Saturday, 31 August 2013

Rescue Round-Up August 2013

Well I am afraid I don't have much of a round-up for you this month as I spent two weeks on holiday and have been a little out of the loop on much of the goings on. Well, I say holiday - recently I've been blowing all my spare cash on dentist bills and stuff for the foster bunnies so I couldn't really afford to go anywhere. But I had a packed schedule of projects at home to take my mind off work and a change is as good as a rest apparently. Anyway...

The good news is that we had a great month for re-homings and bunnies being reserved. As well as our usual stream of singles coming in to find new friends we have actually had a good few pairs and groups finding their dream homes.

August is one of our busiest months for bunnies coming back to stay for their holidays, so it was great to see many of my former house guests again, including Tombo and NausicaƤ!

Holiday boarding brings in extra donations, which is always crucial for keeping the Rescue running but more so this month as unfortunately we had several expensive veterinary bills too.

The really sad news was that it was finally time to say goodbye to Austin, one of the very special bunnies seen in our logo, who had a lump growing inside him for the last few years. The lump was found on his vet check as he was about to go to a new home and after surgery revealed it could not be removed without killing him he became a permanent resident. Although we are all terribly sad at his passing, we are at least comforted that he had many more months of happy living than the vets predicted and only really started to show signs of struggling towards the end as the growth seemed to accelerate. Austin's last few months were spent living a life of luxury in Caroline's house with his devoted partner Starburst.

Austin enjoying special attention and pick of the best snacks at the Rescue summer 2012

Binky free, our wonderful boy.

Friday, 30 August 2013

The Face and the Faceless

I was asked for a photo of Rosetta and Fonzie last week, but when I checked my files I had nothing suitable. So Monday I got them out into a nice green open space and had a go. Then I remembered.

I don't have decent pictures of Fonzie because if you go anywhere near him he won't leave you alone. He gets right up in your face (literally) looking for treats or, failing that, someone to make a big fuss of him. No, no, really, he IS a rabbit, honest!

By stark contrast, at the sign that anything unusual (like photography) is afoot Rosetta just chooses to be somewhere else. If she can't be somewhere else, she tends to get nervous and growly, so although they are a beautiful and fabulous pair of real characters, they really need a very special home with someone experienced.

Well anyway, as a result of all this, almost all of my pictures of the two of them together look something like this:

Great huh?

Fortunately, Rosetta's cautiousness drops away in an instant at the first sign of snacks. The only trouble is, then they're BOTH in your face.

"Did you say the 'S' word?"

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Still Staring

"OMG, look - a week later and those silly humans are still staring. Hey you on the Internet! Yes, YOU! If you like staring at bunnies so much, why don't you come here, feed me breakfast and sweep up my poo?"

Well, little bunny, we could use a few new volunteers, though I'm not sure you yelling at them is going to convince them to come...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Green Science

It is very important to apply scientific method to the evaluation of outcomes, especially if one might be called upon to advise others. It is no good having theories if that's all they are - one needs a proper and robust methodology to establish cause and effect to a level of statistical certainty.

Take my garden. Earlier in the summer, I postulated the theory that the reason I never saw Whisky tearing around like his tail was on fire anymore was that the grass had grown too long. Rather than breaking into a run, he had to cross it in little bounds. My solution? I mowed a strip across the lawn and up the edges. Result: Supersonic Whisky.

Now it's no good me just telling you about this one-off event and asking you to believe it as a general rule. I must demonstrate that the experiment is repeatable. Well here we go, several weeks on, the strip of grass has grown to about 6 inches high and the bunny is back to bounding and ambling. Step one: Mow new strip adjacent to the old one. Step two: Add bunny and observe.

"Here I come!"

"Speeding now!"

"Oh yeah."

Conclusion: Bunnies' behaviour adapts to their environment. If you don't see them racing about and binkying it may be their area is too small or the floor is too slippy or just not good for running on. Give them large areas with a good straight-line distance and great purchase for high-speed feets and you can sit back and watch them fly!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New Do

Well somebun went and got his (or her, I haven't checked yet) bottom floof in a mess of dreads, so I spent some time trimming and detangling yesterday. Of course, since I had the little floofster in my chair, I thought I should probably sort the other end as well so I went and tidied up that fringe so (s)he can see better.

I'd say all that practice on Browncloud is starting to pay off. Not entirely sure my little friend here agrees though.

"Oh, THAT'S what you look like? I kinda thought you'd be taller."

Monday, 26 August 2013

Down Nosin'

"Looking down my nose at you? Of course not! I hadn't found you interesting enough to look at at all!"

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Green Paws

"What are we doing today, gardening? What jobs can I do?"

"Hmmm...maybe not the hedge trimming. I think I'll stick to something more ground-based..."

