A blog post or two back, I think I mentioned that I was on the waitlist for an angora rabbit (due to be born this month). Well, that rabbit’s breeder was at the other end of WA state, and to get it here, I would have had to use an animal transporter, which 1) costs money, and 2) is always a little risky.
So imagine my pleasure when an ad popped up on Craigslist for a litter of satin angoras born in Bellingham, WA…just a short drive away. The owner was a lovely woman who had a few angoras for spinning fiber…and whose buck accidently got in with her does. Result? Two accidental pregnancies. I originally really wanted one buck (male rabbits seem to have sweeter personalities, in my experience) but she’d already sold all the bucks in the litter…leaving me with a choice between three does I could take today, and three more that would be ready in another week.
Meet Cinnamon. She’s a ten week old doe.
Her wool has that gorgeous satin shine…what there is of it. She’s old enough to have had her first shearing, so her coat is clipped short and uneven. But in about 4 months, she’ll be absolutely perfect.
I really wanted Cinnamon for her beauty, but she was a little skittish, and the breeder called her ‘salty’. I think she’s just young, and she’ll settle down, but you can never be sure. Rabbits definitely have their distinct personalities.
Which leads us to Cocoa.
She’s a week or two older, and her coat is less glossy…and in a color that I don’t find quite as appealing. However, she is the sweetest thing – such a calm, friendly personality. The breeder says she’s super easy to groom, and just a little darling.
So which one did I bring home?
Why, both of them, of course! What a silly question!
The breeder really wanted me to buy two because she thinks rabbits do better with a friend – and I believe that as well. Her rabbits (all the does) were in a colony together, and it was so cute to see them snuggle together.
Sometimes rabbits bond for life, sometimes they decide they hate each other and start fighting. These two really like each other now, so we’ll see what happens. If they start fighting, or if Cinnamon turns out to be a difficult rabbit, I may end up only keeping one.
They seem to like their new home (a sectioned off corner of my sewing room with the option to roam the entire room once they are litterbox trained), and when I held Cocoa and did a little grooming, she obviously loved it. She relaxed, got sleepy, and started “purring” – which in rabbits means lightly grinding her teeth to make that sound. I can pick her up, carry her around, and even turn her over onto her back without her kicking or otherwise protesting. Cinnamon seemed to like being groomed too, but didn’t relax and seemed a little nervous still.
In other news, my King Pigeons are settling right in. They seem very relaxed now…so relaxed in fact, that I caught them “billing” (a courtship ritual involving the male feeding the female regurgitated food – it looks like kissing!) and then actually mating. Pigeons tend to mate for life, so if these two weren’t already a couple when I got them, they obviously bonded during their voyage from Pennsylvania. This is excellent news. Hopefully, they’ll start thinking about starting a family soon. I’ll get some more pictures and a video of them soon, but until then, here’s another picture of Cinnamon!
I didn’t sleep well last night, and I woke up super early this morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Today, my Utility King pigeons were coming in the mail, and mailing live creatures is always a little perilous. I was reassured by the pigeon breeder, who said he’s been doing this a long time and has never lost a bird in the mail – but I couldn’t relax entirely until those birds were safely in their new coop.
They arrived in a fairly large box.
And although all the ventilation holes were covered in breathable fabric so I couldn’t peek at them, I knew they were both alive by the amount of movement inside. As the postal worker said, as she handed the box to me, they were “kicking!” It did feel a bit like a can-can was going on in there!
As soon as I got home, I opened the box.
Meet Emerson and Peabody, my first pair of Utility Kings!
They are quite large. Unlike quail, which I can easily pick up in one hand, these birds are definitely a two-hand operation.
They were obviously and understandably a little freaked out by their experience in the United States Mail, but still remarkably calm about it. I think once they get used to their new home and to me, I’ll be able to handle them without difficulty.
I’m very pleased with them, and if you’re in the market for a new breed of pigeon, I highly recommend Foy’s Pigeon Supplies.
I’m adding several new animals to the urban farm this spring. Muscovy ducks, King pigeons (my first pair is arriving this week in the mail!) and I just put myself on the waitlist for a satin angora rabbit.
And then there was this, which came in the mail last week:
I didn’t count them, but the seller said there was 1,100 critters in this cloth bag!
