Farm population goes up, maybe even more

Tales From Tanglewood Farm


Last week after years without having any rabbits on the farm, when a neighbor needed to re-home a few, I decided to take the two females, flower beds be damned.

They are beautiful creatures, one all white and the other pure black. The grandchildren have variously named them Ebony and Ivory, Crystal and Midnight, Snowdrift and Jet and…well, as I said, they’re new to the farm and until we get to know an animal, names tend to be fluid.

Anyway, we created a large shelter for them in the front yard. It’s a three-sided lean-to we originally made for the alpacas, designed to cut westerly and northerly winds.

The alpacas have been using other outbuildings, so I was sure they wouldn’t mind. They did seem a little puzzled though about the changes we made.

They watched up as we unrolled a 5-foot-high wire mesh fence and ran it along the inside of the lean-to and well out into the yard to create a nice indoor-outdoor rabbit domicile. We’ll have to winterproof it later, but for now, it works.

Actually, we’ve had to make a couple of adaptations this past week. The farm has had an atypical animal explosion.

Besides the rabbits, the past week has seen the arrival of three gentlemen goats and two dorkies. The wethers (gelded-male goats) were pets of a recently deceased farmer who needed new homes when that farm went up for sale.

Elderly Yanni, Heiki and Sam (no way would I change those names) were obviously unused to associating with goats of the female persuasion. Every time one of my does tried to get acquainted, the boys ran like the furies were after them, bawling all the way.

But that first night, a summer thunderstorm convinced them to take up residence with the females, and they’ve resided in the cabin with them each night since.

But come daybreak, those boys are out of there. I told you – they’re gentlemen.

As for the dorkies, they are 9-week-old male and female yorkie-dachshund pups. After having to say goodbye to three geriatric dogs over the past two years, I wanted to be able to look forward to having canine companions for many years to come.

What I’ve also gotten in the bargain is a reawakened memory of the joys of housebreaking.

But that’s not the source of my earlier “uh-oh.” That came yesterday when I went out to feed the rabbits their breakfast.

It tickled me to see the white female hop up to the fence to greet me, then the black one. Quickly followed by a brownish-gray one? Overnight my two rabbits had turned into three!

Now I’m not dumb enough to think two female rabbits gave birth to a full-grown rabbit in one night. But apparently I am dumb enough not to realize that the fence mesh we used may have been tight enough to keep two large rabbits in, but it wouldn’t be enough to keep a small one out.

I tried to reassure myself that it could have been a wild female stopping by to welcome my rabbits to the neighborhood. But when I went out the next morning, the third rabbit was gone. Something tells me he may have been a gentleman.