(Three) Range Chiken part 1

On Saturday afternoon I noticed that Craig had become agitated, as if nervously anxious about something. I was concerned (and rather amused) by this, and so decided to question Savvas about what had transpired. Apparently that afternoon, Craig had been spending some time in the Animal Village, helping to clean the animals’ hutches. The ‘female-crazy’ rabbit had managed to evade Craig’s attention, and had been let loose! The rabbit was now trying his luck with the ladies! However, one of the larger female rabbits was growing weary of this unwanted persistence, and decided to bite the protagonist’s ear. Teeth sank into flesh. There were yelps of pain. Craig looked on, horrified, as the rabbits’ scuffle was diffused by one of the more experienced farm-volunteers. Craig felt the heavy hands of guilt weigh on his shoulders.

I tried to hide my laughter at Savvas’ story, as we were all ushered into a large room in which the felt-making workshop was due to take place. At that moment, I caught Craig’s eye. We looked at each other. He knew that I knew what had happened. The look of anguish on his face intensified.

Our look was interrupted by anxious whispers amongst the regular volunteers. A hushed urgency. I overheard plans – the injured rabbit was to be taken to the vet right away. Craig’s head sank into his hands. I knew that he had heard too.

At this point, Craig was incredibly concerned about the welfare of the wounded rabbit. With notable trepidation, he asked what was happening. “We’re taking the rabbit to the vet. There’s something wrong with its ear”, came the reply. Craig tried to hide a grimace.

The felt-making workshop gave us brief respite from the commotion. We crafted balls of felt, which when cut open with scissors, revealed the most beautiful patterns of coloured wool. However, it must be said that once we had admired and documented our felt ball creations, Rabbit-gate once again reared its ugly head. News came from the vet that the poor rabbit was suffering an ear infection. During the commotion, I must admit that for myself (and others) confusion arose as to the cause of the infirmity.

It is debatable as to whether the rabbit’s ear infection was a pre-existing ailment, or had been brought about as a result of the incident. This was never clarified as Craig (perhaps wisely) chose not to make any further enquiries.

Carolyn Jackson


Last Saturday was our first group visit to the farm. We made felt from wool, chased rabbits, fed small animals and big ones, and shovelled a great deal of nice juicy manure into a great deal of bags. Here's Craig getting his teeth into volunteering: