There are some amazing aspects to living in the country. For instance, waking to the sound of birds chirping at the window in the morning or taking the kayaks down to the river for a few hours to catch fish from places you cannot get to from the bank. Its absolutely breathtaking at times. 🤗
Then there are things that happen that are out of personal control… that are just a part of nature. This week there were a couple of those out of control situations around our farm. First, we lost the last of the rabbit kits from the first litters of Betty and Boop. It was really unexpected. The first two weeks are so very critical to a kit. If they make it two weeks they have a higher chance of living. Of the 10 kits, we lost 1 in the first 24 hours and 2 more on the second day. These losses were all from the same litter. I believe that Betty had neglected her litter and left them to die. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.
At this point I decided to transfer the remaining 2 kits to Boop’s litter to see if she will foster. All of Boop’s kits were doing just fine. On the morning of day 6, I went out to check on the babies as I did every morning before heading to work. I found Boop sitting on the kits. I did not move her from her babies (she is nice but mommies can get mean). When I checked again after work, I found that 4 of them were stiff, 1 had a bite on the back of its neck and 2 were barely moving. I immediately went into mommy mode for those still alive.
I decided I would bottle feed the remaining 3 kits. Batman took to getting the heat lamp and nesting box while I got the dropper with formula. Surprisingly, two bunnies took to the dropper quickly sucking in what they could. The injured little kit did not take to it. I anticipated that it wouldn’t make it through the night. To my surprise, all of them were stiff when I checked on them right before I headed to bed. It was a fitful night of sleep.
I did a bit more research on rabbit reproduction. This is very common with first litters and even second litters. When it comes to the third litter and it is still happening, that’s when you know the rabbit is not cut out to be a mommy. ‘Three strikes and you’re in the fryer!’
Yesterday was another unfortunate event. Even though it wasn’t on my farm, it’s still an uneasy feeling when helpless to the situation. A neighbor friend called on us to help him get his pregnant cow into the shoot. Now, she was trying hard to push out her calf but was having complications. So with the help of 5 people, we were able to get her into the little pin (not easily) and ultimately in the shoot (even harder). I can only imagine how she was feeling being moved along while all she wanted was to birth her baby.
Once we got her in the shoot we could see her contractions easier… the head was coming out first and it was a big head. This is bad for cattle… we want the front legs to come out first which makes the rest of the delivery much easier. The neighbor went “elbow deep” to try and push the head back and grab the legs. At this point he knew the calf was stillborn and had been for a while. How did he know this? Well, the teeth were coming out of his mouth, the eyeball squished into his hand, and there was no movement from the little guy.
It was not a pretty sight or smell while trying to help with the birth. She was pushing so hard that she shat almost every time. Each time the neighbor pulled his arm/hand from her it had to be hosed off. After phone calls to other neighboring farmers and multiple veterinarians, there was a very hard decision to make. Two choices: pull the head out and cut it off in order to get the rest of the calf out of the momma OR put the momma out of her misery and put her down. The later of the choices was selected. I would have made the same decision.
She was let out of the pin to walk up the trail to her final resting place. I walked too. I was there. It is a part of farming that is hard… emotional. Things like this will happen. Take the good… take the bad. Farm life.
I refuse to leave you with negative connotations of farming (I love this new life I am living and wouldn’t trade it for anything)… so I leave you with a couple of my favorite pictures from this weekend.
This is Bacon. 💛
Tinker Bell… city cat thriving in the country. (We get along great!)
Right place, wrong time for this little guy.
My trouble makers.
Much love to ya!