We are the proud owners of three SQUEEE!-inducing baby rabbits.
These little darlings are part of our plan to breed rabbits for meat and for sale, and they are the first litter to come out of the process.
I noticed a few weeks earlier that Sally — their mother — seemed a little swollen. Since she’d been spending a lot of time with a few bucks (Rabbit males are known as bucks, females, are does. Young rabbits are called — adorably — kits or kittens) I figured she might be in the family way.
So I separated her from the boys and waited.
Like the good mother she is, Sally immediately began building a nest from pine straw and bits of fur she pulled from under her belly.
Then, I fought hard against the snow and sleet that has plagued our area. I knew if we couldn’t keep her or her kits warm enough, then the little ones would surely die. We covered her enclosure, packed it full of more pine straw and crossed our fingers and let nature take its course.
Last week, we were feeding and watering the rabbits and that’s when we saw them: Three kits — two grey and white ones and one black and white one.
We congratulated ourselves on our success and started constructing a new enclosure for the little family.
And then one kit disappeared.
It appeared the little escape artist wiggled his way out of the cage, in between the gaps in the wire (narrow enough to hold the mother, but not, unfortunately, one very curious and brave little kit).
That was about 5 days ago.
We feared the worst, until this morning, when we walked out the door and saw a teeny-tiny ball of grey fluff, hanging out next to the garage.
Me and two other Sunshine Brothers lept into action.
I kept eyes on the troublesome little darling, while Oliver fetched me a net attached to a length of pvc pipe we use to catch chickens.
We crept around, getting ever closer to the adorable rodent, with help from young Aaron.
Soon, we were mere feet from the wild beast, and I struck. Heroically, I swung my net toward the beast, faster than the eye could follow, victory surely in my grasp.
Dear reader, I discovered today that rabbits really are rapid little animals.
That tiny little terror sped under the garage much quicker than my net could move, disappearing.
After an animated discussion with Oliver and Aaron to determine who was at fault for losing our prey, we decided to put a little more thought into it. By the way, while we never determined which of us deserved the blame, I did walk away from the chat secure in the knowledge that it wasn’t me. I don’t know about the other two Sunshine Brothers.
I came up with the genius idea of using the creature’s mother to draw the enemy into a trap.
I figured, if we brought the mother’s enclosure close to the kit’s hiding place opened the door a little the the kit — who surely missed its mother — would go inside the enclosure. Then, with our catlike reflexes, we would rush to the enclosure, slam the door shut and capture our prey.
Our little kit came out of hiding. Oliver crept close in an attempt to push the enemy into the cage.
Aaron, who — bless his heart — was unable to stay still, served as a jumping, wiggling distraction for the rabbit.
I kept watch from the deck, maintaining situational awareness as we attempted to flank the enemy and push him into an ambush, using a mother’s love as bait.
Dear readers, baby rabbits may be fast, but they aren’t smart.
This kit obviously wanted to be next to its mother again. It walked right up to her enclosure, and shared a touching moment through the wire.
Then it stood there, maddeningly twitching its nose, ignoring the entrance.
The idiot rabbit refused to go into the enclosure, ignoring the warmth and safety of its mother’s side.
I hated that little rabbit, just a bit, in that moment.
After several attempts over the course of 45 minutes to push the rabbit into the enclosure, only to have it either walk completely around the cage or to run under the garage, I decided it was time we regrouped again.
I gathered the Sunshine Brothers together.
I decided to try our secret weapon — Oliver.
Oliver has a super power: He can remain still and quiet as a stone for extended periods of time.
I’ve seen him fish, silently, staring at the water, for 20 hours solid, wide awake and alert the entire time. Not even moving for a bathroom break.
I placed him about 12 feet from the enclosure, armed with a net and told him to out wait the hateful little monster.
I then sent Aaron wiggling his way into the house and went with him, as I no longer trusted myself to keep the little kit’s best interests at heart.
About 30 minutes later, Oliver came bebopping into the house.
“Got him,” he said.
Evidently, after everyone left, the little rabbit just decided to hop right into the net, easy as pie.
Oliver scooped him up and the little family of four was reunited, just like that.
I really do think I hate that rabbit.