Tag Archives: bunny

Daily Drama 68 – Duck Herding 101

Daily Drama 68 – Duck Herding 101

I took a little trip to Canada in February to witness my son’s marriage. The big news is this fabulous Guinea Pig coffee cup that his bride bought me!

Right handed view: little piggy swimming inside

Left-handed view: reminds me of furry Stevie Ray (RIP)

We also went to Costco (they have poutine at the snack bar!) where I saw this nice Mason Bee house. My store has them, too, so I got one when I returned from Toronto.

Mason Bee house (accidental photobomb of Dobby)

Mason bees have been using the frames on this window screen. They lay their eggs in there, daubing with mud between, and then they seal it up. when the bees emerge, they come screaming out straight at my shoulder if I’m sitting on the chair right there. It’s annoying for both of us.

Their entry/exit hole is that teeny gray rectangle under where it says $500 on the sign.

They also have a couple mudded-up areas on the siding, above the door and windows. They are all under a wide overhang on the East side of the house.

Mason Bee activity over the front door

Mason Bee activity over the window

Do you think the bees will use the new house? I have it mounted deep under the wide overhang, high on the East side of the house, within walking distance of local shops and schools. I’ll let you know.

“Can you please help me with this jacket?

Meanwhile, we were talking about ducks, right? The afternoon Garden Party is when all the poultry explode from the aviary to eat snacks with Dobby and destroy the back yard. They usually return to roost, but I often have to herd them in to the aviary at dusk. I do a head count to make certain nobody gets locked out. It’s harder than it sounds, and I am always surprised to discover a duck pacing outside the aviary as I lock up. The last time it happened, it was a suspicious drake, notably without his lady friend. A third sweep of the garden revealed Bev, one of my two Muscovy hens, snug on Princess’s tiny nest in Dobby’s pen. One more hiding place to check on this season.

“Have you seen my jacket anywhere?”

We have the opposite problem, too. About a million local mallards now know about the afternoon garden party, and it isn’t uncommon to see thirty of them on the roof, waiting for the Happy Hour snacks to be put out. Lately, to discourage them, I have varied the snack time, or offered nothing at all. Not to be deterred, they all parade into the aviary to help themselves to the layer pellets in the barn. Setting out the Happy Hour treats inside the aviary backfires for the same reason. The herding happens later, and I call this game Brown Duck at Dusk. My own flock is in the aviary/barn, and I could close the gate and call it a day, except for the mallards who can’t find their way back out. They panic when they see me, hitting the top wire, crashing into the fence, pacing at the gate itself, but not at the gate opening. This is a skilled herding: keeping their attention, quelling the panic, easing them toward the gate, using “eye” and body language like a Border Collie. Dobby likes to help, and because they are wary of him, I can use his presence to drive them to the gate. Unless he is sitting at the gate. Oh, Dobby!

Tony, Vinny, & Sal, moving on out

Currently, there is a third herding. Twice a day for fourteen days, eye drops for Sal. Tony, Vinny, & Sal are a tight sub-flock who came in to sanctuary together about five years ago. The aviary is big, but it is set up with a barn and a bully pen that I use to sequester the flock for various reasons. The trick is to herd as few animals as possible (but including Sal) into a “corner” so I can nab him. Again with the Border Collie skills, I move them gradually into the barn or bully pen, without spooking anybody. The herd thins until I have Tony, Vinny and Sal separated out. Moving Sal (who looks remarkably like Vinny) onto the bench (Get out of here, Kitty Hawk!) I can finally administer one eye drop to his left eye. I’m halfway through the treatment, fourteen more round-ups to go.

Get down from there, Conchita!

This is why I try not to move quickly or make the flock scatter. There’s always a smart-aleck who jumps up, down, or performs a risky evasion technique. I wasn’t a witness to Conchita’s Folly (when she broke her leg) but now that she’s healed and rejoined the flock, I have noticed she is always flying up to a high point. Let’s not repeat the broken leg, okay?

“Can you heat this up? Maybe float some lemons in here?”

Dobby’s limping is worse during cold weather. The calcification that occurred during the healing of his fractured vertebra pinches a nerve, causing a sciatica-like pain. I know it well, and he walks like me. He can still hop up to his pool, though it is too cold to swim. He prefers a hot tub this time of year.

Dobby and Samantha

Dobby and Princess

Dobby is eating my bamboo hedge, one bucketful at a time. He also has an Instant Pasture in the back yard. After eight winters of lousy winter front yard grazing, it finally occurred to me that he might “graze” on scattered hay. Sure enough, strewn-about rain-soaked hay has been a big hit. With a bit of luck, some of the seeds will sprout in spring.

Fat Bonnie begs in her day pen

Phoenix bathes in his water dish



Gentrification of the kitchen continues unabated. Fat Bonnie, who moved into the kitchen four years ago, has finally overcome her terror of wide open spaces. Every night, after Dobby went out to bed in his night pen, The Bartender cleaned his area, and we spent the next hour cajoling the rabbit into running around the corner to play in the area he set up for her.

Phoenix chases Fat Bonnie around the box. She’ll sneak up on him later and chase him back.

Enter Phoenix the pigeon. Now that we wheel his cage in there, too, Fat Bonnie races around to claim the ground plane before he gets out. She lets us pet her, she begs for treats, she hauls out verboten birdseed, rips wallpaper off the wall, exactly like a regular pet rabbit. So, we traded Good Bonnie for Bad Bonnie, but she seems a lot happier.

