Sunday, 31 March 2013

Make mine hay!

Happy Easter Everyone!!

Yesterday we held an educational event at Cineworld in Cambridge as part of their kids club. In preparation, I attempted to to create a series of child friendly posters about key bunny welfare points: e.g. pellets are better than mix, bunnies don't really like cuddles, rabbits need space, rabbits need a friend, and so on. I think next time I should get Gary to do them based on his bunny basics theme and photos from this week, as my posters are rather more basic....

Anyway, for one of the posters I wanted a photo of a bunny with a blob of hay the same size, to illustrate the point about how much a bunny should eat each day. I thought little Cora might be the best at posing out of the bunnies in my garden. I was wrong. Cheeky Mr Clarence was actually more helpful.

"You want me to eat the hay now? I thought letting us out was usually a sign you want us to mow the lawn for you." 

"And it's only polite that I wash my paws before dinner"

"Hay, for me? Don't mind if I do!"

We hope all you hoomans will be enjoying lots of chocolate today, whilst your Easter bunnehs enjoy lots of hay.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Bunny Basics Part 6

One of the good things about living with bunnies is how (relatively) clean they are.  After a few days in their new home, they will generally litter train quickly and stick to it.  Once settled in, toileting transgressions in neutered rabbits are rare and usually about territory, such as when other rabbits are nearby or there are strange smells, both of which will trigger a need in them to re-mark their area.

However good your little fluffy ones, a significant amount of your bunny-related time will be spent cleaning up after them.  Litter trays will need to be cleaned out daily, their shed/room etc will probably need cleaning every week or so.  Even if they don't make a mess, dust can be a problem in their delicate airways, so regular vacuuming and wiping surfaces is key to keeping their environment a healthy one.

Even if you are planning to put the responsibility of cleaning onto your human children, their work will need to be checked and managed.  The bunny wee will need to be scraped and cleaned thoroughly from the litter trays (and possibly nearby corners) to avoid germs and bad smells developing - what kid wouldn't want to short-cut this with a half-hearted job to go and play instead!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Bunny Basics Part 5

Todays topic is "Accommodation for your Rabbits".

Rabbits can be kept outside all year round in the UK - in winter if left outside they will grow a thicker coat so the cold is not so much of an issue providing they have somewhere snuggly warm to sleep. In the UK they can be vaccinated against the diseases they might pick up from their wild cousins (carried by biting insects, so actually even if they are NOT outside it is worth getting them vaccinated against everything your vet can).

If you want to store something rabbit-sized outdoors then a hutch is enough - if you want to provide a decent home that will keep your rabbit healthy, it isn't.

Ideally you want a shed attached to the biggest run you can fit in the space you have - 10 foot by 6foot is a good start, bigger is better. They need access to the run at all times so they can.., well, run(!), when they want. After all, they will be most active at dusk and dawn, which at some times of the year will be when the human members of the family are out or fast asleep. For the run you will want something tall (so you can get in it to clean) and secure (because many of the animals living wild and domestically in your neighbourhood won't see your new family members the same way you will), not just secure on the sides but above and below too (rabbits and foxes are excellent diggers). Inside the shed you will want a nest box or hutch into which in winter you can stuff as much straw as you can while still leaving room for your bunnies to crawl in and sleep. There are lots of pictures of interesting example setups on our website.

If you want to make the most of having rabbits in your family, you may choose to have them live in your house. There are whole websites dedicated to setting up your home for this, including tips on bunny proofing, training and placement of litter trays. One of the more important things to understand is they will still need their own space, an area that is theirs, including some place to hide away when they don't want to be seen. Again, this doesn't need to be a hutch (and even a cage may not be appropriate) but inside away from the elements and predators there are lots of good options you could go for.

Even with house rabbits, it is good to get them outdoors regularly if you can (I am talking about UK rabbits here - please check local advice!). They will appreciate a blast round a rabbit-proof garden and some tasty fresh grass to chomp on. Even in the winter it is important to give them the option to go outside though, without the winter coats of outdoor rabbits, if it is really cold they may choose not to!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Bunny Basics Part 4

Bunnies like to play.  Be sure to provide your bunnies with a constantly rotating variety of toys to keep them occupied.  It doesn't have to cost much either - with a bit of imagination and a few cardboard boxes and tubes you can keep your bunnies occupied for hours!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bunny Basics Part 3

Bunnies are social animals. They especially enjoy having a friend of their own species - for pet rabbits a male-female neutered pair usually works best. If you have a lonely rabbit, your local rescue or shelter may not only be able to find a friend for them, they may also provide a bonding (dating, marriage, bunnymoon) service whereby your rabbit can go meet possible suitors and come back to you a week later with their dream companion.

And don't think they'll love you any less once they have a companion - after all, you're still the one that brings all those tasty meals and piles of hay!

