Monday, December 31, 2012

Late, but Rabbit Related Presents

First, technically a cat calender, but there are a lot of bunnies in it. Anyway all baby animals are cute!

Second is this bunny ornament. My mom was telling her boss about my "crazy"rabbit, and he thought of me when he saw this at a church rummage sale.

What bunny things did you get for Christmas?


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Something to be Thankful For

Had a bit of a scare just now. Came home and Umbra refused to eat her dinner, even when I announced it in (probably bad) Spanish. After continue to meatloaf for a minute or two, she finally wandered around the room but still ignored her food. I think she was just nervous because I was just at the home of a dog we had been sitting just a few days ago. She gets jealous enough when I come home smelling other pets, but apparently we crossed a line bringing a dog into the home (we sit for her all the time but usually at her family's home, but they were having a party and didn't want her in the way.. she has a habit of peeing when excited.. and also hating tall men like my fiance).

Finally, Umbra determined the coast was clear and ate. What a relief! That would not have been the way to end and otherwise wonderful Christmas. Nevertheless I will undoubtedly be paranoid for the rest of the week.

If anything, I was reminded that the holidays are about being with those you love, not presents. And I certainly love Umbra (despite the fact that she keeps eating holes in all my tights). It funny sometimes, that I suddenly remember that she is a rabbit and not a person, but that is how I have always felt about my pets.

.. however Umbra didn't get the memo about the true meaning of Christmas, she spilled her pellets and threw some things in a fit because I didn't get her any presents (she never appreciates them anyway I guess I don't know what sort of things she is into).

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Visiting

Visited some family friends yesterday. I mentioned over the summer that they had gotten a bunny. Hes grown into a real fluffy guy. Likes to lay in people laps and has to kitty friends. Unfortunately he is not neutered and it sounds like they have had some issues with spraying.

Also visited with their two ponies, goat and chickens.

Umbra was not happy with me when I got home. I guess I was stinky.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Learn to Speak Rabbit

The more time I spend with Umbra, the more I think I have interpreted her language. But there are somethings I never realized had a meaning, like the rate at which a rabbit wiggles its nose. I've found that most guides to learning bunnish are pretty basic until I found this one on the New York House Rabbit Society's website. Check out The Language of Lagomorphs for a in depth look at rabbit body language. It includes pictures and video clips for those of you who are more visually inclined.

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Cecotropes

An amusing video on the rabbit g.i. tract. I have no idea what they are saying but the little cartoon is helpful.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

So Sorry Again!

I've been swamped with work and finals. Poor Umbra was even being neglected a bit but now I am making up for it (after being punished the last 2 weeks). Lots of play time lately and she is definitely grateful. So many binkies! Right now she is pestering the birds. Nosy booger.

Also she has been moulting like crazy! I think it has to do with it being unseasonably warm. I did some extensive cleaning yesterday and the vacuum canister was almost completely full of hair and hay.

Hope everyone has been doing well. More soon!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ask Umbra

No not my rabbit Umbra (unless you are asking if she wants lettuce in spanish)! Turns out there is a blogger out there with the same moniker. She blogs for the website grist.org, which specializes in environmental news. Which is quite the coincidence, since I am majoring in journalism with a minor in environmental science. hmmm....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sad Discovery

So its not bunny related, but I just discovered that one of my moms birds died. They're really annoying and not at all tame, but I still feel bad. I didn't even think to look at them this morning when I got up, but when I think of it, it was awfully quiet and now I know why. The surviving bird like to pick on the other, but she still seems depressed. Its never easy to loose an animal.

Ceramic Bunnies/ Update

Well its getting down to the end of the fall semester at school, so needless to say, I've been swamped. Poor Umbra is feeling the effects too shes been pretty grumpy the past couple weeks, but I've been trying to make it up to her. She's really going to be unhappy next week when I go on vacation, I'm going to have to spoil her big time when I get back. She has already taken out her frustration on my iPod case (I guess I deserved it).

In the meantime, I saw some more bunny things like these ceramic rabbits at Hobby Lobby.

No i did not purchase them. I'm going through bunny-stuff rehab (I even asked that no one give me bunny things for my birthday last week).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Frustration!

So shortly after Umbra came into my life, a family at my church also got a rabbit identical to Umbra (except that it is a male). My mom often does odd jobs for them, including pet sitting (they have several cats and a dog and often a rotation of other pets.. I have no idea what happens to them), so I went along. I noticed the rabbit was not being kept in the ideal conditions. He was housed in a wire bottom crate (much to small) with nothing to rest in except the litter box, had very few toys and although they had bought hay (which is great! most people don't realized how important it is), there was not any in the cage. I left them a friendly note giving them a few pointers and advising them to get the little guy neutered before too long (or face the consequences.. and the mess).

