Current index of our menagerie:
1 guinea pig
4 black swallowtail butterfly chrysalises
We lost Taffy over the summer. We still aren’t sure how or why she died. It wasn’t overly hot, and the rabbitry is well ventilated. We suspect it may have been wool block. Long haired rabbits chew on their own fur, which builds up in their digestive tract and can cause blockages. But we weren’t seeing any signs of it, such as rabbit poo linked with fur. She was fine when Hero fed her that night, but the next morning she was dead. So that was really hard. I respectfully collected some of her fur and have spun it into a special yarn for Hero. Now we’re trying to decide what to do next. We could buy a breeding pair, or we may breed Loki with another purebred French Angora to see if we get any long haired babies. That will wait until January or so, though. We don’t want to be dealing with bunny babies during the holidays.
Loki had an unexpected health crisis over the summer. Three weeks before the 4H fair, she got an open sore on her side. I took her to the vet (I’m a bad pet mom. They only go if they are really sick. This was pretty bad.), and it turned out she had a hot spot that went the whole length of her side. Think a really bad blister. The doctor had to cut back a lot of her fur and skin. Brace yourself.
Then we had to put a poultice on it twice a day for two weeks. Which she didn’t like much at all. It healed quickly, though, although not quickly enough for her to be shown at the fair this year. Hero was upset about that, since this was her last year in the club.
The boys did show, and did well. Sam beat his dad out for Best of Breed this year. Tux is so small next to his kids!
Now we’re settling into the fall schedule, making sure the rabbitry is snug for the winter. Sam has decided to channel Houdini, so we’ve had a couple of rabbit chases through the neighborhood. Brat.
The Guinea Pig
We found someone else at the 4H fair:
This is Wheatley. One of Hero’s 4H buddies breeds cavies as well as rabbits, and was selling a couple at the fair. We’ve been trying to convince Xander he wanted a pig for a while now, and he fell in love with this one. I didn’t want to get him that day, as the next day we were leaving to go camping for a week. So we arranged with the owner (and her grandmother) to buy him but then pick him up after we got back. He and Xander are actually pretty well suited. Wheatley doesn’t like to be handled much, and Xander doesn’t like holding him much because he moves weirdly. The two are pretty content just to share space. But he’s been a nice addition to the household.
How does one have half a cat, you ask? Well, Lewis, our grey tabby that we’ve had for about 6 years, has decided he doesn’t want to live with us anymore since the other one moved in. He’s always been an outdoorish cat, but over the summer he just stopped coming home. We know he’s still alive, as both Morgan and I have seen him in the neighborhood. With the seasons turning, we are devising a plan to try to lure him home and get him back inside so we can re-acclimate him to being our cat. Updates as we get on.
Hudson, meanwhile, has settled in nicely. He tolerates the rabbits and can’t really be bothered with the guinea pig, although Morgan says he was kind of a dick to Lewis, leading to Lewis’ emigration.
He’s also decided he wants to be an outdoor cat, too.
He doesn’t go far. Just enough to show me he can do what he likes. Brat. All my animals are brats.
I went out last month to harvest my carrots in preparation for planting a fall crop, and found them covered in these:
I did some quick research and identified them as Black Swallowtail caterpillars. A bit more research, and I brought 4 of them into the house to hatch. Kept stuffing them full of carrot tops, and 5 days later they were all tucked away in their chrysalises.
You can just see two of them hanging from the top of the habitat there. Not as pretty as monarch chrysalises, but interesting nonetheless. We used to hatch monarchs every summer when I was a kid, so this was a flashback for me. But these guys were so late in the season, they’ll stay wrapped up now until spring. We just have to keep the habitat a little humid so they don’t dry out this winter. I look forward to seeing them in the spring!
So that’s the zoo. For now. I don’t forsee us getting anything more, but in this house, you never know…