Thursday 31 May 2012

Squee-Free Thursday

I was reading back through this months posts earlier this week and I couldn't help noticing my recent tendency to use the word "squee" when referring to our bunnies. Well you can't blame me, especially with those teeny babies in their pipe, and who wouldn't want a rabbit Pokémon called Gigglysquee, but still. Too much.

So, I am going to try to get through at least the next week without using that word and also I will be attempting to avoid describing any of our bunnies as "freakin' adorable", even though pretty much all of them are. It will be tough, but I'm sure I can do it. OK. Here goes. Starting now.

So here are some lovely bunnies looking for a loving home that some of you will have met via our Facebook page or at the Rescue - a pair of small red-eyed whites called Akeeta and Apollo.

And as rabbits go, they are, er... sweet and quite um...just a little bit...

...errr...they're so...

... Oh my. I think if I'm going to last the week I'm gonna have to start blogging about potatoes or something instead.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Together is Better

So the reason I didn't have a blog post ready for you this morning was that I didn't get back from the Rescue until late last night and had, like, zero energy. Couldn't even lift my arms to wave them in the direction of the keyboard. And all I'd really done was clean one shed (for Sushi and Serena) and completed about eighty percent of the evening routine (water and food) to cover Caroline who was late back from a re-homing. Took me three hours. No wonder Caroline rarely stops moving when you talk to her, if she did she'd still be doing the Monday tasks come Thursday. Anyway, enough of my complaining.

Being there for dinnertime, I did have the pleasure of witnessing yesterdays featured buns all sharing snacks together and OH-MY-THEY-ARE-SO-FREAKIN-CUTE!!!!!!!

I mean, seriously, this picture doesn't even come close to capturing how floofilicious they are together. I totally had to sit down after to let a serious case of the gigglysquees subside...

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Cashmere Girls Meet Cashmere Boy

We always favour house-rabbit homes for Cashmere buns. After just a few days outside at the Rescue, these girls will happily show you why - they look like they've been dragged backwards through the proverbial hedge.

[Mental note: must add "Cashmere combing" to regularly scheduled tasks at the Rescue.] Whinnie's former partner Kanga doesn't seem to mind how they look and so far he is enjoying having two new young friends to play with. Not that there's much playing - in this heat and with all that fur it's mostly lounging.

"Yes, my new friends are very sweet. Like the iced tea I ordered an hour ago...service?"

Monday 28 May 2012

Sushi on the Mend

You will be happy to hear that Sushi appears to have overcome his avian aversion syndrome and is starting to enjoy the garden again.

"Here I go!!!"

Well, mostly overcome it...

"Did I hear a tweet or did you just squee like an infant? Either way, I'm done."

Saturday 26 May 2012

Photography 101

When you start to take photographs, one of the first things you learn is to watch out for the background. Photographs will usually flatten the depth of what you see and the next thing you know your best friend appears to have a lamp-post growing out of their head. So like I said, one of the first things you learn, watch for the background.

Since I learned this long ago, I can only assume that I just didn't notice Starburst was wearing a rather fetching plastic bag on her head today...[sigh]

"I say don't FOLLOW fashion, BE fashion."

Friday 25 May 2012

Whinnie and Friends

Lots of bondings going on at the Rescue this week, but this is my favourite. Recently returned bunny Whinnie (second from left, a whole other story in itself), has moved in with Caroline to join the oldies super-group for special attention.

All over 8 years, proving that when you're a bunny you're never too old to look cute and adorable!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Last Chance, Bond...

"Where did everybunny go?"

Foster bunnies Sushi and Serena are due to go back to the Rescue soon. They were originally only supposed to be with me for the winter and after all this time I will be sad to see them go, but I unfortunately I am not able to maintain three sets of bunnies at home long term. It is a problem of both space and time, especially with all the cleaning and trying to give them all a fair share of garden playtime every day. Many of the constraints would go away if I could combine two (or all three) of the groups, but group bondings are tricky enough to begin with without throwing Whisky's peculiarities into the mix.

Whisky did cope with Spangle, Porridge and Sprat last summer, when it was their rejection of him that was the problem (admittedly because of his social skills), but his attitude to other bunnies has changed since then and things are much more difficult.