This was about a year ago.

Yesterday, I returned to help my mom clean up leaves. On the pretense of needing hydration, I entered the house to check up on Umbra's doppelganger, and was instantly disappointed: they had not followed any of my advise. There was no hay in the cage, not a single toy and no clean hard surface for the little guy to rest his feet on. He was so excited when I deposited a pile of hay into his crate and instantly began eating. Last time I had places some toys in the enclosure, but now there were none to be found. And the only thing I could find to provide a more comfortable resting surface was some old newspapers. He acted a little teritorial when I reached in the cage, I suspect he is still "intact", but as I stroked his forehead he calmed down quickly and seems to have a good disposition. Unfortunately, I did not inspect his feet, but as even Umbra has problems with hers even living on carpet, I wouldn't be surprised if they were in poor condition. 

I realize that I may seem pushy if I confront them; people don't like being told how to take care of their animals. However, it breaks my heart to see him living such a way. Plus, this rabbit was purchased for the enjoyment of the family's children, and having gone through the untimely and rather gruesome death of my childhood rabbits, I would hate to see those children's hearts broken. It is not their fault that they are not familiar with proper rabbit care, and I do not blame the parents entirely either, although I had hinted them previously. I understand that it is frustrating for parents to be left with the responsibility of taking care of animals neglected by the children who begged so persistently to have them. Nonetheless, if someone offers you advice and you ignore it out of your own convenience, why did you buy the animal in the first place. As the adult, it is your responsibility to at least make sure the children care for the animal, if not do it yourself (which you should expect, they are children after all). Think of the example you are setting for your children as well: you can have anything you have the passing whim for, with no consequences, and second responsibilities are not mandatory. When you bring an animal into your life, you have entered a contract, although not always written or even spoken, that you give that animal the utmost care and attention so that it lives a happy and as long of a life as should be expected for its species.

So despite the awkwardness of confronting someone, and the risk of appearing like an animal-loving freak, I will being printing out all the information I can get from HRS and giving it to the family this Sunday as well as making the serious offer to take the rabbit into my care if they decide it is "too much of a hassle". It is not crazy to want animals to be treated humanely and with compassion. It is crazy to neglect and abuse them. We are human beings, with our capabilities, we must also adhere to our responsibilities. This is the mark of a higher species. Live up to it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy (belated) Halloween

Saw this little number on dogshaming.com, and thought if I was the kind of person who enjoyed torturing animals that it would be an appropriate costume for Umbra (or any rabbit).

On the subject of pet shaming, there is a Facebook page for rabbit shaming, which Umbra is in great need of. She is being a real turd today, getting into everything. Today's casualties include a pencil, a pen (a really nice one), a nail buffer and my favorite picture of me and my fiance, all while I was trying to sleep.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"I disapprove of you interior decorating decisions"

As we are feeling the effects of hurricane Sandy, even here in the Midwest, mom decided today would be a good day to get back to her bathroom remodeling project. Umbra disapproves of all the noise. Bunny is the only one allowed to remodel (by which I mean eating the base moulding and tearing up the carpet.. but it really does need to be replaced). She has been pouting in the corner and even stomped once.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Humane Society Update

Because my mom (jeez I feel like a child when I say that, can't wait to be done with college and move out) will not agree to the terms, I cannot adopt another rabbit (if Umbra had liked any of them anyway). So miss Umbra will continue to be the sole ruler of her domain.

I am seriously thinking about getting involved at this shelter though and helping out with the bunnies (although there are only a few, they really need it).

Humane Society Trip

While out on other errands, I happened to be in the area of the local Humane Society. I have been toying with the idea of finding a friend for Umbra for a while.

So I decided to stop in, but was disappointed. The last time I had been to the the Humane Society "critters had been kept in a separate room, secluded from the dogs and most cats. However now they are in a smaller room across the hall from one of the noisy dog kennels. The few rabbits were clearly distressed by the noise. Also, there was too much pellets available and not enough hay. (they did have plenty of water and thank God they weren't in wire-bottom cage). The rabbits were all unaltered (and the information on their breeds was inaccurate)

Nonetheless, I filled out an application for adoption. The staff member assisting me asked if there was a particular rabbit I was interested. I told her that I would have to introduce my own rabbit to the potential companions, and she gave me a weird look. I explained that rabbits can be very territorial, but the staff still acted as if it were an odd request. I feel that all types of pets should be introduced to the current pets of potential adopters. I know that shelters generally require dogs to be introduced, but other animals, like cats and rabbits can be just as vicious toward strange animals.

