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|
|Picket's feeding setup while she enjoys her lunch.|
|A clingy Picket still a bit spooked|
|Much more calm so long as she can cuddle|
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|
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|
And in case your wondering - she likes Imagine Dragons.