" clearing the weeds!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Ankle Height Fright

Foster bunny Picante has really come along in the last couple of weeks. Instead of running away when I reach my hands out she'll now stay where she is and let me make a fuss of her. I think she is going to make somebun and their family really happy when she is ready to be re-homed.

There is one slight issue though. The new family will love her as long as whoever brings her breakfast doesn't mind having their ankles bitten when it's delivered late...

"What? That's a totally valid form of bunny communication! Look it up."

Friday, 23 August 2013

A Hutch Will Not Do

"Oh, hello. Einstein here. That BHV fellow was in a bit of a grumpy mood this morning, so I thought I'd step in and impart some of my wisdom.

Apparently, or so he says, it was really difficult to type those words for the title of yesterday's post. That "A Hutch Is Not Enough" business is something he believes in very passionately so it kind of grated on him typing the opposite, even for a joke. Stupid weak-minded human.

Well anyway, guess what? I, a bunny of larger than average stature, of course believe in it too. So lets just clear the air and make sure we are all on the same page.

  • A hutch is not enough.
  • A cage is not enough.
  • A tiny section of one room barely bigger than a couple of litter trays is not enough.
  • A tiny hutch attached to a tiny run you bought in the pet shop, because the sales person said it was for rabbits, is not enough.
  • I need to stretch out.
  • I need to stretch up.
  • I need to run about. And I don't mean take two hops and have to turn around, I'm not circuit training, I want to actually pick up some speed and jump about a bit!
  • I need to run about when it suits me, not when it suits you, so don't think it's OK to shut me in a tiny space for more hours than you don't. Scheduled exercise time is for prisoners, not family members.

So there you go. It's 2013, not 1913, you humans are supposed to be cleverer now, a hutch is really not enough. If you want to know what a modern rabbit house should look like, check out the Rescue website.

Well that's my little lecture over. Now, where's that BHV bloke gone with my breakfast?"

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Hutch Will Do

"Look at those stupid humans staring into their computer monitors all day. I've not seen them race about or binky once. Maybe a hutch WOULD be enough to stick one of them in. What do you reckon - should we get one as a pet? I'm sure we could ask one of the baby bunnies in the next aviary to feed them..."

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Dandelions Raw

Wild plants make for a really good and healthy addition to your rabbits diet. Assuming, of course, that you give them the edible ones - some plants are highly poisonous to bunnies and only offer the promise of a slow and painful death.

Which, since I personally can't tell a daffodil(poison) from a dandelion(tasty), is why I avoid them.

Caroline however is somewhat the country girl and can tell the difference. So not only does she regularly go foraging for wild plants to supplement our residents diet, she has also planted seeds around the green areas of the Rescue to give the bunnies a chance to do some foraging of their own.

Which is good for the bunnies with a natural instinct for spotting the good ones, but as for the bunnies who are more like me in this regard...

"[sniff]..Hmmm...I'm gonna say...this one is...erm...are you sure I can't just have a carrot?"

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Wild In The Country

We have had a small number of wild rabbits handed in to us over the years, for example where their nest has been dug up and destroyed, or their mother killed, or they've been brought in by someones cat etc. Where we are able to minimise human contact, most will maintain their survival instincts and can be released back in to the wild, though occasionally some have long term health problems (like missing teeth) or on rare occasions the nursing has been so hands-on that they become too accustomed to humans and effectively become domestic themselves. Our friend Minty, pictured below, is currently undecided as to which way she wants to go...

"I do dream of open fields. If only I could get these silly humans to deliver my breakfast there I'd be sorted."

I say small number. Over the 5+ years volunteering here I'd seen maybe a dozen come in, then a few months ago we suddenly had 12 come in the same week. So young they were that they needed syringe feeding milk, so we were a little worried that, should they survive, they would become too attached to Caroline and lose their wild ways. Especially this chap.


We are lucky enough to have a good and fairly local contact for releasing onto private land in a relatively (as much as it can be) safe part of the countryside. This is a centre that specialises in taking in sick and injured wild animals, including rabbits, until they are well enough to return to the wild, so they are very skilled and experienced. So as soon as we felt our little group of 12 were ready, off we went. Things didn't go exactly to plan however. Here was the first release attempt a few weeks back...

They wouldn't leave the carrier and when Caroline lifted a couple of them out they just jumped onto her lap. So in agreement with our expert colleagues from the centre, after a short distraction rounding up the one little bun who decided to venture out a couple of feet just to sit under a tree, we packed them all back into the carrier and took them back to the Rescue.

Well here we are, several weeks on and more grown up, and they really were ready to move out. So yesterday I am pleased to say that they were collected and taken back to the countryside to return to their natural home.

