Wednesday 31 July 2013

Rescue Round-Up July 2013

Well here we are at the end of another month. And what a long one, or at least so it has seemed.

The weather has been punishing - several weeks of sweltering heat, which is great for anyone hitting the beach, not so much for bunnies laying around in a coat of fur or people hard at work sweeping poo! We got through it with the fans on maximum and lots of ice lollies and cold glasses of water, but we are totally looking forward to a cooler August (we hope)!

Several of the team attended the RWAF conference this month which for the second year running was held locally to us at the Wood Green animal shelter's Godmanchester centre.  Always good to brush up on the knowledge and skills, it was a great and very informative conference.

Our events team has continued to be busy, with more awareness-raising events around the local counties, including pet shops and this month even our local village fete.

We also had a first birthday of sorts - the one year anniversary of being an officially registered charity! No time to party though, maybe next year!

The month has been a bit of a challenge in terms of the workload.  As we hit summer, volunteer numbers seemed to go down - peoples lives are changing, some went on holiday, our teenage volunteers come to the end of their school year and some are off hunting for full time jobs.  But as the number of volunteers goes down, so the number of rabbits goes up this time of year as past residents come to stay with us while their families go on holiday.  Fortunately we have a dedicated core team who are willing to step in to help out, with extra evenings, weekends or taking holidays from their regular jobs, and of course Super-Caroline with her never-ending pool of spirit and dedication (and energy drinks!). So much sweeping...

Having such a large number of rabbits with us waiting for new homes, statistically we will almost always have to face some sadness.


We were very surprised to lose Kirk early in the month, a young and seemingly hardy bunny, was overtaken very quickly by respiratory problems.  This loss was also very sad for Mars, as this was the second of her partners to fall ill this way having lost her dearest Dexter late last year.  In contrast to sweet, quiet little Dexter, Kirk was a bold and friendly in-your-face bunny who was very lively and had brought on Mars' confidence with people in leaps and bounds. It is very sad that he never got to have the perfect forever home with his own family that he so deserved. We will miss you Kirk.

Our most recent tragedy was extremely heart-breaking.  One of Azula's litter of 8, just weeks old, found dehydrated, off-colour and off food Saturday morning.  Despite treatment and fluids Saturday, by Sunday had gotten worse so she was rushed to the emergency vets but there was nothing they could do for her.  So young, and with so many babies arriving at the Rescue recently, we hadn't even given her a name yet. So heart breaking. Binky free little one.

Well that was July.  Thank you for following along on our journey.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Having A Ball

Another theme that Anne McBride talked about at the RWA conference in early July was keeping bunnies’ minds (and bodies) busy, arguing that for both humans and animals not having enough to do leads one to dwell on the negatives in life. She was quite negative about presenting rabbits with their food in a bowl, on the basis that they would usually spend hours foraging and that a portion of food given in a bowl gets gobbled down very quickly. She favours scattering food amongst hay so the bunnies have to forage for it and so find it all more slowly and she was very positive about using interactive feeding devices/puzzles such as the ‘Teach n Treat’ (search YouTube to find examples of this in action) and treat balls.

I’d never bothered with bunny treat balls before as the only design I’d seen had raised carrot shapes on the outside and I’d seen one that a rabbit had chewed all the shapes off….which is exactly what Queen Boo would do! However, after the lecture from Anne I had a scour of the internet for what designs were out there and found a similar design but with the carrots indented and one without any raised shapes and bought two of each (one per bunny so that, in theory, they can’t fight over them).

With a few Science Supreme Selective pellets in them, they were received with great delight, though with varying degrees of persistence depending on the bunny.

“Um, excuse me hooman, but you seem to have forgotten to open this new pot of snacks…”

“…but don’t worry, I bet I can open it myself...”

“…if I give it a good enough shake!”

I was actually quite impressed and pleased at how much fun our two more active (less lazy) bunnies have had with them so far. However, to my mind I do see some advantages to serving at least part of their meal in a set location: a) it means I can see that they are enthusiastically eating, lack of which could mean they are ill; and b) a bowl or scattered over the hay is fairly easy access for each bunny regardless of their level of persistence/dexterity and usually means they get an even share of their meal. So I’m not quite ready to give up on bowls entirely and am currently applying a ‘half and half’ strategy (half their pellet portion in the bowl or fed by hand, half in the balls) for the best of both worlds.

