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Musings of a Bunny-Mama

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Karaliene

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Hello y'all!
YES I have my rabbits! I know pictures are going to be demanded, so I came prepared...
Let me tell you it all, because I'm itching to talk about them to someone who isn't just going to tell me I'm obsessed! Not denying the accusations, though, because I probably am... anyways. I was up very early on Saturday (I woke at 4.43AM to be exact) and managed to stay in bed (big achievement) until 6AM. Then I whiled away an hour with the chicks and chickens, and then I got ready to leave in serious excitement.
All journey there, I was watching the clock and just generally acting impatient. We got there and quickly filled out the adoption form, before knocking - and stepping back, just like COVID-19 has made us do. About 5 minutes later, Laura from Burrowed Hearts brought out the rabbits in my carrier and then explained the changeover feed... and we were off! Bouquet had her own carrier, and Begonia and Blossom were snuggled together in another one. There was a thick soft layer of paper (kind of like kitchen roll, but not quite) on the floor and Bouquet delighted in scratching it out of the way.

They were really good on Saturday... except for a couple of spats involving a little fur-pulling, but I contacted Laura and she said perhaps I should restrict them to one part of the playhouse for a week before gradually extending their space. I've blocked off an area and so far it's going much better!

I also underestimated the space they'd need to escape, and ended up having to put chicken wire around the fencing in the run... thank goodness for a secure garden!

Escapes and squabbles aside, they're already warming to me - in fact, yesterday I cut down some long willow strands from our tree, to weave them into a ring for the bunnies, and they saw me sitting in the little chair I have in the playhouse and were climbing all over me to see if they could get at the willow! I have another wreath I'm drying out for them which they can have later - but I had to give them one wreath fresh, as I could hardly refuse the little noses poking into it.

It's really sweet how they act around me. I was sat on the floor cross-legged and Blossom came up behind me and put her little front paws up on my shoulder... too cute!
20200620_161305.jpg
The rabbit pictured is Bouquet, the Mama. She's so sweet, but probably the shyest. Begonia is downright nosy (I can't even open the door without her coming over to see what's going on!) and Blossom is slightly shy, but really gentle and sweet.
1592819012162.png
Bouquet is on the right, Begonia is the one who has gone flop and Blossom is the one with the brown spots on her back. The mess was a hay chew toy and willow wreath!
 

Karaliene

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Thanks, @OreoTheMiniLop! They are completely adorable - and thoroughly cheeky!

Over the past two days, I've been letting the rabbits play with the leash and harness. They weren't at all nervous of it and it was being shoved around the playhouse within minutes. I think it must have smelled of treats or something! Anyways, I gradually moved onto laying it across their backs and they generally just sniffed it, then ignored it. Inevitably it fell off after a few moments, but they weren't at all bothered by it.

Then I decided Bouquet would be the best choice to come out, seeing as she is the one who is always trying to follow me outside, and when she climbed onto my lap to eat dried willow leaves, I gently slipped it around her and buckled the first part. She kept hopping around, not at all phased, so next time she came over I buckled the second part. I tightened it a little as it was really loose and then let her run about for about twenty minutes, by which time she was ignoring the harness entirely. Then I leaned over and clipped on the leash, and let her move around and feel the tug when she reached the end, before opening the door. She obediently hopped out pretty quick, and after zooming about on the patio for a minute (yes, I had a hard time keeping up!) she settled down to eat.

She's a total natural, and to be honest the only thing I had problems with was getting her to go back inside!
 

Diane R

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Very cute bunnies! Sounds like they have settled in and you are already in love with them. I would not use harnesses - they are very dangerous. The RWAF (and rabbit vets) advise against. Bunnies should have access to a large run 24/7 and maybe some supervised free roam in a safe garden. No need for harnesses.
 

Catlyn

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It's time for my first post! And, we're beginning with confession time: I don't actually have my bunnies yet.... oh well! So today's post will be all about the rabbits I'm getting - and the home I'm preparing for them!

I'm adopting for my first rabbits ever. It's a young 'oopsie' mama and her two daughters - all spayed - and apparently they didn't receive much TLC at all from their former owner. So I'll be making that up to them I hope! Their names are:
Bouquet, the mama who is 1 year old. She has black fur around her eyes and is otherwise white, and has blue eyes - they're STUNNING. She is quite friendly.
Begonia, one of the daughters born in Sept. '19 has red (hence her name) eyes and is totally white. She is the most confident and will do anything for treats.
Blossom, the other daughter born at the same time has blue eyes like her Mama, only the ring around them is more brown. She's fairly confident, but not as much as Begonia.

