Wednesday 19 January 2011

Okunoshima Take-Over

If you are a reader of the MyHouseRabbit blog you will already have seen the story about the island of Okunoshima that has been taken over by abandoned domestic rabbits.

To cheer myself up today I had a trawl around YouTube for some videos. Here are some of my favourites. Prepare to squee. Prepare to squee so hard your eyes pop right out of your head and your heart explodes. You have been warned!

Monday 10 January 2011

Aoife and Blue

Another success story!
After Bunjit my 7 year old faithful French lop died earlier this year, I decided that his partner, Aoife looked so lonely and she had become very agitated and grumpy without her mate.  However, after a routine trip to the vets for her annual booster, the vet discovered a serious lump in her tummy.  It was so severe that she had to be operated on to remove the cyst from her intestine and bladder.  Poor Aoife, it was such a good job  I always keep up the trips to the vets for boosters because the vet said she would probably have just died an awful painful death, had I not taken her to them.  After several weeks of recovery and much expensive treatment, I was very reluctant to re-home Aoife, but she was not particularly friendly towards me, never biting but hated to be disturbed.  But I decided she had to have a chance of happiness, so I purchased Blue, a 9 week old young buck with a very outgoing nature, who loved to be cuddled and fussed.

I had read all about bonding and decided to introduce them gradually and started off in the kitchen, which was fairly neutral to both of them.  That failed, she was not having any of it.  So up to the bathroom we went, that was a bit better but he was quite insistent and I had to keep squirting him with a water spray.

I left the get together sessions for some weeks, not wanting to admit failure, keeping them apart in different parts of the garden and different sleeping arrangements.  It was quite a task to remember that one rabbit was in and the other was out.  I then re-introduced them again in the large outside run and that was a disaster.  She immediately bit him and he was squealing so I had to separate them very quickly.

That was it!  I was very scared to attempt any more bonding sessions without some expert help.  Aoife had been spayed almost a year ago and Blue was due to be neutered as soon as he was old enough.

Caroline Collings, at the Rabbit Residence in Gt Chishill, near Royston came to the rescue.  She advised getting Blue neutered as soon as possible, then wait until the hormones settled again before trying to bond them.  It was no use attempting bonding until after this as he was only being a naughty little buck and annoying her.

Another few weeks went past and eventually I asked Caroline if she could take the pair of rabbits to her rescue centre and try to get them bonded in neutral territory.

They spent a few days in her 6 x 4 shed, separated by wire so that they could sniff and be near each other without being able to physically get to one another.  Gradually they got used to being around each other and the day came when Caroline let them have some time without the wire.  It worked, the bunnies fell in love.

Within a few days they could be left unsupervised and became used to each other’s company.

After about 10 days, Aoife and Blue returned home and started their new found friendship back home where they belonged.  It is so lovely to see them together, running, playing and getting up to mischief together.  Now they are inseparable, and everywhere Aoife goes, Blue swiftly follows.  I cannot tell you how relieved I am now that they are such a perfect pair, it makes me so happy to see them together.

Thank you Caroline for your devoted care and expertise.

Lisa Everett
Pictures by Lisa.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Shake and Snuffle

I am currently reading Anne McBride's "Why Does My Rabbit...?", which I would recommend to all bunny-parents for two reasons:

  1. It is packed with useful, well researched information about rabbit health and behaviour.
  2. It is incredibly cheap.

Having been around bunnies for a few years now and picked up quite a bit of information from bunny people, websites, forums, other books, vets and of course the bunnies themselves, most of the stuff in it is not new to me.  However, with its content arranged in a fairly concise and easy-to-read way, I can't help wishing I'd started with this one.  OK, advert over.

The reason it has had an impact on my week and prompted this entry was my reading the section about ears.  If you ever see a rabbit shaking its head, or looking kind of "quizzically" at you with their head at an angle, there's a good chance there's something wrong somewhere, either in the ears or the brain.  The first thing I do in this case is to scoop them up for a cuddle and have a good look and a sniff in the ears.  If they are anything other than squeaky clean and free from odour I would suspect some sort of infection or possibly mites and it's time for a visit to our friend the vet.  (Note of course that if any symptoms persist and I would pack them off to the vets regardless of whether I could find the cause.)

Reading about all of this again prompted something in the back of my mind about Elvis shaking his head a few times recently and though it was brief and there were no signs of problems now, I thought I'd take him along to the vets anyway since I was taking Jemima to get some anti-biotics for her sneezing.  And I'm glad I did - not only did the vet confirm the presence of a slight infection in his left ear but we also discovered he'd been quietly suffering from a respiratory infection as well. So it's anti-biotics all round, plus some drops for Elvis.

This whole incident highlighted two things we can easily forget in our busy lives:

  1. If in any doubt about your rabbits health or behaviour it is always best to consult your vets, even if it is just a phone call to the surgery for advice.
  2. However much you think you've experienced ultimate hatred and disapproval from your rabbit, you've seen NOTHING until you've tried administering ear drops.

Sorry Elvis!

NOTE: For your safety and that of my camera I have used a photo from my archives. Current levels of Elvis disapproval are likely to cause injury, even in picture form.