Yep. Mealworms. Not the cutest or cuddliest thing I’ve ever added to the farm, but if it works out, definitely practical. Almost everything I own likes to eat mealworms…chickens, ducks, quail…pigeons? Do pigeons eat mealworms? I need to google that. Mealworms are an excellent protein source.
They are supposedly easy to raise, as well – especially if you do the no-sort method I am trying. Basically you just put them in a plastic bin, add several inches of wheat bran (bedding AND food for the worms) and a few cut slices of raw potato or apples for moisture. The worms eventually turn into flightless beetles, which lay eggs, which hatch into a larger number of worms. If it works, I’ll have a sustainable protein source for the birds, and a fertilizer for the garden (worm poop).
Gotta say, I’m a LOT more excited about getting the pigeons! (But I have a feeling the chickens will prefer the worms….)
So the Pacific Northwest is having snow like I remember when I was a kid. This used to be normal. Now, it’s a “snomageddon’ and the authorities have declared a state of emergency. Seriously? It’s just a little bit of snow.
And granted, some areas of the state are hit a lot harder than me. But still, look at what’s happening in grocery stores:
Even in my much smaller city, the grocery stores were cleaned out of some items. Thursday night, ALL the shopping carts were in use, and there was a line out the door. And this is just a tiny event as far as natural disasters go. People weren’t even prepared enough to go for a long weekend without shopping. Look how quickly everything went.
Now imagine it was a serious storm. Or an earthquake. Something that would keep the grocery stores from being able to restock the next day.
Now no fault to you if you’re in serious financial difficulties, or something else that keeps you from being prepared, but if you’re an average human with a decent job, and you’re NOT prepared for at least a two weeks without having to hit the grocery stores in panicked combat-mode, than you are an idiot. I’m sorry for being blunt, but you are. Natural disasters are picking up in frequency and severity all over the globe, and the odds are that someday you will be affected by something. It could even be something personal to you: a job layoff or an injury. Whatever it is, when it is so simple to just start buying a few extra canned goods every time you shop, make sure you always have toilet paper and other necessities on hand, and stick a few bottles of water underneath your bed – why wouldn’t you? Seriously, why not?
I wrote a post a short time ago with suggestions on how to get started, but really, looking at these grocery store pictures, if you at least have enough food to get you through a weekend without having to go to the store, you’ll be ahead of so many people. Thursday night, one of my co-workers was worried about having to drive on the snow to go shopping after work because she ‘didn’t have anything to eat’ in her house. Seriously? Being prepared is not some sort of fringe wacko conspiracy nut thing…it’s just common sense. It used to be the ordinary, common thing for everyone. People just always had food in their houses. Often, they had fresh food sources in their city backyards. It’s sad, and it’s insane how things have changed.
The only thing I bought since this snow started was a gallon of milk. Not because it was a necessity, but only because I wanted to make a new batch of yogurt. I could easily have gone without, and been perfectly fine. There is food in my pantry, and the freezers are stocked.
The only reason I want this snow to go away is because the chickens and I hate cold weather. I want to start work on the new Muscovy duck coop, and finish prepping my garden for planting!
Oh – and I have ordered my first pair of Utility King pigeons! They should arrive in the mail within a week or two.
Everything seems to be building to April. I don’t know if the Rapture is before or after then, but I definitely believe that if the Rapture doesn’t happen in April, something hugely prophetic is going to happen. Even the secular world sees it. I don’t know if predictive programming is real (I rather doubt it) but the references to the rapture, disaster coming to America, WW3, is everywhere. From the Department of Homeland Security publishing a report that the energy grid in America is subject to failure and all Americans should have a minimum of 2wks food and water (preferably 6months!) in their houses, to Amazon’s super bowl commercial:
To the super bowl’s half time show itself, everything is pointing to something.
(Seriously? Trumpets, followed by a shower of meteors? Could they be any more Biblical?)
Mass destruction and mass corruption The souls are sufferin’ men Clutchin’ on deaf ears again, rapture is comin’ It’s all prophecy and if I gotta be sacrificed for the greater good Then that’s what it gotta be
Who gon’ pray for me? Take my pain for me? Save my soul for me? ‘Cause I’m alone, you see
I could go on and on with these sorts of things. They are literally everywhere, and gaining in intensity.
