I woke up around 6. Maybe the goat next to me made a noise, maybe it was the roosters. As I poked my head out from under the makeshift mosquito netting covering my face, I saw one of our large rabbits on the back lawn.
I clambered out of the sleeping bag and into a farm shirt. Putting on my long red shirt and black muck boots (and precious little else) I was at least semi-decent to survey the scene.
There was the rabbit on the back lawn. No rabbits in the pen. Oh look, a milling crowd of rabbits in the south pasture.
This scene was complicated by the goat yelling her head off and straining at her leash any time I went out of sight. The night before she had broken her collar trying to follow me when I stepped inside to get my toothbrush. I had only met this goat that evening, mind you.
So, goat tagging along behind me, I went to round up rabbits. Hopefully all 13 of them.
“AnaVictoria!” I yelled.
“Coming!” I heard her reply from inside her van. Bless her, she leaped out ready for action. With nets and a carefully positioned cluster of cages with rabbit treats inside, we caught many of the runaways. Some were still on the loose, but we were at the point of diminishing returns.
I had to milk our other goats. The new goat followed me, and leaped into the old cow manger next to the rabbits. I heard a scream from our young rabbit buck’s cage—he had panicked at the unexpected goat and broken his own leg.
“Okay, order of operations: kill the buck, put on pants, then kill the goat. Sound like a plan?”
AnaVictoria nodded. It’s not many days I have to put an animal down before I even put on pants. This day was turning out to be an exercise in triage.
Buck out of his misery, I went to get the gun to dispatch the goat. Goat processing had been the plan since last night anyway, but I hadn’t expected such an eventful morning in the rabbitry.
I hadn’t even dispatched the darling goat when our neighbor called.
“Are you missing a rabbit?” she asked.
“Yes!” We ran over there, leaving the goat alive and well but yelling for me, and quickly cornered a renegade rabbit. That made 12 of the 13 recaptured, we thought. I would be happy with that.
Finally we were ready to give this goat’s final moments the respect they deserved. The goat died instantly and we began processing her.
Once she was skinned, it was time to move our rabbits into more comfortable housing from the temporary cages we used in catching them.
AnaVictoria counted them several times, then beamed, “We have 13!” We had actually caught all the rabbits.
The only trouble was that one of the rabbits had been lounging on the wire floor of the cage and a testicle had descended through the mesh. When he jumped up again, the testicle stayed behind. Ouch! I didn’t know what to make of this fluffy testicle stuck on the wire or who it belonged to.
“Too fast for their own good,” said Quinn, shaking his head.