In an Effort to Recapture My Childhood

In an uncharacteristic move, we have made a pivotal decision.

Clearly, it is life-changing.
We got a bunny, a rabbit, a hare.

And, it was all my idea.
When Spring blooms, I remember my childhood, in the city. One filled with laughter and snapshot memories of Easter chicks dyed pink and bunny-filled hutches in our backyard. Back in the 80′s, you could pick up a peep in the grocery story this time of year. And we did. 
Just for fun.
My kids, especially my oldest, yearn for some land to stretch out on and fulfill 4H dreams of rabbit-raising and horse-petting. 
With our broken economy and commitment to cut-back, this may be our dream farm, all 1/8 of an acre. And so, we decided not to wait for land or common sense, it seems.
Meet Marshmallow:
Nicknamed: Marsha, if she turns out to be a girl and Mallow if she, is really a he.  (We’re working on the identification).
Let me chronicle the first 24 hours, because I know you care. 
While my hubby set up the cage we borrowed from my Mom, my 2 year old decided she was thirsty and not prejudice against bunny germs:

It also seems that my 9 year old requires much less sleep than her parents. Because she woke us up at 5:30 a.m. to talk about her plans for showing the bunny at the Livestock show next year and again at 6:00 a.m. to ask if she could play with Marsha.  Oh, and again at 6:30 a.m. to let us know (through tears and snot) that Marsha peed on her bed and she was lost upstairs somewhere. 
That’s when my hubby leaned over and declared, “I don’t think I’m going to participate in the bunny raising.” And that’s when I leaned right back and “let him have it.”
6:30 a.m. missing bunny and pee pee will do that to a girl.
But Mallow was found by the nonparticipating Dad in the family.
And it turns out I actually recaptured my childhood for the moment.
I should also note that Marshmallow is of the California blood-line. These rabbits are bred for meat and grow to be an average of 22 pounds. And we just thought she (or he) was on sale.
I find those facts completely hysterical, just so you know.  Also, we have no idea what we’re doing, but my new book (Country Wisdom & Know-How) has a chapter on rabbits, with recipes.
P.S. I am open to rabbit advice. And if you get a wild hare, tell me about your childhood bunny or peeps. Unless you were deprived like my hubby. 
Happy Easter, y’all!

Comments

  1. says

    Oh my goodness how cute!

    My sister got a rabbit from a boyfriend for Easter. It was supposed to be a “dwarf”. The parents took Thumper on a little ride out to Mr. Rabbitt Farmer to use to breed more dwarfs!

  2. says

    Welcome, Marshmallow!
    The pee on the bed is hilarious. You can tell your daughter that there is a nice lady in Arkansas who raised dairy goats for 4-H when she was growing up, and had an orphaned baby goat in her bedroom for 2 weeks. Yes, in the bed too, after Mom had kissed me goodnight. That darn goat peed in my bed. My mom still doesn’t know, these 17 years later!

  3. says

    I raised and showed rabbits through 4-h from the time I was in 3rd grade until I graduated, and I also dream of the day my kids will be able to do the same but I will wait until they can take care of the rabbits themselves. I raised Californians and they do grow to be very big rabbits and they are very good eating if you plan to one day use your recipes in that book!
    Happy Easter and Good Luck with your new pet.

    Amber
    By the way I love your blog!!!!!

  4. says

    Oh I love this post. We had a rabbit a few years ago when we lived in our apartment. (go figure) The poor thing got out of her cage after we moved to our rent home and that was the end of “Fluffy.” I kinds miss him.

  5. says

    I was a guinea pig girl myself! I’ve had 6 of them in my little lifetime. Bunnies are not too far off and pretty easy to care for.

    By the way, I LOVE the bunny’s name!!!

  6. says

    You’re going through the same phase I did when my kids were the ages of your older two. Mine involved dogs, a cat, 5 guinea pigs (they kept dying), fish and a pregnant snail.

    Don’t ask about the snail.

    You will inevitably end up where I did. Screaming at the top of your lungs, “Once a pet dies they are! not! getting! replaced!”

