My husband and I were just enjoying our anniversary running errands alone. Kiddo was at a sleepover the night before and was enjoying the extra time with his great-grandparents. Our travels took us to Murdoch’s in the next town over in search for a large tarp we could cover the basement with to minimize the ground soak with the upcoming storm. I cannot be trusted in any feed store. So begins the story of the first homestead animal.
Spring is the time my son and I have always gone to the feed stores and longingly stared at the baby chicks and the geese, ducks whatever was in at the time. The move brought promise that we will have a plethora of animals on our little hobby homestead in hopes of self sufficiency and happiness. I’m a total homebody, so I’m ok with it.
(Kiddo at age 3, before I really knew how to take any videos)
We really want chickens. We buy the farm fresh eggs next door for now, but it’s not the same! Given the amount of large equipment still needed to frame the house, there’s just no way to start laying out the backyard yet to putting the cart before the horse so to speak. But a rabbit…..
So here I was looking at baby chicks at Murdoch’s while my husband is searching high and low for a massive tarp. And then I see them. Two black, velvety, mini rex rabbits for sale. Huddled up together in a metal trough next to the baby chicks display. *Sucker sign on my forehead starts beaming* Husband eventually comes to unglue me from baby chicks but instead is greeted with the question, “Hey! Don’t you think this would be great for the first homestead animal? It would be Kiddo’s 4-H project and we could practice caring for the rabbit before getting all invested in the meat rabbits.” I’m sure you can imagine the man look I received, but all in all, the cost was inexpensive and it was adorable.
I chose the smallest one as the other appeared to be closer to adult size, and my kid needs something proportional for now while we get used to the nails and such. So we bought him. Kiddo had already picked out the name, Creeper. From Minecraft. I get this adorable little chick box with a fluffy black bunny in it and I’m not sure who is more exited about this. I can’t wait to go get my kiddo from sleepover and show the surprise.
We grab some feed and a heated water bottle, the cage was purchased months ago when I committed to the 4-H project, we just hadn’t found the rabbit yet. I’m pretty good to go.
The dogs were happy to be the greet and sniff party. Or they’re thinking “lunch.”
Yeah, probably lunch.
The cage was not yet assembled since this purchase was slightly spur of the moment. So the rabbit got to stay in the box for a little longer than I had hoped. It seemed to prefer that anyway. Being such a young one, I can only assume that it hasn’t been handled much yet. I am super thankful that it’s not a nibbler. I’ve heard stories.
Once hubs got the cage put together (without injury! whaaaa?!) we realized we didn’t buy any more straw. I went scrounging in the bed of the truck because I wasn’t in the mood to drive back to the feed store. Given those cute tiny bunny feet, I wanted to make super sure that it wouldn’t get caught in the metal mesh at the bottom. I’ve never owned a rabbit before, so I am not even 100% sure this cage is the best option. Fingers crossed.
We also bought a nesting box because I was positive I wouldn’t want to be stared at by huskies day in and day out, so of course the bunny would feel that way too, right?! Yes, I know it’s sideways. I did that intentionally. The bunny gets on top closer to the heat lamp when it needs it and it also also gives less room for it to get away from me when I try to grab it right now. Skittish little thing!
So on Day 2 of rabbit ownership, I noticed the ear tattoo wasn’t exactly what my husband thought it was. The feed store said it would be “B” for buck, “D” for doe. He said the tatoo was a “B.” People, we have a girl. Not a boy. That tattoo CLEARLY says “D” on it. Now here’s where things got interesting. I felt as neurotic as I did bringing my human baby home the second it got here. The cage was inside the first night. Husband is highly allergic to grasses and his squeaky wheezing wasn’t going to work. So the cage goes “outside” the camper but it is inside the barn.
Naturally, being all maternal and stuff, I freak out wondering if the cold was too cold. This is just a little baby! Weather is supposed to get down to 30 on Day 2 so I question whether the heat lamp is going to suffice. I slept on the couch, and my timer was going off every hour that night checking for signs of distress and life. I understand that this isn’t going to be the best way to start out owning animals, but I really don’t want to kill the first one within a week because of my stupidity. Less sleep was the price I chose to pay. I also stole snuggles when no one was there to catch me.
Creeper survived just fine, was up on the bed tray “sun bathing” when needed, and I felt more at ease. We are now on Day 4, and although I’m still nervous, I did find the cat carrier box for a back up and feel oh, so much better. The rabbit is the first thing I check on in the morning though. Baby steps. And baby lullabies.