Size, age, breed - these things are not important to your average bunny looking for a friend. They know what they like and sometimes even the oddest looking pairings are the best!

Some bunnies, like their wild cousins, will also live happily in groups. The dynamics of this are far too complicated for mere humans to understand and therefore often difficult to arrange, but it does happen. If you are interested in giving a home to a group of rabbits, please let your local rescue or shelter know when you visit.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Bunny Basics Part 2

For many, the image of the rabbit is one of a cheap starter pet, but this idea could not be further from the truth.  The average pair of rabbits will cost well over ten thousand pounds over their lifetime (8-12 years).  Before taking on rabbits it is important to be sure that you can afford them, or you may find they eat through your finances faster than a bowl of tasty vegetables!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Bunny Basics Part 1

With Easter approaching, the TV and magazines are full of advertisements featuring our favourite fluffy friends.  Inevitably, this will bring rabbits higher in the consciousness of those who do not already live with them, which will in turn lead to more people taking rabbits on.  So over the next week we will be looking at some of the basics about welcoming rabbits into our families.

Today I would like to start with a few interesting facts about the origins of the domestic rabbits:

  • Rabbits are not rodents.  They in fact belong to the lagomorph family, which includes hares and pikas.
  • The domestic breeds of rabbits we see today are descended from the wild european rabbit.  If you take in a pet rabbit today, their great great great.......great grandparents were probably Spanish!
  • Wild rabbits are narrow, streamlined animals with eyes on the sides of their heads for maximum visibility and ears straight up on top which can be rotated independently to listen in any direction.  As a prey animal, hunted by many different predators, this maximises their chance of survival.
  • Many domestic rabbit breeds have been bred to look more appealing as pets but at the expense of their health and practicality - rounder faces leading to increased dental problems, lop ears leaving them prone to abscesses and less able to hear, larger rabbits with shorter lifespans.
  • If you are already bored of reading this list of facts, rabbits are probably not for you.  No worries though - you can still celebrate with some toy bunnies (as picture above) and chocolate bunnies this Easter!

So there you go. We'll be back with more bunny basics tomorrow!

NOTE: Bunny pictured is in fact a cuddly toy based on the most excellent film "Curse of the Were-Rabbit". If you have not seen this film, I recommend you go watch it right now.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Orange Smooshie

OK, he's been on here a lot recently, but quite frankly, I personally can't get enough of that wonderful orange fluff! Especially when he's wearing his smooshed face!!! Awwww!

"Hmm...does this extra attention come with extra snacks?"

Friday, 22 March 2013


"Some people don't like red-eyed-white rabbits.  I guess they think the red eyes makes us look evil or something, like we're gonna go crazy and eat them." 

"Well maybe we are!  Hmmm...tasty humans!  Yes, we're totally gonna eat you all up!"

"Only not right now - could you maybe come back later to be eaten?  We've got snuggle time til 3pm."

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Rei Homed

So, Ponyo went to her new home as a house bunny last week, which of the litter of six left just her sister Rei alone.  But not for long - now Rei has been bonded with a husbun and will soon be being packed off to her new home too!

"I'm getting a new home soon?  Hey, I'm in the carrier already! Let's do this thing!"

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bun With a Bear Head

Last week Caroline took the decision to bond Angus with Jessie, another bun with health issues who may be with us long term. So although he may never find a home of his own, he does have a shed, a wife and lots of love from all of us volunteers.

So now you're up to speed, answer me this:- How does a giant bunny get a head that looks like it was designed in a cuddly toy factory?! [sigh]  Sooooo adorable.... [squee]

"Designed in a whatnow?"

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Cross Back Counting

"What's that, twice on Facebook , third time on the blog we've appeared?  We get it, you think we're great.  Whoopee.  Now go bother sombun else."

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Dark Knight

Is it just me, or does this picture of our dear Jubilee put you in mind of a certain caped crusader?

"Tell Gotham's citizens their streets are safe.  Unlike the criminals.  Or their carrot tops."

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Eccels Take

I rarely find it difficult to take decent pictures of any particular bunny these days.  I know all their tricks and have a few of my own.  So when there is a bunny who out-tricks me and just refuses to stand still for a good picture, it can be very challenging.

Take Eccels.  He's been with us for a while now but not a single good picture have I managed to take.  In his house, out of his house, doesn't make a difference, he shifts and darts around looking uncomfortable the moment he sees the camera, refusing to play ball.

So yesterday as I lifted him onto a nearby hutch for yet another attempt, I decided, before I took my hand away, to get one pic where he was at least standing still.  After another quick photo shoot I checked the pictures and lo and behold, the only half-decent one was the first one.  Should I assume from this that all he really needs is a good cuddle??!

"Who do you think I am, Justin Bieber?  Get that camera away from me, fool!"

