Today my dream came true! I came home this afternoon with four beautiful bunnies in the back of a car, each one cooped into a borrowed cat-carrier for the half-hour drive home.
Earlier today I was in a rush putting the last few poles on my grow cages which are my bunny’s temporary homes. And Nukka would not stop freaking out. She has been cooped up far too much without our fence and is becoming impossible to control. Every day it is nothing bt whining and wrestling and playing and just general going crazy. Under normal circumstances I would kick the dogs outside to play but no fence. I would say I coud walk them but as previously stated she tore up BOTH gentle leaders in a fit of despair and so now walking the girls without loosing my arms is nearly impossible. Neither of them like to walk nicely on a normal collar.
So as a solution I broke one of my rules and let my dogs in the garage. Now I feel like garages and un-finished basements are not the appropriate places for beings incapable of properly watching where they step, unaware of the gravity of consequences. As a child I was always told to wear shoes in garages, basements and attics as to not step on a rusty nail or bit of glass and die. So letting my dogs in the garage seemed unwise but I did it anyhow under close supervision. They had a blast bouncing and sniffing and climbing the piles on hay as I finished my work and by the end of it they were MUCH calmer dogs… So much so that the next time I shut them inside there were no more howls of tragedy coming from my little husky. Thank. Goodness.
After that I finished that last few poles on the grow-cages. Basically I just needed a basic structure. There will be some improvements in the 2.5 months before baby bunnies get moved in. So they’re very firm structures with some gaps that won’t hold baby bunnies… Yet.
After that it was off to the feed store, four borrowed cat carriers (each with a handful of that nice looking hay stuffed inside) in tow. We picked up two bags of rabbit feed, a bag of cracked corn and moved on.
Before much longer we pulled up to the place where the rabbits were and the rest was a slight blur. They had about a dozen bunnies being kept, as expected, in “industry standard” cages. These things aren’t exactly tiny but I strongly hesitate to call them adequate. A quick google image search for “rabbit breeder cages” will show you what I mean. Rabbits are one of the best-treated animals in factory-animal industry because they are mostly a fur commodity so they MUST look nice. So these animals can turn around, stretch, even hop a few steps, have a place to rest off of the wires and are kept clean unlike, say, chickens or pigs. However that’s like saying keeping a person in a closet is better than being in chains. While technically true it’s not a very big improvement. However they weren’t really being unkind… I believe they were just trying to be efficient. All their chickens were free-range on their property. There were a dozen chickens eagerly circling my feet as I went to look at the rabbits, and a little 14-year-old dog trailed cheerfully after me as well. It also seemed like the rabbits got to spend time ranging in an animal tractor sometimes. It was as much as I could expect of anyone. In fact… It was exactly what I expected.
I came in, intending to walk out with a pair of Californians and two NZW does. That didn’t happen. The Californian doe did not look as well as the other rabbits and her markings were very poor, being grey and patchy. And here I was wanting purebred rabbits. So I instead picked up the biggest buck I have ever seen in the form of a NZW, two NZW does and a Californian/NZW cross that was very mild-mannered with solid markings. Man got paid, rabbits got stuck in the car and away we went!
Back home at last I went to work putting hay in the new cages and fashioning some thick cardboard barriers to divide the cages. And then in went the rabbits at long last! We decided that we would name them after dog-food brands since someday that is what they may very well become.
Upon arrival several things became clear.
- These rabbits love their hay a lot and were eating it right away
- Half a grow-cage is actually slightly LARGER than what they were staying in before coming to me
- These will NEVER be sold as pets. They are very skittish, as expected.
- That skittishness will make health-checks hard.
- Purina is a crazy rabbit.
- They have no concept of “escaping” or moving around a whole-lot.
When placed in the cages, despite only a few layers of cardboard between them and no roof whatsoever they made no effort to attempt things like standing up, pushing on the walls or even running around for all the hours they were there. In fact there were no tops on the cages for 3-4 hours and no effort was made to stand. Which brings up why I insist on larger cages. Frankly… I don’t think these rabbits have ever had the space to stand up all the way or jump as adults. And that’s not the way I want my animals to live. I want them to have space to move naturally in any way at all. And now they will have exactly that. In fact they have more (comfortable) space now than likely ever before. And at the end of the day that’s a great thing.
So now my adventure begins! After a week of hard work I have many more ahead but I am on a path I want to be on. And that makes me happier than anything else. Full steam ahead!