Courtesy of Jenny Nichols
Blackavarr is one of the adoptable rabbits at Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue. He was rescued from the woods and was covered with ticks and fleas, and very wild. Nichols said he is now the sweetest bunny.
Could a rabbit “shire” full of tiny hobbit-like homes for rabbits soon be a reality in Maine? It could if Jenny Nichols has any say. Nichols operates Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue in Lamoine, Maine, and on September 15, the rescue posted a campaign on the LoveAnimals.org crowdfunding website to raise $5,000 to make this project a reality. The campaign runs for only 30 days (and the countdown has already begun).
Creating A More Natural Burrow Living Environment
The project calls for 10 tiny rabbit burrows to be built in the organic garden of Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue. Each burrow could house up to six rabbits, or more depending on the size of the rabbits. The specific description of the burrows follows.
The rescue has used an outbuilding to house rabbits previously, so why the desire to create burrows? The project description also addresses this.
Nichols’ enthusiasm for the burrows was evident in an interview.
She stressed that the homes will be temperature-controlled.
Each burrow would measure approximately 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, and Nichols said this area includes a predator-safe pen where the rabbits can run and play. In addition to the play area of each burrow, she said the rabbits will be given supervised time in a big, fenced-in area that gives them access to fresh organic, rabbit-safe vegetables and lots of room to run.
History Of Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue
Nichols drew on a few years of rabbit rescue experience to formulate this dream project. It began with a pet bunny named Flopsy, she told The Maine Edge back in 2012. Nichols got the rabbit after her daughter begged her for one. When her daughter lost interest in the pet, Nichols took over her care and decided Flopsy needed a friend. They adopted Lucky, who was supposed to be female. He wasn’t, and soon Nichols and her family welcomed a litter of rabbits. From there, Nichols did research and learned that many pet rabbits get abandoned. She decided to do something about this and opened Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue in the summer of 2011. It’s motto states: “Together, we can save somebunny today.”
In addition to the burrows fundraising project, it has the usual needs of all animal rescues — donations to cover veterinary care, supply costs and operating costs, and volunteers to help with housing, transport, tasks, etc.
“It was a huge shock,” she said. “I had a long road ahead of me and it took many months for me to recover both physically and mentally. Luckily, at the time, our rabbit intake was low and we were able to place most of the bunnies in foster homes while I kept a few here at the bunny barn. Since then, I have received the ‘thumbs up’ from my doctors and feel back to my old self again. This break gave me a chance to reevaluate the way rabbits are kept.”
Fundraising For The Burrows
The fundraiser on LoveAnimals.org is scheduled to last for 30 days, with the clock already ticking. The organization states in its FAQ that it vets every nonprofit partner before allowing a project on its website. And it has other methods to ensure money is spent as expected.
LoveAnimals.org does not take a percentage of the donation. According to its FAQ, all money raised is forwarded to the nonprofit, minus any credit card or payment processing fees, which LoveAnimals.org has no control over. It can forward all money because it does ask for a 15 percent admin donation at check out, but this is optional. Admin donations that are given and sponsorship by companies like Halo Natural Pet Foods allow the website to keep running.
Nichols hopes to reach the goal of $5,000, but if that doesn’t happen, she has a plan.
“We will build what we can and keep working towards that goal,” she said. “I have contacted local lumber yards and hope for some material donations. That will help.”
“Visitors are always welcome at Cottontail Cottage. AND, once our colony is complete, all of you who have donated will be invited to a very special open house and reception here at Cottontail Cottage, to get a first look at the burrows and meet the new bunny residents!”