    We were down to one dog and then I got a wild streak to get a puppy. Which we did. And so the merry go round continues . . . . . .

  7. ShEiLa says

    One year…
    my sister Tess got my kids a little black bunny. He was so cute. The happiness and excitement was short lived.

    Not sure how he/she got out…
    maybe the kids got him/her out to sleep with. However, in the morning we found the baby bunny lifeless…

    Our Shih Tzu had ‘mothered’ it to death. She was an amazing dog… even nursed kittens… but the bunny did not survive.

    ToOdLeS.ShEiLa

    ps. I was gonna tell you that I have been enjoying your blog for a bit… and at the moment I can’t remember how I found it. But I certainly enjoy it.

  8. says

    I was expecting a small bunny. Boy, she’s big! We bought a rabbit a few years ago. It was tiny then, but now she’s huge. I love our rabbit.

    Good Luck!

  9. Beth S. says

    Adorable, but shocking that Marshmallow could get as big as my 2-year old! She weighs about 22 lbs. and I can’t imagine having a bunny hopping around that big!!! My sister and I each had bunnies when we were about your 9 yr. olds age. Let me give you a bit of advice…don’t let Marsha alone with a cat! She might just end up “missing” and the cat will be licking her lips if you know what I mean. Traumatized me for years! Enjoy watching your kids LOVE that bunny and GOOD LUCK to you and the non-participator!

  10. says

    If you live someplace that it gets really warm, be careful about keeping your bunny from getting overheated. Heat will kill them quick. We had an outside hutch & had to freeze cardboard milk container to put in the bunny hutch to keep ours cool in the summer.

    If you want to keep it in the house, they are supposed to be fairly easy to litter box train, but beware they are like cats once they mark a territory they will continue to have accidents there unless you prevent them from getting to that preferred spot.

  11. says

    We are raising rabbits for 4-H,soon we will have had them for a full year.

    If Marshmallow is friendly then keep handling him/her. When they aren’t handled very much, they get scared when they are picked up. I have several gashes on my arms that make it look like I tried to give a cat a bath.

    If you need any help, I can try or point you into a better direction.

  12. says

    cute! Hint; learn how to rewire electrical cords. My bunny chewed every cord in the house including the vacuum cleaner, and the back of the sofa. Fun to play with though, my sister would always bring him carrots and parsley, he loved that. Mr. Sniffers; RIP.

  13. says

    I never expected this post to bring back my own childhood memories, but it did! (And I’m not so sure they’re of the wistful type!)

    My first thought is how brave you are to let that undiapered bunny run unfettered around your house! Ours was an ‘outside bunny.’ His pen was in the garage. I don’t remember his actual name, but it should have been “Houdini” as he seemed impossible to contain. He chewed through everything he got access to, including a live refrigerator cord.

    My most vivid memory though has to do with “raisins” (of the rabbit-waste type) and the three year old down the street who was convinced to eat them. (I was 5.)

    I hope your children have better memories and you have less destruction than we did!

    Oh, and rabbit does taste like chicken. (But I didn’t learn that from our pet.)

  14. says

    I have no rabbit experience. All I know is from a friend. They apparently go a bit ‘off’ if you let an 8 year old try to bathe it while you are sleeping.

    Good luck!

  15. says

    My sister gave my older two boys, 2 rabbits when they were ages 3 & 5. They were cute, smelly and only stayed with us for about 2 weeks. Turns out, the younger son was allergic!

  16. says

    sweet:)
    We saved a bunny from a hay baler one summer. We didn’t get to keep he/she very long b/c we kept “losing” her in our house. Mom made us return her to the wild:(

  17. says

    We used to raise Rex rabbits when I was in high school. My dad was such a softie, we quit that after a while because he hated killing them. They taste about the same and chickens get my vote for dinner because they are not nearly so cute.

    Tell your hubby to tread lightly. My pet, a Holland Lop rabbit, took a disliking to my dad and could hit him with a shot of pee from 5 feet away! What aim!

  18. says

    I have a friend that is a member of a house rabbit society. Her bunnies live in the house and everything. E-mail me if you want to contact her to discuss bunny details.

