The first time I chased a bunny was a half-hearted, stooping, grasping reach for Fern, our new doe. I wanted to hold her and pet her soft fur, but she kept hopping away from me. I followed her around the porch for a while until I finally gave up and settled for sitting down and watching her munch on an apple. Lately, chases have gotten more serious. I have cuts on my hands, bruises on my feet, and a significantly deforested cedar hedge. We have fourteen baby bunnies from two litters, and one little white bunny that has escaped the enclosure on three separate occasions—and so far only been recaptured twice.
Our rabbits live in an absolutely beautiful enclosure along the cedar hedge that borders our little parcel here in Craftsbury. They have a raised wire cage full of delicious hay, as many pellets as they can eat, and fresh water. The cage is roofed with steel, complete with overhangs, drip edge, and fascia boards. It is by far the nicest bunny house I have ever seen. The house sits inside a generous fenced enclosure, with grass to munch on and places to play in the stacks of hay underneath the house. Our doe, Fern, has free range of the place—she goes up and down the ramp, along the catwalk (or bunnywalk), up on top of the cage into the loft area, and up to the gate whenever we enter to see what sort of treat we brought. The buck, Bruce, unfortunately has to remain caged. His relentless sex drive necessitates separation from Fern. He seems to have accepted his lot and embraced a Zen lifestyle: he sits impassively, meditatively chewing or dozing. Fern visits often, lying beside him or touching noses. She likes knowing that her guy is there.
Fern has produced three lovely litters of “kits”. The first, a surprise, was discovered in early Spring in Vermont (read: Winter), when Fern and Bruce lived on our porch. She made a nest in a bale of hay, and while we were away on vacation, our house-sitter accidentally let Bruce out of his hutch for a few minutes. That’s all it took. There were seven babies—three albinos just like Bruce, and four brown just like Fern. We constructed an outdoor enclosure one weekend, eager to get the growing, pooping, peeing herd of rabbits off our porch and out of doors. Once their new home was ready, we got to practice our first serious rabbit-catching.