Thursday, 18 May 2017

Early Morning.....

.....the best time for spotting rabbits!

Tess and I walked down the pasture this morning at half past eight.   The birds were singing and the sun was shining but there was a chilly wind blowing.

Tess was in ecstasy at the number of rabbits there were everywhere and I had already noticed that they are busy trying to dig holes in the grass verges of the lane.   There was every size from teeny tiny ones up to old grandfathers.

Without looking it up (and I have no time as I go to the hairdresser at twelve today) I don't know what the gestation period of the rabbit is (no doubt one of you will look it up for me)  but I daresay that young rabbits are kicked out of the nest to fend for themselves at a very young age.

They really are so very pretty.  But, when the pasture is there for milk cows to graze, one can't afford to be sentimental.  I read somewhere that ten rabbits each as much grass a day as one cow.   Well I saw more than fifty this morning and I am sure that was only the tip of the iceberg.

We have three kinds of rabbit-catchers who come round - the man with a gun, the man with ferrets and the fox.   Don't know who will step in here, but I am sure that the fox will have such easy pickings from the rabbits that he will let my hens alone - unless of course he/she fancies a change of menu.

19 comments:

Sue said...

We were over run with rabbits last year, but this year it seems the population is down somewhat, seemingly there has been an outbreak of myxomatosis in our area and that has decimated the rabbit population. Where last year in the afternoons we would see our hillside alive with them, we have had only a couple snacking in the afternoon sun each day. But no doubt breeding as rabbits do (like rabbits), they will repopulate before we have time to relax too much.

The first doggy walk of the day is very relaxing at this time of year isn't it, with the birdsong, so much new growth to spy in the fields and hedgerows and dogs eager to catch the fresh new morning scents. It really sets me up for the day ahead.

Rachel said...

Seems like someone has become over-run with rabbits.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Not too many bunnies on our campus this year as I cycle by

Derek Faulkner said...

Pat,
Female rabbits are able to get pregnant at about 6 months old. Their gestation period is about 31 days and they will often re-mate within days of giving birth. The reason for such a high breeding rate is because in the wild they are heavily predated by all manner of other animals and birds. My Jack Russell just loves young rabbits, much easier to catch.

Heather said...

Rabbits are very endearing, especially baby ones, but I hope Mr.Fox will stick to rabbit for dinner rather than your hens.

donna baker said...

Sounds wonderful, except for the rabbit killing. They don't do that around here. I guess there are enough coyotes and predators to keep them in check. Nature always balances things.

angryparsnip said...

We do not have paid rabbit killers , we have coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, roadrunners and hawks,
Plus I live in a desert so the weather plays a big part.
I saw a few bunnies this morning.

cheers, parsnip

The Weaver of Grass said...

My hairdresser has a pet rabbit which lives with them in the house. It is fully house trained (she says) and follows her everywhere. Well, it takes all sorts, doesn't it?

Theresa Young said...

What a delightful treat to see so many bunnies in one spot. Hopefully they won't get that disease that John was talking about. Sounds like you could send some his way.

littlemancat said...

We like to see the pretty rabbits out in the morning too. And evenings as well. I am always reminded of "Watership Down" and the word"silflay" meaning to graze in the rabbit's language.
Happy to hear that you're out and about.
Best wishes,
Mary

Rozzie said...

Sigh. Sadly, rabbits have no natural predators here in Australia which is why the horrid myxomatosis was brought in to control them. Double sigh.
So very sad to hear that the nasty myxy made its way elsewhere, especially where it wasn't needed, as it, or something was here.

Derek Faulkner said...

Rozzie, surely the Dingo, at the very least, would be a natural predator of the rabbit in Australia.

Myxomatosis was deliberately introduced here in the UK in around 1953.

thelma said...

Well rabbits have to be eaten, so I suppose the fox has a right to his dinner. Lots round here and then they disappear, could be fox or poaching. Rabbit pie is not bad ;)

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Why don't you catch a few rabbits yourself Mrs W and make a nice rabbit pie?

By the way, I meant to pass on this link from Australia. See the second picture down.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/penrith-press/dedicated-volunteer-pays-respects-to-armed-forces/news-story/94fc4900ec64e76482e31854602f16c7

the veg artist said...

Two days ago I saw a fox following the well-worn path from one side of a garden (where neighbours have some hens) to the other, which leads to a tiny woodland area. It was carrying something, obviously just killed, but not a hen - either a rabbit or a cat! We've not seen evidence of rabbits in the gardens in 15 years of living here, but we do get lots of visiting cats, so I'm now trying to work out if any cats are missing!

Hildred said...

We don't have too many rabbits here, but up in the Chilcotin my son is having the devil of a time with Chipmunks, and spends part of each day trapping and transporting them a few miles down the road, across the bridge that spans the creek on their property, He leaves them with a day or so's supply of food and is hoping they will start a new colony.....

Librarian said...

Rabbits are pretty animals but as you say, nature needs to keep their numbers in check or they (and their holes) become dangerous for other animals, such as cows.
I hope the foxes in your area do what they are supposed to do, sad as it is to imagine cute fluffy baby rabbits ending up as someone else's dinner. (Having said that, I eat meat - even though I know how most of the poor animals are treated, and in spite of really liking almost all animals, including the species I eat.)

Bovey Belle said...

The baby rabbit season has started here and our boy cats (all neutered) have started to bring us back "presents". So far a headless baby bunny (sometimes it's just a pair of "bunny trousers") and a bat. I have to say, catching a bat calls for some dexterity and as I have seen stripey Theo leaping up in the air about 5 foot to try and grab a bird, I am guessing he caught the bat too.

Bunnies look cute, but can certainly do some damage. A friend of mine turned into a gun-toting mama in the spring and summer when the bunnies headed for her veggie patch!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derek is quite right about the deliberate introduction of Myxamatosis - such a cruel disease.
As to rabbit pie YP - no thanks. Mymother made delicious ones when I was a child. Now
I rarely eat much meat - prefer veggie food or fish. (especially sea bass)