Available this Month:
- Whole Processed Rabbits
- Raw Goat’s Milk
- Chicken & Duck Eggs
- Goat’s Milk Soap
- Chèvre Goat Cheese
- Whole Processed Goose
- Rabbit Pelts
- Hatching Eggs
Happy new year from Hobbit Hill. This year kicks off our sixth year breeding our French Black Copper Marans. These beautiful layers of deep coppery-brown eggs are increasingly popular in recent years with the growing interest in backyard flocks which lay an assortment of colorful eggs.
To complement that basket of decadent chocolate tone eggs, we also offer green, aqua, pale blue, and robin’s egg blue. We are working on a top secret selective breeding for a lavender colored egg which we hope to offer by next year.
After opening hatching egg orders on the first of the year we booked into March for our Marans! Our Easter and Olive Eggers have shorter waitlists. Our first shipped eggs were received just yesterday safe and sound.
With a cold snap depending on Maine over this weekend driving temperatures below zero with bone-chilling wind gusts up here on the mountain, I find myself collecting eggs every hour. I paused all mailed orders and contacted pick-up orders who are next in line to keep the eggs moving. We will also be offering chicks, ducklings, goslings and Polish pullets as spring draws near.
Meat rabbits sold out the last two litters with another inquiry yesterday. We currently have five ready for the butcher block. We do not use a “hopper popper” to ensure the rabbits are never stressed or have any idea they are to be sacrificed for food. This makes for not only more tender meat, but for my peace of mind.
There have been some very nasty emails, messages and even threats surrounding our raising of these animals for food. I have been told we are eating pets. To this I reply, all of our animals are treated the same here. My cat is given the same care and respect as each animal raised with the intent of eating. Cows, pigs, and chickens make good pets too. They are housed comfortably, fed a free-choice diverse diet, treated with kindness, snuggled then slaughtered quick and painlessly.
This week we had two Californian litters born with 8 and 5 kits. Both are first time mothers. One doe seems like a shitty mom and the other is just great. I plan breeding to have kits born together so I can move them to the better mother or even out a big litter. Once we had a rabbit kindle 16 kits! After some grew thin I had to cull the runts to save the stronger, larger kits. It was a hard thing to do. From then on I planned breedings to prevent this from happening. With the cold snap this week I fear the fully-enclosed rabbit house will not be warm enough for the kits and plan to bring them all in the house today. My poor husband.
Speaking of animals in the house, we had an early arrival. One morning on my way out the muck out the stalls and change the bedding, I heard an infant. There were no cars around and I don’t know anyone who would visit with a newborn. My heart leapt as my brain connected the sound to a baby GOAT. We had not been expecting one for two months. I ran and stopped—the does would all go nuts if I went in without fresh hay as I do each time I enter. I turned back and grabbed a gracious armful. I ran with loose wisps of hay trailing behind me and chucked it onto the snow once I opened the gate. All the does but one came running.
I turned to the barn to see Candy still squatted over a membrane of squirming, crying muck that was all legs and hooves. I wasn’t sure if I should cry, laugh or panic. I did none, and quickly wiped the membrane off and stuffed the sticky critter in my coat. The dirty floor was no place for him.
Boy way my husband surprised when I came back to the house!I handed him over and went back to muck out the barn, lay new bedding and reunite the tiny buckling with his dam. Long-story-short, we bottle raised him and sold him at 10 days old.
Apparently his dam, Candy, who we purchased this past summer was bred a week prior to our purchase. We have had her and her sister, Apple, since August and bought them as our first milkers. They were both in their first freshening. They were quite thin, had poor coats and were shy. It took months for me to gain their trust—and to learn how to milk them. Now they come to their names, eagerly hop up for milking without restraint and stay until I say “free”. They are sweet as can be now and I can milk into a mason jar in a few minutes flat.
Just last week we picked up a six-month-old doe, Klassy, to add to our herd. She is a joy to have around and is full of energy. She enjoys joining me for morning rounds and is a great listener. Her coat is thick, she’s perfectly plump, and obviously well cared for.
Enjoy the snow and stay warm!
Mandy Wheaton & Critters