But I didn't want to give up on the idea, especially since Whisky and the foster buns seem to be perfectly OK with sharing a room with just a mesh divider between them. So we had another session in the garden this week to see if there was any chance they could work things out. Sushi was still his usually soppy self, accepting of anybun (he will happily groom Whisky on request) and for once Whisky played nicely with him, but this time it was Serena's turn to make things difficult. She has a somewhat limited field of vision and insists on lunging teeth first at anything that comes suddenly close into view surprising her. Sushi is quite used to getting accidentally chomped, Whisky is not. And he didn't take too kindly to it either.

So Whisky was packed off back into the house, where he went back to his room to sulk, Sushi was allowed in as well to go back to hiding behind the sofa and poor confused Serena spent the rest of the afternoon wondering why she had been left to eat all the tasty grass by herself again. Not that she complained.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Not Going Out

Well, it's official. I've broken Sushi. After last weeks incident with noisy neighbourhood birds, he has had enough of the outdoors. The last few days I have tried to get him out in the garden, but while Serena will happily be outside enjoying the fresh grass, Sushi refuses to go out of the back door. Tuesday he spent about an hour moving between two positions - he'd either climb on my lap to peer nervously out, or he'd go and hide behind the sofa.

"I don't care if those flappy, screechy crooners are gone, I'm fine right here thanks!"

Well, at least I know what this weeks project is. Any suggestions for alleviating "avian aversion syndrome" in bunnies? Ear muffs and a big hat? Hmmm...

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Tastes Like Chocolate

WARNING: Real chocolate is poisonous to many animals, including bunnies. NEVER give chocolate to a rabbit or allow them to eat it. However, licking chocolate-coloured bunnies (like Chanel's new partner Chompy here) is perfectly safe and should be encouraged (for bunnies, not their parents). So there.

Monday 21 May 2012

The Rules of Breakfast

"The thing about breakfast is... matter how many pieces of tasty veg there are...

...the only one I want is yours."

Saturday 19 May 2012

A Case of the Munchies

For some time I have been looking for a clear guide that shows not only what rabbits can eat veggie-wise, but also some indication of suitable amounts. I mean, I've tried asking several bunnies how much veg I should give them but they never give me a sensible answer, or not one I believe anyway.

So I was very excited this week to discover on the RabbitRehome forum that someone has taken the HRS safe fruit and veg list and turned it into a handy chart(click link below):

Quick reference House Rabbit Society's suggested daily vegetable and fruit

Isn't that cool?! And I will so be having words with Jemima about how on earth she reckons "about a sack" of carrots fits into two table spoons.

Friday 18 May 2012

Step Back in Time

Four years ago, having volunteered at the Rescue for several months, I was asked by Caroline if I wanted to help her keep RabbitRehome up to date with pictures of our rabbits available for adoption. It sounded like it would be a great excuse to take the odd break from all the shed painting and cleaning I had been doing to spend more time playing with the bunnies so I immediately agreed, but I didn't have a very good camera. At my day job we had a whole load of Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3's that were used for projects and I thought they were pretty good so I ordered myself the newly launched upgrade, the TZ5. I was so excited when it arrived, but this being some weeks before I adopted Santa and Jemima I had to wait until the next day at the Rescue before I had a good subject to test it out on.

Well here it is, my very first official photograph for the Rabbit Residence Rescue, picture number P1000001 on my first ever decent camera, taken 18th May 2008, exactly 4 years ago today. And look who it was!

You know, I think I've got a few more pictures of that rabbit somewhere...

Thursday 17 May 2012

The Sniff Test

"Not now...gotta get this itch first..."

Bunnies have two types of poo. The hard round poo you see and the big blobs of smaller round soft poo (looks like a bunch of grapes) that they eat to send food through their digestive system a second time. In your average healthy bunny with a good diet you would rarely see the soft poo - they generally eat it as it comes out.

But Whisky is not your average bunny, nor is he often entirely healthy thanks to his various issues. This is a bunny whose soft poo I get to see daily. I don't know if it has something to do with the impractical shape of his damaged jaw, but instead of eating his poo on the way out he lines it up on the floor first, sometimes as a snack for later. At best this leads to some mild staining of the carpet, at worst some serious scrubbing of carpet and bunny.

Fortunately he tends to stick to one spot next to the blanket he sleeps on (or near) so cleaning up after him is usually fairly straight forward. But the downside of his poo-position strategy is that he sometimes rolls in it during his afternoon nap or stands in it when he wakes up. Mostly he will clean it off himself later on if he does this, but sometimes around his tail and feet it can get caught up in the fur and he struggles to remove it. So cleaning it becomes my job, and one that he doesn't enjoy. Even when there's nothing to clean it still means picking him up to check, which like any bunny he's not keen on. Recently he has been starting to get really fed up with being lifted into the air every day, so we have come to a compromise. Now, on alternate days, I don't pick him up to check, I lean over him and sniff around his rear-end for that distinctive caecotrophic odour.

