Baby peas, but no baby bunnies.

It’s official. Gunga, our American Chinchilla doe is not pregnant. As one might expect, her smugness is overwhelming. That sneaky rabbit. However, I am 90% sure that Socorro, our other American Chinchilla doe is about one day along. Considering the 31 day rabbit gestation period, one day of pregnancy counts for something. Everything I was unsure about during my first rabbit breeding experience with Gunga happened this time around with Socorro. Jimmy did his job, fell off and made a weird sound which apparently is what rabbits do (in case you were interested). Of course, he made lots of weird moves and noises with Gunga, but this time it was obvious that the deed was done. That was yesterday. Today he made his rounds one more time just to seal the deal and now I am pretty damn sure there’s a pregnant rabbit out there. Socorro was none too pleased, but she eventually forgave me enough to partake in a parsley treat.

And pea sproutlets are awakening! I check my sprouts multiple times a day and that makes for a lot of anticipation when you planted your peas too deep and they took an extra week and a half to sprout. But they’re out and about now and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Versatile Blogger Award & Very Inspiring Blogger Award

How lucky I am! The lovely Tonya, of Fourth Generation Farm Girl, was kind enough to nominate Quiet Owl Farm for the Versatile Blogger Award and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Thank you, Tonya! Fourth Generation Farm Girl follows Tonya’s return home after years in the city–to a farm that’s been in her family for over a century. She writes about farm life, food, gardening, travel and all sorts of fun stuff. Check it out!

These awards are great. They promote community and networking in the blogging world which is huge for a little blog like this. A nominee (for both or either award) automatically receives the award(s) and then must follow these rules:

1. Show the award on your blog.
2. Thank the person who nominated you.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 blogs.
5. Link your nominees’ blogs, and let them know.

Seven Facts:

1. In elementary school when asked, “what’s your favorite food?”, my answer was, “marinated mushrooms”.
2. I have spent about three years of my life abroad (give or take a few months). I think it’s something that everyone should do once if the opportunity arises. Just trust me on this one. And I firmly believe there are ways to live, work, and travel abroad with limited resources. And I believe it will change your perspective on the world and change your life for the better.
3. I’ve been horse-crazy since about age 9. I used to take the after school bus directly to a ranch where I leased a string of horses and cleaned stalls to mitigate the costs. I 4H-ed and High School Equestrian team-ed. Events included cart driving a crotchety old pony named Brandy and barrel racing on Bucky. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to ride regularly since high school, but horses are most definitely going to be a part of my future.  I am really itching to own my first horse all of my own. And as you might have guessed, horses are a topic that will be rearing (pun intended) their heads soon.
4. I am a feta addict.
5. I am an archaeologist in my day job life. Some fun stuff. Mostly boring report stuff right now. Only human-related stuff. No dinosaur bones! Only paleontologists deal with dinosaur bones. But I get that question about once a week.
6. Hobbits. I am one, but I’m also a big Tolkien fan.
7. I love tea as much as I love feta, but in a different way. I drink many cups of tea a day. I usually start with black, move to green and end with herbal. Many many cups. I’m drinking some right now and it is the best.

Nominate Blogs (this is small operation, so I’m cutting this back to 5):

1. The Aran Artisan
2. Roe’s Cottage
3. West Virginia Mountain Mama
4. FullCircle Farm
5. Hillbillies in Training

Congratulations on your wonderful blogs, and thanks again, Fourth Generation Farm Girl, for the recognition. It is so much appreciated.

Direct Deposit.

Remember when I got really excited about bunny poop?! How you can stick it straight in the soil?! How it’s all raring to go and nitrogen rich?! The time has come to test it out!

Direct deposit.
Direct deposit.

Today I had the good fortune of  returning home with an hour of daylight to spare in the garden. That gave me just enough time to get a few peas in the ground and start a little plot of beets, rainbow chard and curly dwarf kale. Last year, the garden was mediocre at best due to lack of sun and good soil. I can’t do a whole lot about the sun, but I am making a much greater effort to ensure good soil quality. The bunny poo and compost pile will be a great contributors. I turned the compost today and pulled out a shovelful swarming with more worms than I’ve ever seen in one spot! I bet that’s a good sign. The sunny warm weather continues. I’m not sure what it will mean for the rest of the year, but it sure is gorgeous out right now. Everything is a bloomin’ and Jimmy is frolicking like a mad man so it’s hard not to smile.

Is Gunga pregnant? My experience using the go-to methods of how to tell, or possibly not tell, if your rabbit is carrying babies.

I hope Gunga is pregnant. I want rabbit babies. I want to play with them as soon as they transition from weird hairless monsters into cute baby bunnies. And not long after that, I want to eat them.

After consulting my trusty Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, examining several internet sources including some hilarious or horrifying youtube videos, depending on your perspective, I bred Gunga. I know Jim Chee’s a proven sire of rabbits, but this was Gunga’s first round. It wasn’t pretty. I think (?) she eventually submitted.  Or at least tolerated him briefly. But now that the deed is done, how do I know if she is preggers?

Research turned up several methods for determining if a rabbit is pregnant:

1) Mood– the doe starts lazing about more, grumbles and growls at you when you open the cage, and doesn’t want to be touched.  This seems pretty simple, but as it happens, Gunga is already our most ornery, sleepy, ravenous, and standoffish rabbit. It’s hard to tell if her continued display of these fine qualities is pregnancy or just her normal delightful self.

2) Palpate the abdomen- if the does is pregnant, small marble-sized bumps can be felt within the rabbit’s abdomen between 10 and 14 days after breeding. The best method is to put the doe on a soft surface and run your hand over their lower abdomen.  I tried this on the 10th day and on the 14th day. I probably should have tried the method before she was bred so I could tell if there were differences, because I could not feel a damn thing. 

3) Nest-building– towards the end of the pregnancy, the doe might be spotted carrying around hay or ripping out her own fur to build a nest. This one isn’t of too much use yet, but I suppose better late than never for determining the pregnancy. If I see any nesting or carrying-of hair and straw bits, I will be very excited, but this method makes you wait practically to the end of the pregnancy anyway, so no instant gratification here.

4). Weight– weigh your doe before you breed her and then again part way through the pregnancy to see if she has put on weight. This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but also very confusing since everything I find recommends not picking up a pregnant doe. So I will not be using this method

But speaking of nests, I put together a wire mesh framed nest box to use for Gunga (fingers crossed), or whomever may kindle next. The nest box was inspired by this design. My nest box is not nearly so neat and precise, but it’s functional. The wire mesh offers great ventilation in the heat, but the box can also be lined with cardboard for colder weather.

So here’s where I stand right now. I have no idea if I have a pregnant bunny on my hands and I probably won’t know for sure until a few days before the birth or after the fact.

Did you know that female rabbits (does) “kindle” a litter of bunnies? Kindling!