One Israel’s most prominent rabbis has even predicted that the Messiah will appear before the Israel election on April 9th. Of course, they are still blinded to the truth, and don’t yet realize they already missed the Messiah. The one who will appear to them now is the false Messiah, the anti-Christ. They won’t realize their mistake until this evil man stands in their newly rebuilt temple and desecrates it. Speaking of the Jewish temple, it won’t be long until they build it. After two thousand years, they are calling for it.
They have raised the funds, recreated all the temple artifacts, done DNA tests to discover who are the true descendants of the priestly line, trained those priests, dedicated the new altar for the temple, and found the pure red heifer they need to purify the new building when it’s finished.
The people ARE ready.
Are you? Not for the temple, which won’t affect you unless you are Jewish, but for the end of the world as we know it? For the day when all the genuine believers in Christ will be taken away to indescribable joy and happiness (including, I believe all the babies, born and unborn, and also children too young to have sin imputed to them). Here’s what I believe, based on the Bible, will happen next.
In the same hour as we leave, destruction in going to come on the earth. There will be a massive earthquake, so large that mountains and islands will be moved out of place, and meteor strikes. The sun will be darkened, and the moon turned to blood, probably as a result of that great earthquake, and the resulting volcanic eruptions and ash.
Revelation 6: 12-17 12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
America (the modern Babylon) will be judged for the terrible sins she has inflicted on the entire world, either with massive natural disasters – possibly the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, or by a nuclear attack, probably causing an EMP event. Or perhaps both. If the Cascadia Subduction Zone goes, it will cause world-wide tsunamis.
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
I feel almost certain that New York will be destroyed in this first hour:
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. 9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. 15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, 18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
With America gone or incapacitated, the financial systems of the world will crash, and the earth will be such chaos and terror that whole governments will collapse, and everyone will be crying out (too late) for a savior.
The worst part is, a “savior” will appear. A man who will seem to have the answer to all the world’s problems. He will bring peace to the middle east, and Israel will proclaim him to be the Messiah. He will be able to do great miracles and supernatural signs. At one point, he will be fatally wounded, and return to life. He will establish a one world government, and set up a system of digital currency, involving a “mark” in either the right hand or the forehead, without which, no one will be able to buy or sell anything. This mark won’t simply be a RFID chip, but something much, much worse. It will change your very being in some way so that you will be incapable of being saved by the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Though all the genuine Christians left the earth before this in the rapture, afterward many people will realize their mistake, and know that everything I’ve been trying to tell you is true. 144,000 Jewish men will begin preaching the gospel to all the world, and in addition, two men will stand and preach with miracles in the city of Jerusalem. For a time, the anti-Christ will appear to be on the side of Israel and the Jewish people, but then he will walk into their newly re-built temple and begin a massive persecution of both Jews and Christians that will dwarf what happened in the first holocaust. People will be beheaded for their faith, and 2/3 of all the Jews will be murdered, including the 2 preachers in Jerusalem. All the people in the world who follow the anti-Christ will watch on their smartphones as the witnesses lay dead in the street for three days, and will rejoice and send gifts to each other. But after three days, they will resurrect, and be taken up to heaven.
During this time, horrific natural disasters will destroy the world. The waters of the ocean and of the rivers will be turned to blood (red algea?) and the fish will all die, and the water become poisonous. Many more great earthquakes, meteors, and hailstones weighing 100lbs, will strike the earth. Disease and famine will be everywhere, and war. The sun will grow so hot it will scorch the earth. Most people alive now will die.
But at the end of the seven years, exactly three and 1/2 years after anti-Christ stands in the temple and declares himself god, the True God will return for the final time, to stay. He will destroy the anti-Christ and everyone who took the mark, and judge everyone according to how they treated Israel and the Jews. If a nation was involved in persecuting them, that nation will be destroyed. If they helped Israel, they will be saved. The world will be restored back to its original perfection, before mankind rejected God, and all the Christians who were taken away in the rapture will return to earth as Kings and Queens, to rule over the restored earth. And everything will finally be the way it should be, filled with peace and joy, without thorns and poison and hate and fear. There will be no more tears, or sickness. No more fear of anything. Even the animals will live in perfect peace and happiness, the wolf lying down with the lamb, and a little child able to put his hand in a viper’s nest without being hurt.
