Tuesday 31 July 2012

Snap, Tip and Munch

We had a reporter and photographer over from one of the local Cambridge newspapers last week and they asked if I had any tips on capturing good bunny snaps. Being very experienced in this area, I have lots of tricks I use to near guarantee I can catch a great shot of any bun but of course, under pressure, my mind went completely blank.

The one tip I did eventually manage to dredge from the depths of my ageing brain was that if you give them a nice snack, such as a pellet or a piece of parsley, there is often a brief moment just after the last bit disappears into their cute little bunneh-mouf when you get a happy-and-stationary bunny, right before they lunge forwards and mug you for the next bit.

Well anyway, it doesn't always work because SOME bunnies will mug you for the next bit while the last snack is less than halfway gone and in those cases you just have to accept that the best you can get with this technique is a content looking fluffball with a huge bit of foliage sticking out of their face.

Monday 30 July 2012

The Queen Jubilee

I thought you might like to hear what is happening with our lovely tempered giant Jubilee, after her failed bond with Whisky.

With Whisky out the way it was back to plan A, to bond her with fellow volunteer Sharon's house rabbit. Sharon's handsome giant could be Jubilee's male doppelgänger, so similar are they in size, look and colouring, so they certainly looked like they were meant to be! But whether it was her experience of bonding with Whisky or that her new friend shared Whisky's lack of bunny etiquette, their together time soon turned to fighting and unfortunately Jubilee ended up with a trip to the vets to have her side stapled back together.

While we consider whether to give the couple a second (very carefully supervised) chance, Jubilee is enjoying her recovery time roaming the Rescue like she owns the place - taking naps in the shade, keeping the paths free from grass and introducing herself to all the neighbours. If things are not looking to work out with Sharon's buck, who knows, maybe Jubilee will take matters into her own paws and find herself a husbun!

"No I don't read the blog - why didn't you tell me you already have two wives??!!"

Sunday 29 July 2012

Olympic Buntender 2012

The Korean art of Bun-Kwon-Do has its roots in the ancient warring warrens of the Silla region some 2000 years ago, but it's formalisation and adoption as a modern sport probably owe more to the elements it takes from the Japanese art of Bundo and the British fighting form known as Getyopawsoff-Mycarrots. The name Bun-Kwon-Do roughly translates as "The Art of Striking with the Paws" and indeed in the timed continuous-point-scoring rounds of the Olympics, heavy chomping is strictly prohibited.

For years, the winners of this gloriously energetic sport have hailed mostly from the East Asian countries, but this year as the flame of the Olympic torch arrives in London, all eyes are on a buntender much closer to home.

Meet BettyBoo. A self-proclaimed master of the art, here we see our local hero in her daily workout, demonstrating her lightning fast double-pawfist-strike on a large piece of practise parsley.

See us proud, BettyBoo. Our thoughts are with you.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Tortoiseshell Rex

"A rabbit you say? That needs to go back in her hutch? I can't say I've seen one. I don't think a very ordinary pink-shelled-rex tortoise like myself would know anything about such a thing. I'm just, you know, going about my tortoisey ways...

Friday 27 July 2012


Mars loves her husbun Dexter...

...because everybunny loves to have somebunny to clean those hard to reach spots!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Choosing New Bunnies

Nearly a year after our beloved Smokey died, we were ready to welcome new fluffy additions to the family. Trouble is, how do you do that? With Smokey (and his wonderful brother, Thumper) we didn't know anything about the Rabbit Residence Rescue or indeed anything at all about bunnies. So our choice was easy .... er .... 2 rabbits, not too big, not too small, and that's about it. And then we failed with the not too big. They started small and cute - and then they grew. And grew. And grew. And grew. Thumper was a whopping 3 foot long, 1 stone rabbit! Boy did he eat. I swear they were dogs with big ears and as cheeky as they come! And how we adored them for it. In any case, they chose us, as Thumper ran up to us to say hello, probably would have eaten my shoes if I'd let him, but you get the idea.

So we were not going to make mistakes again. We knew what we were doing. We were in control.


Well I'd worked with Caroline for a couple of years and knew there were lots of bunnies. But when you have to choose 2 - well, how do you do this from so many appealing little faces.

Caroline suggested that we picked 3 pairs and then she would bring them round to our house for a final choice.

Having been house checked and passed by Caroline, which was traumatic, we visited the rescue several times to try and narrow the selection down. We held out carrots and dried food. We crawled in the mud and tried to speak 'bunny'. We stroked and tickled many ears and cheeks. Eventually we picked out 2 pairs. Caroline suggested we considered a third pair but no, 2 was enough, we knew what we were doing.

So on the big day, Caroline came round with the 2 pairs. But she'd also brought a surprise wild card pair as well as she thought they would get on with us. Well clearly we didn't want them - not our choice after all!

So the 3 pairs were brought in and our intended new bunny area was fenced into 3 areas. We had no idea what would happen next.

Well for those that have never gone through this, it's interesting. Each bunny pair is let loose in its area - it's then a waiting game to see which bunnies will fit in best in both the area and with us. This is done in bunnies own time. There is no hurry. All in all it took about 3 hours.

For the new parents, this is quite stressful. For Caroline, this is another re-homing and while this was going on, she did all the paperwork.

Without going into too much detail, the "wild card" pair were soon at home. The two pairs we had chosen seemed reluctant to step out. Whereas a little brown head soon popped out for a nosey around, then swiftly followed by the rest of Shiloh. He was soon mooching around, munching away and while his sister, Luna, was slower, encouraged by her brother eventually she came out to have a look around. The other pairs were still less comfortable. Wanting to give everyone a chance we moved the pairs into different areas and then started again. The same happened, except that this time Shiloh came racing out, followed shortly after by Luna. The other pairs were encouraged with some food but were still less happy. Even favourite treats didn't work. We even managed to stroke Shiloh, who seemed like the most affectionate and friendly little chap (which he most certainly is). The decision therefore became quite easy - once again the bunnies had chosen us. And the rest is history.

Shiloh and Luna are now very much part of the family and treat the house as their own, evidenced by their desire to chew everything in the house, shoes, carpets, sofas, wallpaper, work-papers - but that's another story for another day. They are a cheeky pair, never ones to miss a chance for a treat or a cuddle and while Luna is still quite shy, she's coming out of her shell quite nicely and is as bold as they come when it comes to food.

This also shows how much Caroline knows about the rescue bunnies and which bunnies will match with which parents. She's always worth listening to.

"Hide behind me Luna, I think Daddy's found out what you did to his shoes!"

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Dinner Reservations

Yesterday I spent the day at the Rescue utilising the sunny weather to catch up on photo's of new buns. This also gave Caroline the chance to take a rare day off, so I also did the bunny breakfasts and dinner, sorted out their drinks for the day and did a little cleaning. It was a very long day, much longer than usual, so I guess I should not have been surprised to find a message waiting for me when I got home.

I am sure most of you reading this blog will understand it perfectly, but for anyone who doesn't read housebun, it reads as follows:

"On Tuesdays my dinner is at 6pm. You would do well to remember this fact. Who knows what activities I might find to pass the time should you ever need reminding of this again."

Tuesday 24 July 2012


Some time ago I said I'd tell you what I'd been up to at the Rescue but I've been a bit slack. So here, several weeks on, is that post.

While Whisky was trying to bond with Jubilee, I also spent a number of days at the Rescue. Wanting to stay out of the way of the bonding, so as not to have any effect on his attitude, I was there to do other things and free up Caroline so she could give them expert supervision. The upshot was, I spent most of the week cleaning and organising the other volunteers.

Since the Rescue is currently desperate for volunteers for DIY maintenance jobs, you might be wondering why it is that I spend my time there cleaning when I could be fixing things, so let me explain by way of example why this is. For on my last day there, looking for something different to do, out came my tools as I decided that Sushi and Serena's run was in need of a handle to make it easier to open the door. Here are the results of my efforts.

I have to say I am very proud of my work. But one green handle, two screws, how long do you think it took me? Well I won't keep you in suspense. It took me over five hours.

In my defence, the reason it took so long was that I was so determined to do a proper job, I decided to take the whole door off, re-do the mesh and paint the wood. I estimated this would take 20 minutes or so...one hour in it was starting to look like an episode of 1970's TV sitcom "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em".

So if we learned nothing else that week, we definitely learned why I leave all the DIY to Stuart.

"I'll admit I'm no expert on these things, but aren't I supposed to be with Serena on the OTHER side of this door?

Monday 23 July 2012

Work Distractions

My role at the Rescue is as a trustee/director and of course I am also a regular volunteer. So this means as well as attending meetings, answering lots of emails and taking part in important decision making, I also try to spend at least one day a week on site cleaning, feeding, grooming, taking photo's or whatever else needs doing. On top of all this, which of course is not paid, I have a "day job", which is. My job has nothing to do with bunnies, but it is flexible enough that it allows me to work from home whenever I want to and take time off at short notice, like when little fluffy ones need rushing to the vets. The hours can be long, but again they are fairly flexible hours, so I can usually balance everything without too much of a problem. In short, I am very lucky and very much appreciate having the job that I do.

