Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wistful Wednesday: Rabbits

When I was growing up my brother and I had a rabbit, it was a gift from my Uncle Theron so it was appropriate that the rabbit was named Theron…we may have had more than one rabbit…two maybe.

Years later at the resort I may have taken leave of my senses and purchased two angora rabbits…they died…not sure why.  The children visiting the resort loved the rabbits…the next spring I purchased two regular old rabbits…I was told they were the same sex.  Either both boys or both girls. We named them Ebony and Ivory.

The rabitts

One morning Far Guy hollered for me, something was wrong with Ivory she had blood all over her.  Well I could see nothing visibly wrong with her…then I checked the nest box.  Screamed and slammed the top closed.  Baby bunnies…Ivory was a Mom…which meant that Ebony was the Dad..and they were not the same sex.  Ebony needed to go in his own cage…male rabbits will eat baby bunnies.  Ivory was keeping him at bay…or entertaining him…who really knows what rabbits think.

We went to town and got stuff to build a new hutch…one with an insulated nesting box so the babies would have a chance. One died…as I recall there were 12 little bunnies, they are born hairless or nearly so and look all wrinkled and funny.

We moved the hutches to a spot under the low hanging branches of the Spruce trees where they would be protected by the branches and out of the north wind.  I would have to feed everyone all winter.

Do you know that a rabbits gestation peroid is about 31 days?  

Seems that while Ivory was keeping  Ebony away from her babies…she had been entertaining him…in 31 days we had another batch of rabbits…14 this time if I recall correctly. We had to modify Ebony’s hutch to give him space on one half of the hutch and moved the month old baby rabbits to the other half of his hutch until they could be moved back in with Ivory after the new babies were old enough. 

I fed rabbits all winter and took them fresh water three times a day.   They were tame rabbits and loved to be petted.

At that time we had four Shelties, Misty, Moses, Captain and G’Day Mate.  I taught them not to chase rabbits.  “No chasing bunnies” Oh they wanted too…but they wanted to please me more….and hated being scolded.

Mate me Ebony and Misty

G’Day Mate, Ebony, Me and Miss Misty watching from outside of the fence.

The dogs were curious about the bunnies but left them alone.  You see my plan was to release some of the bunnies and find homes for some…my sister Julie took quite a few.

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The release went well. My husband had done the math…once he told me how many rabbits I would have to take care of the next winter I knew I had to release them.

We had bunnies all colors, black, white, and every shade of brown.  I fed them morning and night…they would come running out of the woods when I hollered for them.  A few found the way into the neighbors gardens.  Arvilla once said “Funny we have never had problems with rabbits eating our gardens but now we do.”  Rabbits were everywhere that summer, the tourists thought it was great and little kids would run after them…some of the retired guests would see how many bunnies they could count in a day.

A number of years later when we moved back here just about a half a mile from the old resort we drove in the driveway and there was a bunny that greeted us.  Far Guy said “I bet that is a relative of one of your bunnies.”  I got out of the vehicle and just talked to the bunny, it stood up on its haunches and listened. (Perhaps I am a rabbit whisperer)

So you see the rabbits that feed under the bird feeders in our yard probably look like regular domestic rabbits…because they are relatives of the rabbits I accidently raised.

To this day I cannot understand why rabbits are not raised in poor countries for food.  I found rabbits really easy to raise.

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19 comments:

  1. Female rabbits will kill the babies too, especially if they feel stressed or threatened. You wouldn't have had that happen with your bunny whispering abilities, but I know it does happen.

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  2. My kids raised 4-H rabbits for years. It was a fun project for them. Except for cleaning cages in the dead of winter and trying to keep their water bottles liquid instead of solid anyway. My youngest raised a grand champion angora. Ebony and Ivory are a handsome pair. Bet they had some cute younguns.

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  3. Long time ago I had a friend who raised rabbits for food. They really are quite tasty.

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  4. Well, I have no idea how to tell the difference in sex between rabbits, and that store owner obviously didn't know either. I also have wondered why rabbits are not used for food more often, since they breed prodigiously and I hear they taste pretty good, too. Like chicken. :-)

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  5. As a teen I got 2 mice. And then.....when we were up to 20 my Mom started giving them away. I guess they breed like rabbits.

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  6. You had many surprises with the bunny adventure. I'm surprised they survived in the wild . Usually not many of the young survive. and the old ones die off.

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  7. My Mom and her siblings raised rabbits. She said they could only be eaten in months with a "r" because of some disease rabbits get.

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  8. I gather the saying "breeding like rabbits" has some validity. Here in Fillmore county feral cats and deer would be more appropriate. For the former I've trapped large numbers and humanely disposed of them, while the 27 I counted in my back yard recently escaped unharmed as I have retire my bow after some years of unsuccessful deer hunting due to my inability to hit the broad side of a barn. btw I made a historically relevant reply to your voting comment on my blog...:)

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  9. We tried raising rabbits, which we would take to a drop-off point where there was a big truck with cages and the guy would buy the rabbits and take them to a packing plant. We did not have very good luck with our rabbits. Our does killed their babies or wouldn't take care of them properly (they would pee on the babies which would then freeze), and many of them died. Then I think the "deal" with the company that was buying them fell apart. We figured out we were spending more money on rabbit feed than we were making, and so we ate them all. But you're right. But yes I agree, rabbits would be a good choice for food in poor countries. And their poop is good for the soil for raising vegetables.

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  10. I wouldn't have thought they'd have survived in the wild. My goodness. Around here they'd be eaten by coyotes, as they wouldn't have a den, or camouflage!

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  11. I'm impressed with your figures on how swiftly rabbits multiply! Fortunately I have only one bunny and I don't intend to get another.

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  12. Never knew you were The Rabbit Whisperer! ;)

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  13. One place we lived had domestic rabbits gone wild. We made pets of some of them, and ate some of them. But not the pets!

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  14. I love this about the bunnies! I had no idea there could be 14 babies in a litter. That's so funny how you released them and had rabbits all over the place. No wonder everybody thinks it strange that I have two female rabbits and one male and only one female has had one baby.

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  15. Bunnies - my last rabbit at home "Charlie Brown" was released and he stuck around the farm (under the grainery) for a long time :)

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  16. You have the greatest stories! I never had rabbits except in my garden but they're darn cute!

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  17. I really like the rabbits story. I can see how it would be easy for someone to sell you a male and female because the seller probably didn’t know nor care. Our neighbor is an old farmer who thinks all wildlife roaming needs to be eliminated. We do have two squirrels right now but only one rabbit in the yard. He knows I don’t like it but when we are at church or shopping he can do whatever he wants. We really don’t know as they come and go anyway but we did have a small one and a couple of larger rabbits. We are down to one.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie