I think I mentioned in my last post about my 'yard of bunnies'...
Last Friday when The Engineer was
scooping dog poop preparing the middle fenced yard for mowing he heard a funny little noise and saw the grass move. This is what he found...
6 baby bunnies... in a small hole in the yard covered with grass and fur. We have 2 dogs - this is their yard to roam. I still don't know how the dogs hadn't found them yet as the nest in right in the middle of the yard?
The Engineer took the bunnies out of the nest so that he could mow - (I know there are only 5 here - I had put one back when I thought to take a picture) - later we put them back and I put a step stool over the area so that I could easily see if the dogs were around them. I checked them the next morning and could tell that the mother had taken care of them during the night. Unfortunately my dog did finally find the nest and pulled two of the bunnies out - killing them in the process. On one hand I am appalled that she could do that - but on the other hand I realize that she's a dog... I'm mad at myself too.
So we took the 4 remaining babies out of the nest and they spent the day safe and snug in the house until I could decide just what to do. I knew in my heart that trying to raise them myself was almost surely a death sentence for them... raising wild bunnies is not easy. All that I read via the Internet confirmed that.
My plan was to put the babies back and finagle a means to keep the dogs out and let the Mom in. First order of business was to dry some grass to reline the nest. I had taken as much as I could when I took the bunnies but the dog had dug out the rest. It had also rained all day on Saturday so the ground was very wet. The Engineer fetched me some of the fresh mowed grass from out back and I dried it in the oven... really - I kid you not!
I cut the handle out of a laundry basket and we staked and zip tied that over the nest to keep the dogs out. Late that evening I relined the nest with the fresh dried grass - laid the babies back in - covering them with their nest material and a thin layer of the fresh dried grass.
The next morning it was again clear that Mom had been there to take care of her babies as she had mixed her fur in with my fresh dried grass.
What was also clear was that my dog was intent on getting back at the bunnies - she had chewed the zip ties and was gnawing on the stakes. That wasn't going to be acceptable... so Plan B...
I put together a dog kennel that my MIL had recently given us. It's a wire kennel with a removable pan and a larger wire grid on the bottom - just big enough to center over the nest to allow the Mom access to her babies.
The outer grid keeps the dogs away. I keep the kennel door latched during the day and each night when I lock the dogs inside for the night I go out and open the kennel so Mom can visit. So far this seems to be working.
Wanna see some baby bunnies?
Now if I can just keep Mom out of my strawberries...