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Thread: Life Lessons in the Garden(Baby Bunnies)

  1. #1
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    Life Lessons in the Garden(Baby Bunnies)

    Well, there I was reseting my canna bulbs as Ann had advised when I noticed my dog was preoccupied with something under the willow tree. It was long enough that I got up and walked over. She had something alright; at first, I thought it was a mouse. I quickly realized it was a baby bunny. I have never seen a baby bunny, never held a baby bunny and never saw (or smelled a bunny nest) until tonite. I placed the bunny back in, but when I went back to check, I saw ants which told me he was dead. I rigged up a small fence around the tree but noted one weak point and walked away to water plants. I let the dog loose and darned if she didn't find the weak point and grab another baby. I went back and checked and there are at least 2 other babies. The dog is now tied up. I just read it takes 4-5 weeks for the babies to grow up. I can't see leaving the dog on a chain for 5-6 weeks. What a mess ! What rabbit would build a nest in the middle of a yard inhabited by a 45 pound Norwegian Elkhound ?! And in the middle of all this my 4 year old neighbor boy came over and I gave him a short lesson in life and death along with burial. You just never know what you might get yourself into in your own garden !

  2. #2
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    Unhappy Oh, NO!!

    That is sad, and it was your first experience to see a baby bunny... I have seen many around here, especially in the winter when Mama Rabbit decides to have her babies under my neighbor's shrubs near their bricks. It seems to be a favored nesting spot.

    Hopefully, Mama rabbit will sense that her babies are in danger and move them to another nesting place tomorrow. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way that you can move them for her.

    If she has abandoned them or something has happened to her, I don't think there is much chance that you can manage to keep them alive especially if they are really, really young.

    You should know by tomorrow morning if the mother is going to move them. I would think that she would try to do that very soon.

    Good Luck, and let us know...
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  3. #3
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    Mama Rabbit came back around 11 PM and was still there this morning until 7 AM. (I read that the wild bunnies feed once for 5 minutes between midnite and dawn). Especially now that the dog is tied up, I don't think she has any plans on moving the babies. Of course, if the dog wasn't tied up the babies would all be dead. What a dilemma ! I'll check on them again tonite .

  4. #4
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    How are they doing tonight?
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
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  5. #5
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    Checked on the babies Thursday nite(last night) and they were fine ! I know there are at least two. Again, this is all new to me and the way they pop up like a Jack-in-the-Box when you pull back the grass over the nest is startling. It is a little scarey as it is putting my fingers into a hole that's covered by grass and rabbit fur and then those little buggers hop up like that !
    My poor dog, Norway, is on a chain now. Last night I walked her in the yard ,and where did she want to go first ?! You got it--the bunny nest. What a stubborn dog ! She got to sleep inside last night as there were storms around us and she is afraid of the thunder and lightening, so that gave her a break. Mama Rabbit was there again this morning. I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what I could cobble together to protect the bunny nest, allow the Mama access, but keep the dog out of it(so I can unchain her).

  6. #6
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    I have rabbits every year, all year. You are right, they pick the darnest places to build a nest. And dogs seem to have a nose where they are. Usually, I'm outside when I let Bailey out, and keep him away from the nests with new babies.

    Found a baby last week in back of my shed, couldn't have been but a week old. I just left it alone, and sure enough, Momma either found the baby, or it found it's way home.

    Good luck with your dog situation, have you tried some chicken wire about the nest to keep your dog out of it?

    I enjoy finding little bunny paw prints in the fresh snow!

    Jodie

  7. #7
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    Update on the 'bunny'....Well, I now know that there were only 3 bunnies to start with and unfortunately my dog got 2. Yesterday was the first above ground siting of the remaining baby bunny('til then I didn't really know how many there were). Right now he or she keeps to the base of the willow tree where the nest is. It's name is therefore "Willow". From what I read it's 3-4 more weeks of hanging out around the nest. I just hope after all of this that the dog doesn't snag it. But right now, Willow's a healthy cute little bunny .