Monday 29 July 2013

The King And I

[SCENE: The kingdom of the mighty, fearsome Rocket, who rules his domain with a stern look and a vicious chomp. A servant has just delivered a handful of wild snackage.]

ROCKET: I thank you for bringing this delicious grass. Your obedience will not be forgotten. As I rule this kingdom from atop my mighty throne, I will..
ME: Huh? Your throne?
ROCKET: Yes, my throne! As I rule this kingdom from my mighty throne I shall..
ME: Oh wait - do you mean your Peppa Pig chair?
ROCKET: What? I... As I rule my kingdom from my throne...
ME: Your chair...
ME: [Giggling] Yes your majesty! [Collapses in fits of giggles]

Sunday 28 July 2013

The Cleaning Review

"Stop right there, old man! I want every single one of those poos right back where I left them, right now, or else!"

Saturday 27 July 2013

My S.L.M.

Seriously, how is he not completely bald by now? This is one day - I must have brushed at least half this much out of him most days for the last week. I'm surprised there's even a bunny left, surely with this much coming out he must have been 90 percent floof? And you know what? Five minutes later? He looks like he needs another brush.

"I'm a whatty little whatnow?"

Friday 26 July 2013

Fur the Love of Snacks

"Arrgh! For the last time Romeo, they're not snacky pellets they're my toes!"

Thursday 25 July 2013

Bun Assembly Required

"Here, pass us those instructions by your feet, would you? I don't know where I went wrong, but this 'luxury summer house' looks nothing like the picture in the catalogue."

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Ugly Mug

For the [very-very-big-number]th time this year, I feel like I just got completely and fluffily mugged.

"Don't give me that attitude! You got the snacks? Give me the snacks!"

"Better. Next time remember your role in this relationship, or maybe I won't remember what a litter tray is and we'll see how YOU like forgetfulness?"

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Squee Wee Bun

"I know what you're thinking - but I say I'm just the RIGHT amount of fuzzy and squee."

Monday 22 July 2013

Sunday 21 July 2013

Basil and Brush

Whisky's fun for today was to prune the pot of basil in the garden. Strange that he should suddenly take a liking to it now after he had ignored it for several weeks, but I think he's finally got fed up of waiting for the parsley and coriander plants to re-grow. He ate the last bits of those some days ago.

My "fun" for today has been de-floofng Whisky. For some reason, this weekend he seems to suddenly be experiencing an accelerated shed of his fur, so I can give him a good brush and 30 minutes later he looks like he is in desperate need of another one. So of course he is getting fed up with me following him round with a grooming kit, but I daren't leave him with too much loose fur incase he starts swallowing it risking blockages. Which reminds me, where is my shaggy little monster...?

"Well I'm certainly not under this chair, so keep on walking my Furminating friend."

Saturday 20 July 2013

Fly Me To The Gloom

I hate this time of year - not only is it way too hot for bunnies but there are flies everywhere. Flies, as you will know, are the enemy of the pet rabbit. They will lay eggs on your bunny that will promptly sprout larvae which in turn will burrow into the skin, feeding on the rabbits flesh and quite literally eating the rabbit from the inside out. Not fun and often lethal.

So I am paranoid when I have bunnies with uneaten caecals which might attract flies, or sick rabbits who can't clean themselves properly, or rabbits with injuries (bloody wounds as well as pooey bits are favourite egg-laying spots for the flies). Which of course means I am always paranoid about Whisky, though being inside my house-of-many-spiders with the windows closed reduces the risk.

Whisky has actually been pretty good and clean this last few weeks, but wouldn't you just know it, I came home today to find a great long pooey bit in his bottom fur, which just goes to show you can never let your guard down. And this wasn't the beginning of my stress - last night I found a similar amount of poo stuck in the long fur round Little Ms Lionhead's bottom. Then to top it all off, I found a wound in JJ's back from what I guess must have been a fight with his siblings in the last couple of days. (Note: JJ is not his real name, just his current nickname, shortened from his previous nickname of JJB, which was shortened from his previous nickname of Jar-Jar-Binkies, because he has a long face and long ears and kind of reminded me of the Star Wars character. Anyway...)