So far this week it has been working well, but I can't help feeling that he's making me the butt of some kind of joke...

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Zosia Bunny

If you want photographs of bunnies looking happy it is vital to earn their trust before snapping away. With the shy ones that can be easier said than done. You can't always get a good shot of them in their little house (bad light + good hidey holes + guy with camera = disappearing bunnies) which sometimes means you are forced into taking them out and placing them in an unfamiliar setting to take the picture. This can only add to their paranoia.

With new bunny Zosia, she was so very shy that even though I did manage to make friends with her first, she still panicked every time I stepped back to pick up the camera. So I never did get a particularly good photo of her, but I didn't much care, because I she came over and gave me this instead.

Thank you for the little bunny-hug Zosia - it made my day!

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Most Wanted

Let's get something straight. Every single bunny at the Rescue is absolutely amazing and you would be crazy not to want them in your family. Every single one of them. Fact.

But before they visit and discover that, the only thing people wanting bunnies really have to go on is the pictures and brief descriptions found on RabbitRehome and our website. So when we get a bunny that looks extra-utterly-snorglicious in their profile pic it is not that surprising that suddenly half of our adoption enquiries are for the same bunny.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to the bunny causing a stir this month. Her name is Lotty and she is looking for a husbun. But if you think you might have the perfect boy for her be warned - there is already a sizeable queue of possible suitors forming ahead of your little fluff monkey...

"Really? Little ol' me? Well that's nice but I don't really see..."

"OMG, THAT's what I look like? Well no wonder!!! I'm freakin' adorable!!!"

Monday 14 May 2012


"Ooo, what's that?"

The sun came out and it brought with it a gathering of birds, singing tunefully to each other from high up in the trees. This, pictured above, was Serena's reaction to one particularly loud individual - notice the alert (for a lop) ears, angled forwards. Cute!

Sushi's reaction was slightly different. Rather than angling his ears towards the bird, he tore past me back into the house at high speed and hid behind the sofa.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Mega-Flop Super-Nap

Because sometimes you're just too tuckered out to make it the extra few inches to your blanket...

Friday 11 May 2012


Norman and Pompom, a pair of French lops apparently dumped in a church-yard, were found and handed in to us several months back. It is hard to understand why anyone would part with this pair, because they are so beautiful, unbelievably friendly and absolutely crammed full of character.

Not surprising then that so many volunteers and visitors wanted to take them home. In fact, if I thought Whisky would allow it, they'd already be living with me! But providing a big enough living space, having the confidence and experience to handle such large yet fragile creatures, it was always going to be tough for any applicant to assure us that they were completely suitable to take them on. But now, that perfect family has been found. Things were moving forward and we were just about ready to re-home them, when Norman decided to throw a spanner in the works.

You see, it's not just Pompom and people that Norman likes to be friendly with - he also likes sharing his love with all the other rabbits at the Rescue. No matter where we put him, he always finds a way to get over the fences and into the neighbours warren. And if there is one thing he really should have learned by now it is that they really don't want him there.

But it turns out that it's not the neighbours that he needs to worry about - it's his jealous wife.

Though his excursions have cost him the odd scratch or lost tuft of fur, this somewhat more serious damage to his ear was part of the retribution from Pompom for his straying. She was absolutely furious - had Caroline not separated them, I am sure it would have been much worse.

So after a stressful stay at the vets having wounds stitched up, which also helped re-bond them, we are moving Norman and Pompom again. This time to the only warren we have with no immediate neighbours. Now we are just hoping they will stay contained and snuggly long enough for Norman to heal so they can go to their new home!

Thursday 10 May 2012

Jester By Name...

Were you ever at a wedding, or perhaps out celebrating with people from your workplace, leave your camera on the table while you go for a little dance, only to discover later that one of your "friends" took an "amusing" picture of themselves while you were gone?

'Cos the thing is, I DO remember, at the Rescue, putting my camera down a few times to go and deal with something. I DO NOT, however, remember taking this picture of Jester.