All of this is on the very verge of happening. I hope you’re read through all of this, even those of you who think it’s all insanity. God tells us the future before it happens, so that when it happens, we will believe. When you see the genuine Christians vanish (there will be many who call themselves “Christians” who do not have genuine faith and who will be left behind) I hope you will remember some of this. I hope you will find a Bible (if you manage to survive the first great round of earthquakes and destruction) and I hope you will read the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. God loves you. He wants you to just trust him, so that you won’t have to suffer through any of these things to come, but if you won’t believe it’s real until it’s happening, just know it’s not too late. Find a bible. Call out to God, and you will be saved.
I tried having ducks in the urban farm – was it three years ago? Four? Five? – and it didn’t work out. They were the cutest thing ever:
Even after they grew up. I love Indian Runners.
But there were three major reasons why, after a year and a half, I ended up rehoming them on a farm with a pond and a garden that needed a slug patrol. They were a bit too noisy (especially before I added the drake – girl ducks are sex-crazy beasts!), way too messy, and hard to protect from predators.
The last two reasons were really the same issue. Their coop needed to be completely rat and raccoon proof, but such a coop means that it is stationary. Which means either you are out there cleaning it out all the time, or it very quickly gets stinky and messy. Ducks have very wet poop, and they are into water all the time. Stinky messy coops are not how I keep animals. I tried a few different methods (gravel, shavings, wood chips) and finally gave up and said ducks just aren’t for me, in this particular place.
But I miss having ducks. And I miss duck eggs, which are the best eggs in the world. Seriously. So good. So I started looking into other kinds of duck-like critters, including having a single goose in with the chickens as a livestock guardian and producer of eggs.
But then I started coming back to Muscovy ducks. I had explored having them before, but I wasn’t sure how I’d keep them along with the chickens. People have different experiences, but I have heard a number of people say the Muscovy drake (which is a very large, goose-sized bird at 15lbs) killed or harmed their hens. I can’t risk that. I love my hens.
But the good points of Muscovy ducks balance out exactly the problems I had with regular ducks. Muscovies are nearly silent. The males hiss and females make a low whistling, trilling sound. They are much larger than other ducks, and although I’d still want to protect them from raccoons, they apparently actively look for rodents to eat. Yes, eat. I won’t have to worry about rats!
Not worrying about rats means I won’t have to wire in the bottom of the pen with hardware cloth. Not wiring in the bottom means that I can build a light-weight moveable pen, similar to a chicken tractor. Being able to move the pen means that before it gets stinky, I can move it to different ground, and won’t have to clean it out.
My chicken run area is large, and I already have it divided off into different areas with fences and gates. To protect the hens from the Muscovy drake (at least until I know if he’s going to behave or not) I will let the Muscovies have the south end in the summer, and the north end in winter, the opposite of where the chickens are. Switching them back and forth will keep the chickens happy, because they’ll have new area to scratch around in every few months, and still the ducks plenty of room.
Plus, Muscovy ducks are famous for being fly-eaters. If you have these ducks on your farm, you’ll have around 80-90% less flies.
They are also a very sustainable source of backyard meat. Muscovy breast meat tastes very similar to a sirloin steak, and the females are wonderful and prolific mothers, willing to hatch and raise more than one clutch a year, if you let them.
The biggest con with Muscovies is that they fly. Very well. They like to perch on house roofs. As I live in a urban area, I can’t have my ducks flying into my neighbors’ yards and perching on their roofs. But I found one mail order place that will ship day-old duckling with pinioned wings (the very tip of their wing clipped off, so that they will never be able to fly well as adults). Some people think this is cruel, but actually many states in the USA demand that domestic Muscovy ducks be pinioned, so they can’t escape into the wild and cause problems. Just-hatched ducklings have wings that are mostly cartilage, not bone, and the part they snip off is very tiny. I watched a video of it being done, and the ducklings didn’t even seem to notice. The wings didn’t bleed, and as soon as the man put them down, they ran right back to eating and drinking as if nothing had happened.
The minimum order is 15 ducklings, so if all 15 survive, I’ll either sell a few or stock the freezer. I plan to keep just three: a drake and two hens. If I like them, and don’t mind the process of butchering them, I’ll let them raise a clutch of ducklings every year for the freezer. I’ve never had Muscovy, but duck is my favorite meat, and I’m very intrigued by the idea that the breasts resemble steak in taste and texture. I love the idea of adding more sustainable sources of meat and eggs to the farm, particularly when they come with advantages of fly and rodent control.