So yes, lots of stress this weekend and since you probably want to see a non-icky-poo-and-wound-free pic, here's JJ "enjoying" getting his wound checked out.

"Checking my wound? Really? Cos it kind of seems like you're just checking out my cute fluffy tail."

Thursday 18 July 2013

Orange Crushed

"Curses, you were right Mimi - those orange things in his hand aren't carrots they're claw clippers! Scarper!"

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Two-Way Play

"Make your mind up - are you coming in to play or are we coming out?"

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Leporidaeous Lump

There are two living families in the mammalian order Lagomorpha:

  • Ochotonidae (pikas)
  • Leporidae (rabbits and hares)

There are further subclassifications within these families, for example this rabbit specimen shown here, known as Bunnous Humongula, can be identified by its general blobular appearance and a tendency to eat while lying down.


"Don't judge me. Or if you do judge me, expect to be sat on. Now stop staring and pass me another leaf."

Monday 15 July 2013

How Now Brown Cloud?

The temperatures over the last few days have been silly (for the UK) and the forecast for this week is "more of the same" (plus a few storms). None of the bunnies are happy about this. Whisky his has replaced "ambling around my room, sometimes grazing" time with "grumpy hot-and-bothered floppage" time. Oh, and "demanding daddy lets me outside to play at a ridiculously late hour when it's cool" time is on the increase too.

But perhaps suffering even more than Whisky was little Brown-Cloud (not his real name), the floofy little cashmere kid. So much floofiness in fact, no wonder he was struggling to cope in the heat - it must be like wearing several little cashmere jumpers. Well I couldn't leave him to suffer, so yesterday I had my first attempt at trimming a bunny's coat. Fortunately he is very sweet and trusting so the stress was minimal. He seems a lot cooler now and in fact looks quite a bit more like his sister. If, that is, his sister had insisted her furdresser cut her fur blindfolded...

"Wait - did you just say you've never done this before? OK, now that explains a lot."

Sunday 14 July 2013

The Glare of the Mum

Wow, I've had some disapproving mums before when I've tried to photograph babies, but I think Azula is trying to out-mum them all. (Azula is the very same mum that misted my lens for me earlier in the week.) Check out this look I was on the receiving end of yesterday! No amount of snacky bribery would convince her I wasn't up to no good...


Saturday 13 July 2013

Back in the RRR

After speaking to Caroline yesterday we decided that it is probably safest to return Salsa to the Rescue - one of her boys appears to be physically maturing ahead of schedule and we don't want him to be brother to his own children (or indeed have any children of his own, there being enough bunnies in Rescues as it is).

So one last picture of her before she goes back later today. This was yesterday after I'd health-checked them all (making them grumpy) and fed them (making them less grumpy) then left them to chill out in the hot summer evening (making them all sleepy and snugly, apparently). I should also point out that this is not their area, this is the hay storage part of the shed, but it was nearer their dinner bowls and when you've gotta flop, you've gotta flop.

"Darn straight. Maximum floppage in 3...2..."

Friday 12 July 2013

Dippy Salsa

Picture the scene: I'm sat on the floor of the shed hand feeding the foster kids, five of whom are clambering all over me to get at the food. Salsa, usually wary of me, is boldly pushing her face in too, driven to ignore her suspicion of me by her love of snacks. I turn to see what kid number six is up to, only to find the clever little fellow has ignored the feeding frenzy on the floor to climb up to where I'd stashed the bowl I'd been taking the pellets from and was helping himself.

I think it seemed more hilarious because it was the super-floofy kid who looks like a little brown cloud. [sigh]

So anyway, hopefully this is a sign Salsa is gaining confidence in me - she certainly seemed happier around me, even if she did get a little stompy when the snacks ran out.

"Oh stop making a fuss - I decided you weren't that bad when you sneaked me that bit of broccoli when the kids weren't looking."

Thursday 11 July 2013

Small Softy

I took a day off from work to spend at the Rescue yesterday as this week we are a bit short on volunteers. After feeding everybun and making sure they all had water I was exhausted (the hot sunshine didn't help).

Before I left I spent a few minutes sat with one of the groups of babies and took a few photos. I quite like how this one came out.

