So Red Door Shelter were I adopted my Dino and Lucy from send out facebook alerts from time to time when they get notified that a domestic bunny is loose outside. Such a alert went out last week on Thursday. The lady caller said 3 domestic bunnies were out loose in the freezing cold and could they help. So Red Door put the alert on Facebook. Normally they would have a few people ready to jump into action but because the location of the bunnies were so far away from their area – no one responded. I saw the notice and volunteered if no one else could help as we live about 30 minutes away. Again it is really far from the shelter as Chicago with all its burbs is pretty huge. So my husband Brad and I got some basic info from them and off we drove after work, the temp was 5 degrees.
The lady was so nice, she was feeding the rabbits and thought that they were wild until recently someone told her no they were domestic. She said there were 3 – a brown one and 2 black. She said she feed them at night around 5:30 or so and they would be coming soon. The environment was hilly and woody not a good place to try and catch anything but a cold on this dark freezing night. After about 15 minutes sure enough here they came running and hopping right into our area. A black one, a brown one and a second black one. They were full grown domestic rabbits – just beautiful and oh yes a fourth one – black but very shy and stayed away from us so we never really saw that one.
We had to get a plan together of how to catch them. It was challenging but we thought the best idea was to set up our folding fence around the food area and see if they would enter the area. Sure enough 2 of them did as soon as the lady put the food out. They were not afraid of her but were afraid of us. By now a few hours had gone by. We had warmed up once but the temp was now -5 degrees and we were freezing. We thought we’d leave the fence, get them used to the fence and used to going into the fence for food for a few days and the we’d come back on Sunday. The 3 of them appeared to possibly be bonded we think.
Here is a pic of the food area with fence set up. Notice the opening on one side (left).
When we returned on Sunday night the lady said on Saturday she was out in the pen with food and 3 of the 4 bunnies were running around her feet inside the pen. Now that sounded promising. So as darkness fell, soon we started to see the bunnies from the distance. The white snow helped us so much see them. One by one the 3 friendly bunnies came. The lady stood in the pen and put in some food and shook the bag. We really wanted to catch 2 at once but they kept darting in and out and around and after about 15 minutes the brown one darted in the pen and began to eat. The lady closed the pen opening and we had it – Brownie bunny #1. So we put Brownie in our carrier and into our car and tried for awhile to catch a second bunny. We came really close but the bunny just didn’t stay in the pen long enough to close it. So Brownie is here with me at my home in its own pen. We don’t know the sex and I don’t know how to tell the sex anyway so I will refer to this bunny as Brownie and him.
Here is Brownie in the carrier when we got him home. A beautiful little bunny.
Now Brownie was pretty freaked out. He let me pet him but was nervous and scared so we put him in his pen with a box to hide in. The box was small so overnight he turned the box over onto its side and was hiding in the box that way. Pretty smart I thought.
During his first night (Sunday) Brownie came out and ate and pooped all around where his food was. I mean I never saw so much poop from one rabbit ever. I put all his poop in the big poop dish we had (cage bottom covered with newspaper, corncob and tons of fresh hay). The next day he began to poop in the cage bottom poop dish. Why gosh can he go upstairs and teach Dino and Lucy this please. He appears to be poop dish trained – awesome. He is hiding in his box. The shelter said it may take him a few days before he will come out of that box with us around. We have been leaving him pretty much alone and quiet where he is. He is sure adorable and I can’t wait until he learns to trust us.
Another pic of him….in his new pen in my basement (which is very nice btw).
So we are waiting on the lady who helped us as she is having family issues to take care of. Ideally we wanted to get another bunny to take two of them to the shelter at once – they are all bonded we think from what we observed. But the rescue is on hold until the lady can help us again. I think if Brownie had one of his friends/siblings with him he’d be better.
In talking with a neighbor, he said another neighbor had rabbits outside in a hutch and he thought that one got loose. I think the owner for whatever reason turned them out and they are not totally scared of humans because at one point they were kept in a hutch, just the one seems to be afraid. The lady is worried about their well being now and wants to help us catch them. These rabbits have been loose for about a year on their own! Time to get them rescued and brought inside.
So we are in a holding pattern but we are committed to trying to catch these babies. We will wait for the lady to call us again.
