Bellevie fauna: The Rabbits Story
Starting the New Age Farm
In 2014, our neighboring farmers closed their farm and gave us 7 rabbits (the large parents, and their 7 kits) which we raised in a large cage in the barn. I would take the babies outside for their daily sunshine in a small enclosed pen where they were free to munch on the grass and lounge in the sun. Later on, the mother had a new litter. At first, seven were born, but only three survived. We then allowed them to roam outside the coop and in the larger fenced in pen, and when it would start to get dark, they would come back inside. It worked for a while, but we were overflowing with rabbits, so we had to give them away and sell them as we had agreed we were not going to eat our own bunnies. We kept the three newborns and the mom. We tried to cure the skin of one who died but the skin was stolen by a hawk while drying in the sun outdoors...
Spices and nuts
In the 2015 spring, we thought we had 2 males but surprisingly enough, a new batch of 7 fluffy bunnies (such a lucky number) were soon born to Ginger - a sweet female who took good care of her little ones we saw being born.. We decided to name them after spices or nuts. The triplets were nuts: Hazelnut, Coconut, Pistachio, and then there was Nutmeg -all brown, Pepper a black and white, and two white with caramel spots, Peanut and Cinnamon.
8 Free bunnies
We took great care of the 7 babies ever since they were born, handling them carefully and giving them regular time in the lawn enclosure to get them used to the outdoors, with their mother Ginger free to roam outside the baby pen and always all returning at night in the closed coop to feed them. They would get fed a daily healthy diet of fresh veggies and fruits by Mimi.
Since we could not eat our own rabbits (as per our family agreement), we released them in the middle of the garden and let them fend for themselves. They all stayed with their mom around the pen and on the lawn, hiding at night from the foxes...Their number was a good protection at first as the fox was always a little startled to see 8 spotted rabbits dashing in all directions and paused just long enough to give them time to escape...Some were more lucky than others, but soon enough, after a couple months, it was down only Coconut and Pepper.
“The price of Freedom"
as rabbits need predators and foxes and hawks abound in the forest around Bellevie, the result is a natural selection…we are feeding the fôrest...
Pepper the “dalmatian” bunny is the last one standing with the best camouflage for snow. We still see him everyday, he comes right up to us for bread and treats, and he eats out of the sheep's grains and hay.
The dog chases him daily and they both get some exercises. He is a large male (we think) and we assume that the running keeps him fit for outrunning the foxes. I love watching Pepper graze, sunning himself in the morning sun and escaping the dog with some swift turns. The dog chase always stops when the rabbit stops. They both recover a bit and then it’s off again!
The visiting children always love to connect with our friendly bunnies. One lucky boy even left with a rabbit once! We have had guests from California (movie set designers) saying they came to stay at Bellevie because they saw our bunny pictures!
We are hoping to continue our rabbit experiment with a new female in the spring and continue our new age farming a while longer. You may come to get your picture taken with our rabbits...if you can catch them!
Written by Mirabelle Adams, Edited by Anyes Adams, December 15.2015