In the eleventh century, what we now know as a ‘rabbit’ was called a ‘coney’. The word ‘rabbit’ was the original name for a ‘baby coney’, but the name became used for the adult rabbit quite recently. This is why we do not have one defined name for a baby rabbit, but must use ‘Kitten’ or some similar baby animal name.
Rabbits were brought to Great Britain from France 900 years ago and they were seen as a major economic asset.
Rabbits bred rapidly so they were convenient for fur aswell as eating. In the days before the fridge, rabbit were considered just the right size for a meal without any waste.
The rabbit were kept in special walled enclosures called ‘warrens’, a term which now refers to all rabbit colonies and their burrows. rabbit were carefully looked after by a ‘warrener’ who fed them and provided them with protection from predators.
Occasionally the rabbits had access to surrounding fields to scamper around in. They would eventually return to the warren for shelter. This practice cost their owner nothing, as the rabbits would feed on natural vegetation, or raid the crops of local peasants. Some rabbit would often escaped from their warrens and became established in places where the soil was easy to dig such as on sandy heaths and clifftops. The rabbits were not exterminated so their numbers rapidly increased, especially in the South of England.
Post time: Oct-22-2020