I spend a little bit more time than I probably should watching the rabbits enjoying their rabbit tractors. When it comes time to rest at the end of the day, I plop myself on the bench in the shade and let the bunnies entertain me. I know that I should go inside and do the few tasks that it is just too hot to do earlier, but I don’t. I allow myself some downtime and watch the social interactions and the running and jumping. I find their happiness to be outside fills me with happiness, too. I didn’t want to raise them with them never having their feet on the grass.
I know we won’t be able to use the tractors year round. Once the rainy season starts in earnest in October they’ll be lucky to go out once a week. And once the ground is frozen they’ll probably spend six to eight weeks without coming out at all. But I do have an answer for that. We bought a baby gate for the rabbit shed door. We can put that up and let some of them down on the floor to run around, shut the door and leave them out for an hour and then let the next batch out.
I have asked the husband to design something to help waterproof the shelters. I am thinking something like a small hoop house made with 1 inch PVC pipe and a tarp. It would cover the long sides but leave the short sides open for ventilation. It would have to be something light weight that I can move on my own or with the help of my son, but sturdy enough not to blow away in the wind storms we sometimes get. I could use tent pegs and twine to tie it down though. It would have to have a rounded top because we want the rain to run off and not collect on top.
I was teasing my husband about designing little awnings for the rabbit tractors to help shade them better when the weather is scorching. His first degree is in architecture and he got used to designing fiddly bits. Then I was teasing him about perhaps installing little air conditioners in each tractor with their own power units. His second degree is in electrical design. So he has the knowledge, but of course, not the time to do such silly things anyway. We make do with leaning plywood boards across the sunny ends of the tractors or using a ladder and a tarp to drape the sunny ends. It works and we could use stuff we already had around the house.
I didn’t get the rabbits out today as early as usual and the chickens were very funny about it. They’ve taken to watching the rabbits, too. I’ll come out and find them perched on the porch swing and the bench just watching them play. The chickens all started gibbering at me. Made me think they were wondering where the rabbits were. They even followed me to the rabbit shed and then cackled approvingly as my son and I transferred the rabbits from their cages to the tractors. Then when they were all out they strutted around making those little approving noises that chickens make when they are happy.
As for the rabbits, they like to make a run at any chicken that gets too close. It is amusing to watch because even though the rabbit can’t possibly get to a chicken, that hen scoots across the yard like she has her tail feathers on fire. And then of course it is back doing the same thing five minutes later. The chickens also like it every time I move the tractors. They like to scratch amongst the rabbit droppings and pick up any stray bits of the vegetables we feed the rabbits. The range yard is really starting to green up since we’ve been putting the rabbits out. Most of the brown patches are gone or have faded to yellow and you can see the green working its way inward.
On the kit front, 3 have opened their eyes and the other 5 look like squinty old men. A couple of the kits are already bigger than their littermates. This one is the biggest.
Phoebe always checks on the kits when I put one back into the box.
She is very protective, but quite calm about it. I have never seen her show aggression ever. I am hoping that when I breed her next time, with our new sweetheart of a buck Starbuck, that their offspring will be as friendly, calm, and gently tempered. Not that Leo shows temper, really. He’s just stand-offish. And I have no idea what this litter will be like when it grows up.