This week I’m a big meanie because we went to a petting farm where there were rabbits. My oldest daughter had been asking the owners some questions and found out that the particular rabbit she was holding was for sale.
She was very insistent that she was going to get this rabbit by the end of the week.
I stuck to my guns and she didn’t get the rabbit.
I do sound like a big meanie I know and really I was, but this is the story why I will never again own a rabbit.
Once upon a time we bought a rabbit. We were a young new couple with our first and only baby girl.
What we didn’t know as we brought it home from the animal shelter was that it was pregnant.
We put it in its single hutch and went to bed, dreaming of our little girl being able to play in the grass with her new friend, just like on teletubbies (seems along time ago now doesn’t it).
When we came down the next day there were 8 new born rabbits in the hutch.
We were so excited. We named them all and got them out in the front room to play with them. They would all hop around and our new baby girl would giggle and grab as they came near. It was idealic.
But our first problem was where to put them. We couldn’t afford a hutch straight away so they grew up all in the same hutch until a month later. The space inside gradually getting more and more cramped. Even with two hutches there wasn’t enough room and soon our problems grew.
They tore up the garden and made burrows everywhere. One was so deep that it went into next door. And they would hide and not come out until we flushed them out with water. Even so we were going to get even more in trouble.
Always think where sayings come from. The one me and Mrs Berg had overlooked was “breed like rabbits”. This saying came to pass because, as we were about to discover, rabbits breed with anything, anytime, anywhere. Soon we didn’t just have the 9 rabbits anymore but at the most count (and this is a real number) we had 42!!!
Now we were overrun and without being able to sex them quick enough there was no way to separate them into boys and girls.
Ultimately we had to make a decision to make. There was a petting zoo near Horwich in Bolton that received 39 baby rabbits one day. That was a lot to take in and we were extremely grateful. We kept the original 9 rabbits. And split them into 3 hutches and hoped that they would not breed again before we could get to the vet.
However that is sadly not where the story ends.
A few weeks after we awoke to massacre. Our hutch was broken, the door torn off. A litter of rabbits lay dead across the garden.
My heart sank as I took in what I saw. Around 5 bodies were recovered from the garden. They looked like they died of shock. 1 of the babies was missing. The big mother of all the rabbits was also missing, we never saw it again.
We genuinely couldn’t work out if a fox had got in and took away the big one and the baby in the night. Chasing the others to death. Or if more sinisterly they had been stolen by a human. Whichever the monster, we were devastated.
Only 3 survived. 2 girls and one boy. Sooty, Daz and Cole. They had hid in one of the tunnels and emerged to tears of joy later in the day.
We sadly buried the other rabbits but a week later we had to reopen the grave and add Cole to the earth. He was half ate by a fox also.
By this point I had really had a heartbreaking experience with rabbits. Luckily the last two lead a happy and fulfilled life with us until only a year or so ago. It was a nightly ritual to catch them and I thought “feed the rabbits” was Mrs Berg’s catchphrase at one point.
They were very good pets and when they finally joined their brothers and sisters. As a family we are loyal to our pets and they quickly become family, I will never forget the ones we lost.
It is for this reason I will not have any more rabbits and I will have to be a big meanie for a while longer.