Yesterday the kids went into the pen after school and when I moved a nest box, there were seven bunnies in the corner! Now there were three spotted, two black, a wild-colored brown, and the chocolate torte (clearly the runt). The kids caught all but the third spotted kit, which somehow magically vanished from a building with concrete floors...
Today I figured I should get photos and post them on the rabbits page. When we came home this evening, as we pulled in the driveway, Tony noticed a little spotted bunny on the wrong side of the fence. An escapee! In the pursuit of catching that one, I discovered a black bunny in the plants beside the building too. The kids came together and managed to catch two spotted bunnies, two black bunnies, and one brown bunny, but couldn't find the third spotted or the chocolate torte bunnies.
I got the extra wire out and closed up all possible escape routes, places where the chicken wire may have had a gap, and re-sewed up the space between the wire on the fence and the gate, and was lamenting about our lost bunnies, when I saw one of the momma bunnies scratching at the edge of the fence. I figured maybe there was a dandelion or something she wanted just out of reach, so I walked around to see - but all that was there was a small hole in the ground (outside of the fence), and in it, I could see a spotted baby hopping back and forth. I had discovered the burrow! I called Tony and #3 for backup.
Tony reached in the hole and pulled bunny after bunny after bunny after bunny out... Little bunnies... Clearly the siblings of the chocolate torte (he wasn't the runt after all, just a younger litter). When he could no longer reach any bunnies, #3 took her turn. Her arms are thinner so she could reach further. She managed to pull two more out. We ended up with a total of 13 from the newer litters. Wow! And there was fresh pulled fur in there and one frantic momma re-digging a tunnel back in. Rather than filling the hole in, we covered it with a brick and left it. I suspect we may have more babies soon.
I took photos of each of the new babies before handing them off to kids, who brought them into the building and put them into a nest box. Who knows if they'll stay there, but at least we have a head count now and an idea where to look in the future.
The biggest surprise with the new bunnies? There's a black bunny with one white foot and a Rex coat! I am putting their date of birth as May 16th (30 days after the last of the colony babies were born last month). Some may be older than that. This means they will be ready to leave to new homes June 27th (six weeks old).
We stopped by the old house to mow, and I walked with the kids to the greenhouse (while Tony mowed). We picked up one okra plant, one Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe, one Black Pearl Pepper, One Purple Basil, one Lime Basil, two Purple Beauty Peppers, and four red cabbage (I forget the name). It came to just under $20. I planted the cabbage in the brassica border garden to replace the plants that have already died or the chickens have destroyed. The cantaloupe was planted in the center of a big container with lettuce sprouts around the edge to replace the bush zucchini I planted as the centerpiece that my birds devoured as it sprouted.
My mom is coming by tomorrow to pick me and some of the kids up to go back to the greenhouse and pick out flowers for her deck planters. She's having a gathering at her house next week and wants everything to look nice. So of course, I peeked at all the flowers while we were there so I'd know just what to suggest. We'll see what she likes and what goes well together.
This morning Tony and I got ten of the fourteen trees planted that were supposed to be in the front fields. We got two Dwarf American Hazelnut bushes, both Contender Peach trees (I suspect both are dead), the Methley Plum (also dead), both of the Keiffer Pear trees (one is likely dead), one State Fair apple tree, and one Frostbite apple tree planted. I ran out of landscape fabric, so we only mulched the two hazelnut twigs (poor things are so small, they'd get lost in the grass if we didn't mulch.
All the while, my supervisor (our barn cat, Gypsy) kept micromanaging everything and making sure I wasn't slacking...