Yesterday I went to the feed store and bought a cage, some pine bedding, a water feeder and some kitten formula for the bunnies. They are still very frightened, and huddle in a tea box when I am around, though I can tell they are playing around in the cage when I am away because there are pine shavings all over the floor around the cage and the kitten formula and water dish are empty (but filled with pine shavings).
Last night I gave them more water and kitten formula and this morning it was the same thing, a mess of pine shavings everywhere and the formula and water was gone. The bunnies were huddled together in their tea box.
Ingrid put some bird seed and bunny alfalfa pellets in the cage yesterday, just in case, and this morning I inspected one of the bunny pellets and found little teeth marks. So they are certainly able to eat normal food. In fact, I think they are less than a week from being big enough to release.
I found an informative bunny care document on-line, though every other paragraph basically said YOU SHOULDN’T ATTEMPT TO REHAB BABY BUNNIES ANYWAY AND ONLY EXPERIENCED REHABBERS SHOULD ATTEMPT IT (with links to a directory of rehabbers), so it seemed a little like a big ad. Also, I gathered that most of the advice was for bunnies much smaller than ours, bunnies that had to be fed with a syringe and whose eyes weren’t yet open; my bunnies are much bigger than that, even though they are smaller than tennis balls. But there was a lot of information about bunnies.
For example, what I assumed was a call of distress (since my god it really sounds like one, it’s really kind of horrible) is actually vocalization mom and baby bunnies use to find each other in the dark. So now I wonder whether the blood-curdling scream we heard the other night coming from outside was not the fourth bunny being eaten, but maybe it was just calling for its mom. Maybe he detected his mom in the area and let out a yell. Or maybe so many hours had gone by that he thought it was time to start yelling for mom. I don’t know. But 30 seconds after we heard that one of our own bunnies made the same noise, with no one touching him. So I guess he heard the outside bunny screaming and was simply answering and hoping their mom would come for them too.
The website said the best thing to do is leave the bunnies near the nest and the mom bunny will come back in the night, and while that sounds good to me their nest was in a raised planter, and I have no reason t believe the mom is returning to it. It’s very dangerous for small animals in our yard on account of the motherfucking hawk we have, the one that ate my dove babies, so I don’t want to let them go until I am pretty sure they can take care of themselves.
Ingrid will attempt to handle them some more today, she likes that. I don’t see anything wrong with that, I hope it calms them down. Bella is of course very curious about them and likes to sniff around the cage. I am sure she wouldn’t want to hurt them, but I am concerned about the bunnies becoming too familiar with the dog, as their biggest threat once they are outside will be coyotes (and dogs), in addition to the fucking hawk that killed my baby mourning doves.