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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rascally Rabbits!

You won't believe this, but I was in absolute shock and horror yesterday when I found Flossy, the mama bunny, and Bugsy, one of the papa bunnies, running around together in the back yard. I nearly collapsed in despair... NOOO! What am I going to do with more bunnies!? [Palm slaps forehead.]
Flossy (right) not looking very happy to be back in the tractor.

Thirty minutes previous, Bugsy and Squirrel (the other male) were securely locked in their cages. I had let Flossy out to get her morning run around the yard before it was time to put her back in the bunny tractor with the babies, while Bugsy and Squirrel had their run. I went into the house to do something, and came back out a half an hour later to find Flossy and Bugsy cavorting around by the beehive. I scooped up Flossy and marched her back to the bunny tractor, most likely too late. It looked like Bugsy had already gotten to her. Arrrghhh!
That scoundrel Bugsy, hanging out with Scout.
After putting Flossy back, I went to inspect Bugsy's cage. The door was locked shut! I was puzzled. I pulled the cage out and tugged on the wire here and there, and discovered to my dismay that the wire at the very back corner had come apart due to missing J-clips (little metal clips that hold the wire panels of the cage together.) The wire in that corner was slightly rusted, so the J-clips had probably rusted and come loose. I am sure with some persistent nudging, Bugsy was easily able to squeeze himself through the gap. I cursed myself for underestimating the power of male hormones and the biological drives that bunnies naturally possess. Apparently Flossy running by his cage now and again, flaunting her heady female scent, was enough incentive for him to furiously seek a way out. Dang it. I knew I should have kept them in iron boxes with padlocks! (Kidding of course, please don't call PETA.)

Seriously though, Flossy has just barely finished raising the last batch of kits, and I wasn't planning to call the vet to have her spayed for another week to be sure she was completely finished with her nursing cycle, etc. That old cliche about rabbits... it's nothing to mess about with. I can attest, that it's absolutely true. We are planning to keep them all though, unless we happen upon people by word of mouth who are experienced bunny people.

The more I learn about rabbits, the more I understand that they are complex little creatures. They are not a simple pet to keep and are definitely not a good pet for children! I would recommend to anyone who wants a rabbit to do their homework first. Then do a little more homework to be sure. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not cuddly, they don't like being held, they are very nervous creatures, and have very strict dietary needs- just the slightest thing like introducing a new vegetable can cause a digestive upset and must be done in the right way. We adopted our rabbits with the understanding that they are what they are- not obedient or affectionate pets, and that while they can be friendly, they aren't like our dogs and cats, or even the pet rats I've had in the past. I think a lot of people out there don't realize that until it's too late and they are already bored with them (which is why there are so many rabbits up for adoption.)

Also, a word on house rabbits. We gave it a try with Beep Beep, but even after rabbit-proofing the house, I am almost certain she found something to chew on that must have poisoned her, because her illness and death were so sudden. It left me feeling like a horrible pet owner, even though I did everything right according to the House Rabbit Society. I am beginning to agree with the sentiments about house rabbits on My Bunny Farm, that rabbits don't belong in the house because a rabbit will chew on everything, whether it's meant to be chewed or not. You can turn your attention away for 5 minutes and they can chew and ingest something that you won't even know about. I don't think I'll be training anymore house rabbits, my bunnies seem to love being outdoors in their bunny yard much better anyway. When they aren't running around in the bunny yard, they are safe in their cages during the night. I'm just not sure this trend of "house rabbits" is a good thing because it may be promoting the wrong people to adopt rabbits, when there are much better pet choices for indoors.



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