These three cuties will be living in my playhouse - it is 2 rooms, the rabbits will have 45+ square feet. There will also be a small closed off area where I'll have cleaning supplies, food, spare bowls, a watering can, a bin, etc. They will have some little shelves to clamber on and I'm not sure yet whether to build a small shelter or just buy a tiny hutch for them to sleep in. There's no point in a big one. We're going to fit a cat flap leading to an outdoor run which will be a minimum of 15 square feet. It will be on a patio so there's no danger of digging. I will also have a separate playpen, as big as I can find for a reasonable price - if anyone has any recommendations I'll be glad to hear them - which will be on grass. They'll have to be supervised in there, though.

I'm planning on getting a hayrack, tunnels, digging box, litter box, chew toys etc. I'll probably make willow wreaths for them from our (untreated) tree.

I can't wait to meet them, and will share pictures if anyone wants them!
It might be late, but PLEASE DON'T GET A CORNER TOILET! They are just way too small no matter how tiny the rabbit! Your bunnies would sometimes love to sit together in the loo and munch hay while at it, they can't do that in a corner toilet!

Put a couple extra bucks in and get a big cat-sized box or just a large plastic storage tote!
They take no more effort than a corner one to clean and they'll be much better for your bunnies!
 

Catlyn

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I just read through all the other posts and i must day that i'm sorry for not reading through the entire situation before leaving a comment. Anyway, your bunnies are so cute, hanging around each other! Has everything you ordered come over now?
Now i'm just curious, can you post a pic of what their complete setup looks like? It sounds awesome and i'd been looking for inspiration but sadly i'm more of a kinetic visual person so some photos would really help!
 

OreoTheMiniLop

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@Diane R I personally disagree. I understand where you are coming from with the harnesses are bad. From my personal opinion harnesses are bad only for some bunnies. I beleive they are bad for bunnies who get stressed wearing them (unlike my bun, Oreo and Bouquet). I do not beleive in using them with a leash but letting your bun wear a harness with a tag in case somehow your bunny escapes their outdoor enclousure. Now, I'm not trying to encourage you to use a harness for your bun I'm just stating my beliefs and letting @Karaliene hear someone else's opinion.
 

Diane R

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@Diane R I personally disagree. I understand where you are coming from with the harnesses are bad. From my personal opinion harnesses are bad only for some bunnies. I beleive they are bad for bunnies who get stressed wearing them (unlike my bun, Oreo and Bouquet). I do not beleive in using them with a leash but letting your bun wear a harness with a tag in case somehow your bunny escapes their outdoor enclousure. Now, I'm not trying to encourage you to use a harness for your bun I'm just stating my beliefs and letting @Karaliene hear someone else's opinion.
In the UK we microchip bunnies so no need for tags. Even without a leash harnesses are dangerous. This is not my opinion, it is the advice given by the RWAF and by expert rabbit vets.
 

Karaliene

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It might be late, but PLEASE DON'T GET A CORNER TOILET! They are just way too small no matter how tiny the rabbit! Your bunnies would sometimes love to sit together in the loo and munch hay while at it, they can't do that in a corner toilet!

Put a couple extra bucks in and get a big cat-sized box or just a large plastic storage tote!
They take no more effort than a corner one to clean and they'll be much better for your bunnies!
It's funny because to my surprise they actually can all fit in the box together! However, I'll remember this because I'll admit I have noticed a few stray droppings, presumably done over the side. Although to be honest, I can't say that yet, seeing as they're not fully litter trained.
 

Karaliene

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Hello @Diane R and @OreoTheMiniLop, it sounds like you both have differing opinions of rabbit leashes! I have also seen a fair bit of controversy around the use of them, so I can understand where you're both coming from.

My reason, really, for using one, was to keep the rabbits out of certain areas of the garden. It's all secure, but there are some plants around the edge of it that I'm not sure they could eat - so I'm going by the adage if in doubt, leave it out. I'm pretty sure they can't have poppies and we have plenty of those (but I'll check) and there are laurel bushes too. And azaleas - I'm not sure whether they can eat those or not.