Where is Dino and Lucy during all this? Upstairs on our main floor. As Dino and Lucy have the bunny disease E. Cuniculi so they cannot be near our bunnies. We can’t keep this bunny although I totally love him and tell him so every time I am near him. I just hope he will come out of the box soon and I will try and socialize him. JUST SAW HIM OUT OF THE BOX — THIS IS BIG NEWS and I hope he continues to do good while here. Not sure when exactly we will take him to the shelter. Really want to catch another one first. More pics and updates to come so stay tuned.
So Brownie was out of his box twice last night while I was around for about 5 – 8 minutes — this is great.
This morning (Wed) when I went to check on Brownie, I peeked into his box and he wasn’t in there. I looked all over the pen (not that big) and he was no where to be found. I called my husband and we searched our living room area (in our basement, nicely finished I might add) for him. We found him about 6 feet from his pen hiding between the sofa and the end table. It took a little work but we opened up the side of his pen and gently shooed him back in it. We never raised our voices, just talked sweetly to him. Reassured him he was a good bunny. When we secured the pen I put some lettuce and a treat by his box opening and told him he was a good boy. We think he used the smaller box we had in his pen to jump out. We have removed the smaller box. His hiding box is larger about away from the pen walls. Oh I so must take a pic of this pen that anyone can set up with 2 long banquet tables. Anyway we think we will need to give him some run/out time for his pen. After all he was a totally free range bunny but in a scarrry world just a few days ago. But he is coming along.
So tonight little Brownie is still making some strides. He has come out of his box a few more times for short periods. Check him out below.
I had good intentions of letting him run loose in my family room but when rethinking the situation since he does not know his name or any commands and is afraid of us it makes no sense to let him loose only to traumatize him to get him back in the pen. So he has not been set free to roam. So I cleaned out the poop dish (cage bottom) and he totally is trained to poop in the cage bottom. Its a miracle because even Lucy and Dino don’t do this all the time. This little guy must have been a pet with a liter box as his pooping in the poop dish habits are fantastic. I also noticed NO odor from his urine so I assume he was altered because normally the urine smells really bad until they are. Just two predictions I am making for him.
So the pen – here it is — 2 layers of plastic on my wood floor then added throw rugs over it. 2 banquet tables with legs facing outward to hold them up, a poop dish, box for him to hide, food and water some chews – done. Know that I know how quickly we can put this together I won’t ever hesitate to help do an outdoor rescue in my area again. Pics of pen below.
I spent about 30 minutes in his pen talking to him and putting food pcs and pellets near the opening to his box. He did come over several times and eat the food and then goes back deeper into the box. I do see this as progress because he watches me while he eats. Not sure how long this process will take but I’ll try every day to get him use to me for socialization so he can be adopted out.
Now the lady said last night only 1 black bunny came to feed and when it saw her, it ran. A wild cottontail was eating the food. Good for that little guy but we need to catch the 3 black bunnies. So she was going to feed them like normal tonight and tomorrow and let me know how it goes. We are set to return on Friday to see if we can catch another one. Wish us luck and that they come back on Friday.
So on Thursday night I thought okay Brownie has hidden in his box enough time for him to see the world. So I lifted the box off of him and put it down next to him. I talked to him offered some pellets. I got out of the pen and just let him chill. He was nervous. So I talked to him from outside the pen and then left. When I returned 15 minutes later he was back in the box. So I did the same thing a second time but this time I gently pet his back 3 times while talking to him. I could feel his entire body tense up. I then moved away to the far corner of the pen and just talked to him. He sorta looked at me like is that all you are going to do. So I got out of the pen and once again he ran back into the box. I do think he will come around but it will take some time and patience.
Next update will be tonight (Friday) after bunny chase in Lockport for bunny #2. Wish us and the bunnies luck!
So we tried to catch the 2 black bunnies tonight (Friday) but had no luck. At first the shy one came, went into the pen and was eating like a pig. After about 5 minute he darted off and left. Then came an adorable wild eastern cottontail with the brightest while tail I’ve ever seen. So we left for an hour to get something to eat and when we came back both black bunnies were in the pen eating. I got about half way over to them and they heard me and took off. They stayed in the area but were having no part of me in their food pen. The lady that was helping us had a family emergency to take care of and couldn’t help us. It seems to me since the bunnies saw us take Brownie last week they don’t trust us or the lady feeding them. I think in a few weeks they will have forgotten and we might have a shot as long as the lady can help us. Meanwhile those 2 buns look big and healthy from what I can tell. We take little Brownie to Red Door Shelter tomorrow. I am going to miss the little guy but he needs to move on and find a good forever home indoors.
