Someone may have spilled the beans to the baby rabbits that they’re destined for the freezer….
I went into the bunny shed yesterday morning and was faced with a locked door mystery; all cages correctly fastened up but two innocent-looking fluffy little bunnies in the middle of the floor. Investigation showed that I had one escapee from each of the cages of babies.
Now, this mystery didn’t puzzle me for more than a couple of minutes becuse I’m fairly familiar with what passes for a thought-process in a rabbit. The little darlings had eaten all the hay in their racks, climbed into the racks and straight out through the top, then fallen onto the floor. Fortunately rabbits bounce quite well and can jump many times their own height quite safely, both up and down. It’s still not desirable, of course!
The hay-racks on most of the cages are constructed by taking a rectangle of chicken wire and fastening it on the inside of the weld-mesh doors, which even a Houdini-rabbit can’t escape through. On the three older cages, though, they’re made from ice-cream cartons wired onto the outside of the doors and with a slot cut in the top so I can stuff hay in. A slot cut through the weld-mesh at the bottom of the door allows the inhabitants to reach in and pull hay out from the rack.
When I put these together, I had slightly bigger bunnies in the cages and there was no way they could slither through a gap in the wire a mere inch and a half tall. Baby rabbits, on the other hand, can wriggle through crevices like furry toothpaste.
I restored the babies to their cages and stuffed the hay-racks full again, then went away to ponder the problem.
I was still pondering when I went out last thing to top up food, check water and generally make sure everyone was safely in bed. This time there were four of the little beggars scampering about the floor! All of the lower cage plus one from the upper cage. After some scampering of my own and with the assistance of my daughter (she only came to spectate but got roped in!), I recaptured them and put them back in the cages again.
Some ferretting about in the various piles of wood off-cuts (you never know when something may come in handy!) produced two small pieces of 2×4 timber, each just the right size to slip into the top of a hay-rack on top of the hay. As the bunnies eat the hay from the bottom of the rack, they move downwards and end up blocking (hopefully!) the slot the escapees have been using for their break-outs.
This morning all rabbits were still safely in the proper cages, so I think it worked. I just have to wait and see what the Escape Committee comes up with next….