Phoebe Meets the Old Hens

The pullets don’t know anything about rabbits, so I wasn’t too worried about introducing Phoebe to them. Phoebe galloped through them, and they scattered. But the Old Girls have years of experience with the Empress Candy, and I didn’t know what sort of a welcome they’d give her. I let Phoebe out of her hutch and watched.

Betsy, though diminutive, never put up with Candy’s hijinks, so when Phoebe hopped over to say hello,



I wasn’t at all surprised that Betsy made a show of how little she wanted to get to know this new rabbit.



Phoebe, in classic rabbit insouciance, was not impressed.



Next, Phoebe decided to go inside to visit with Buffy. Buffy was in her “leave me alone” place.



Phoebe did not leave Buffy alone. Buffy started chuck-chuck-chucking in a loud and agitated manner. She heaved herself up. She  walked over and pecked Phoebe’s nose.



Phoebe wasn’t thinking much of this welcome, but, she wasn’t ready to give up yet. Off she went to say hello to Twinkydink.



It goes without saying that the old Australorp was uninterested in amusing this young bunny. So, Phoebe galloped about on her own,



and when she tired of that, she went back into her hutch. Life in the penthouse, Phoebe said, is fine.



I fear that she is already plotting ways to amuse herself… at the chickens’ expense.


  1. I watched when Phoebe was invading Buffy’s space and could clearly see that Buffy was not amused. Even though there was no audio, I could see Buffy clucking up a storm! And then I saw Buffy raise her hackles; Buffy was telling Phoebe who was boss – loved it!

  2. Seems Phoebe just wants a friend. It would be hard living somewhere where no one wants you around. Maybe you could get another gal bunny.

  3. Oh, how funny. I hope she has more fun with the pullets!

  4. Phoebe is one good looking rabbit. And that photo of Betsy in bantam indignation is absolutely beautiful. What a great shot. In my lifetime I couldn’t get a shot like that. (Or maybe you could lend me Phoebe for a day…)

  5. Will Edwina, Siouxsie and the Gems get a chance to meet Phoebe ? Edwina would probably try to be domineering to her, while Siouxsie won’t notice till she tripped over Phoebe.

  6. Great photos, especially the one of Betsy in full display

  7. Betsy looks like Benny Hinn when he throws people in the floor! :-) Sorry, I couldn’t resist. It is a hilarious picture. And Sophie didn’t look at all intimidated. She probably thought Betsy was giving her a hug.

    • Well I do not know where the name Sophie came from (a little arterial flow problem) I meant to say Phoebe in my above post!

  8. Insouciance, such a great word Terry! Thank you for the great photos and your narration is always a pleasure to read. I think Phoebe is going to keep the older gals on their toes, literally?

    • It’s vegetarian chicken feed, not the best for rabbits, but in the small quantity that she eats, it is unlikely to do her harm. She has rabbit food, hay and greens in her hutch, and that makes up the vast majority of her diet.

  9. Wonderful post, Terry, as always. Betsy in full display is amazing! Phoebe will liven things up, no doubt. I always enjoy my “trips” to Little Pond Farm. Thanks for sharing!

  10. If Phoebe was locked in a cage for years in her previous life, she probably thinks she’s living in Heaven with all her freedom now. I love seeing her run! Get your scamper on, Phoebe.

  11. Yep….I agree..this post needs to between a front and a back cover!

  12. I’m waiting for Phoebe to block the door to the hen house.

  13. Great report & photos! And I agree with Tyche – sounds like a good children’s book to me…..


  14. Great shot of Betsy in attack/defense mode. She makes herself look really big and scary-looking–very brave! I’m not familiar with bunny behavior at all, but would bunnies counter-attack? (Serious predators aside.) Obviously Phoebe is just playfully checking out her new family members. The pictures here are the beginning of a great new storybook!

  15. I missed Phoebe’s encounters with the hens but I did watch her one day when, I think, Lily was studying her through the fence. Phoebe didn’t seem fazed by Lily at all and proceeded to gallop around and around – zip! zip! zip! back and forth and then around again. Lily left, probably disappointed that she couldn’t get into game. But then, it wouldn’t be a game for her. :-(

  16. I love the way the old girls have tucked in for the night and Phoebe is under the nesting boxes. I think she’s hatching a plan to make them like her.

  17. Great pictures and story! I love the second one of Betsy showing off her wings… Thanks for posting these :-)

  18. She is so adorable. I was surprised Betsy wasn’t too kind to Phoebe. After all she was pals with Candy, and I thought she’d be curious about Phoebe. Maybe in time she’ll warm up to her and so will Buffy. For now Phoebe is fine on her own and finding her way in her new home.

    • Oh, Betsy never put up with Candy’s attitude and often pecked her on the nose. I knew to keep a close eye when introducing a new rabbit. But it looks like Phoebe has the personality to stand up to grumpy old hens.

  19. Terri,

    I tried to scroll through older posts but must have missed something. What happened to Candy?

  20. That was the most amazing pic of Phoebe and Betsy! What kind of camera do you have? :)

    • A very easy to use, point and shoot, Nikon coolpix. The trick is these photos is that I know my animals, know behavior to anticipate, and sit quietly and wait.

  21. Terry, Phoebe is beautiful. Any reason you don’t have another spayed female or neutered male rabbit? Seems two would be so much happier than one? Edjumacate me? Thanks.

    • A single rabbit will interact more with the other animals and with me. It’s also a matter of space. One rabbit, galloping through the flock, is plenty for the hens to put up with.

  22. Buffy is standing her ground! Qute. Terry, is it okay to have water and food both in the run and the coop. Or, just the coop.

    • As long as the food is covered and dry, it can be outside. But, I like to see a feeder inside, too, as chickens should eat frequently and if the food is outside (even under the coop as seen in some compact models) then during inclement weather the chickens won’t eat enough.

  23. Wow, i really adore Betsy’s feathers. I had no idea they were so pristine and beautiful!
    Betsy really looks to be in the prime of her life.
    Such a cute reaction to Phoebe too.

  24. Just curious. Even though you keep the coops clean, is there any concern with a rabbit being so close to chicken manure all the time? Any potential respiratory problems or other bad pathogens that they could pick up?

    Also, I know you are keeping Phoebe safe from predators, but will she ever get to spend time on grass?

    Thanks for your blog, I am learning so much.

    • Check this FAQ about keeping a rabbit with hens. Phoebe is a small rabbit and could squeeze out of the gates in the goat paddock (which I used to let Candy in.) I’m working on a solution, but for now she’s staying where she is. She does get a lot of greens from my garden.