    I was in 4-H as a kid! I loved it. I was in 4-H for 9 years! Hooray!

  19. says

    I have a friend that is a member of a house rabbit society. Her bunnies live in the house and everything. E-mail me if you want to contact her to discuss bunny details.

    I was in 4-H as a kid! I loved it. I was in 4-H for 9 years! Hooray!

  20. Megan says

    I’ve had a Holland Lop for 4 years now and I love him! He’s litter trained (which is surprisingly easy to do) and so he just runs around our basement eating paper and cardboard we leave out for him. There are tons of websites that can help you figure out how to train them and such. Good luck!!

  21. says

    We had three bunnies that we were told were all one gender. You know where this is going! After litter one was born (and sadly, devoured by mama bunny) we separated out who we assumed to be the troublemaker. Turns out, we just gave the real troublemaker free reign and had another litter soon after. :) Thirteen baby bunnies and not a single one of them survived their mother. Yikes. Stick with one. Much less trauma that way. Oh, and this was about twenty-five years ago. You don’t ever forget the childhood trauma!

  22. says

    Loved this post, because bunnies are right up my alley! We have 9 Californians and 4 Mini-Rex rabbits. We just bred all of our does and in about 3 1/2 weeks we will have lots and lots of babies!

    My suggestion to you is to get the book Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits. It is more for a breeder, but it has so much information about illness, feeding, etc.

    Just wanted to let you know that Californian Rabbits ideal weight is 9lbs. It is a medium breed rabbit. The giant breed rabbits are around 15lbs. So, you won’t have to worry about a 22lb rabbit. She or he won’t get that big!

    To sex your rabbit hold her back against your tummy. Scissor her tail with your pointer and middle finger and then with your thumb push the fur by the genitals back towards the rabbits abdomen. If you see a slit- girl, if protruding well, you guessed it! Also it is difficult to tell on a young rabbit. Yours looks a bit older so you should be able to tell.

    Hope this isn’t too much information! :) If you have any questions please e-mail me. I have a contact button at the top of my blog.

  23. says

    One more thing! I was looking back through your pictures and noticed your bunny was eating something that looked like lettuce. I just want to caution you not to give her that too much or not at all. It has a high water content which can result in diarrhea. Here are a few ideas for treats- cheerios, apple tree branches, dried corn (especially on the cob), dandelion greens, clover, alfalfa hay. These are just treats, they should never replace the pellets that you give daily.
    The usual things we think bunnies eat like carrots and lettuce can give bunnies the runs. If you do give these as treats, just give them in small amounts. Just thought I would let you know so that you don’t end up with a mess!

  24. says

    We’ve had a bunny rabbit for about 3 years now. He was originally a she (even the vet told us he was a she) until we went to get “her” fixed and the doctor found a testicle. oops!

    They are lots of fun, but require VERY CAREFUL BUNNY PROOFING! Make sure ALL your power, electrical, phone, whatever, cords are not accessible by the bunny when he’s out because he will find them and he will eat through the cords and destroy your expensive electronics. Not speaking from experience here at all. ;) lol

    My daughter is 14 months and absolutely adores they bunny. They are bffs.

  25. says

    Oh how cute!!!

    Ditto on electrical cords…..LOL.

    We had one who was awesome….he used the litter box and was such a joy in our family…..minus our lack of lamps and other electrical items.

  26. says

    Super cute! I love bunnies. I had one in college… very sweet. I feel for your daughter – I’m sure she must have been terrified to have lost Marshmallow. This is the stuff good childhood memories are made of!

  27. says

    When I was younger, we adopted two bunnies from a neighbor who taught preschool. We quickly learned that the bunnies were not welcome at school because they were CRAZY MEAN from being poked and squeezed by too many little 3 year olds. They hated us. We hated them, and were not too sad when they chewed through thier hutch and escaped.

    But now, with my daughter getting a little older, I’d love to get one. And then I watch our Boston Terrier whip is chew toys around by the neck and quickly change my mind. Best of luck to yall!!

  28. says

    Funny you wrote this, we’re talking about getting a rabbit or two here. Mostly to make compost. And they would be OUTDOOR rabbits. Hubs says they can be potty trained but until I’ve had everybody here trained for a good ten or twelve years or so, I’m not interested in potty training something furry.

  29. Anonymous says

    Oh Memories! We had a bunny when I was a kid named Coco but the poor thing ended up being called Bunzo or something like that. Bunzo was litter box trained and had the run of our unfurnished basement. He was pretty good until he chewed threw some of my dad’s canoe oars and he made us get rid of poor Bunzo. Then, not too long after, we got rid of dad. D’OH!

  30. says

    Marshmallow is adorable…pee pee and all!
    My Granddaddy always had chickens and we would buy him some peeps for Easter most years.
    He also raised guinea hens and those are so ugly they are cute. I loved watching their long gang-ly necks poking out of the bucket he would put them in for them to come for a visit. I always named them after the Atlanta Braves players. I loved rubbin’ under their chins, making them fall asleep. Aw. memories of my grandparents farm life.

  31. says

    We have a dwarf and have had her for about 2 years. We’ve trained her to not pee and poop in the house. You can look up online how to house train them. That may be helpful to you. Of all the farm animals and pets we’ve had, the bunny is by FAR the easiest to take care of! =0)

    Hoppy Easter!

  32. says

    Loved reading your bunny story and everyone else’s, too. Seem everyone had a bunny tale. I wrote about some of mine in a post called “Ode to My Pets”. I have some great bunny memories but was surprised that as I recounted their lives, many had met untimely ends….
    Ditto to what someone else said: Number One bunny threat (besides other animals) is heat. NEVER let them be exposed to the sun, always provide shade and water and the frozen milk cartons when very hot. If you remember this tip, your bunny will be fine!
    Happy easter!

  33. says

    Cute bunny! We had two, when I was growing up. One was named Hopper and the other was Jeremiah, until we found out he was a she & she was named Linda, lol.

    I'm not sure what happened to them, but they were a lot of fun.

  34. says

    That was a great read!

    My wife and I actually honed our parenting skills on a rabbit (that sounds wrong)…Our first pet was a rabbit (much better). They are fun little pets.

    Enjoy!
    Matt

  35. says

    My oldest has been begging to let her have a rabbit breeding business! We live in a gated community, though, and I’m thinking the neighbors wouldn’t take kindly to it.

    Also, and I’m totally not trying to be a smarty pants here, but I think you mean “bunny filled hutches” instead of “hutch-filled bunnies” ’cause that sounds painful.

  36. mom2riandkayl@lycos.com says

    You are so funny!

    Thanks for the giggle to start my day. I was laughing so loud that I thought I might wake the girls here for my daughter’s sleepover. LOL!

  37. says

    I see that someone else already warned you about too many leafy greens and diarhea. That’s how I lost my first bunny.

    Litter box training a rabbit is really easy – much easier than training a cat. Just stick a cat litter box in the pen but fill it with cedar chips. The rabbit will start using it and will then go in the same spot all the time. They’re creatures of habit when it comes to relieving themselves.

    And don’t forget to give the bunny something hard to chew on the help whittle down those non-stop growing teeth. An occasional stick or a salt lick will usually do the trick and help eliminate chewing of electric cords.

    Have fun!!

  38. says

    We used to have bunnies. I loved them! It was great once they only peed in their cages because we could let them hop around the house.

    Plus, lost bunnies are alot less freaky then lost hamsters LOL

  39. says

    I had two bunnies growing up. Both were Netherland Dwarf rabbits, and I highly recommend that breed. They never get very big. =) The more you pet them, the more they get used to it, so pet often.

    And if your bunny wakes up one day with its neck turned in to the side and can only hop in circles, don’t put it out of its misery. This condition is some sort of virus that it can get, and it may take a long time to go away, but it eventually will, and your bunny will hop normally again. I spared my bunny from my farmer dad and his desire to “take care of it,” and was glad that I had. =)

  40. says

    Fun stuff! I’m sure there will be many more pictures to come with the new family pet.

    You should stop by my blog today. It’ll only take a minute, and I think it’ll make you smile. ;o)

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