Sat before turning him in….So I just can’t believe the difference in this little bunny over the past 18 hours or so. This morning he came out of his box after hearing my voice. He was laying in a long stretched out pose sorta like a bathing suit model. Pretty relaxed. I entered his pen, talking to him. Went over to him and petted him about 25 times on his back. His posture didn’t change much – pretty relaxed. He almost looks different to sorta relaxed and not all up tight. I know Red Door will know how to continue to win his trust over. He is going to be just fine and I hope his new parents will give him a lot of freedom and room to run and roam cuz he needs it. I wish I could be there for his first binky as it will be glorious. More later tonight after we get back from turning him over to the Red Door for his next steps in his new loving indoor life. Final pics I took of Brownie before turning her in.
When I had to catch Brownie to put him in the carrier – I could tell that he was scared, really scared. The ride was long but I sat in the backseat with the carrier next to me and I talked to him the entire time. So when we arrived everyone was so thankful for our efforts to capture. They put Brownie in a very small pen with a poop dish and water and food to settle down. About 15 minutes later they took Brownie out and checked his ears, cleaned them out, clipped his nails and DETERMINED HIS SEX — BROWNIE IS A GIRL – yes a beautiful little girl. She was still just petrified but that is to be expected. Since Red Door Shelter specializes in rabbit rescue and adoption I know that she is in the right place. They only had about 15 bunnies their now so Brownie will be adopted quickly I hope. First a full vet checkup and then the volunteers will start to socialize her. Get her used to humans. I know she can do it because I saw taking interest in me. So I will keep posting updates if I hear anything. I did remind them that Brownie has her own webpage and if her new parents will send me pics and info I will post it here.
If we catch Brownies two black bunny running buddies I’ll be sure to put up a new post.
I couldn’t keep Brownie (ALTHOUGH I REALLY WANTED TOO) is because my 2 bunnies have e. cuniculi ( bacteria found in rabbits that when not kept in check can cause serious health issues and death). My two rabbits are bonded and to add a 3 rabbit into that mix might break the bond my too have already. I really grew to love that sweet little Brownie and wish her all my best in her new life.
Update Wed – so Brownie has been at the shelter since Saturday and its Wednesday now. Yesterday she got a clean bill of health from the vet. Tomorrow she is set to be altered (poor little girl but necessary as it will help prevent uterine cancer and babies of course). After a 2 week recovery period she will be up for adoption. I can’t wait until she finds her new home because she deservers it.
PS we’ve not heard from the lady feeding the other 2 black domestic rabbits since Friday night — I’m afraid her family members are having serious heath issues. Just note we’ve not forgot about those 2 black bunnies and do plan on going back to try and catch them.
Friday – Brownie is recovering from her surgery. The shelter says she is really coming around and responding to humans. She will make such a nice pet for someone.
Meanwhile we are back on the bunny rescue of Brownies two running pales – the black bunnies. We go back out on Sunday night with 3 others who are experienced at outdoor rescue unlike us. Wish us and those bunnies luck that we catch them.
An update on Brownie – she continues to thrive and get used to humans. She recently had her adoption glamour shots and is up for adoption. I can’t wait for her to have a forever home as this little girl deserves it.
So here is fresh, new pic of sweet little Brownie in her foster home. Gosh I sure hope these folks keep her. What a little sweetie pie Brownie…. looks like she has lots to keep her busy there too.
So here is a recent pic of Brownie who broke security at her foster home – note the electrical wires was not a plan, like I said she broke security and got into a room she should be in but made herself quite comfortable.
So Brownie is really feeling at home in her foster home, sure hope it becomes her forever home. Here she is checking out the trash. Apparently an empty bottle of carrot juice was on the top and Brownie could not resist.
Don’t worry Brownie – your forever parent is coming sweetheart!
Unfortunately the other 2 bunnies that were loose in Lockport have not been seen since a few days after the failed attempt to catch them back in March of 2015. We are still in touch with the lady who was trying to help them by helping us catch them. At least little Brownie is safe in a foster home and not running loose in the woods and extreme weather any longer.
If you have a specific question about your rabbit, please email me at email@example.com.