So as I mentioned, sometimes I work from home. I am a very diligent person, so when I am at home working I am still very productive, despite the opportunity for distraction. For example, when I look up from my desk I usually see something like this...

...and if I look out the window or step outside I generally see something like this...

Then there's other times I work at the office. The view inside is pretty much like any other office (I'll spare you pictures of that) so the only bunny distraction I do have is one of our bunny calendars on the wall. (OK, plus the ever-present temptations of the WWW of course!) But if I take a stroll outside my office it often looks like this...

(If I look out the window it looks the same only slightly further away!)

I have my work appraisal today. I am half expecting my boss to ask me, knowing of my bunny obsession, how on earth I get so much done. I think I shall have to tell him that I have absolutely no idea.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Sunday Re(x)laxation

"My fur is like my patience. Short. So might I suggest you let me get back to my nap, double pronto?"

Saturday 21 July 2012

Holding Out for the Weekend

Some days Whisky bounds around the garden 'til he's bored then takes himself back inside, sometimes he flops out in the garden after he's run himself tired, then there are those other days where he seems to have boundless bounding bunnergy. Today was one of those days.

"Woohoo, lap 60! Don't stop me now, I'm going for the ton!"

Great for Whisky, not so much for the other bunnies waiting for their turn. Had to lure him in with his dinner in the end or I bet he'd be out there now. And I'm assuming you are reading this tomorrow.

Friday 20 July 2012

Getting less round?

Today I thought I’d talk to you about Chompy, a very handsome but cautious bunny who stayed with us over the winter with his friend Luci Lu. Because Luci Lu was underweight and had dental issues they had a higher calorie diet than would usually be recommended. Chompy was a little overweight when he arrived, and gained more weight as I battled to get Luci Lu’s weight to increase or at least to maintain it after two dental operations, and then later a developing tumour on her cheek. It can be difficult to balance the needs of a bunny pair in such situations. Luci Lu needed as many calories as possible and ate slowly making it impractical to separate the bunnies just for meal times. And when a bunny pair are attached to each other it would be sad to have to separate them at a time when the poorly one particularly needs their friend. So, sometimes the best strategy seems to be to slightly sacrifice the diet of the well bunny to give the poorly one a better chance.

When they arrived in late December Chompy weighed 2.35kg. But by March he weighed a whopping 2.65kg!

Round Chompy

Very sadly little Luci Lu lost more and more weight and Chompy and I eventually had to say a very sad goodbye to her at the vets as the tumour took its toll. :(

Chompy stayed with us for another 6 weeks or so before returning to the rescue to meet a new friend. By then, back on a normal bunny diet he weighed 2.1kg, and he has lost more since then. Here is a photo of him from last Sunday at the rescue. He had moved since my previous visit and when I saw him I did a double take and asked aloud: “Is that you, Chompy?”

Skinny Chompy

But I cannot finish this post without showing you a photo of Luci Lu: the happy, scruffy little monkey who peed on the carpet, kicked the litter tray contents everywhere, spread syringe feed all over me and touched my heart. Rest in peace little one.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Are you sitting comfortably?

Once upon a time, when I was a kid and we had bunnies (not kept with the amount of space or on as good a diet as my current bunnies I am ashamed to say), my dad used to say that rabbits were very ‘sensible animals’. At the time I believed him, but these days I am not so sure. For example, bunnies seem to find some strange positions comfortable…

“Why are you sneaking up on me with that camera? This is very comfy thank you very much!”

“Does my bum look big in this?”

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Interactive Subject

"Whatcha doin'? Takin' pictures?"

"Can I help?"

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Subtle Messages

I have spent quite a bit of time recently reading about bunny body language. To be honest, most of what I've read in these books I had already figured out from four years observations of my own family, but I have still found it a useful exercise to cement these ideas into my head in a way that I might more easily explain them to others. It is important to understand as bunny parents that without the benefit of the same level of vocalisation employed by some other animals, our little furry friends will often attempt to communicate with us through using the same set of subtle physical signals they use to communicate with each other.

It can be a tough thing to decipher at first. You see them doing something odd - stamping, flicking their feet, moving their ears, twitching their tails, standing in a particular way - you know they are trying to tell you something, but what is it?

For example, here is Whisky last night. I just know he's trying to tell me something, but what could it possibly be??!!

Monday 16 July 2012

A new addition

As volunteers at the rescue, one of the common excuses we hear for giving up rabbits is that there is a baby on the way and when we told friends and family that we were expecting our first child there was a common assumption that we wouldn't be able to cope with our 4 house bunnies and 3 cats, plus a pair of foster bunnies, as well as a baby. We were determined that having a baby would not have a huge impact on the furry members of our family but as the pregnancy progressed we have to admit it did cross our mind how we could continue to care for so many animals along with a little person.

