When we moved to our house, I knew we’d have rabbits. I wanted another Owen. It took a a year and a bit of wily behavior on my part to make that reality, but then Pops came into our life and garden. I loved Pops: he was BAD-ASSED! The truth is it has never been the same for me since. I’ve not really loved the foster rabbits we’ve had since. They weren’t handled young so it’s been much too easy to just leave them in the hutch without the type of interactions and stimulation they need. Rabbits are funny, social creatures so we went through the process of bonding a pair together, but when Charlotte just unexpectedly died, it became clear to me that it was time to send Emily to a new home.
We like to travel and having an urban farm makes this difficult. While I can leave the chickens in good conscious for a weekend, or have the neighbors drop by to check on them if we’re out longer, I never felt that way about the rabbits. I wanted someone looking at them daily, checking on the water and making sure they weren’t frightened. I wanted them out of the hutch and cuddled and set in the grass to play, which means we always needed to find a house-sitter. It added a level of complication to every single trip we took.
I would highly recommend rabbitry to anyone who likes being at home— in so many ways they are much better than chickens: quiet, less smelly, poop the best fertilizer for the garden, and a relatively inexpensive backyard meat if you were into that. But they do require attention and the more attention you give them, the happier they are.
It took about six months to finally admit it was time to say goodbye to the rabbits and sell our lovely hutch. We’ve got a big blank space there now which makes me sad when I am doing dishes and looking out into the French Garden. It’s going to look lonely all winter, but after four years of rabbit poop there, I am imagining we will have amazing peas and tomatoes there this time next year and I’ll be leaving for camping trips a little less worried about our lonely rabbits.