Rabbits seemed like a quiet and easy addition to the backyard barnyard. Unfortunately, we weren’t quite prepared when the first two rabbits arrived. A cage was quickly set up over the dog house. A big mistake! It was difficult to clean, not being on the ground, and the dogs barking caused stress in the poor rabbits. Before we knew it, one rabbit had babies. And that was another problem. Some froze with the cold as the mother hadn’t made a nest with her fur, others died of starvation, the mom being too stressed to care for them properly, and one poor little bunny rolled out of the cage into the waiting dog’s mouth. Talk about feeling horrible. We were nearly ready to throw in the towel over rabbits but persevered.
The next move was to individual pens with nesting boxes for the expectant mothers. This was the way to go, or so said the reference book about rabbits. However, it didn’t work out quite like promised. Again, the pens were hard to keep clean, and the mother rabbits sometimes didn’t have their babies in the nesting boxes, so again there were frozen and undernourished bunnies.
So the rabbits were moved in with the goats. This was much more to their liking. The back half of the goat corral was sealed off partially, which allowed for a cool and somewhat dark area. The rabbits flourished. Before I knew it, there were bunnies all over the place. One count was over 30 baby bunnies, not counting adult rabbits. There were far fewer health problems as the rabbits pooped and peed on the ground. Mother rabbits tunneled down and built their own nests, warm and dark and safe. The problem then became what to do with so many cute and cuddly creatures.
We learned it doesn’t pay to try to improve on Mother Nature even if the backyard barnyard book says so.