Tuesday 8 May 2012


Today (Tuesday) was great weather for the lawn. It rained over night, meaning the grass got a proper watering, the temperature stayed above the requisite 6 degrees centigrade required for growth and we even got our weekly hour of sunshine this afternoon! As if by magic (or because I didn't stop to notice the last few days when it was chucking it down with rain) the grass seemed to shoot up and dandelions appeared. Dandelions, though a weed to some, are a luscious treat for our furry friends.

I could see the eagerness in Jemima and Elvis' faces as they eyed them up from their run. Which was unfortunate, because Serena (with Sushi) had her playtime in the garden first and ran round systematically devouring the lot.


Sorry J+E - next time you can go first, promise!

Hettie and Errol

Hettie and Errol went to a new home last week, to live as house rabbits. We were particularly pleased to see these two rehomed. Hettie came in with deformed bits, which required corrective surgery to stop her from urinating on herself. Errol was from one of the largest cases we have had to deal with and was likely father to many of the other bunnies from that case. Could look a bit grumpy at times, especially when dragging those enormous ears around in the wet, but also a constant favourite with visitors to spend time with as he is so big and soppy.

Their new family also includes a dog, so they needed a pair of rabbits that wouldn't scare easily in a new environment. Whereas some rabbits would be terrified being introduced to a larger animal, these two seemed to take it in their stride. Errol soon put the dog in it's place by battering it on the nose when it stuck it where it wasn't wanted.

Good luck in your new home guys!

Monday 7 May 2012

No Sleep Til...

It's bank holiday Monday, which means it's time to be reminded of that little fact of bunny parenting that is rarely mentioned in the books - however much you want it, if you have house rabbits you are never again going to get a lie-in beyond their regularly scheduled breakfast time. Well, not unless you keep your door shut and wear earplugs to bed anyway. Which is particularly frustrating when you know what they've got planned for the rest of the day.


Saturday 5 May 2012

All Message, No Bottle

Painting the Post Office

Jemima and Whisky have been leaving each other little messages in the lounge, a room that both have now access to at different times of the day. A bit of furniture chewed here, a poo there. It's a territory marking thing.

It started off quite subtle, contained to the area in and around the small hutch that houses Jemima and Elvis' indoor litter tray, but over the last few days the poo started to spread further out. Then last night Jemima decided to make a play for the rug. She claimed it. Completely. And it wasn't until I knelt down to sweep up the many MANY little messages she left for Whisky, I discovered it wasn't limited to poo.

In Jemima's defence, it also transpired that Whisky had been sneaking into the bedroom of the hutch to leave his own big wet messages. So having scrubbed the rug and hutch last night, the task for today was to repaint bits of the inside so that any future messages won't be quite so quick to seep into the wood. It didn't take too long but until the paint dries Whisky is shut out of the room, so NOW he's being moody about having his access to parts of the house cut off.

"Out of my way! I need to check my wee-mail!"

Sorry Whisky. I would let you in the lounge, but I don't think a magnolia nose would suit you.

Friday 4 May 2012

Raining Blood and Bills

I think I am in danger of helping to perpetuate the bizarre notion some people have that a bunny is a kind of animated cuddly toy. Blame Whisky, cos he kind of looks like one most of the time, so very very cute and adorable. Most of the time. When I post pictures to Facebook I can almost hear the delighted child-like squees of many of my non-bunny-parent friends, as they fight back urges to head straight to the pet store to get one of their own.

This is not exactly a good thing. So many of the bunnies at the Rescue are here because someone thought they were buying a cheap low-maintenance novelty, often for their children, only to discover they have gotten themselves a complicated and expensive little animal that requires quite a bit of hard work. Every day, for the rest of its 12 year life. The feeding, the hours of cleaning, the vet visits. Eventually deciding it is not what they signed up for, these people wash their hands of this inconvenience they have created in their lives by dumping it (and their adorable rabbit) on us.

Of course, dear readers, most of you have your own little fluffy bank-account-emptying, stress-inducing free-time-hoggers of your own, so you are well aware of the responsibilities that come with parenting bunnies. For the rest of the world, I present here to you the side of Whisky's life, over the last year and a bit, that isn't in the cute pictures.

NOTE: There are pictures - they're just not very cute (you'll have to click the links in the text to see them - I've hidden them away so as not to disturb the casual visitor).