  8. #8
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    Cathy,

    What are you going to do when you get attached to that bunny, or the bunny gets attached to you?

    There seems to always be bunnies in the neighbor's front yard, and sometimes I catch them running in or out of my chain link fence.

    For the most part, they don't bother anything. I have a fence lined with chicken wire around the vegetable gardens. That seems to deter them somewhat, but somehow, they still manage to squeeze their way through on occassion.

    Mama Cat seems to be keeping everything, including the squirrels away for now, anyway. She has a way of letting other animals know to go away...

    Enjoy your bunny, and I am glad that the one made it, but don't spoil him to much. He still needs too survive on his own in the big world!

    Cute little adorable critters, aren't they?
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  9. #9
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    Well nature took its course much quicker than all the internet info. would have indicated. Willow 'flew the coop' sometime between Sunday and Monday evening. On Sunday, when last I saw him/her, it was sitting in a grass clump close to the willow tree but not right under it as it had sat before. I was concerned that my visits to look at it might make it not afraid of humans, but little did I know that it probably had figured out more than I had given it credit for. Anyway, the timing was excellent as when I got home Monday, I found my dog caught under the back steps and literally unable to move (she was on a chain). I had a tough time freeing her, this was before finding out the bunny was gone, and I thought great now I'm puttting the dog in danger. But everything worked out fine as I found that Willow had left. Mama still takes her chances and feeds in the yard; she is nervy and has emergency exits under the chain link fence. Maybe one day Willow will visit also(just as long as it can run fast).
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  10. #10
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    It Happened Again(A Year Later)

    I hope these aren't the same rabbit parents. I was awakened to a high pitched crying which I thought was one of my neighbor's puppies. I looked out the window and saw an adult rabbit and then my dog standing over something small and wet. It's been raining. Yep, baby bunnies ! I grabbed some plastic bags to use as gloves, went out, and by then my dog was sitting against the house with a tomato cage sideways over her head and neck ! The nest was in my canna bed which I had placed tomato cages in sideways to keep the dog out. I found the bunny several feet away and scooped it up. It was breathing and I went back in, bunny in one hand, and grabbed a wicker basket and filled it with cosmetic cotton balls with my other hand. Then I put the basket in the tub. I went back out and there was my dog with another bunny. I was in my bathrobe in the rain trapsing between the trees trying to get to the bunny. The bunny got through the fence to the neighbor's yard. Then I went back in and unfortunately the other bunny had expired. And that was just in the first 20 minutes after getting upthis morning. Darn my dog. And darn those bunnies for being so darn cute and helpless. I suspect I'll be posting a similar story yearly.
    Last edited by Dazed_Lily; 04-24-2004 at 08:10 AM.
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  11. #11
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    Slightly Happier Ending

    I noticed that my dog was consatntly peering into the daylight window well. Late this afternoon I looked out the daylight window from the basement and saw 2 baby bunnies huddled in the corner. I climbed down the fire ladder and put them in a shoe box. They must have run right into it when they were escaping from the nest. They fell at least 10 feet. I put the shoebox in the garage and began doing an internet search on what to do with them. When I rechecked them one was already gone(not dead--the bunny had climbed out and left). I placed the other in front of my house under a cedar tree where an adult rabbit has been hanging out in the morning and evening(the Mom?). Anyway, I don't know where the one bunny went;I thoroughly checked the garage and the other bunny is still under the tree but in an indentation in the soil next to the cement base for the steps to the front door. So, at least 2, maybe 3, bunnies appear to have survived so far.
    Last edited by Dazed_Lily; 04-24-2004 at 06:45 PM.
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  12. #12
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    I don't have a dog, but I do have two cats.The 12 year old isn't much of a hunter these days although she does get her fair share of mice, voles and shrews. In her youth she was quite good at catching rabbits, even full grown adult ones! She must have known I would have taken her prey away as she seldom brought home any live prey and all I would ever find was, well, you can figure that out.