We will miss their strange ways. One time they went missing and were found squashed between the back of their hutch and the aviary wall several feet off the ground like little bunny-ninjas, trying to avoid detection. Another time when I had broken my usual routine and fed their neighbours before them, I returned with their food to find a group of them waiting in a row, presumably having thought when they heard me leave that I had already left the snacks and not expected me to return. It doesn't sound much, but when you would normally just not see them at all it was a very odd experience seeing 5 properly wild bunnies seemingly waiting in a line. But much as we will miss them, of course we are happy that they have returned to their natural habitat.

May you live long and exciting lives, little ones.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Far-Out Floofy Fur Face

Did you know, with their eyes high up on the sides of their heads, wild rabbits have nearly 360 degree vision? As a prey species, this gives them a great advantage for spotting possible dangers all around them. Sadly though, generations of selfish humans breeding them towards the ultimate cute aesthetic means that this advantage is often lost to their domestic counterparts...

"Well, I give this breakfast 10 out of 10 for taste, but if you want a score for presentation you might need to ask somebun else."

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Shlurpy Sunday


"Did you just photograph me shlurping my fur clean? Don't blog that..."

OK Whisky, I won't.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Friday, 16 August 2013

Herbie Bunchomp

We've had a few really good days of weather now - a good mix of sunshine and rain. This has breathed new life into the foliage leaving all the plants, flowers and grass looking vibrant. It also means that the strip of grass that had been turned brown with territorial Whisky-wee, due to it's proximity to the run where the foster boys play, is now a luscious green again.

The only part of the garden that doesn't look rejuvenated after the more positive climes is the herbs. Of course, different plants respond to a different balance of things so one would expect different plants to flower or grow under different conditions. So while the grass looks great, for really successful growth it appears that the herbs haven't had the correct ratio of sun:rain:chomping.

"Look away - nothing to see here. Anymore."

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Adventures of a Digger

Extract from the collected diaries of "BHV the Great Explorer":

"It was during one of my summer treks of 2013 through unmapped territories that I became separated from my travelling companions and came upon a curious thing.  It was a cave of sorts, but by no means one of natural origin.  It was formed of an almost perfect circular cross-section and its sides were somewhat pinkish in colour.
As I ventured inside, I felt an eerie quiet descend around me and a general feeling of foreboding. But press on I did and soon found myself approaching what looked like some sort of cave-in blocking my passage. On the wall ahead of me was painted a large letter 'Y', above and to the right of which was a single eye. These things are common in places of mystery and treasure to keep out those of a superstitious mind, for the eye was expertly painted to display the illusion of following me as I approached.
As I came nearer to the large painted artefacts, I reached forward to place my hand on the letter, only to discover that it was no painting at all but some sort of vent, for out of it came a sudden rush or air and from behind it I heard a loud thump.
Well I am afraid to say that the sudden noise pushed me to fear, so I quickly turned tail and ran like a frightened child, not looking back.
The mystery of that cave haunts me to this day, though I did manage to acquire one clue as to the goings on of that strange place. This one photograph taken before I was startled so."

"Later that day, on finding my colleagues, it appears that the area was awash with these mysterious caves, although I understand that the cave they found was blocked from the entrance.  I guess that some mysteries are destined to never be unravelled."
[Note from the editor:  The following photo was later recovered from the camera of the BHV's travelling companions, clearly showing the cave and the strange obstruction they encountered.]

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Pay On The Door

"Welcome to the Rabbit Residence Rescue. The entry fee is 1 carrot. Each. Foot. Ours, not yours."

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Convincing Camouflage

Now you probably won't believe me, but trust me on this - although it might LOOK like this is just a random patch of grass, if you look closely you might just spot some bunnies in there too...

"You on the end, stop eating the cover, they'll see us!"

I tell you, those bunnies are masters of concealment.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Like Sheep

"It's Monday, so let the hard work begin. We've got to chomp all this grass - what have you got goin' on?"

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Back on the Banana

Whisky had his first vet appointment for about ten weeks on Friday. Not sure if this is a record or not, but this is possibly the longest he's gone without antibiotics for a long time. He has been very sneezy recently, more so than usual, and the sneezing has been noticeably wetter. He has also had some gunky eye issues, so I thought I'd take him in for a flush and a check-up.

Thankfully no surprises, the flush cleared a lot of gunk out but with the tear duct being blocked it all comes back out the eye. And, of course, he's back on the antibiotics. He mostly gets Septrin which, despite smelling (and presumably tasting) of banana, he's not overly keen on.

The one thing we did learn this week is that I probably need to re-arrange his room until the course is over - the current configuration significantly favours bunny navigation over human navigation leading to a twice daily episode of something resembling Tom and Jerry.

"Oh, so you've regained consciousness now? Next time try ducking under the book shelf."

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Never Forgotten

My dear sweet Santa.

