Carson has surgery on Thursday, June 13 (more info on that here in case you missed it). When we got home that day, I got Carson settled and then headed out to do farm chores. I start on the north side of the property – I watered the plants in the greenhouse, checked the farm stand and watered the plants there, watered the garden boxes and the berries, made sure the alpacas had some water, then cleaned up their poop and gave them some grain… and then it was time for the chickens, bunnies, and sheep on the other side of the yard.
Truth be told, I was already near tears from the craziness of the week and the adrenaline that had been going through my body during the day (not only Carson’s surgery, but a woman fell right in front of me in the waiting room, and 911 was called and she left on a back board and stretcher with the EMTs). And I was hungry!!
I got to the south side of the yard and noticed that the bunny hutch was open… and then bunnies were not inside. Oh no oh no oh no… I started calling for the bunbuns but I’d already jumped to the conclusion that they had been eaten by eagles or coyotes or something.
Happily, there were nearby and they both came out when I called… they had their little hiding spots and they were happily eating grass and weeds and living their best lives…
Here they are conspiring to RUN in different directions when I come near them.
I spent the next 45 minutes chasing them and trying to trick them into getting back into the hutch… and I really was crying by this point. I was so worried that they would be lost forever. We have coyotes and cougars and eagles and they are domesticated bunnies, how could they know to hide from all of them… and why are they hiding from me!??! I left food out and tried to create a little hideout around their hutch so that they would have a place to get to if they knew to do such a thing.
It’s not pretty, I know… but it gave them some space. I put some old wire shelves over the top so they had protection from above, too… not sure why I don’t have a picture of that. I used what I had (which was very little brain power, apparently) and what I could find in Carson’s shop and surrounding areas.
It was getting dark and I had to finish up farm chores and make dinner for Carson so I headed back to the house.
I kept looking out trying to see what they would do… I saw them both go through the sheep pen into the pasture (under the gates) and I thought we’d never see them again. The field next door had not been hayed yet and I thought they’d never find their way back.
I didn’t sleep well that night – partly because of trying to juggle Carson’s meds so that he didn’t get too far into the pain thing, but also because I was worried about the bunnies. The coyotes did go through the yard that night and I was so sad.
In the morning, I went out to feed the sheep and let them out of their pen. I saw no signs of the bunnies, but I thought I would go through the sheep pasture to see if there was a pile of fur or anything… and there was Blossom in the back corner.
The sheep were very curious about her and walked right up to her – not aggressively, just curiously. I think they knew I was looking for her and wanted to see what was so special about her! 🙂
Of course, she hopped away into the blackberries.
I was happy that she made it through the night and was determined to find her again. I spent chunks of the day looking for her – and had some help from Becca, the sheep mom. No sign.
And no sign the next morning (Saturday) either. The kids came home from my mom’s that day and I sat them down and told them. I thought there were would be tears, but instead, they jumped into action… Well, let’s get busy, we’ve got to find them!
We looked and looked. We did find some new poop we hadn’t seen before so we were hopeful that they were alive and okay, but would they find their way home? We didn’t know.
By then, they had hayed the field next door, and I think that helped, because look what I saw when I was doing farm chores that night!!
I couldn’t believe it… I was so happy!! Thank you, Sweet Girl, for coming back home!
I tried to catch her but I didn’t want her to run again so I didn’t push too hard. I had Carson’s fishing nets and I was trying to surprise her, but I couldn’t get her. I hoped that I’d have better luck with the kids’ help in the morning.
Well… she was still around in the morning, I saw her sneaking by the hutch into the big bush behind it… I left the dogs inside so they wouldn’t chase them away or actually catch them, and I took the kids down with me. We spotted her in the bush and were so happy… talking sweetly to her and hoping that would bring her out.
What we didn’t know is that our cat came down with us and he was hungry for bunny… he snuck into the bush and we hear screaming… it was Blossom and Kitty was carrying her away. I was able to catch up to him because I think Blossom was bigger and heavier than he planned, and he was having to put her down and grab her again. I was able to hit him with my phone and he let her go and she ran and ran… but then stopped and scrunched down near the house.
Shaleigh was screaming and crying this whole time (sorry, neighbors) and Blossom was not moving. I was so scared. I wasn’t sure if she was going to bloody and beat up or if she was just in shock. I grabbed something to hold her with and then realized, there was no blood and she didn’t even seem hurt. I held her and brushed her and got her all dried off.
There were no bumps or anything but she’d had quite the adventure and I thought she probably needed some time to chill out in her hutch… eat some real food and hay and probably sleep.
Later that day, the kids spotted Rosie under the hutch. There was still food and hay and water out for her and we were hoping she’d come back. I grabbed the fishing net and easily caught her… I think she was worried about Blossom.
The good news is that she was home… the bad news is that she was COMPLETELY COVERED in fleas!
I read that they made Advantage for Bunnies and that’s the best thing to do, and I called around to local pet stores and vets and couldn’t find it in stock. I found people who could order it but I didn’t want to wait a few days for it to get here… we needed to do something now. I found a Small Animal Flea Spray. Apparently you take them out of their cage and spray them toe to ears… it says that you need to really work it into their fur so it gets to their skin. I tried…
But I’m not sure it was the right thing. This picture is so sad in retrospect. It’s Blossom on the left and Rosie on the right. Blossom often would flop down and take a rest… she was definitely the low energy bunny of the two. I didn’t worry when she did this because she always did. I think she tried to pretend that we weren’t there!
See how her right ear is lower than the left ear? I think that’s where the Kitty got her.
That was Sunday. On Monday afternoon, I noticed that she was hardly moving. Her ear was swollen and red and she couldn’t lift it. Her breathing and heartbeat were slower than normal. I was worried. I cuddled her and she didn’t fight in. I just sat with her and didn’t know what to do. I called the vet and they said they could get us in at 8 am the next day. I took the appointment, and asked if there was something I could do before then. She suggested the emergency vet. I knew that I couldn’t do that. I asked if there was something I could do from home to boost her or clean the abscess on the ear or something. She said without seeing her, she couldn’t suggest anything.
So I just held her. And part of me knew that the morning would be too late. Too late to treat it or too late because she would be gone.
I checked on her one more time before I went to bed and she was even worse. Couldn’t lift her head. She was slowly fading away. I was so sad and felt so guilty. What could I have done? I didn’t know if it was better for Rosie if I brought her to the house or left her.
Carson said I needed to “FarmGirl Up”… and that this is part of farming and I needed to let nature take its course.
Needless to say, Blossom died that night. And I don’t think that it was best to leave her with Rosie. Rosie went a little crazy in the hutch that night… the water and hay feeder were knocked over and she’d been jumping on Blossom trying to wake her up or something. . She’s still not quite the same.
The kids handled the loss better than I did… I think because they don’t have the guilt portion of the loss. I’m not sure what happened… I don’t know how the hutch got left open, I don’t what they ate or what happened to them while they were free, I don’t know what Kitty did when he was carrying her around, I don’t know if the Flea Spray was the right thing… I just know we don’t have Blossom anymore, and Rosie and I are very sad about that!