If there are any budding photographers out there interested in how to reproduce that cool soft focus look, here's a quick tip from me: When taking pictures of baby bunnies, try doing it with their mum off camera to the left breathing onto your lens.

Wednesday 10 July 2013


As you will probably know, rabbits regulate their body temperature through their ears - it's the one part of their body that's not covered in thick floofy fur. That is unless, say, you are a bunny with a bald face (say, because you have a blocked tear-duct and your eye drains over it).

As we battle through the hottest week of the year so far in the UK and my little boy shows his dislike of the baking heat, I can be almost thankful for some of Whisky's little challenges, if they at least help take the edge off.

"Why do you always have to point that camera at my bald bits?!"

"And if you want to help me cool off, maybe an iced carrotini to go with this nommingly good grass?"

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Bunned It Like Beckham

"What? Too hot for a kick-about?"

Monday 8 July 2013

Digging My Scene

Once upon a time there lived two very wonderful bunnies called Santa and Jemima. Santa was a friendly white bunny with pink eyes and funny floppy ears. Jemima was a wise black bunny with sticky-up ears and velvety fur. Their human loved them so very much, he built them a shed to live in with a 10 foot run attached so they could play outside whenever they wanted.

And did the human stop there?! Certainly he did not! For this human knew that the bunnies who did not live with people had much bigger spaces to play in. So twice a day at the very least, with their human watching over them to keep them safe, Santa and Jemima's shed door was left open. With a hop and a jump, Santa and Jemima would run out into the garden to play on the grass. They would run very fast, they would jump very high and then they would EAT the grass - because that's what bunnies do! All this until they were tired and then their human would lead them back to their shed and run with a nice treat.

"Did someone say 'treat'?"

And did the human stop there?! Certainly he did not! For this human knew that the bunnies who did not live with people had much bigger spaces to play in still. So twice a day at the very least, with their human watching over them to keep them safe, with the shed door open so they could play on the grass, the door to the human house was opened too. With this extra space, those bunnies could run and run, in and out of the shed, over the grass, in and out of the house. Sometimes they would run from the near of the run to the far of the house without stopping and then back again! Sometimes they would play hide and seek with their human, disappearing behind the tunnels and bends and hidey places behind the sofas until it was time for their treat. This could make their human sad, because he worried so if he could not find them anywhere. But then a little fluffy head would appear from behind a chair and all would be right again! Even though this game sometimes made him sad, the human saw how happy it made his bunnies, so he always let them play behind the sofas and always smiled when they reappeared after their hide-and-seek games.

"We win! Now, you go hide and we'll try and find you. Or the food tub, whichever turns up (or over) first..."

One day, a new bunny arrived. This bunny was called Whisky and he had funny floppy ears like Santa, but unlike Santa he was grey like a pearl.

"I do not have a shed for you and I do not have a run" said the human, "for I only have the one and that one it is taken. But I can offer you a room in my house if you would like?"

The little grey bunny glared back at the human.

"I do not WANT to live outside. There are flies there and they try to lay eggs in my sickly bottom and my sickly eyes" he said. "Plus, I am sickly, and sickly bunnies become more sickly when exposed to the cold. So a room in your warm house I will take, kind sir, just lead onward and I shall follow."

The human nodded and took Whisky and his bags to his room.

"No, no, no, this won't do at all! Move my bed nearer the window then bring me three more tunnels and a plate of grated 'welcome carrots'."

Some time later, after his new guest had settled in, the human smelled a most peculiar smell. He hunted high and he hunted low but could he find from whence it came? No he could not!

"Do you smell that smell?" he asked his house-guest.

"I cannot say I know to what you refer" snorted Whisky.

Not five minutes later, Whisky disappeared behind the sofa for a few moments before returning to his seat.

"There it is again!" said the human. And when he searched again for this most peculiar smell, he discovered a most peculiar thing - the tiny house-guest had been using the corners of the room as a toilet!

Well after that the human blocked off those behind-the-sofa places and that little bunny Whisky was forced to use the litter tray for his toilet like everybunny else.

Some months passed, as, sadly, did those outdoor bunnies and even bunnies that came after. But then one day a new set of bunnies came to stay and with them came all manner of tasty food. One day while making their dinner, a couple of pellets of this food fell behind the sofa. As if by magic, Whisky appeared.

