Wednesday, May 8, 2013


The girls fell in love with rabbits ever since this picture was taken by Lilah, the day they met baby bunnies at my friend’s farm. 

There is nothing cuter than baby bunnies.  But like all animals, those cute babies grow up and once the novelty wears off, they are something that must be cared for on a daily basis for years.   Still, the girls persisted that they would love to care for a backyard rabbit and since rabbit poop is an excellent fertilizer, I considered it.

The girls each had to research the care and keeping of rabbits.  They took two very different approaches to this task.  Lilah chose to do an oral presentation.  Her information was written on large sheets of paper organized by topic.  One evening, she gathered us together in the living room and presented her research to us.  

Grace decided to do a formal research report.  She included emails that she sent to our expert friends and their response to her questions.  She detailed the research she did on rabbit feed and possible hutch construction.  The websites she used were listed in her works cited page and pictures were added for visual interest.  

Then we had a talk.  A serious - at the kitchen table talk - about what will happen when it is raining and the rabbit needs food and attention.  Or worse, what will happen when it is snowing and a path needs to be cleared to the hutch.  Will they commit to the care and keeping of a rabbit then?  

We decided to get a rabbit.  After the decision was made the rest of the pieces just fell into place.  The $210 hutch from Agway was found on Craigslist for $50.  A friendly, sweet natured rabbit was also found on Craigslist.  

Another kitchen table discussion was held about the safety of meeting people that advertise products on Craigslist, or any Internet site.  To pick up the hutch, we asked my brother in law for help, not only with his truck but also with his presence in going to a residence of someone we do not know.  Plans were made to pick up the rabbit at the University of Hartford, in a public setting but we decided instead to take a family ride, with Greg, up to Suffield, close to the Massachusetts border to pick up this adorable rabbit.

The girls cannot get enough of this animal.  They love him.  They play with him, feed him a daily mix of greens, replace his pellets and water twice a day and make him toys.  They blocked off an area of our yard that may one day also house a few chickens with some old plastic chicken wire netting.  While I sipped my coffee he explored his new surroundings and intrigued us with an odd jump and mid air twist.  Concerned, we looked up rabbit behavior and discovered that this is called a binky  and it means the rabbit is “joyous”.  This made us joyous too.

Welcome to the family Gilgamesh, a.k.a. Gilly.


Anonymous said...

He's very cute!

Allie did copious research before getting her fish and then again before we said yes to the gerbils. It has paid off, because when something arises, she knows what to do or at least where to look.

Is it safe for rabbits to be outside when it gets cold and snows? They seem so tiny, I would be afraid they would freeze!

Jessica said...

The larger the rabbit, the more they are able to care for themselves. This guy is not a lop ear or a smaller breed, he is some kind of mix possibly a flemish rabbit, his previous owner said. We read many things about the pros and cons of indoor vs. outdoor rabbit. We agreed with the school of thought that rabbits are wild animals by design and able to live outdoors in all conditions. However, since he is in confinement he needs plenty of hay to build his burrow and keep warm. His water needs daily changing (my girls change it twice a day) and in the winter he may need a small heat lamp for a few hours a day. In the summer we can freeze a gallon sized water bottle and put it in his hutch to cool him. We have his hutch in a location that does not get direct sun and in the hot months we will move it to an all shade area. If (when) we have another blizzard we can move him into the garage.

We also learned that you can transition an indoor rabbit to an outdoor rabbit if you move them out in the late spring so they can adjust to the changing temperature and build a thick coat in the fall to keep them through the winter months.

We have learned so much (me included) through this experience. Isn't it amazing to see your children take on something and then have a life animal to care for and implement their learning every single day?!

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