Anyways, I haven't used the leash today, because I read somewhere that handling rabbits in the heat is a bad idea, it might increase stress when they're already stressed from the heat. Instead, I let them all free-range under the willow tree (and Blossom treated me to four gorgeous binkies - a big change from when they were all lying, quite listlessly, in the playhouse) which they seemed to like.

Yesterday was hot, and I wasn't as prepared as I could have been. Today, though, I have ice for their water, I will let them out again in the hottest part of the afternoon (after school sometime), I have left the doors to the playhouse open (there's a pallet across which they can't get out of), and I have put ceramic tiles right by the door. I've also got water to mist their ears, but they don't seem to like it, so I'm not sure whether I ought to continue. Other than that, I feel more prepared for the weather now. It's forecasted to cool tomorrow, with flash storms - so I may need to calm them down if they dislike the thunder.

Another thing happened yesterday. There was a more serious spat, and Begonia has a nick on her ear. It was bleeding because I could see a tiny bit of dried blood (it's only a tiny cut) and she does seem to be wary of the others now. Is there something I could be doing?
 

Diane R

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Hello @Diane R and @OreoTheMiniLop, it sounds like you both have differing opinions of rabbit leashes! I have also seen a fair bit of controversy around the use of them, so I can understand where you're both coming from.

My reason, really, for using one, was to keep the rabbits out of certain areas of the garden. It's all secure, but there are some plants around the edge of it that I'm not sure they could eat - so I'm going by the adage if in doubt, leave it out. I'm pretty sure they can't have poppies and we have plenty of those (but I'll check) and there are laurel bushes too. And azaleas - I'm not sure whether they can eat those or not.

Anyways, I haven't used the leash today, because I read somewhere that handling rabbits in the heat is a bad idea, it might increase stress when they're already stressed from the heat. Instead, I let them all free-range under the willow tree (and Blossom treated me to four gorgeous binkies - a big change from when they were all lying, quite listlessly, in the playhouse) which they seemed to like.

Yesterday was hot, and I wasn't as prepared as I could have been. Today, though, I have ice for their water, I will let them out again in the hottest part of the afternoon (after school sometime), I have left the doors to the playhouse open (there's a pallet across which they can't get out of), and I have put ceramic tiles right by the door. I've also got water to mist their ears, but they don't seem to like it, so I'm not sure whether I ought to continue. Other than that, I feel more prepared for the weather now. It's forecasted to cool tomorrow, with flash storms - so I may need to calm them down if they dislike the thunder.

Another thing happened yesterday. There was a more serious spat, and Begonia has a nick on her ear. It was bleeding because I could see a tiny bit of dried blood (it's only a tiny cut) and she does seem to be wary of the others now. Is there something I could be doing?
You are right to be cautious but try to block off areas/plants you're not sure about rather than use a harness. Again, I am not expressing my 'opinion', it is the advice given by experts. You might find this book useful: Gardening For Rabbits by Twigs Way | Rabbit Welfare Shop They are very lucky to have a nice garden to run around in. Monitor the temperature in their housing, it may get too hot in which case you may need to bring them inside. Perhaps contact the rescue for advice on the fighting, I think the recommendation is not to give them too much room initially, gradually expand. Hope they are going to be OK.
 

BunBun71

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Hello y'all!
YES I have my rabbits! I know pictures are going to be demanded, so I came prepared...
Let me tell you it all, because I'm itching to talk about them to someone who isn't just going to tell me I'm obsessed! Not denying the accusations, though, because I probably am... anyways. I was up very early on Saturday (I woke at 4.43AM to be exact) and managed to stay in bed (big achievement) until 6AM. Then I whiled away an hour with the chicks and chickens, and then I got ready to leave in serious excitement.
All journey there, I was watching the clock and just generally acting impatient. We got there and quickly filled out the adoption form, before knocking - and stepping back, just like COVID-19 has made us do. About 5 minutes later, Laura from Burrowed Hearts brought out the rabbits in my carrier and then explained the changeover feed... and we were off! Bouquet had her own carrier, and Begonia and Blossom were snuggled together in another one. There was a thick soft layer of paper (kind of like kitchen roll, but not quite) on the floor and Bouquet delighted in scratching it out of the way.

They were really good on Saturday... except for a couple of spats involving a little fur-pulling, but I contacted Laura and she said perhaps I should restrict them to one part of the playhouse for a week before gradually extending their space. I've blocked off an area and so far it's going much better!

