Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Rabbits, Chickens & Four Year Old Bargaining Expertise

Sassy's three kits have full round bellies, they are warm and cozy in their nest and yet I feel a bit of loss this morning, because they are the only three remaining out of five kits.  One kit mama culled herself and I have to assume it wouldn't have survived. The other one my daughter and I found 8-10 ft away from the hutch yesterday evening cold and dusty. Somehow it had ended up outside the cage and rolled or crawled far enough away that when I checked on them the first day I didn't see it. And I didn't see it until two days later when we were doing our tray and cage cleaning and I moved a tarp that was laying off to the side out of the way to sweep up stray hay and dust.

My mother's ears could hear my four year old's voice coming closer as she headed for the barn to help with rabbit chores and as Seriah and I looked at each other with worry on our faces for how she would react my quick acting daughter wrapped the little bundle in one of the clean towels we keep on hand for rabbit care and left by the side door to go dispose of and take care of our unfortunate babe before the youngest in our family was traumatized any further.

Kyrilene is already using our homestead as her personal mother blackmail and torture device and it is working well in her favor I am sorry to admit.  Why just the other day as we were walking into IHOP for dinner my four year old turns to me with all her sweetness and her eyes grow big and the fat tears start to fall and she crumples into my arms.  When I ask her whatever is the matter she begins:

"Why did you sell my bunny Shadow?  That was my bunny, and she was the best bunny ever and now I miss her.  Why mom?"

Now mind you this is the same mixed breed new zealand doe that she agreed we could sell several weeks ago because she was going to get to pick one of the new babies to be her new bunny.  And it would have a pedigree and could go to the shows with us.  But today none of that mattered.  The next thing out of her mouth would have convicted anyone especially if you didn't know the whole story.

"Why did you kill my chicken mom, I loved Calee.  She was the smallest and the sweetest and the best chicken ever, because she didn't run away and she let me hold her and pet her and everything.  Why is she dead?  Is she in Heaven?  I need to see my chicken again mom."

At this point I my heart sunk into my chest and I was grateful that as a family of seven they have to combine tables to seat us so we were in an out of the way corner in a not too busy restaurant.  Because you see her chicken had been born with a bugling eye defect.  We had cared for it and watched it for infection.  She was blind and stunted in growth but she compensated by buddying up with a young rooster who hatched in the same group of eggs as her and he watched out for her stuck to her side and guided her everywhere.  Trust me we were fine with this and would never have worried a wit about it until the eye became infected and even with ointment daily and careful flushing it was so badly infected that it was inhumane to left the poor thing suffer.  So we talked to the kids about why we had to put the chicken down and that it was the best thing for her and we did that evening after they had said goodbye and gone to bed.  But this day sitting at this table none of that mattered to my four year old.  In her eyes her mother had become a chicken killer and a rabbit seller and there was no coming back from that, or was there.  I fell for it and asked her the magic question.

"What can I do to help you feel better sweetheart?"

Immediately her eyes brightened and she smiled and looked at me ever so sweetly with a sly grin on her face that clearly read I have you now and she responded with:

"I need two bunnies of my very own that you can never never sell, and two chickens too."

Not only did she want to double the number of pets that she got to call her own but she had already picked them out.  So now she is the proud owner of our black buck Swift, our black new zealand doe Baccara Rose, and a couple of chickens named Stormy a mixed breed black hen and Crystal a black australorp hen.  And yesterday I could hear her talking to her sister about when she gets to pick out her very own baby bunny.  So apparently that offer is still on the table in her mind.  The workings and bargaining expertise of my four year old astound me.  And I admit that the future intimidates me just a little bit if she is this good already.

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