Category Archives: Rabbit Business

Daily Drama 52

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Daily Drama 52

There will be more than one blog topic generated this week, but I will be lucky if I manage to write up even one. First, this is the worst trip to Florida I’ve ever taken, but the Seattle weather here at home is cooperating and we’re going to try a couple local Cuban restaurants this week and pretend we are in Hollywood Beach. My mint has enough tender new foliage for mojitos, we have stocked up on rum, and The Bartender is doing his best to take our minds off the unexpectedly aborted vacation. This is the stay-cation, classic version, and it is nice to have a week off my grueling 8.75 hour a week work schedule.


My little turtle, Quasimodo, emerged early in spring to say goodbye, I guess. He was never quite right, as you can tell from his name, but we had six nice years together. Doctor Pepper inherits his portion of the tank, and I hope he overcomes his extreme shyness the way Quasi eventually did. They rarely played “Turtle Pile” so I don’t think Doc had enough emotional attachment to feel grief, but animals are unpredictable that way.

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Farewell, Quasimodo

Lula the hen still receives her daily pain meds, but has had a couple setbacks in spite of it. She has walked stiff-legged for about a year, but recently added a stanky leg flourish to her amble. On sunny days, I bring her out to the yard to keep Dobby company. It also prevents my crazier hens from pecking at her.

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Bianca, being obnoxious

The bully pen has only three drakes this year, but one more has been “asking for it.” Romeo, Shamrock, and Emilio beg to attend the Garden Party every afternoon, but they are tricksters and I refuse to fall for their “Poor Me!” act. Tony, Vinny, and Sal have managed to retain their territory and it is refreshing to see them work together as a team. The twins Boondock and Boxcar are an even match to the trio, but one of them is a meany. Or maybe they both are, taking turns with sneak attacks. Because they work independently, Norman the Flock Manager is usually able to settle the disputes.

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Honey Bunny is listening.

The big news is very rabbity. Honey Bunny, my foster, has been surrendered to me. I just scheduled her to be spayed next week and then she will be available for adoption. It’s breaking my heart because she has been here since December and she is the best pet rabbit I have ever had, except maybe for Wiley. But he was a garden rabbit. Honey has taken over the house guinea pig room. Sadly, she is much more fun than my own rabbit, Fat Bonnie.

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Relaxed, are we?

Fat Bonnie doesn’t move. She sits, hunkered down in unjustified fear. A gorgeous mini-rex, “black otter” in color, she is the softest rabbit I have ever had. Too bad she hates to be touched. She doesn’t tolerate much attention of any kind, come to think of it. She loved Wiley Wabbit so much that in a jealous rage she tried to kill her sister, Helen. Fat Bonnie bit her and drove her far under the deck where I found her two days later, scared, hungry, and dehydrated. So I don’t trust Fat Bonnie with other female rabbits and she has never met Honey. They are aware of each other, but live in different areas of the house.

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Run, Fat Bonnie, run away! Quick, get under the shelves!

Every night, The Bartender cleans and sets up Dobby’s kitchen area for her, and Fat Bonnie’s door is opened so she can scamper and run and explore and browse and interact with us. And every night we encourage and beckon and cajole and beg her to leave her pen and find the salad waiting for her around the corner. And every night (for eight months now) we end up pushing and nudging and shooing and sometimes I even just carry her around that corner to her evening play area. And there she sits all night until it is time to go back to her pen. She’ll emerge for a treat tossed her way, but mostly she’ll retreat behind the door at a sudden noise or activity in the kitchen. Like someone opening the refrigerator door. Is she the only pet on earth who is scared of that sound? The guinea pigs are down the hall wheeking, and Fat Bonnie is quivering under the shelves

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Honey is probably a Hotot.

I can’t really keep both rabbits. If they could live together or even if they would play together nicely, I would keep them both. I would prefer to find a new home for finicky Fat Bonnie, but it would be a hard sell. So I will be re-homing Honey Bunny, the better bunny. 

