chicks are I will have started chickens and maybe in the fall some laying hens for sale... here's hoping!

One annoucement I am excited to make is the farm will soon be home to a livestock guardian dog. (End of April) After the chicken losses and so many predators in the woods surrounding my property I have made the decision to purchase a LGD to help protect the goats and chickens. I am so fortunate to have found a puppy from a farm in TN that is raising the pups with Nigerian Dwarf goats just like my goaties! While the puppy will be young and need time to mature, from what the breeder has said it sounds like the instinct to guard has already kicked in. I can't wait to bring him home and get him settled on the farm, thanks to my mom his name will be Barley. (goes with my theme of dogs being named after foods.. Pepperoni Pizza, Reuben Sandwhich)
On the baby goat front, all 4 kids are doing great! I've named 2 of the 3 boys so far, I'm having trouble coming up with something good for the salt and pepper colored runt, so far I have Patches and Oreo. Thanks to the Selenium and Vit E. Supplement the baby with the weak pelvic limb I've named Patches is doing fantastic, the leg is straight and he's running around! Wind Chime seems thrilled to have some playmates to headbutt and generally goof around with. I promised my sister videos so I will try and get some uploaded this weekend, they are insanely adorable and so sweet.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos to share at the moment but will be going trigger happy with the camera this Friday if the weather is as pretty as its supposed to be.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Arrivals!

Happy Easter everyone!


I'm a bit overun with baby animals this easter and had 3 very welcome new additions this morning!


After a lovely visit from my mom this weekend and both of us being on baby goat watch, Caddy finally delivered her boys with no-one watching mid-morning today in the middle of the paddock!


We have 3 beautiful boys who I need to think of names for. They are just adorable and so sweet. The big baby has a weak pelvic limb most likely due to selenium deficiancy despite momma being injected with Bo-Se prior to kidding. He will be treated and perhaps his leg will be splinted in order to ensure he grows up correctly. Here are some photos, new pics will be added as they grow and are named!

The tiny black and white (salt and pepper colord) buck next to his bigger brother.

Medium sized black and white buck with "cow-like" markings.


The bucksking with white, he's a big boy, hopefully his limb will be normal soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

More Spring

Virginia is getting spoiled with 80 degree summer like weather at the moment. I personally am enjoying it, as do the critters after such a harsh and long winter.
Here are some photos:

For the Imagination Acres website which I'm working on (along with rabbit breeder directory updates) I wanted a photo of my pet bunnies.. it sure isn't easy to get them all to sit still for a photo-op. This was the best I could get... you can't even see Ruby, Blizzard is blocking her!
I have a handful of pets left after the passing of so many old faces, the eldest are Jules and Blizzard, followed by Ruby, Cinder and then Samson and Tripod. What a bunch of cute pets!
My bunny-powered raised herb bed. Even though its 80 degrees out, herbs and marigolds are the only things I feel safe planting into the ground at this point. I left space for some more temperature sensitive herbs that will go in later this season. Bunny waste from peat moss lined trays = black gold! Should be a productive growing season with bunny compost.

Caddy is holding out on me.. no new baby goats yet!

And the official report on sexes from my hare litter, 1 lonely buck (Valentine, photographed above) and 5 frisky does including the baby with the hernia. Great odds in terms of buck to doe ratio, I will be growing this entrie litter (except for the baby doe with hernia) out until fall, priority after this fall will go to those already of my waitlist.
Thise litter is looking promising! They're only 7 weeks old and really only potty-babies so I can't evaluate them yet but I see some traits I like.. and with maturity hopefully should be phenomenal!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Challenge of Belgian Hares

My bunny friend Kristen at Keep's Rabbitry made a post about the frustrations of Belgian Hares which prompted this post!
I for one can absolutely sympathize with Kristen about the challenges of raising and showing Belgian Hares.
Hares are unique among the recognized breeds, they are what sparked the rabbit show boom a century ago and are a true heritage breed for fanciers world wide. With that said Hares' uniqueness also includes some challenges not every rabbit person is equipped to deal with.
I firmly believe Belgian Hares require solid floored hutches, I did experiment in my early days with wire floors and was not impressed with the results, as such all of my hares are raised on solid floors and they do extremely well on them. I do not have issues with weak ankles in my herd, nor do I have broken toes from their toes getting caught in wire, sore hocks are not an issue here.
Hares can be difficult to breed, does can be aggressive and flighty, with that said I have been fortunate because all of my does have taken. The only doe who has given me trouble is miss Jasmine, all other does I have bred have had succesful litters and for the most part have been excellent mommas.
There are not many exhibitors in the south... going to a show with hares usually means competing against yourself, as such some very bad practices have emerged from some hare exhibitors, not just in the south but nation-wide including stacking of the classes and entering rabbits under a family member or friend's name, something I am firmly against doing in the Beligan Hare breed. A leg does not mean anything to me if you're not truly showing against competition.
Also with the hares, I am picky about who they go to, and it has come to the point that except for selling to pet homes, I really dislike selling my hares to fellow exhibitors and breeders unless I truly get the feeling the potential buyer is interested in promoting and preserving the breed while maintaining high husbandry and care standards. Some folks might call me a snobby hare person, but I look at it from my animal's best interest.. In alot of ways, with the hares it has come to a point where I may need to make a decision about "closing my herd." Closing my herd would mean no more outside sales, except to pet homes.
I don't plan on closing my herd anytime soon but it is something I am seriously considering for the future. I am extremely proud of the Hares I have and am fortunate to have the space to grow out and keep entire hare litters if I choose to do so. I have more than enough space to expand and am having alot of success with colony keeping my does, a project I plan to continue to expand on this year.
So whats the challenge with hares in the end? For most folks its because they're not an easy breed overall. I will say for those who stick it out that the rewards with them are wonderful; they are friendly, intelligent and a piece of living history. For me, the challenge is learning to let go, and place them in new homes.. a challenge I doubt I will ever overcome.