Today my memories of you fill my thoughts.

You were bright and friendly, bold and determined.

To me you were the perfect little friend and my floppy-eared child.

And to Jemima, our dear Jemima, you were the perfect companion.

I remember your bitter determination to communicate to me anything and everything you were thinking - you taught me more about bunnies than any book I read before or since.

Oh how I loved to watch you climb and explore, even when your complete lack of fear in the face of those seemingly impossible leaps across high places made me worry so.

Three years ago today you left this world, your life slipping away at just three and a half years old.

So today I will remember and think of you, even more so than I do every other day of the year.

And though I can no longer hold you in my arms, today I will hold you closer in my heart.

I miss you more than ever, my first and most special fluffy boy.

You will always be remembered.

My dear sweet Santa.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Tinker Tailer

"Why yes, I can take those up for you right now! weren't looking for a straight hem though, right?"

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Love At First Glance

I do like this photo, which I took a little over a week ago, it really makes me smile. I like it because on first glance you sort of go "Awww, sweet love!", but a second later you realise that's not what it's about at all.

It's brothers Silvio and Boz, one of whom is trying to eat a tasty snack out of the others mouth before he can swallow it.

A second later still you notice JJ in the top right, quietly scoffing the pile of snacks the other two haven't spotted.

And lastly, you notice that Browncloud is basically photobombing the shot with his fluffy butt right in the middle.

So really, what's NOT to like about this picture??!!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Dishes At NASA

Meanwhile, at a secret NASA research station, scientists deploy the new detector array aimed at finding life on other planets. The trial is not without success, however the scientists soon come to realise that the equipment can only be calibrated to detect plant life.

"Spring greens. That definitely sounds like spring greens."

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

In Jest

Being called Jester you'd think he'd be better at taking a joke. This morning I told him I couldn't find the grater so he'd have to go without his usual carrot...

Monday, 5 August 2013

A Whole Lot of Trust

A little over a week ago we decided to separate the foster boys from the foster girls. Since there are four boys and only two girls, the boys got to keep the shed and run while I moved the girls into the house. Indoors they had to suffer a cage for a few days while I sorted their room, but now have about 60 square foot of space to themselves.

The change was a bit traumatic for them at first, and this hasn't been helped by inheriting a certain level of jumpiness and distrust from their mum Salsa. In the larger group they had their bolder brothers Browncloud and (the currently nicknamed) Boz to show them when it was safe to lurk about my feet without fear of being scooped for health checks. On their own their behaviour is proving slightly erratic - one minute they are pestering me for snacks or trying to nudge my legs out the way so they can explore the house, the next they are panicked and hiding behind the door (which is simultaneously sad and hilarious to see). But this is one of the great and joyful challenges of fostering, teaching trust and confidence to the sweet and fearful.

Oh, and another challenge of fostering is coping with having your house smell of two un-spayed girl bunnies who want to make it quite clear that their WHOLE room is their domain...

"I'm gonna tell you this from here because I've figured you can't fit your fat butt through this hole, but you should know I just took a big wee in the corner by the radiator. Also, that spot where you just sat down? Erm..."

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Soul Stealer

Despite the storms and rainy days, it is still very warm in these parts. This makes Whisky too hot to be very active and pretty much the only way to get him racing around is to encourage him to venture out in the garden late in the evening. Last night we went out after dark and sure enough the cool night seemed to wake him up a bit.

Too dark for me to do anything productive in the garden, so my only task was to keep one eye on him (luckily he's light coloured) and another on the walls and fences spotting for cats and foxes. Well that got boring pretty quickly so to pass the time we decided to try and take some "ghost pictures". For anyone who has not tried this already, this is where you set the shutter speed on your camera to (say) 30 seconds and set it down on something solid (so there's no movement). Then press the button to take the picture, walk quickly into frame and stand still for (say) 10 seconds, then walk quickly out again. The effect is to create a "ghost" in the picture.

These were our best efforts - ghostly me stealing Whisky's ghostly soul! (Or at least, ghostly me borrowing Whisky's ghostly soul for a ghostly cuddle!) Not great pictures but we had great fun making them!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Smells Great

I get terrible reception on my phone at the Rescue - there's only really one spot in the corner I can stand where the signal is strong enough to pick up data. The bunnies on the other hand may be on a different network, as though I've never seen any of them with a smart-phone or laptop, I'm pretty sure some of them are checking the internet regularly...

"Auntie who called me a what?! Well someone's feet are in for a good chompin' if they're ever seen round here, I can tell you!"

Friday, 2 August 2013

The Watchman

"I think if you check your watch you'll find it says 'sleepy bunny naptime' not 'gawpy silly human time'."

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Incoming Message

"No you don't understand - my hearing's fine, despite the ears. I just wasn't listening to you."