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Honey’s night cage

Friendly Honey Bunny runs to EVERYONE for petting and attention. When I step into her area, she gets the zoomies and rips around the room in big circles, next around my legs a couple times, then the room for a few more circuits before she settles down for some attention. Toss her some lettuce and she’ll ignore it, preferring to come over for a pet. I had never seen a bunny who flopped her ears so much, and thought she had mites. Turns out it is a Happy Thing. (Fat Bonnie doesn’t do it.)

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Oopsie

She hops readily into her cage at bedtime, but is perfectly well behaved out of it during the day. Well, except for the time she hopped up to the bookcase and broke a lamp. Or maybe that time she got behind the bunny barrier and ate her way through the guinea pig hay bags. Or when she opened the bag of shavings and decorated the room, or chewed a wire, or pulled a stack of towels through the bunny barrier. Or when she sticks her head through the gate to the hall and chews the edge of the hall runner.

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Honey’s “nest” box

She has made a couple nests. She has an active litter box in her cage, and another in the corner of her room that she doesn’t use. Twice she has pulled fur and made a nest in the clean corner box. A few days ago, I saw her pulling fur again and looked in the box. She had dragged a blanket in there and two little stuffed animals- the monkey and the hamster! Her babies. She knew that it would be wrong to include the stuffed banana toy.

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Slug bunny

So, little Honey is available. Let me know if you are interested!

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Daily Drama 51

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Daily Drama 51

In the Pacific Northwest, winter seems to drag on and on and on. Summer is simply a brief, shiny, and distant memory. We have four more months of very iffy weather before “summer” which is unreliable until after Fourth of July. For now, I feed the ducks and chickens in the morning, then wash and dry my rain-soaked jacket in time for the afternoon Garden Party. It rains ALL THE TIME, there is slippery black mud everywhere, and even the ducks are wet. Dobby, supposedly a rainforest animal, refuses to do his “business” out in the cold, windy, relentless downpour. It’s just not right. Lots of fun coming up before summer, though. The ducks are starting to joust and I’m wondering how soon the Bully Pen will have to open for business.

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Jillian The Volunteer, cleaning the Dude Ranch

My fabulous volunteer, Jillian, needs to adjust her schedule around tennis practice. I still can’t believe she offered to come on Guinea Pig Cage Cleaning Night! We were able to clean The Dude Ranch plus the two rabbit boxes in a New York minute! It’s so nice to have help for the “less fun” tasks! Unfortunately, we forgot about Dobby’s extra Jillian Corn, and when she went to say goodbye to him, she noticed that he had registered a complaint IN HIS POTATO BOWL. Ugh. Sorry, no photo.

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Prince Dobalob The Author, taking a break from writing his new book

Part of the aviary fence is slowly rotting, as everything does here in the Pacific Northwest. Between the time when I counted rotten boards and showed my friendly neighbor where to install the new ones, another very suspicious hole had opened up. We hastily gathered up some plywood to patch the holes from the inside, and he can now replace the boards at his leisure. One week later, the suspicious hole resurrected itself, this time through the plywood! I set a 2×4 on the stringer and braced it with a CMU half block. Very late that night as I was readying Dobby’s kitchen area for the morning onslaught, a possum sauntered by, so close to the glass door he nearly brushed against it! So, yes, a suspiciously possum-sized hole. I kind of wondered why egg production had dramatically dropped off the last couple weeks. Thank goodness he didn’t go after the hens. And that reminds me I better check the hole from the entry-side of the fence, and maybe store a few rolls of chicken wire there. I’ve already directed the neighbor toward my stash of sheet metal.

Lula The Brave, one year ago, in the infirmary

My little hen Lula, who has been on Metacam just over a year now, is looking better day by day. Miraculously she has feathered out beautifully and seems to be putting on weight. Last night I found her roosted way up high with the other girls. I never thought I’d see her back up there, she has been roosting on a low laying box for months and months. The sun came out for about 5 minutes last week, and I saw her standing tall and enjoying it. It won’t be long before she’ll be joining the others for the Garden Party.

