Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Picket Project (Post 6)

I figured it was about time for another Picket Update, as each time I update, she's changed so much.

Each week, we get closer and closer to the day Picket will be fully weaned.  She is still drinking her cups of milk but tends to eat less each time, especially in the mornings.  We make sure she has a good amount of hay, both timothy and orchard, in her feeding cage and on the floor of her hutch so that she can eat throughout the day.   She's also given a large variety of veggies (and sometimes fruits like bananas) along with rabbit chow to provide extra nutrition in addition to her hay. 

Bok Choy, Sweet Potato, Grape Tomatoes, Broccoli and rabbit chow
This may not look like a whole lot (one leaf of Bok Choy cut up, maybe 1 ounce of broccoli, two tomatoes and not even an 8th of a small potato, plus a quarter of a Dixie cup of rabbit chow), I want her to eat more of the hay then anything else.   Also, we have to be very cautious as to what she gets to eat, as food higher in calcium (spinach, kale, even the broccoli we give her) can cause a build up of calcium crystals in her bladder, leading to a painful condition called bladder sludge.  So we watch what she eats, makes sure she's using the bathroom and drinks water.  

Picket's feeding setup while she enjoys her lunch.
She did not seem to like the 4th of July festivities this week and was extremely clingy both Wednesday night following the fireworks and most of Thursday.  By Thursday evening, she had begun to settle back down to normal and was wanting to play and "binky" like she typically does but beyond that, she was on my chest laying down almost constantly for those 24 hours.

A clingy Picket still a bit spooked
Much more calm so long as she can cuddle
Something that does seem to have a mind of it's own is Picket's ears.  Now, the reason jackrabbits are called Jackrabbits is because of their ears - they reminded people of the ears of a donkey (jackass) and so originally they were called Jackass Rabbits.  Luckily that got shortened to just Jackrabbit.

Picket's ears are like mini satellite dishes. They are extremely long and flat and she can swivel them in all sorts of directions to listen to various sounds. They also are very vascular, with a whole network of blood vessel running through them.  These ears help keep her body temperature regulated - if she's cold, the ears act almost like a thermal blanket that she keeps close to her body, laying them over her back to warm her.  If she's hot, she sticks them up and they radiate the heat away from her body.   Since it was 108 today and our AC was struggling to keep the house cool, her ears have been up most of the day.

Picket keeping her ears up to help cool off during the heat wave
Last night, we had a sad event happen though.  A friend of mine called me around midnight.  She had been driving on base and had a jackrabbit run into her car. Knowing that we were taking care of Picket, she called me up hoping maybe I could come help the poor bunny.  We got there but unfortunately, the bunny wasn't in good shape and it passed. However, it solidified in both mine and Charlie's head that we wouldn't be releasing Picket to the desert after all.

For one thing, she has become way to domesticated.  This may be due to the fact we have hand reared her since she was only a few days old or it may be because she knows she's got a good thing going and doesn't want to give it up.. LOL   Everyone asks if we're going to keep her and I tell them all the same thing -  It's up to her.  She's made it very clear she likes it where she's at as she interacts with everyone, playing and cuddling and jumping on everyone. She gives lots of kisses and loves to be petted and have her ears scratched.

But, there's no way after seeing that poor jackrabbit last night that we could ever allow that to be her fate.  We already knew that jackrabbits in the wild have a low life expectancy (2 years) due to parasites, disease, predators, and of course, cars.   Of course, this is much longer in captivity, especially with proper nutrition and healthcare.

Because of this and the fact that she has become very tame, we have decided that release is not in the future for our girl.  This wasn't our original intention - we had originally planned to wean her and release her.   Instead, we will be shopping around for a veterinarian who is comfortable providing care for her, including getting her vaccinated for myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease as well as having her spayed.

Picket enjoys sitting here listening to music on my Amazon Echo
 So that's where things stand currently with Picket.. Next update, I'll have to make a new banner for the posts since she's not Picket the AC and Music loving Jackrabbit  ;) 

And in case your wondering - she likes Imagine Dragons.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...