I also underestimated the space they'd need to escape, and ended up having to put chicken wire around the fencing in the run... thank goodness for a secure garden!

Escapes and squabbles aside, they're already warming to me - in fact, yesterday I cut down some long willow strands from our tree, to weave them into a ring for the bunnies, and they saw me sitting in the little chair I have in the playhouse and were climbing all over me to see if they could get at the willow! I have another wreath I'm drying out for them which they can have later - but I had to give them one wreath fresh, as I could hardly refuse the little noses poking into it.

It's really sweet how they act around me. I was sat on the floor cross-legged and Blossom came up behind me and put her little front paws up on my shoulder... too cute!
View attachment 48878
The rabbit pictured is Bouquet, the Mama. She's so sweet, but probably the shyest. Begonia is downright nosy (I can't even open the door without her coming over to see what's going on!) and Blossom is slightly shy, but really gentle and sweet.
View attachment 48879
Bouquet is on the right, Begonia is the one who has gone flop and Blossom is the one with the brown spots on her back. The mess was a hay chew toy and willow wreath!
They are so cute. 🥰🥰🥰
 

Karaliene

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You are right to be cautious but try to block off areas/plants you're not sure about rather than use a harness. Again, I am not expressing my 'opinion', it is the advice given by experts. You might find this book useful: Gardening For Rabbits by Twigs Way | Rabbit Welfare Shop They are very lucky to have a nice garden to run around in. Monitor the temperature in their housing, it may get too hot in which case you may need to bring them inside. Perhaps contact the rescue for advice on the fighting, I think the recommendation is not to give them too much room initially, gradually expand. Hope they are going to be OK.
Thanks, I appreciate the help. And yes, I actually did contact the rescue the first time it occurred - Laura gave the same advice as you! So I have reduced the space to about 1/2 of what it will be. Hopefully, by September when my school hopes to reopen, I'll be able to leave them without worrying about spats.

About the temperature, I think you're right. It does get hot in there although like I mentioned in one of the first posts, we installed an air vent. Yesterday I think was pretty rotten for the girls, today seemed much better. They weren't lolling about nearly as much - I gave them some extra water and ice and a cool tile.
 

Diane R

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Thanks, I appreciate the help. And yes, I actually did contact the rescue the first time it occurred - Laura gave the same advice as you! So I have reduced the space to about 1/2 of what it will be. Hopefully, by September when my school hopes to reopen, I'll be able to leave them without worrying about spats.

About the temperature, I think you're right. It does get hot in there although like I mentioned in one of the first posts, we installed an air vent. Yesterday I think was pretty rotten for the girls, today seemed much better. They weren't lolling about nearly as much - I gave them some extra water and ice and a cool tile.
Looks like we will get some respite from the heat over the next few days thank god!
 

Eve84

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You are right to be cautious but try to block off areas/plants you're not sure about rather than use a harness. Again, I am not expressing my 'opinion', it is the advice given by experts. You might find this book useful: Gardening For Rabbits by Twigs Way | Rabbit Welfare Shop They are very lucky to have a nice garden to run around in. Monitor the temperature in their housing, it may get too hot in which case you may need to bring them inside. Perhaps contact the rescue for advice on the fighting, I think the recommendation is not to give them too much room initially, gradually expand. Hope they are going to be OK.
When it is hot it will be hotter indoors in some houses. We have a wooden house for example and it keeps the heat. It much cooler outdoor now than indoor
 

Karaliene

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Oh, yes, @Eve84, I couldn't agree more! Our house gets SO hot - it's well insulated, you see. So it's always nice and warm in the winter, but unbearably hot in the summer.
 

Catlyn

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Oh, yes, @Eve84, I couldn't agree more! Our house gets SO hot - it's well insulated, you see. So it's always nice and warm in the winter, but unbearably hot in the summer.
Our house is SUPER duper old, at least a century or even a bit more. It has somehow survived both world wars! Needless to say, its foundation is now crumbling and we have wobbly uneven floors, nearly no insulation and some random holes in the window foam pecked by the birds. They see it as a good nest warmer maybe?
So in our house, inside will always, during the summer days, be colder than what's outside. In the hottest hours the doors are closed, when it's cooler we open them and when it's a bit cool already we close them again. 22°C/27°C in and out respectively. (It's almost 11 in the morning here)
 

Karaliene

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So today, acting upon the advice of Laura of BHAR, I have given the rabbits an additional section! I'm hoping all goes well!
 

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