“Yes?” I answered.
“We found a bunny! He’s hurt!”
I came out of my office to find my Daughter #1 with a little brown bunny in her arms.
“Where did you find him?” I asked.
“We were out biking and found him in the field,” Son #2 tells me. “His legs are hurt! He can’t hop well!”
I took a look and what I saw made me sick. Someone had pierced both the back legs of the rabbit, right behind the tendons. It’s the sort of cut a butcher would make to hang up an animal – but this rabbit was otherwise unharmed. Some person had deliberately mutilated this rabbit, then somehow he had gotten away.
I petted the poor thing and could feel every bone in his back. He’d also been starved.
“You could call the local SPCA and see if they can take him,” one of my neighbors said when I related the story.
My children meanwhile had gotten water and cabbage leaves and installed the rabbit in a laundry basket on our porch.
“Can we keep him, dad?” Son #2 asks me. “Yes!” says Daughter #1. “Can we?”
I thought about it for a while. We don’t really need any pets, especially without land. And a rabbit is non-productive unless you eat him, right?
Well… maybe not. I got to thinking about how much rabbit manure we used to get from the rabbits Rachel raised for meat a few years back. That manure was amazing – you could really grow plants with it.
And my children already were emotionally engaged with this rabbit, looking after his wounded legs and coddling the starved little escapee.
I decided it was meant to be. He’d escaped some hideous cruelty and deserved a better life. My children would love him and care for him. It was like a prisoner escaping a concentration camp and running across the border…
“You can keep him,” I said. “You just have to pay me rent for the space he takes up.”
“What?” my children said, “what do you mean??”
“I want all the manure for the garden.”
Then they laughed. “Oh Dad, we can do that! No problem! Oh thank you, thank you!”
On the way to church last week the children threw around names. Son #1 made me crack up.
“Hey, let’s call him Vlad.”
“Vlad?” I said.
“Yes! Vlad the Impaled!” he laughed.
The final name came from Son #4 who said, “let’s call him Caspian. I’ve been reading Prince Caspian.”
And Caspian it is. According to what I’ve read online, a rabbit produces around 100lbs of manure a year. That ought to keep my potted plants fed quite nicely.
He’s healing up well now and is a very friendly bunny. I’m having a hard time understanding how such a tame rabbit ended up mutilated and dumped in the wild, but he seems to have come through just fine.
Terrible. Hard to imagine doing that without killing it first, if the intent was to simply slaughter for eating. I don’t want to think about the alternatives.
Yep, little garden food producers. And you can find all kinds of forage there to help feed him with; if not provide all the feed.
There’s a FB group called, Tree Hay that deals in that subject (all animals, not just rabbits). And another called Feeding Rabbits Naturally. Your success in getting this particular rabbit to eat some of these things may be mixed, as it’s probably been raised on pellets. But it’s worth a shot, of course.
Thank you, Duke. So far he’s been happy on Leuacana (which is a good alfalfa substitute), various hibiscus and Ipoemaea family members, plus amaranth and cabbage cores and the occasional ugly kale leaves.
Not at all on the topic of rabbits, but a question. I’ve read that fermented weed juice must be used within three days to avoid some kind of toxicity. I don’t understand and thought that I might just keep a working barrel. Your thoughts, please.
And best to your children and Caspian. Already know that your plants will do well.
Yes, people talk about the anearobic process creating alcohols in fermentation, etc., but that’s never been a problem. Maybe if you pour it on straight. Otherwise, I keep it going continuously for months. The Korean Natural Farming guys claim it gets better after a few months of fermentation.
How sweet! We are contemplating getting our own rabbit friend soon. How are you housing it, indoors?
No, outdoors on the porch. I don’t like having animals inside. Rabbits can share fleas, etc., plus they’ll make a room smell like rodents. Outdoors, though, if you have a shady spot where they’re safe from dogs, coons, etc., they’re quite happy. Probably better for them anyhow.
From Ohio: Yay!! A furry friend for the kids, and poop to boot. Our house rabbit is Gwen, and she is litter-box trained. We got her in December, so I’m curious to see how well everything grows in her manure + wood shavings + urine. I’m looking forward to figuring out what she can eat out of the yard.
Give Caspian and nose rub for us!