Baby Sophie finally arrived on 18 June. The last month has passed in a blur of sleep deprivation and dirty nappies but we are pleased to say that the bunnies and cats are still here and we have managed to care for them in the same way as always, with their routine virtually unchanged. It certainly has been hard work keeping up with all the cleaning out and feeding that the bunnies require, but they also provide a nice break from all the cleaning and feeding that Sophie requires! In the haze of sleep deprivation the bunnies have also helped us to keep some sort of routine to our days by demanding we provide their breakfast snacks and bedtime pellets at the usual hours. So although we can understand why people feel they can't cope with their bunnies once they have a baby, we hope to show that it is possible.

Soon we will take Sophie down to the rescue to meet the bunnies there and we hope to have her helping with the cleaning out as soon as she is able. She'll certainly be educated about rabbit welfare from an early age and hopefully will share her knowledge with friends so that a new generation of children grow up learning about the proper care of rabbits.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Muddy Waters

"Argh! My fluffy feets are all muddy! (Oh, and now so is my nose.)"

Saturday 14 July 2012

Over The Fence

"And how about when you leave the odd poo just outside your litter tray? Does he call out your name in a really disappointed tone, like as if you'd done it in his shoe or something?! Still, I guess we have to put up with him. He does prepare us nice breakfast snacks I suppose. What veg do you get in yours? Really? He grates mine you know...."

Friday 13 July 2012

Elvis Vaccinated 2012

Well I'm glad that's finally done and dusted for the year, though of course now he's avoiding me for subjecting him to yet another trip to the vets!

"Oh no, the needle didn't bother me at all - it was your terrible driving on the way home!"

Thursday 12 July 2012

Registered Charity Status

Two good things happened yesterday.

The first was that we were finally able to announce that the Rescue has been granted Registered Charity status. This is a very important step for the Rescue and would never have happened were it not for the tireless efforts of Vicki and Colin. The process has been long and time-consuming, but the results will hopefully bring many benefits for our work with rabbits.

The second good thing was that there was a break in the weather long enough to get Whisky out in the garden. In fact I pretty much only lumped these things together in the same post because I thought you would rather see a picture of Whisky than one of all Vicki's paperwork!!!

"OMG! This grass has gotten so long that even I can nom it!!!"

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Counting Carrots

"What's that? Carrots? Yes you're quite right, they are full of sugars and not a great daily staple food for bunnies. Fine for treats and small bits as an occasional food. How much should you give as a treat? Well, I guess it depends on the bunny, but for me and if it's an average sized carrot then I'd say about..."

"...this much."

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Some Guy Chomped

I could be wrong, but after reviewing the photo's from Saturday's rainy day at the Rescue, I think I may have figured out what happened to the guy-rope holding up the new gazebo.

"What? Was that bit important?"

Monday 9 July 2012

The Trouble with Floof

"Hey you! Stop laughing and get me a comb already!"

Sunday 8 July 2012

No Comment(s)

I have an odd problem with Blogger. I have tried leaving comments on this blog and the blogs of those who comment here only for the comments to disappear when I click the "Publish" button. Sometimes they appear later, so I guess in those cases it could be a browser caching problem or a server clustering thing, or on other blogs it could be comment moderation that it is not telling me about when I post. But usually they just disappear never to be seen again.

I strongly suspect it's a browser or browser setting problem, but here's the odd thing:- Blogger is owned by Google and yet when I try using Google Chrome it NEVER works. Sometimes it works in Safari. Comments always work with IE7 (yuck!) on my work laptop, even though when I log in it tells me IE7 is no longer supported and I should try using Google Chrome!

So apologies if I rarely seem to reply to your comments on this blog, or if you are receiving repeated comment from me on yours when I try again in frustration. Now you know why!

I did try asking Whisky what he thinks the problem is, but he was NO help.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Jingle Head

I can assure you, there is a perfectly rational explanation for why Whisky has a jingle ball on his head, and that it is in complete keeping with good animal welfare. Just don't ask me what it is.

"Hmmm...you understand the concept of 'revenge', right?"

Friday 6 July 2012

The Vaccines

Whenever something new comes along, there is always a brief window in which fairly ordinary citizens can set a new record in relation to it. You could for example buy the latest budget Volkswagen on launch, hammer it round the NĂĽrburgring on public track days until you had it licked, then set the record for the "Quickest lap time in a Mark X Polo whilst dressed as a banana". You might even hold that record for several days, feeling all pleased with yourself until someone else comes along in a satsuma costume and trashes your time. Anyway...