Saturday, 16 March 2013


We lost our big beautiful boy Django yesterday.  Injured during a bonding scuffle, he was under anaesthetic at the vets to be stitched when he just slipped away.  Not through the injury, not through disease or illness, just gone, another dear soul reminding us how real the risks of GA really are. To lose him like that, so unexpectedly, I don't know what to say, I think we are still trying to process it.

Dear Django, you are already missed.  We had become accustomed to seeing you ambling around the place minding your own business, hanging out where you pleased.  We only hope that the freedom and space we gave you in your last weeks gave you as much pleasure and enjoyment as you gave us to have known you.  Binky free our big beautiful boy.

Friday, 15 March 2013


"It's Friday, the week's almost done - will you join me in a celebratory dance?"

Thursday, 14 March 2013


"Well come on then, get to it!"

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


We were delighted this week to be awarded a Wetnose Animal Rescue award for Best 'Small Furry' Rescue at their 2013 ceremony.  Caroline collected the award, which was presented by Maureen Lipman and Ingrid Tarrant and included a one thousand pound prize from Animal Friends Insurance. The event itself was quite prestigious, with other celebrity presenters including Peter Egan and Anthony Head. Photo's of the event are now up on our Facebook page.

So now we're wondering whether or not to tell the bunnies that we won.  I'm sure they'll be pleased, I'm just not sure I can cope with the barrage of suggestions on which project/bill to spend the money on...

"I'll take it, we don't even need to tell Cheeko.  I was just thinking it's about time I got a new spring wardrobe!  Luckily my sock goes with everything."

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

One Direction

"Look, all I am saying is that if my face fits through it in one direction, a carrot would probably fit through in the other, but there's only one way to test my hypothesis and for that I need your assistance."

Monday, 11 March 2013

Austin Yoga Powers

"So you put one elbow under the other like this, then touch your tail with your nose.  Apparently once I've mastered it I will find inner enlightenment.  And probably a tiny world of pain."

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Happy Mothers Day 2013

"Mothers Day?  No, can't say we've heard of it - you should have said!  So whose mother were the flowers for?"

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Orange Angus

Our darling soppy Mr Orange has finally been given a proper name.  Caroline has named him Angus!

Angus is a special bunny - as you can see below, he has an unusual tendency for relaxing in odd reclining positions where he almost folds himself in half.  Our vet thinks he has a problem in his spine, but at this point we are not a hundred percent sure what it is.  For the moment he is being given enough space to gently move about and monitored to see if he starts to improve while we consider possible next steps.  It could have been something in his previous living conditions, an old injury or even just the bad genetics not uncommon in large rabbit breeds.

If he needs long term care, Angus may become a life-time resident and paired with another of our special buns.  If so, it will be sad that he won't get to move on to live with a loving family, but every one of us at the Rescue already love him to bits so he will never be short of attention here.

"Don't give me sympathy! Give me a big TV, a bowl of vegetable chips and a big glass of carrotini, cos I'm set for the afternoon right here."

Friday, 8 March 2013

Carrot Concentrate

"This carrot is so tasty I barely noticed you.  And until I finish it, consider 'barely' to be too much."

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Jemima Climber Milestone

Today I would like to mark a great achievement by Ms Jemima Bunny.  Yesterday, for the first time since moving indoors, Jemima managed to navigate from the garden all the way back to her own room without help!

Now this may not sound like much, but the route takes her up a set of stairs, her confidence with which we have been working on for some time.  I am very proud of my beautiful girl.

The next step is teaching her to go down them.  At which point the levels of chaos (and randomly chewed items) in our house will no doubt rise quicker than Jemima at dinner time.

"Sure, I'll go down them.  I'm just waiting for you to put in a slide."

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Bun Gates

"Why yes, I'm sure I could move and let you out.  But first let us discuss the tasty grass you have left in that sack..."

Monday, 4 March 2013

Bunarchy in the UK

"Punk is back, my friend.  Punk is back."

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sunny and Share

"AGAIN with the garden sharing?  I shall be expecting to see this compensated in the size of my dinner."

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Ears A Photo

"Surely pulling the 'bunny ears' gag behind me in a photo CAN'T be funny if we're both bunnies??!!"

Actually Whisky, somehow it still is!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Model Runaround

We try and have a variety of different types of bunny accommodation at the Rescue to demonstrate to visitors what sorts of setups might work in their garden.  One of our (and the bunnies) favourites is the Runaround system - in it's simplest setup, connecting the hutch to the run using a long bendy pipe.

Here is Scully modelling hers (which she shares with Mulder, obvy!).  If you have, or are thinking of having, bunnies living outside, you might want to check out the Runaround website for lots of ideas for making bunnies environments more interesting!

"I'm a model now, eh?  Surely they MUST get paid a lot of carrots."