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Honey The Innocent

It has been a while since I heard from Honey Bunny’s owner, and so it goes. I really don’t like to take “fosters” because they are exactly as much work as full-time residents. I’m glad I was realistic about Honey’s future here, but she is probably the most “spirited” bunny I’ve known. She would be a more suitable guest if she’d refrain from leaping up to the bookshelves, but it’s hard to stay mad at a bunny doing figure-8’s around your legs!

 

 

Daily Drama 50 – Dobby’s 7th Birthday

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I went through hundreds of Baby Dobby photos to write his birthday blog, but the ones with the tiny shopping cart best illustrate the incredible growth of these huge rodents.

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Dobby at 4 weeks – almost 5# (2.2kg)

The shelf behind him is another good indicator. Check him out today in the next photo. The shopping cart is there, and so is the rabbit from the waffle box photo in the birthday blog.

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The Birthday Boy – 130 pounds (60kg)

Dobby would have preferred a normal day, and he almost got one. The rabbit got my attention early in the day. I heard a big crash and discovered her on top of a bookcase. I got her down, figuring I could analyze the situation later. Well, when I returned I discovered her gleefully tossing a piece of broken glass! Her mountaintop leap had knocked off an adorable antique candleholder (with an etched and fluted chimney) that belonged to my mother. Currently several dangerous rabbit toys. Perfect.

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“I was bored.”

Then there was no fresh corn. I was down to a couple old pieces, husks dried and crunchy, but edible. The grocer who special-orders it for us was unable to get any, two days in a row. Poor Dobby had to settle for packaged corn-on-the-cob on his birthday. $4 off, though, a fortuitous sale. The Bartender bought all they had. In fact, he just now reported that there is still no corn. It’s sitting in a warehouse in Georgia.

I failed to put clean blankets on Prince Dobalob’s bed. He usually prefers the funky, smelly ones, anyway. But no, on his birthday he suddenly decided to get clean ones. He pulled them off his bed, and even started laundering them for me by leaving them out in the rain for a pre-wash.

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Grazing in the front yard

We never do make a big deal of his birthday, because, well, he is spoiled enough already. He loves to graze in the front yard, he loves his hot tub, his hens and ducks. He loves to herd the cats, which I find funny for many reasons. Don’t make him wear hats, don’t put him in the car, and don’t be late with that noon corn-on-the-cob!

Daily Drama 49

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Daily Drama 49

I wasn’t busy enough, so I am now officially not retired. Sixty-four is an odd time of life to start a new career, but my volunteer status no longer adequately describes my activities, so I have been hired. Coincidentally, my wildlife photography, my non-stop blogs, and my stunning cinematography have been derailed. The dramas have no respect, and continue to unload at an alarming rate. Currently, the blog-waiting room at the Stacy’s Funny Farm Station is taking numbers, but all of the clerks are out to lunch.

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Miss Honey Bunny, looking so very innocent

For instance, there is still a rabbit at large in the guinea pig room. I am losing confidence that Honey Bunny will be reunited with her owner in the near future, but she is a lot of fun for now. Other than the fact that she has started to mark the carpet. My own Bonnie Bunny has previously attacked a rabbit- her own sister!- so I don’t dare introduce them.

Snow White, the dove, is finally perking up. I had brought her inside and she did well at first but then languished. I still don’t want her to have direct contact with her daughter, The Pirate, until I am certain she is healthy. For the past four days, I have been wheeling her cage into the kitchen so they can “flock,” and they are eating together (from afar) and Snowy is suddenly showing signs that she will completely recover. Next I will let them interact, supervised, and determine whether they want to share a cage. Snow White probably thought she was doomed to flock with guinea pigs. Oh, the horror of it!

In fact, the guinea pigs are a fine little herd. Carl’s eight year old legs still scurry with the youngest of them. He honestly doesn’t seem any older than the other dudes. Speaking of old dudes, my antique cockatiel, Jorge, still occasionally falls off his perch onto the padded cage floor. I’m beginning to think he is a LOT older than the sixteen years I know about. I’m his third owner, and he’s been annoying me here for ten years.