Fat Bonnie: the new relaxed model

Daily Special: Luna the Lionhead

Daily Special: Luna the Lionhead

Now available! Meet Luna the rabbit! She appears to be at least part lionhead, but she is guaranteed to be 100% rabbit! If you can give a beautiful bunny a good home, please contact me.

20160407_153359This is what I know: the shelters are full and are no longer taking rabbits in our area, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. This is a real pickle for someone trying to rehome a rabbit. I don’t have space, either, so she is still at her home, but she needs a new one.

20160513_150005Luna is about a year old, not spayed, and not particularly friendly. She has not had much attention for most of her life, but is indoors, uses her litter box, and has had half a bedroom for romping. She is healthy and gets along great with her family cat.

20160330_144806Luna comes with her cage, various rabbit accoutrements and paraphernalia, and she is available NOW!


Spread the word!

Wemembering Wiley Wabbit

Wemembering Wiley Wabbit

Long before the rambunctious rodent came to live here, a cute little bunny rabbit arrived. Wiley was a well known and well loved feral rabbit drifting through friendly back yards in an upscale urban neighborhood. It soon became clear that he didn’t belong to anyone, and with winter approaching, his protectors grew concerned. A friend of the Funny Farm heard about Wiley, and the next thing you know, he was at the vet being “fixed” and then he was here!


Wild and crazy Wiley Wabbit

This was a big surprise for both Wiley Wabbit, and little Nosebud, the Rabbit in Residence!


Lonely no more

She was very excited to share her palace with such a handsome gentleman rabbit.


Portal to the palace

Wiley’s adjustment to captive life was instantaneous. The few times I had him indoors he was curious and inquisitive, not panicked, so I am quite certain he once lived with a family.


A youthful, athletic Wiley Wabbit

He was a gentleman and a quick learner. He came to me readily and leaned into me when I picked him up.


“Make him get down!” – Nosebud

He was in fabulous condition and was a showoff, too. Wiley took full advantage of vertical elements in the palace.


Not dead

He was so relaxed he scared me half to death sometimes. (Those are Nosebud’s calling cards. Wiley was fastidious.)


Where’s Wiley?

He was a trickster, though, and would hide from me. Can you find him in that photo above? (The answer is at the end of the blog.)


Little rosemary plants getting littler

When Wiley Wabbit first arrived, he and Nosebud would hide together under a huge rosemary bush. It died in a hard freeze, so I planted new ones, and used wire to protect the baby plants from chicken scratching and bunny bites.


So dignified

Wiley Wabbit was the Gentleman King of the Funny Farm.


Wiley Wabbit meets Rambunctious Rodent

Until Prince Dobalob arrived. Dobby got along just fine with Nosebud and Wiley, while he was small enough to enter the palace.


“Keep him OUT!” – Wiley and Nosebud

The rabbits were happier when Dobby turned into a bull and I stopped allowing him into their china shop.


My happy guy

Time passed and Wiley seemed ageless. We didn’t really know how old he was, but only his accumulated wisdom hinted at his years. Eager to join the afternoon garden party with the poultry, he also learned to return promptly to the palace when I went in to refill the dishes.


Garden Party time – check out the one-ear salute!

Sweet little Nosebud would get confused about returning to their pen, and Wiley would gently get her attention and coax her in.



And just two weeks after I took her to the vet, Nosebud was gone. She had E. cuniculi, I treated both rabbits, but she didn’t make it. Wiley Wabbit was devastated.


So sad

Animals do mourn.


“This is a food dish, right?” – Wiley

After about a month, he returned to his trickster ways, but it wasn’t the same without Nosebud.


This is how ducks ruin the pasture. (Video courtesy Ducks and Clucks)

Wiley had plenty of friends, if you include birds. In the photo above, he is helping to re-seed Dobby’s mudhole back yard pasture. The chickens, geese, and ducks destroy it seasonally.

2012-10-26 16.47.51_w

Autumn is apple season

Wiley had plenty of treats. The apple tree drops enough for everyone to share, and they all love to forage.

2014-10-05 17.44.11_w

Wiley’s Wabbit palace

Wiley’s palace had plenty of hopping space. Two more rabbits came, but one named Bonnie Bunny claimed Mr. Wiley Wabbit for her very own.

2014-10-30 16.27.26_w

Bonnie Bunny & Wiley Wabbit

Wiley taught her to navigate the garden, and how to find her way back to the pen. Bonnie is very bossy independent but was a serviceable companion for Gentleman Wiley.

2013-09-18 16.34.01_w

The rabbit garden

When he had been here 7 years, he developed allergies and had sneezing fits, but the veterinarian recommended a supplement that worked miracles. He loved getting his “cookie” every day. He also developed cataracts and gained some weight. Wiley wasn’t running around like a maniac any more.

Wiley Wabbit, the older version

He had lived here 8 years when he refused his last cookie at the end of the day. Bonnie Bunny was attending him and he was very still. I knew he would be gone when I awoke the next morning and that there was nothing more I could do for him. Bonnie would have to take him the final distance.

2012-06-06 17.40.30_w

Photobomb by Wiley

Cute little Wiley was even in Dobby’s magazine article, a fitting memorial.

Wiley was here for so long . . . I keep expecting to see him come around the corner. I swear I heard his ghost up in the palace: there is nothing quite like the hippity hop of a rabbit. They really do make that noise, you know. So, I heard a hippity hop across the length of the palace, but turned to see Bonnie just behind me, in the garden.


Wiley’s garden: blueberry bushes and rosemary

A Wiley Wabbit Ghost haunts the Funny Farm. Perfect.

So, did you find Wiley in that photo way back at the beginning? He’s right smack dab in the center of the photo:


Wild and crazy Wiley Wabbit