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Rabbits, Their Care,

and How to Build Their Houses by E. Chase

 

The first rabbit I had I put in a wooden box. Not knowing anything about his habits, I nailed laths over the front to keep him in. The next morning I was very much surprised to find that bunny had gnawed his way out, and was busily engaged in eating up my last rose-bush.

The next house I built for him was against the back-yard fence. In front of the house I tacked wire netting, and in addition made a yard for him in which to run about, taking good care to cover over the top, so "brer rabbit" could not escape by jumping out. I thought I had him secure this time, but when I was at school he burrowed out under the fence, and ate up all the neighbors' flowers. My first week's experience was certainly very trying on my pocket-book.

DIAGRAM OF THE HOUSE AND YARD. DIAGRAM OF THE HOUSE AND YARD.

Rabbits make very interesting pets if one knows how to take care of them. The house shown in the accompanying diagram proved to be a very serviceable one. It is divided into two "rooms," and has a small run attached. The floor of the house should be provided with sliding pans, which will make clearing an easy matter. In order to keep all dampness from the house it is necessary to raise it a few inches from the ground. In winter—that is, in very severe weather—it would be best to carry this house in-doors. In order to keep the rabbits from burrowing out, it is necessary to drive down stakes, about two feet long, close together, all around the yard. A box sunk in the earth at the further end of the yard, with an opening so that bunny can go in and out, is a luxury that he will greatly appreciate.

For feeding rabbits, give them oats, corn, all kinds of greens, carrots, raw sweet-potatoes, tea-leaves (after they come from the teapot), and milk. I have heard it said that rabbits do not drink, but this is a mistake, as I have had over sixty rabbits at a time, and never knew of one that did not drink.

It is considered best to keep the buck away from the doe until the young are a month old, as he is apt to trample them. The number of young varies from four to eight. They are born without fur, and their eyes are shut. It usually takes ten days for them to open their eyes and get their coats. The first little fellow who ventures from the nest is regarded to be the smartest one of the litter.

I have only been able to discover three species of rabbits—the Angora, with long silky hair; the lop-eared, with very long cars which drag on the ground; and the common rabbit, with which most of us are familiar.

Rabbits are very good barometers in their way. Before a storm they will become unusually frisky. Although the sky may be clear, if you see your pets kicking up their long hind-legs you may make up your mind there will be a shower within a few hours.

A noted French scientist recently experimented with the different small animals as to which could stand the greatest amount of cold. He decided that the rabbit could, for he locked one up overnight in a cake of ice, and the next morning the rabbit hopped out, feeling very well, and with a tremendous appetite. In spite of this notable gentleman's discovery, I have had three valuable rabbits frozen stiff during a siege of cold weather.

LOP-EARED RABBITS AT HOME. LOP-EARED RABBITS AT HOME.