When Flopsie & Mopsie were babies, we had no idea whether they were male or female. If they were the same sex, we thought, No problem! But what if they were a male and a female? Rabbits reach sexual maturity between 3-6 months and the gestation period is about 30 days, so we literally could be having a litter every month! (Hence the term: “Breeding like rabbits.”) They had a lot of fur “under there” and took great offense to being probed, so we took them to the local vet for a “well bunny checkup” and to determine their gender.
There was good news/bad news. The good news was that they were both boys—and so was the bad news! The vet said that when she was young and raising rabbits, one of her male rabbits killed the other male rabbit because rabbits are very territorial. Her suggestion to prevent fratricide was: “Fix” both Flopsie & Mopsie. We staggered out of the vet’s office with an estimate in hand, $360—for each rabbit! There was no quantity discount.
But what was the alternative? We didn’t want to come home one day to find a dead rabbit in the backyard. So when they were about 6 months old, we took them back to the vet’s office for an operation, which required an overnight stay afterwards. This was so that the vet could monitor their output (poop) to ensure that their digestive system was working after being under anesthesia.
The next morning, the vet’s office called to say it was OK to pick them up, so we did, but later the vet herself called to say that the rabbits should not have been released as neither of them had pooped. We would need to monitor them, she said, to ensure they were in fact doing this. If they didn’t, we would have to bring them back for another overnight stay ($$$$!). Though they had been running around in the backyard, we threw them back into a large wire cage with a litterbox, to see if they were pooping. The hours passed by with no sign of output—apparently they were “holding it.”
Desperate, we carried the wire cage out to the lawn, setting the cage on top of sheets of newspaper while simultaneously sliding out the bottom of the cage. Miraculously, once their little bottoms touched the newspaper that was resting on the grass, both of them pooped! Hooray! we cheered, thinking of the money we had saved, and called the vet with the happy news. Apparently the rabbits were waiting to use the bathroom in a familiar place—some of us can identify with this!
Finally, after spending $720, did the “fix” result in peace and harmony among brothers? On the contrary, No! But that is another story….