Bunny Wrangling

[rabbits]Raising rabbits has required far more time than I imagined. They require as much work as the rest of the farm combined! They drink >2 gallons of water a day, and eat 4+ cups of feed, not counting grazing on the weeds we provide them. Far more than our chickens. Plus they’re escape artists we suck at building rabbit enclosures.

We woke up after the first night with our new rabbits to find them grazing in our garden and otherwise spread out over the property. Grazing is probably an understatement, they were pretty much destroying it. I located all but one rabbit, patched the hole and spent much of the rest of the day searching for the errant bunny.

By night I’d given her up for dead, but I left some water out.

The second morning we woke up to find them in the garden *again*, having done much more damage than the night before. They were escaping through my patch in a way I hadn’t seen yet. For good measure the escapee from the night before had returned too. This time I rounded them up again and we applied a much finer eye toward fully enclosing their yard.

I really never imagined that a youth spent chasing lizards would actually be a job skill at some point. I can’t outrun or outmaneuver a rabbit over short distances, but I have a hell of a lot more stamina. Catching them involves running them in circles until they get tired, reaching over and picking them up, ignoring the screaming and kicking long enough to hold them to your chest. Holding them like that calms them for some reason, though they’ll still kick if you don’t hold tight.

I hunted coyotes once with a rabbit call. It worked, but having never heard a rabbit in real life sound like that, I sure didn’t know why. But, rabbits really do make that sound!

I do like having the rabbits around, but we’ve got to find a way to make them less labor intensive. I suspect that raising larger animals is an easier task. Large animals can’t fit into the small places these rabbits can, they will range further for food *and* you can stockpile more of it, and they aren’t as susceptible to predators. (particularly coyotes, hawks, and owls, which we share our farm with.)

Right now, we don’t have the infrastructure for large animals. So we’ll raise rabbits and I’ll dream of how easy it will be to raise turkeys.