Anyway, I'm not sure if I will end up adopting one of these rabbits, but I am considering volunteering at the shelter (I previously volunteered at the shelter in Indy) and helping out with the rabbits, although there are few. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I admit I have a problem

I discovered a little shop called Found while killing time the other day. The owner (who happens to be a prof at my college) collects various objects (so various I don't know how to classify them) from from around the world to sell along with art from local artist.

Among the various objects happen to be bunny themed objects (of which I bought nearly all of). Enjoy.

Coin purse (bought)

key chain

hand puppet (didn't get, but thinking about going back, just so darn cute!)

Chinese bunny tea pot (out of my price range)

silver birth year box from Cambodia (bought)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Dark Side

.. or the fluffy side rather. It's where I've been dragging my mom too (although maybe Umbra deserves the credit here).

I have mentioned often that my mom does not approve of house-rabbitry, and Umbra is not to fond of her either. However, it appears that both may be on their way to a change of heart. The first clue was when Umbra escaped my room earlier this week. I called down the hall after the little bugger (actually I think I called her a turd-butt, affectionately of course). My mom, in the bathroom at the time, assumed correctly that Umbra's destination was her own bedroom (I don't see what is so exciting about it, but for Umbra anywhere unknown is exciting, especially if it is prohibited). To my surprise, instead of lamenting about my mischievous friend, my mom reprimanded me for scolding Umbra and even said "she's fine"!

To top that off Umbra accepted pets from my mom, without any bribing. Although my mom had to stand in an awkward position to pet Umbra (its on of her favorite tricks, you have to work for the privilege of caressing her fine fur), when my mom turned to leave, Umbra pursued her looking for more attention... or just hoping for an opportunity to dart out the door.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Joy of Rabbit Parenting 4

Rabbit must be super affectionate and give you many kisses... just after re-ingesting cecotropes.

(happening right now.. also rabbit attacking you with kisses makes typing difficult)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hay is for...

horses rabbits. And for a while I've been on a quest for great hay. Usually I just go for Oxbow Timothy, but at $20+ for the big bag and going through about a bag a month.. well it adds up. After looking around I heard about buying hay direct from the source, but around here its hard to find hay that isn't alfalfa. Recently I was told that a grass mix for horses would do for rabbits, even if it contained a little bit of alfalfa... still haven't renewed by "straight-from-the-source" search though.

Another way to save money on hay is to special order bales from your pet store. The one I go to and the one I've heard will do this is Pet Supplies Plus. If you don't live near a PSP its worth asking at your local pet stores.

Finally, today I found a link on HRS Facebook for a cool hay supply website called Small Pet Select which ships timothy to small pet owners. The website is easy to navigate and informative. If you follow the link your purchase of an 8lb box of timothy will be shipped for free. Also, if you like them on Facebook you will receive an additional $2 off. With both deals my order came to $22.99.  As soon as my hay arrives I'll write a review.

This picture

.. is seemingly random but it has a story behind it.



Umbra was especially hyper today, tearing up and down the hall and doing some of the best binkies I've ever seen. In the process this sock was kicked in the air and somehow landed under/in the ottoman.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vote for Bunny World Foundation

Chase Bank is going to help Bunny World Foundation protect animals from ending up malnurished and mistreated and sold in LA's Fashion district, but only if you vote for them follow the link and share with you're friends for more votes!!!

PDN

Public Displays of Napping. It's a new phrase I've coined. Generally, people don't let their guard down enough to fall asleep in public (and for good reason), and rabbits are much the same way I think. In fact, I rarely catch Umbra sleeping, and I would like to think that she trusts me. So I was shocked (in a good way) when Umbra passed out cold in the presence of my friend who she is not well acquainted with. I had looked up from my occupation (we were working on wedding plans) to see Umbra nodding off, eyes barely open. I few minutes later her eyes were completely closed and her lips and toes twitching as she dreamed. Eventually she completely slumped over and her twitching subsided and I managed to snap a pic with my iPod. I didn't dare get closer and and risk disturbing the queen during her beauty sleep.