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Jello the hen, bathing beauty

The new hens are settling in, laying eggs, begging and underfoot. The flock dynamics are fascinating: little Bianca is now shunned by the two hens she arrived with, and old Jello seems happy to have her as a new companion. And yet, the roosting positions vary from night to night, with Bianca randomly sleeping near the two and then Jello. Little Lula sleeps below, but still manages to get off the ground. She has been on Metacam for a year, and if she ever dies we might discover what her problem is. She is a sweet happy hen, comes when I call her each morning for her medicine.

We had 11″ of rain in January, almost 1/3 of our yearly rainfall. Even the ducks are sick of it. Norman’s feathers are in poor condition, and the Muscovies look pretty bad on wet days, too. They have a heat lamp and whole wheat and cracked corn treats, but we’d rather have some sun.

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Quasimodo, not eating his food because it’s FEBRUARY

Quasimodo the turtle has been out a few times this winter. He’s been here since 2009, and each winter I wonder whether I should bring him in or let him hibernate. In this photo you can see the bulge at his right cheek, a calcium deposit he’s had since before he came here to live. I feed him when I see him, but he really isn’t interested in eating during winter. Dr. Pepper has emerged a couple times, too, but not for long.

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Lotsa mallards . . . oh boy, look at the steps. Will they make it to summer?

The crazy wild mallards are proliferating. There were 26 one afternoon last week, right at the time of day my flock generally emerges for the Garden Party refreshments. A couple of the mallard ducks march directly into the aviary, turn right at the turtle tank, enter the barn, and help themselves to the poultry food! I now have to make a sweep for mallards before I secure the gate for the night. One morning last week, a drake surprised me by flying off the roof onto the ground in front of me as I walked out with the breakfast treats. Entering the aviary I was greeted by a female mallard, merrily swimming in the duck pond. She was reluctant to leave, though her drake was mighty relieved to have her released.

My tomcats vacillate between boring and completely frustrating. Grover has decided to discover whether it is possible to actually perish from hairballs. Kitty Hawk is easy enough to handle that I occasionally grant him the privilege of walking the circuit around the house. Those days are over as he apparently strayed across the street. I figured that out when I heard the distant cat fight- who could that be?

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Prince Dobalob “I’m bored!”

Dobby, my precious angel, has been saving “gifts” for me, letting loose in the kitchen as I return home for school. He’s so thoughtful. I keep telling myself it’s the weather. You might think a rainforest animal would like the rain, but no. He seems to disapprove of rain, though honestly, in winter he disapproves of almost everything except corn-on-the-cob.

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Mr. Wooly Bear

There has been a tiny visitor at our front door, and I have almost stepped on him twice. The second time I brought him in for a photo shoot. It’s spring when wooly bear caterpillars appear, right? Summer is surely coming!

Daily Drama 47

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Daily Drama 47

Oy vey, December was full of glitches. The month is nearly gone and and in spite of all the schmoozing, or maybe because of it, the blog posts are just not happening.

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Prince Dobalob supervises Norman, the Flock Manager

The Funny Farm has its ups and downs but still provides sanctuary for about 50 animals. A couple are pets, like Dobby, but most are rescues. I don’t think I need any more actual “pets” with so many second-hand pets in need of homes.

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Cubicle is glad that the Prince of Schlock is out of the aviary for a moment.

The story of Leonard the Koi is still unresolved, and I don’t know whether he will ever come here or not. Or when. Once he is settled, the goldfish will come here. I’m not holding my breath, but nothing surprises me any more.

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Carmen Miranda poses, Romeo flashes his crest, and Lula takes refuge under a bench.

Winter can be rough but at least Romeo, the putz, behaves himself. Lula hen has been on Metacam for almost a year now, and is much improved since last winter. The vet isn’t certain what ails her, but the meds are effective for all of the possible diagnoses, and she doesn’t kvetch about it. When I call her, she comes over to get her medicine. We can’t eat her eggs, but she doesn’t lay many any more.

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Kitty Hawk (face in food bowl) and Grover, showing off their tipped left ears.