"Does my nose deceive me?" he asked. "Or does behind this mountainous sofa a land of delicious treats itself hide?"
But he could not climb this mountainous sofa. Nor could he go around it. And try as he might, he could not find a way through it.

"I know! I'll go under!" he cried.

So he dug and he dug and he dug and he dug.

And he dug and he dug and he dug and he dug.

"There is no magical land of snacks - they came from the pet-shop!" the human explained. But the little grey bunny would not listen.

So he dug and he dug and he dug and he dug.

And he dug and he dug and he dug and he dug.

The human looked at the result of all this effort. Several small scratches in the solid floor, nothing more. He felt sad for that bunny. So much effort with so little gain.

But then he had an idea.

"Look over there! Is that a carrot truck?" he called out.

"Where???!!!" Whisky replied and raced out of the room.

Quickly, the human took a big thick newspaper and placed it in the corner by the sofa.

"Must have missed it" said Whisky as he skipped back in.

"Not that there's anything stopping you grabbing me one from the kitchen and whacking it thru the grater, just sayin'...""

Quickly returning to his corner, Whisky began to dig. To his surprise and delight, big chunks of the floor came away under the mighty power of his claws. After all this time, he was finally getting somewhere!

Well dear readers, I can't tell you if that little bunny ever did reach that magical land of treats. But I do know he slept very soundly that night after tiring himself out with all that work. And do you know what? Seeing his little boy so happy and fulfilled, so did his human.

Now the clear up the next day? That's another story altogether.

Sunday 7 July 2013

RWAF Conference 2013

Yesterday was the annual RWAF conference, which for the second year running was held fairly locally to us at the Wood Green centre at Godmanchester. Sessions were delivered by leading rabbit vet Richard Saunders, wild plant expert Twigs Way and animal behaviour lecturer/author Anne McBride.

My favourite part of these things is generally the simple joy of being in a room full of knowledgable rabbit people. Second to that has to be the way the topics and discussions helps us reflect on the different aspects of our work and the rabbits in our families. This year, the stand out point for me was Anne McBride's suggestion that when we clean out our rabbits we need to consider how they view their world. It went something like this:

"Imagine if I came to stay at your house and every night I removed all the fences from around your property so that it was no longer clear where your boundaries were and anyone could just walk right through. THAT'S how it feels to a rabbit every time you so throughly clean out their area, removing all their carefully placed scent."

Such a good way to explain it I thought!

So another great conference with entertaining, informative presentations full of useful tips and much food for thought.

Saturday 6 July 2013

Kids in the Shed

One of the things we did during my busy Wednesday was swap the foster bunnies around. Goodbye to Linenose, Spearnose, Tiny, Allbrown and Whitemouth (not their real names) who all went back to the Rescue, hello to Salsa and her six kids.

Most of the group were a bit nervous at first, perhaps the ride over sharing the back seat of Caroline's car with 12 wild rabbits didn't help, so I've given them a couple of days to settle in before taking any pictures. Even now, mum and a couple of the others still panic at new things like having cameras waved at them so I only have a couple of pics, but here they are. More squeeful cuteness to come no doubt!


" does this work? Do you just watch us eat or are you going to join us at some point?"

Friday 5 July 2013

Archiflops Part Four

"I love my husbun. He's so relaxed about life, he just naps wherever he pleases."

"And you know what?"

"That totally works for me too."

Thursday 4 July 2013

Little Floofy Excuses

So I was going to post a short sentence this morning apologising for there being no post ready, explaining how I spent all of Wednesday knee deep in bunny stuff (day at the Rescue, evening on a wild bunny release, cleaning out bunnies at home 'til 11pm), but then I thought "No! I've already missed one morning recently, I can't miss another...", but since I didn't have time to write anything for this morning I am afraid all I can do is offer this picture from yesterday.

Teeny baby bunny despondency at it's finest.


Wednesday 3 July 2013

Neighbourly Catch-Up

“So, how’re things with you?”

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Brain Boxes

I'm not sure this is one of your best ideas, Einstein.

"Remind me, what was that thing that Newton discovered again?"

Monday 1 July 2013

Forced Perspective

“You know that technique they use in movies to make some things look bigger or smaller than they actually are? Well, stop applying it to my head and butt!”