Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Free-Range Bunny Sanctuary

"Do you still have bunnies?
I don't see them in photos.
Are they in the coop with the chickens,
and where do they run, play, and explore?"





Thank you for asking, Zan. We do still have bunnies. Malcolm Browncoat, and Inara, are thriving. Ever since we moved their hutch into the open air barn, they have made it perfectly clear that they are done with hutch living! Now, the hutch is for hens and nesting and egg laying, and the bunnies run and hop all around the enclosure, with the chickens and goats. And beyond!

Most afternoons, the hens are free to roam our entire yard, but time and time again Inara found a way around my blockades to roam in the yard, too. She is a clever and determined bunny! It's not a problem getting hens back into the open air barn, but bunnies are another issue, so we were very concerned about having free-ranging bunnies. Still, no matter what I did to try and keep Inara and Malcolm from escaping, they usually found a way out. It was no small feat to catch them at the end of the day. Sometimes we were successful, other times we chased them into hiding. It was obvious that chasing rabbits is a waste of effort, and only making matters worse. We did not want them to lose all trust in us, or get overly frightened in the pursuit.

So, I talked to the two runaway bunnies, about an honor system. They could come out with the hens, and go back in at dusk when they were so inclined. For our part, we would not chase them, or fret too much for their safety. Maria expressed things quite eloquently when she said, "They love running around. I would rather have a happy life, even if it were shorter, than a long and unhappy life." Malcolm and Inara often slip back into the enclosure, joining the rest of the critters, but some nights they stay out and converse with the wild rabbits, dine on dandelions, and frolic happily. They are seven and eight years old, and I suppose in bunny years, that is old enough to choose to live freely. And when we are with them, in the garden, they do trust us to pet them, and remind them to take care, because we love them so.

12 comments:

  1. Oh, Maria, I do believe what you say is true. Lovely post, Natalie!

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    1. Thank you, Sylvia.
      It was a moment that really stood out... I was trying to be delicate and impart wisdom about the risks and benefits, and as I stammered and hesitated, she spoke her mind. I was reminded, once more, that she is not such a very little girl any more.

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  2. Truly spoken like a mama...ready to let go a bit more ,but still with the worry that never seems to fade. Off subject...how is your quilt going?

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    1. S l o w l y?
      It's all sitting on the ironing board, waiting for me to reignite my quilting spark. I think I am disappointed in how complicated my "simple" plan has become.

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  3. I think this is next on my list once my wife gets over the chickens...she blames you of course!

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    1. uh-oh... I wondered why she hasn't accepted my FB friend request.
      Emily! Are those chickens growing on you, yet? As much as I love my own dear girls, I can still be objective, and if you ever need to vent, I am here and I will listen respectfully, sympathetically. Also: Bunnies are darling and cute and mild and fluffy and funny.

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  4. Imagine my glee when I saw today's post! I am tickled pink to see your bunnies. They always bring a big smile. Happy, healthy, safe, free, loved and loving. Ah, the good life! Thank you for sharing these delightful photos.

    Zan

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    1. A pleasure Zan. Your concern for their well being has always been a support I appreciate. Thank you.

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  5. Lovely bunny. once we will have bunnies too, just the garden is still missing somehow :D

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    1. I've seen many happy indoor house rabbits. Apparently they can litter train, like cats.
      Wouldn't that be fun?

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  6. Very lucky bunnies! I love your entire habitat… it's charming and happy.

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    1. I think they are lucky, too. I like to believe they are deeply happy.

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