In the UK we have a new bunny vaccine out this year, which for our little fluffy ones combines protection from two very unpleasant and deadly diseases - VHD and Myxomatosis. Having witnessed them first hand, I can promise you that you do not want to ever see your little companions suffer and die that way. Don't risk it, vaccination is a must (assuming of course that it is permitted in your country). Previously we had two separate vaccines, an annual VHD and a six monthly Myx vaccine. Since they couldn't be given at the same time, this meant at least three trips to the vet each year, even if Mr & Mrs Bunny never got sick (more if each bunny's vaccines were due at different times). But now with this new vaccine, we only have to put them through that stress once a year, with the side benefit of reducing the total cost of vaccination. All of this is a good thing (except possibly for the profits of your local vet practise, or for a rabbit relying solely on their vets to detect health problems).

Elvis has, as best as I can tell, decided he wants hold the record for the highest number of trips to the vets to have the new vaccine without actually getting it. So far he's had three. The first attempt was aborted because the vet was unsure about the timing of the new vaccine with his previous one, then the next two were for (different) illnesses that mysteriously manifested on vaccination day and quickly disappeared.

Well you've been rumbled, Elvis Bunny. And I'm sorry, I'm not waiting for the call from the Guinness Book of Records, you're getting that shot next time even if you sneeze buckets of snot over the vet...

"Really? Cos I think I already have something in my calendar for...which day was it?"

Thursday 5 July 2012

The Earl of Nappington

"I sense that to my left someone is watching me. It makes me feel somehow uncomfortable, so I start to run. I am running, running, and yet I am getting nowhere. Still I am watched, still I try to run, still I make no progress, so I stop. I feel a cold hard wall to my right. I lean on it for support. There's a noise, a beep, a click. I lift my ear to listen. It falls against the wall and stays there. I try one last time to run, my feet fail to find the ground beneath them, at first I think I am moving at speed anyway, but if I am then the wall follows along side me at the very same pace. I still my fluffy feets. I pause. I look within myself and find there a gentle calm. My nose twitches, I exhale, I relax. Somehow this place of strange things suddenly feels like home. "


Wednesday 4 July 2012

Darkly Daydreaming Dexter

"I heard that the Olympics are going to make the tubes busy this summer so I thought I'd better get in early."

Tuesday 3 July 2012

A Day and a Bounce

Just a quick Whisky update now that he has been home 24 hours.

He was a bit confused and unsure of what to do with himself to begin with, but had almost settled back in to his regular routine again by this evening. He was even starting to forgive me and 'hang out' in the same general vicinity. I was a bit concerned at how few poo's there were in his room considering he had been back a whole day, but he had been eating (hay, dried grass, both meals) and since there were some so I was trying not to worry too much. Then it occurred to me - there were not many poo's in his room. Oh well.

On the plus side, this evening he has even been binkying in his room, which I don't remember seeing him do before (he usually saves that for the garden or hallway), so I am taking that to be a good sign! I wish I could have caught it on camera for you, but fast moving bunny, nighttime and poor indoor light etc. This is the nearest I got!

No For The Last Time

As some of you will be aware either from Facebook or because you got to meet him, Whisky spent the last week at the Rescue trying to make friends with giant bunny Jubilee, who he first met in June. Unfortunately it was not to be, as ultimately he proved too amorous for her tastes and wasn't prepared to have his advances rejected. He also rejected any other buns he met or immediately put them off by being too demanding. After a week of zero progress (on top of the many previous attempts with similarly poor outcomes), we eventually sought advice from some properly clever and experienced bunny behaviourists. They all concluded the same thing - he is probably better off living on his own away from other bunnies that are a high risk to his delicate health and cause him stress.

So my little boy is back home and merrily wandering about the place reclaiming all the furniture. It is frustrating that he is still alone, but I am so very happy to have him home.

The big surprise of the week was how many visitors on Saturday and throughout last week spotted and recognised him from this blog. So a big hello from Whisky to all the fans that he met, especially Jo who spent Saturday morning clearing nettles and trimming the trees at the Rescue.

Well, I'm off to see what my little munchkin needs me to do for him next. He may not be able to persuade other bunnies to bend to his will, but I am forever his indentured servant.

Monday 2 July 2012

Scene One: An Open Shed

When shall we four meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
When the bunny stuff is done,
When the battle's lost and won.
That will be near the set of sun.

That's right, dinner time.
When that nice man comes round with the bucket of pellets.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Bumper Boredom


"No, no, do continue telling me about your problems, I'm all ears."

"But if you could just wake me when you've finished talking that would be grand, thanks."