Tuesday, July 07, 2009

July diary

The four factory farm bunnies that we took in last month are keeping us on our toes. Sadly we lost Zoe to a deep infection after a routine spay. After talking to another person who also adopted a factory farm bunny from the same farm, it appears that there may well indeed be an unusual bacterium that these bunnies have on their skin. Any scratches or grazes that these buns incur could be life threatening. Fortunately Isabelle & Lulu avoided infection but Poppy is now battling the same problem and is on Choramphenicol and Metacam daily to fight the infection before her impending surgery to remove the abscess.

I feel quite heartbroken to not have enabled Zoe a long term, happy future. She tried so hard to stay with us and she really wanted that chance for a loving home. In the three weeks she was with us, she made a great snuggle buddy with Isabelle, explored & lapped up all the attention. She really was a special bunny! For Poppy – Failure is not an option. She will survive!

I’ve always wanted to see for myself what factory farm rabbits are like. In the last 6 weeks of them being at our house, running around the kitchen, I can honestly say that these bunnies are just delightful. They are affectionate, very intelligent and all very different in personality. It makes me just so sad to know that there are so many more of these intelligent & affectionate creatures still sitting in small wire boxes in a dark shed awaiting a violent death for some measly price per kilo.

Isabelle was very sad to lose her new friend so soon. She has now taken up hiding under an old laundry basket but has learned quickly that food comes from the fridge & “lollies” means something utterly delicious! Isabelle doesn’t always hide, she’s regularly found stretched out sleeping on our rug – I’ve never seen such a big stretched out bunny!

Lulu is a big white blondie! She has super strong back legs that she’s never had a chance to use. She likes to run but doesn’t know her own strength & speed just yet. We have to cushion the walls so she doesn’t run into anything & hurt herself. Lulu LOVES cardboard boxes!! She’s been going through one every week, picking it up, spinning it around, making new doors & windows. She’s having such fun!!

Poppy is Miss Smoochy!! She’s the only bunny I know that will lift her head right up for a kiss & keep it there for a long, long time. She adores affection… and following people into the toilet!

If you would like to read more updates about the farm bunnies, please visit our new blog – http://www.blognow.com.au/meetyourmeatrabbits

After the fox attack that killed Charlotte & Billy, our other outside bunnies – Lucky, Ruby, Hugo & Lily - moved indoors. This family was living in two separate pairs. We brought them inside and housed them next door to each other with a barrier between, which gave us a chance to see if the family might reunite.

There was absolutely no aggression, which was great, and all four seemed to be quite at ease, which was even better! Taking the opportunity, we gave them a week or so living next to each other and then bundled them all into a large carrier to a neutral area - our bathroom.

I gave them a new tray & rugs so nothing smelt like any of them. All four explored and looked around, sniffed each other and before we knew it, they were all grooming each other & snuggling. It was fantastic!!

Lily bridged the gap first between the pairs. He started grooming his sister & snuggling with his mum. Ruby adored the new attention, as her mum has never been affectionate. I thought that Hugo might become the dominant leader but he was just happy to play with his siblings whilst mum watched.

So, the family group has now been again relocated to the fox-proofed “Lavender Cottage”. They adore it! They hated being inside. Lavender Cottage has big warm blankets, a “safe house” to run into or sit on, big trays full of yummy hay and no bright lights or annoying people. The exterior has been totally fox proofed and new security measures have been installed so we can only hope they are now safe from predators. We’re still getting up in the middle of the night with a torch if we hear noises outside!

Kitty has botty problems!! (I bet you wanted to know that!) She’s laying these enormous smelly piles of cecals overnight. She doesn’t have a dirty, sticky bottom as many bunnies suffer but the problem is still bothering her. Rabbits producing excess cecals require very simple diets high in fibre. I’ve cut down Kitty’s greens to just one celery top in the evening. She doesn’t get any pellets and she has unlimited oaten hay all day (which all our bunnies have).

Princess’s weekly penicillin injections for her teeth abscesses are going well. The new Propercillin is so easy to inject, it’s keeping Princess still long enough to get it into her skin that requires skill. I’ve worked out that I need to inject her pre dinnertime so I can bring her out to the table and put food in front of her. She eats while I inject.