Okay, so one of the little bunnies is back in a cage...
Ever since the little kits opened their eyes, there was one bunny in particular that seemed "possessed". Even as small as it was, you couldn't pick that thing up without it biting and scratching your hands to a bloody mess (my own hands can attest to that). It was a lovely Californian colored buck, who had blue points instead of black. He was a good size, had nice conformation, and showed potential as future breeding stock. But oy, was he aggressive!! I wondered if he didn't have some sort of mental problem...
When the youngsters all got put out to pasture, this little demon of a rabbit was always escaping. He never dug, but rather found the tiniest dips in the ground and would squeeze under. None of the other bunnies have attempted to get out, but instead have been content to graze and enjoy their spacious enclosure. Catching this escapee was a challenge, but I always got him back.
Then, two days ago he escaped yet again. And of course, he just had to do it during a "Nor'easter". The sun was hidden behind thick, angry clouds, and the wind pummeled the barn with such ferocity that I truly, honestly thought that the roof was about the blow off (scared the wits out of me!). Hail pelted the ground, stinging my ears and face as I scrabbled to secure the "rabbit tractor", and then I saw him: that wascally wabbit. He was out again. In the storm. And I couldn't catch him.
I darkly thought about getting the .22 and just picking him off. He's been nothing but trouble since he was born, and I didn't want him running loose in the wild. But I let him go; hoping that he would still be around in the morning when I had more energy and ideas about getting him.
Turns out that he was clean gone by the next morning and I couldn't find a trace of him. I chalked him up as a loss, and continued on with life. But oh darn it, he showed his bewhiskered face in the pasture this afternoon as I was mucking the barn out. I threw down my pitchfork and prepared for battle. It was the Farm Girl vs. Fluffy Bunny. I actually think we were pretty evenly matched...
I used all the stealth, cunning and wit that I've accumulated over the years (which doesn't really amount to much, but hey...) as I stalked this red-eyed Thumper. He was fast... I almost had him when -- NOOOOO! He went and hid between the shop wall and a stack of straw bales. The crack between the two measured three inches. Now, if these were just plain ol' straw bales, then no sweat. Just move the bales, extract rabbit and be done with it. But alas, the bales started out last September as 90 lb. 3-stringers. They've sat in the same spot for seven solid months, soaking up copious amounts of Oregon rain. They were now twice their original weight, which puts them quite close to 180 lbs. each. Ouch.
Much grunting, shoving, sliding, and glaring at too-curious goats ensued before I had those bales moved enough to see a rabbit tail in the wet depths of this tunnel. I boarded up each side of the stack to keep this furry fiend from getting away again and began working on shooing him into an area in which I could nab him.
Ten excruciatingly long minutes later, I nabbed him!! Aha! Victory is mine! Farm girl = 1 point. Fluffy Bunny = 0 points. When the little fluff ball realized that he had been caught, he let out an ear piercing scream. If you've yet to hear a rabbit scream, just know that it's louder than you would expect from something so small. It's a noise similar to a horse screaming, but harder on the ears.
He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. Shucks, I was being as gentle as can be, but that didn't matter to him. He twisted around, biting and scratching anything he could (you should see my hands NOW!), and still screaming. I swiveled my head around as I walked to the barn, looking to see if any neighbors were coming to see what the hullabaloo was about. Thankfully no one was in sight. Either they somehow couldn't hear it, or they were in their homes calling the ASPCA... Hmm.
I finally got the little fella' in a cage and watched with raised eyebrows as he climbed up the wire walls of the cage and began clambering along them like a squirrel. Um, now I've seen rabbits do a lot of things, but have you ever seen an 8 week old rabbit scale wire walls and start madly running along the length of them? He soon stopped his climbing only to begin charging the sides of the cage and flipping back when his body made contact with the rigid bars.
He showed no fear during all of this. Instead he just acted... Possessed. Almost rabid. It kind of freaked me out, and I carefully put him into a larger cage in the rabbitry. He definitely acts like he has some sort of mental problem, but I really have no clue as to what to do about him. If I can get him to grow for just four more weeks, then that will at least be meat in the freezer. But oy... It's like having my own personal "were rabbit". ;)