Okay, don’t get me wrong. I love nature. It’s very beautiful and all that. But sometimes nature sucks.
Looking at some things that are in nature we see joys like parasites and disease. Predation in it’s most violent forms. We see snowstorms and hail and hurricanes. And for every birth there is a life squashed out of existence. For every time someone stares in awe at a hawk soaring over-head there is another person with a small, 5lb dog that is their best friend staring at the hawk with suspicion and horror.
Many people idealize nature. I admit, I have too. But I am also aware of the more vicious side of it and would prefer to be without it at times. Recently has been one of those times.
Tasty rejected her kits. She wouldn’t care for them or nurse them and by the end of the second day two more had died. That meant there was one left, healthy and squirming. I was slightly torn as one kit means a long time to not breed a doe for just one baby. But right as I decided to see if Tasty would raise it she solved the problem for me her own way. I walked downstairs only to see the kit on it’s back, organs everywhere, throat ripped out and feet missing. Tasty was covered in blood as she continued her snack unashamed as there was stomach acid pussing out of the baby with every twitch of the mom.
Now many animals do this. It’s not just rabbits. It’s almost any prey animal that has it’s young in a den. Everything from mice to meerkats do this. There are evolutionary reasons for it… Recycling nutrients, preventing predator detection, making room for the next litter, destroying a rival’s litter… And it’s not like this was my first disembowled and cannibalized animal, either. When I worked at the petstore many of the moms ate their young and the Siberian Dwarf Hamsters would literally rip eachother apart and drag the bits across the cages. But this one was particularly gruesome, and later upon hearing the description my sister said “You know she clearly ate the feet so it wouldn’t get away!”. Scary thought. Not that newborn rabbits can walk, but still. Cannibalism is especially unacceptable in breeding rabbits.
At this point Greg and I were not up for valentines day anymore, so by the time yesterday arrived we had decided to do it later. Instead I went to see my mother in the hospital for a few hours. She was doing better than before, was eating at last and sitting upright in a chair. Her fever has been gone and they are working on re-building her lungs since one of them partially collapsed after the surgery. We even tried to play some Boggle but she found it too hard to focus on the letters to write words. Her condition is another one of nature’s joys and because of it they had to remove a foot of her intestine and she now has several tubes sticking out of her belly. It was our hope that she would be able to attend our first harvest of rabbits at the end of the month, but now I am not so sure about that happening.
Good things have happened in the last few days too. After visiting my mother, we went home with my sister to eat a dinner of falafel and roasted vegetables which was delicious. And my two does went home today to be a little girl’s 4H project.
Decisions were made on chickens, us deciding to start with 2-3 inexpensive hatchery-stock egg layers (sex links) just to see how it feels. Now I need only to build my coop and get the birds in that regard.
And I may have already found a replacement for Tasty. She has officially become a detriment to our herd. It is my goal to replace my rabbits by the end of the year anyhow (the two white does with their offspring, Nutro and Tasty with completely new rabbits) it just so happens Tasty will be the first to go. She is aggressive, not producing well, and rejected and cannibalized her young. Because I feel she has SOME potential, I will be offering her to my sister who breeds meaties but only owns mutts and if she doesn’t want her, the dogs will get a treat. I will be replacing her with a Standard Rex, a beautiful if slightly smaller rabbit with strong genetics and the most lovely fur. I have a breeder that can bring them very nearly to my house and she has both a six month old black Otter doe (breeding age) and a litter of Castor bunnies (beautiful rabbits) due in a week. It’s hard to decide between the two.
Regardless, in general I am a little disenchanted with nature right now. When spring FINALLY hits in a month’s time I will be back to loving it. My seeds are sprouting and sending up shoots and in a month they will be flourishing. But in the meantime? Nature sucks.