.. Of course she never hesitates in disturbing mine...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Promise this is Rabbit Related

My fiance is a big fan of all those paranormal investigation shows, and he has gotten me hooked on them too. And while I think they make for entertaining television, I would certainly never like to encounter a ghost in real life. The shows give me the willies as it is, so it is no wonder that the other night I had a nightmare that my house was haunted. The dream culminated in my basement where an unseen spector tugged at my clothes and my hair and I was too terified to turn and see what was the cause...

and then I woke up to Umbra voraciously eating my hair. Needless to say I was glad to end that nightmare, even if it was to placate a hungry bunny much too early in the morning.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Apologies

Oh no! It's been too long since I've updated and I am very sorry! I've been juggling a new job and a new school so needless to say it has been pretty hectic for me. To make up for it here is a video I meant to upload over a week ago of Umbra playing... but not with one of the many toys I have bought her of course.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Exploring the Outdoors



Finally got up the courage to take Umbra outside! I don't know who was more nervous, me or her, but it turned out to not be so bad after all... especially once Umbra discovered that the floor is made of food.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happenings

(your welcome for my resisting to title this post "hop"enings)

Mainly I would just like to ramble a bit about how the life of Umbra is going.  We have gotten a new toy: a collapsible tunnel. She was a wary of it at first but I finally saw her use it today, although her back end have very little clearance.

I also finally picked up some styptic powder, so I can not be so anxious while cutting Umbras nails (they're black and I'm terrified of cutting into the quick- she already dreads nail clipping time and I know she would never forgive me). Even better it was in the sale bin!

Also Umbra seemed to be warming up to her two sworn enemies: my fiance and my mother. She gave Shannon (fiance) a nose bump, and accepted a treat from my mom (although I did not find the treat acceptable- you can't feed rabbits crackers, shes not a parrot).

Nothing to major or exciting tho, but bunnies do like routine, and Umbra has been letting me know through flops, tooth purring and grooming (I'm not allowed to resist even when it tickles, I must accept affection on her terms or face bunishment*)


*did that completely by accident, I had a dyslexic moment, not trying out more bunny puns I promise!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Bunny Tattoo

I've recently fallen in love with a trend in geometric tattoos. While looking for some inspiration for a cover up for my fiance's old straightedge x's.

Anyway I stumbled upon tattoos which are both geometric and bunny. Enjoy.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Up to No Good

I've got a couple updates.

First, a day I have long feared would come.. Umbra has learned to open doors. Usually, if I'm going to leave the room for a moment, I don't bother to close the door all the way, instead leaving it cracked. This hasn't ever been an issue until just this week. Before apparently having a bunny epiphany, Umbra would just claw at the door to no avail (as it swings into the room, her efforts would only close the door more). Finally, however, it has dawned upon her that if she seizes the door with her teeth she can pull it back enough to get her nose in, and then freedom is within reach.. or at least yummy treats provided by the silly human pleading for her to get out from scary human's (my mom) room. It's win-win if you think about it... at least if you are one sneaky bunny with an appetite for adventure and homemade banana/timothy treats.

Second, I have decided to share a video of Umbra being herself and getting into things.

At first, I didn't have a problem with Umbra eating from the bag... however the next day I discovered that Umbra reminded me that rabbits really enjoy using the bathroom while they eat.. maybe she thought it was okay because she was sitting on a bag of Carefresh litter... although the plastic kept it from doing its job and absorbing the mess. So now the hay and litter bags much find another home where they will not be soiled.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Just a Thanks

I would like to thank all my readers, followers, subscribers as this blog has been getting more traffic lately. I started this blog to share my new found love of rabbits. They are a very misunderstood animal, especially as pets. I hoped that I would both learn more about rabbits and educate others at the same time. I know I have learned a lot!

It means a lot to me to see that I am gaining more of a following as well as becoming a part of the house rabbit community; in the beginning I was sure that this blog would flop, like others I had started. I have to say that I think I should give myself a pat on the back for following through with this endeavor. Every page view, comment and subscription only motivates me more, so give yourselves a pat on the back too for helping me stay inspired!

Thankyou!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bunnies Everywhere!

Stereotypically, people see bunnies in fluffy white clouds... I, on the other hand, see them in cheese. Snapped this poor quality shot at work (I work at Subway part-time) while cleaning the bread forms.
To me it there appears to be a 3/4 view of a bunny's face with two very long ears, one to the left and the other to the right.

Tell me what you think.. or alert me if I'm crazy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Black Rabbit of Inle

No I'm not talking about my own black rabbit! If you've read "Watership Down" you know that the Black Rabbit of Inle is the Grim Reaper of rabbit folklore. Searching for tattoo ideas I came across one that I thought I would share (as it is rabbit related).

A little gory for my taste, but eventually I plan on getting a tattoo of my own black rabbit.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Beautiful Sight

Yesterday while running some errands, spotted a woman with rabbits (I think they were lops) playing in the yard.

If it wouldn't have been extremely creepy of me I would've pulled over and talked to her... but I don't want to be that obsessed. It's just nice to see other rabbit people out there.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Have You Noticed?..

I've heard it said that rabbits are kinda like a mix of a cat and a dog personality wise.

