Friday, February 20, 2009

Institutionalized rabbits

I've never owned rabbits before. In fact, beyond turtles I've never really had pets. The rabbits I own sort of fell into my lap which is the only reason I own them. You see, I was working on a fence in October when a very pregnant rabbit snuck onto the property and had a litter. The owner of the house didn't want to kill them, but he also couldn't keep them because of his wife's allergy. I told him if he'd help pay for a hutch, I'd take them off his hands. I bought a hutch and a book on raising rabbits and now I'm raising rabbits. However, the book on raising rabbits doesn't talk about the psychology of rabbits and it is in this that I think I might have done some harm.

Because the 4 full size rabbits are currently in one hutch (That will change on the 28th), the kids let the rabbits out each day into a caged area for grazing or eating. On Saturday evening the rabbits were out front and I was in the house washing dishes. Suddenly I see in the back yard a white fluff advancing along. It was Momma Rabbit (or Supper as the kids call her). I called to the other kids to let them know we had escapees. We all rushed out front only to discover one escapee. The boys were all near the opening in the fence, looking at it but not running. I don't think they knew what to do.

Supper has known a life outside the cage, but Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner know nothing of that life. They have been caged their whole lives. Without trying to do it, I think I institutionalized them. They are now caged animals and would prefer to live that way.

I'm trying to figure out if I can do this to mom or if I should undo this with the boys. I'm not sure which but I find it very interesting that those three boys didn't run.

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