The tomcats, Kitty Hawk and Grover, are busy and happy. Unfortunately, the vermin they chased from my aviary had the chutzpah to take up residence in the crawl space of my house, and were checking out the basement and attic, too. That is a fun holiday project I would rather not have to deal with.

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Prince Dobalob strikes a pose.

On the bright side, Dobby has new hens! They arrived at dusk so they went straight into my infirmary. He got pouffy every time he saw them for the first few days.

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Behind the fence: Conchita, Adelita, and Bianca. This side of the fence: Jello.

The bully pen is available this time of year, so the hens spent their first few days in there. Jello the hen was not nearly as impressed as Dobby.

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A little bit pouffy about the new hens.

Seriously, The Prince was very excited about his new hens. They haven’t really noticed him yet, though he’s hard to miss. They will soon discover that he is a klutz and will become more wary.

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Bianca likes to sleep UNDER Adelita and Conchita!

One evening I discovered they had decided to perch on the fence, in the rain, within stranglehold distance of the overhead screening. Raccoon bait.

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Dobby loves his hens.

Back to the infirmary for the night. I didn’t get the door quite shut and found them wandering around the barn in the morning, sticking their schnozzes into everything.

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Trio of trouble.

Nobody was paying any attention to them so I decided to leave them out with the general population.

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Fearless Bianca

Bianca is a banty Americauna and lays these crazy blue eggs. She was very quick to discover the laying boxes and kick-cleaned them out for future use.

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The eggs are a pale robin’s egg blue.

The next night I shlepped the hens into the infirmary to roost before they could do anything foolish. Dobby was fascinated by the roundup and helped me out by laying right smack dab in the most inconvenient location possible.

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The Dobster is serious about his hens.

The following day, Bianca cleaned the shmutz out of a box for Conchita. Cleaning up is her shtick.

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Conchita

Conchita and Adelita are Welsummers and lay chocolate-brown eggs.

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Milk chocolate, not dark chocolate

I finally figured out that Adelita has been laying her eggs way over there → away from the boxes in a hard-to-reach spot but I’m onto her now.

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Jockeying for pole position on the favored roost

Suddenly the next night, the three new hens decide to roost up with Jello the hen. There are several configurations possible, though Jello (aka J.Lo) prefers that they roost way over there ←. It seems to change every night but they aren’t out on the fence in the rain any more.

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Kick it out, Bianca!

When I took my volunteer out to show her the new hens, we discovered one of the doves at the bottom of the cage. She is a weak bird, Pirate’s mother in fact, and spends a lot of time on the ground, but seeing her there, I realized I had not seen her up on a branch for a couple days. I tucked her into my jacket, and as we finished up outdoors, I went through my spiel on why new birds are put into quarantine.

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A couple of doves

Sure enough, once I brought her in and looked at her with my glasses on, she went straight to the dusting bin. One week later, she is looking pretty clean. She is still not recovered enough to kibbitz with her daughter, though.

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Ms. Snow White

Snowy dove shares upper space in the guinea pig room, while another transient shares floor space.

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Handsome Carl, Fred in the box, and Stevie Ray playing turkey in the straw.

Honey the bunny is staying with us while her owner is in transition.

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Honey, uncharacteristically at rest

Unlike my own Bonnie bunny who is afraid of her own shadow, Honey excitedly examined every inch of her space, tasting, digging, and testing the traction of the carpet. I followed her around, securing barricades, tucking away wires, and strategically locating new toys.

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Honey poses between her litter/hay box and her night cage.

Honey is friendly and trusting. She has very tidy habits, and quite a healthy appetite! Maybe that’s because she was once a feral stray.

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“Excuse me!”

From the first day she would run straight up to me, begging for treats, and she still runs around my feet when I am in her space. Now that the novelty of her situation has passed, she is just as likely to flop over and stare away from me in the standard rabbit mode of disapproval.

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The flop

Will Honey bunny ever meet Bonnie bunny? Bonnie has a history of aggression toward other female rabbits, so I just don’t know yet. Honey is only here for a short while, but you never know, do you?