I have dreams of creating a home suitable for a backyard bunny in the Mojave Desert. Socialized bunnies have amazing personalities, provide entertainment and companionship in addition to creating excellent compost. Unfortunately the Mojave summer heat killed our last bunny, Chipper.
In the middle of a summer night, we rushed off to the emergency room. We didn’t get back in time to give Chipper his bottles of frozen water to stay cool by. We arrived home to find that our friend died from heat exposure. Never again, I promised myself. Before I get another rabbit, I will make a little yard where my future bunny can safely burrow to keep cool without escape or predation. I knew from my field biology classes at Fresno State University that the Mojave Desert stays a cool constant 60°F year round – four feet down. So I dug a deep perimeter, lined it with 3′ deep plastered lath, and back-filled the hole with a key hole garden. Little did I know that the effort, still in progress, would give my chickens such an advantage against mice coming into the aviary to steal their food.
Shortly after applying the last batch of cement, observations of mice droppings went from common to briefly incidental. My best hunter, Apricot, suddenly put on weight. Her egg production went from intermittent to slightly over one egg per day. Yes, some days she lays two.