Ok so this rabbit malarky is trickier than I at first thought.
1. I assumed the rabbits would stay in the run with the top off and enjoy their semi freedom. I did not realise that even at 11 weeks they could jump up the side of the run and freely enter the garden without so much as breaking a rabbit sweat.
2. I’ve done my research. Little rabbits should only have grass and nuggets for the first 16 weeks ish. Fine I thought, that’s no problem. But see point 1 – it’s hard to control what they nibble when they aren’t where they are supposed to be. Over the weekend I wrestled heather out of their mouths in some bizarre rabbit vs human tug of war.
3. Then there’s vaccination. I was smug and did this immediately we brought them home. Partly to double check that they are girl rabbits, and mostly so I can be assured they don’t catch horrible illnesses. But then last night I noticed a lump on Betsy’s back, and today it looks like a sore on the skin and a lump under it. So it’s back to the vets. It’s either a reaction to the myxomatosis (essentially a bit of the disease, if so ugh) or she’s hurt herself while leaping out of the run (see point 1) or we have hurt her when trying to catch her and put her back. Or she has hurt herself while trying to leap out when the top is actually on. She is a bit dozy. All of these possibilities and more have me extremely worried. Did I really order this extra emotional stress? Surely I can’t have irrevocably damaged her in less than three weeks? If it carries on like this I’ll need counselling.
4. Oh and there’s all the planning. Paul and I have talked endlessly about getting a gate on the side of the house and attaching chicken wire around the shed and decking bottom so they can’t disappear underneath never to be retrieved. It sounded great in theory. If only we had actually got round to doing it.
Today I didn’t slide the catch on the run gate shut enough and the rabbits have seemingly been out in the garden for about two hours today. I nearly had a heart attack when they weren’t in their run and the top was still on. I nearly ran down the street screaming “Rabbit theft!”. Of course they had simply used their skills and thrown themselves at the door until it opened and sought their freedom.
They had a whale of a time essentially eating things they shouldn’t be eating (see point 2) and hiding under the shed (ah the planning). The neighbours must have loved my swearing and running around the garden liked a possessed woman, and especially giggled at my trying to squeeze down the side of the shed. I tried to tempt Petal with a dandelion leaf. Which is ironis since she isn’t supposed to be eating them yet. She was disinterested but probably because she was full up of things of other things she shouldn’t have been eating.
Eventually I caught her and went back to the run to put her in. Of course I had very wisely shut and locked the top and door so Betsy didn’t get out. I couldn’t open it without putting down the rabbit. I tired doing it one handed and inevitably lost Petal again for another ten minutes. Should this really be like the Crystal Maze? And if so where are all the prizes?
So I’m laughing and yet weeping at the same time. And I still have to go to the vets yet to see whether Betsy is alright. Please don’t let me have to nurse her back to health with a pipette.