    The young cat, a neutered male, has developed into a real terror to the city wild life. Especially the rodent population, including the rabbits. He brought his first baby bunny to show off and I was able to snatch it away before he had done any physical damage. Poor little thing wasn't more than three weks old and already had it's first real adventure and nearly a fatel encounter. I tucked it up in the tail of my t-shirt and just let it calm down for awhile (as much as a baby bunny can calm down and not just die from a heart attack) and then I took it outside and turned it lose next to a neighbor's storage barn, with a bit of encouragement for it to go under the barn where it would be safe(r).

    The second one wasn't so lucky. It only makes the cat mean to forcefully take it's catch away from him so I escorted him and his prize outside and banned him from the house for several hours. I don't know if he is still catching bunnies since he's gotten wise to the fact that I will either take them away or bannish him. But it didn't stop him from bring home a snake the other day! (Fortunately, it was quite dead).

    The city rabbit population is very dense this year so I figure the few bunnies my cat gets will help rather than hurt. These bunnies are cute, but they also do a lot of damage to my flower beds and my daylilies, especially in the early spring and since you can't discharge a firearm within the city limits, this is my way of keeping the population in check. Now if we could just do something about the city opossoms and racoons, muskrats and other unfriendly beasties that have taken up urban residence.


    Rebecca

  13. #13
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    Life Lessons(Baby Cardinal)

    May 2005:
    Last year it was baby bunnies; this year it’s baby Cardinals. Long story short…nest built in tree in yard..low enough to see eggs and babies. Babies fledged Sunday(I think they hatched on Mother’s Day—the male burst out in song and I checked the nest and they had hatched). Babies got separated almost immediately.
    This morning when I went out to the back deck to feed the dog I heard a Brown Thrasher making that loud Tick-Tick sound which I’ve learned to mean that something dangerous is nearby—usually a cat. I really didn’t see anything; it was still somewhat dark. I did hear one of the baby Cardinals ‘beeping’ in the trees on the same side as the Thrasher. My dog’s ears perked up and I told her to stay put and I got her food ready. About 20 minutes later I heard a bird commotion in the trees. I’m pretty sure I heard a grackle in amongst the noise. When I looked out I saw my dog under the trees and I called her. The cardinals were frantic and I heard an ever weakening beeping from a baby cardinal. I looked under the trees and found a baby cardinal lying on its side. I picked it up and, of course, burst out crying. It was still alive and had a gash where its leg attaches to the body and I could see bone. I carried it inside and really didn’t know what to do. The poor thing would open its mouth as if it were calling but no sound came out. It opened its eyes and stretched a few times but died in my hands soon after. I never ever hit my dog but I smacked her nose. I put the baby high on a fence post, so the parents could see it was dead. I also could hear that the second baby was in the next yard. The male actually came close to the dead baby and looked at it. Then, I took it away and buried it. I got to thinking… that when my dog has attacked baby birds( usually grackles) in the past that I would find them wet with dog drool and this bird was not. I’m inclined to think that a Grackle attacked this baby bird and my dog was in the wrong place at the wrong time. To make the Grackle story even weirder, I read in the yahoo news today there were Grackles attacking humans in Houston(to protect their nearby young). Apparently, they are nasty aggressive birds and will steal and eat other birds young. I hope that today’s event was the first and last for this Spring.
    Last edited by Dazed_Lily; 05-19-2005 at 09:48 AM.
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"




  14. #14
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    I agree it was probably the grackle and not the dog. I am so sad to hear you lost some cardinals. We have some here that I am very fond of. I am watching a nest of tufted titmice in a hole in a redbud tree and a nest of crows in the pines with 2 babies in it. I haven't found the towhee nest yet but I really enjoy watching the adult birds at the feeder.
    Life can be hard for wildlife sometimes but it hurts me to see them hurt,too.
    tennessee sue

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