  • First, there was the puss-filled eye infection that needed twice daily flushing for many weeks, which he hated.
  • Then, cleaning soft poo from out of his bottom fur daily while we figured out what part of his diet didn't agree with him.
  • Scrubbing wee out of the carpet when a strange smell (or bunny) caused the litter training to be temporarily thrown out the window.
  • The (sometimes multiple) daily litter tray emptying, cleaning and refilling. And all the other cleaning - so much cleaning!
  • Washing, grating and chopping vegetables every morning for his breakfast because he has no front teeth.
  • The recurring fur mites, because he struggles to groom himself and has a poor immune system.
  • The snapped ligament in the toe on his left foot that makes it stick out 90 degrees sideways, cause unknown.
  • The abscesses he had operated on in his face and ear that needed 30 minutes of flushing twice a day for more than a week.
  • The emergency vet visits when his nose closed up, his face was a mess of puss and snot, he struggled to breath and wouldn't eat. This went on for weeks and involved cultures being taken, tests and almost every type of anti-biotic indicated as possibly helpful being thrown at it.
  • The day the vets told me the anti-biotics were starting to lose effectiveness to clear his nose and he would probably have to be put to sleep.
  • The long drives to see a more specialised rabbit vet, who managed to find the cause of most of his more serious health problems (a corkscrewing tooth root growing through his nose and above the roof of his mouth). This included more tests, a scope up his nose and a series of X-rays.
  • The discovery that part of his lower jaw is missing, wasted away through some bone disorder.
  • The long and difficult surgery to remove the tooth root, which involved cutting away, lifting off and re-attaching part of his face.
  • The months of recovery from the surgery.
  • The damage to his ears and tummy, because he has limited bunny social skills and fights any rabbit we try and bond him with.
  • Having his perineum ripped open by another rabbit (another failed bond) and having to be stitched back together.
  • The months of coccidiosis and associated digestive problems triggered by being around other rabbits at the Rescue (during the bonding attempts) combined with his poor immune system. This included a fair amount of rear-end leakage and some heavy-duty bottom and floor cleaning.
  • The five days last month he spent sneezing blood when we thought something awful had happened around the site of his surgery, but turned out to be a needle-like piece of a plant he'd inhaled that was stuck inside his nose.
  • The many, many vets bills, totalling around 2000 quid in a little over a year.

So that's a peek behind the curtain of being a bunny parent. Cute, huh?!

Thursday 3 May 2012


Pye Bunny

One of the reasons we disapprove of baby rabbits being sold in pet shops is that they are sold too young to be vaccinated, neutered or even sexed properly. One of the UK's largest pet chains did try to address this issue recently but, still wanting to sell them while they are still tiny and irresistable, their proposed solution only raised more criticism from the rabbit community. But that's another story.

Recently we had someone bring their single female to us, adopted from an animal shelter, looking for a new friend. On attempting to bond her with the owner's first choice of buck, the pair were aggressive towards each other from the off and it clearly wasn't going to work. The next buck we tried was Pye, a friendly blue lop who has been with us only a few months. It seemed to go well, they accepted each other, snuggling grooming etc., so after almost a week together they were taken for their pre-homing health check with our vets. This is mostly for our rabbit, to ensure they are in good health before being delivered to their new home, but the owners rabbit also gets a quick check too.

Everything checked out OK except for one thing - Pye's new partner was a boy.

A little bit embarrassing for us that we didn't spot it, but on this occasion it simply hadn't occurred to us that the owner wouldn't know - after all, the rabbit had come via a shelter, not as a tiny baby from a pet shop.

Now we've had boy pairs come through the Rescue before, mostly neutered litter mates, but we would not usually attempt to pair two strange bucks together because the risk of arguments turning to violence is much higher. Male-female bonded pairs are the norm. However, since they did appear to be getting on very well, we decided to take a chance - but alas within two days Pye was back at the Rescue and his short-term partner was back on our bonding waiting list for a new girlfriend.

To me, the shocking part of this story happened when Caroline went to pick Pye up. On checking the notes from the shelter, it appears that the "doe" had even been in for a spay operation at their vets. When they opened "her" up and found none of the bits they were expecting to find, they simply assumed "she" had been done already and sewed "her" back up, presumably without checking! Yikes!

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Chipper Bunny

When bunnies are properly bonded, they will snuggle up to each other to take a nap. Baby giant bunny Chipper here is bonded with Rosetta. And, er, Caroline.

He might need to be homed as a house bunny - I'm not sure anyone's going to find a hutch, shed or run big enough for all three of them to stretch out and play in.