In light of this, I have recently realized, whilst browsing silly pet videos on youtube, that Umbra, like many cats, very much loves to disturb me when I'm on the computer. The only time she will sit in my lap is if there is already a laptop there (seriously, there are facebook status updates posted by her). My old cat, Lucky (aka Boo) was also not the most cuddly of companions, but as soon as I sat down at the computer desk, there he was purring up a storm and blocking the monitor.

Anyone else experience this?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Leftovers

Okay, so you know how you get to the bottom of the bag of hay and all that's left is those little bits and pieces and a bunch of hay dust your bun wont eat? Sometimes it's quite a substantial amount and it seems a waste to throw it away (especially after spending nearly $20 for the big bag). Well I propose a solution!

I have been using the leftover hay in my homemade bunny treats. However, I encountered a problem the first few times; not all the hay bits got ground up, making it difficult to mold and cut the dough into little bunny bites. So today I set about the much belated task of sifting the remains of two jumbo bags of hay. All you need is a colander and a large bowl to sift through (note: turn off fans in the room you are sifting, hay dust will go everywhere.. except the bowl).

end product in metal bowl

Nosy Umbra kept trying to tip the bowl so I distracted her with some hay of her own
I ended up with between 2 and 3 cups of hay dust which I will use for the base of my bunny treats. I should be able to make a few batches as soon as its cool enough to turn the oven on.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Have You Been Getting Into?

"Getting into places I don't belong? I'd never! Why would you think such a thing?"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I'm Back!

Just wanted to let you know how my fiance did baby sitting Umbra for a couple days, not that it was very difficult. All he had to do was stop by and make sure she had plenty of water and give her some pellets.

However, Umbra's dislike of him prevailed and he called Saturday evening to tell me that he was greeted by one grumpy, growly bunny. She did allow him to pet her after pellets were administered, but the next morning he was again greeted very rudely.

Also, I made a stop in Indy to gather the rest of my belongings from my old apartment and bid farewell to my old roommates. I asked Maria (who I refer to as Umbra's Auntie Maria.. or should I say Tia Maria en espanol which is Umbra's preferred language) if she would be interested in caring for Umbra when I study abroad for a semester, but as it is 3 hours from home my mom did not like this idea much. So far this may be my only option, because I know my mom will not take sufficient care of her (beyond water and food.. Umbra thumps whenever she sees my mom anyway). Oh well, we will just have to see.

Forgot to mention that I was not welcomed home very warmly, it took a while before Umbra would forgive me for my prolonged absence and now I am being punished by nips to the shoulder.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

This Weekend..

I will being going back to Indy, but only to fetch the rest of my belongings from my old apartment. I have decided to go to college closer to home.

Anyway, I'm a bit nervous for the trip because it will be the first time that I will leave Umbra in someone else's care. They only person I trust to do this up here is my fiance, who is despised by Umbra, but she will have to deal with it. I hope she only appreciates me more when I get back. It's only two days anyway.

But on the subject of bunny sitting and traveling. At my new college we are required to study abroad for a semester. The idea is scary, I've only ever been to Canada and that hardly counts as another country. But if going away for three months to somewhere I barely know the language (I will be most likely be going to Nicaragua or Peru) wasn't daunting enough I will have to spend this time away from the two loves of my life, my man and my bunny... and who will take care of them while I am gone?

Anyway its far enough in the future that hopefully a solution will present itself in the meantime.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Instagram

Oops! Sorry about the lapse in updates.

Since I have recently caved into buy an iPod, I also decided I would give in and download Instagram, despite the fact that I greatly despise it due to the fact that I am a REAL photographer. But that is besides the point. I justified this act by saying that I would only use Instagram to photograph Umbra. So if you have an Instagram account and want to see some cute bunny pics I'd appreciate some followers.

My username is Miss_Umbra.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Pellets Update

After I posted last night I checked a couple more times to see if Umbra had eaten her dinner. At some pointed she had flipped her dish and picked out all the old pellets, but a while afterward all pellets were gone and she did not turn up her nose at them this morning.

Updates

Because I have nothing better to do, I have just updated several posts with labels in case you were looking for something specific.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Timothy Based Pellets

I know it's long over due, Umbra being a mature 1+ year old rabbit, but I have just tonight switched her to timothy based pellets (as apposed to alfalfa, the main ingredient of most pellets). To help ease her into the change, and avoid any upset stomachs, I mixed the old and new pellets for her dinner allotment. Although she at first tried to new pellets without apprehension, Umbra soon decided she didn't much like the change and has only picked at her meal since. I'm hoping hunger will persuade her soon, until then she chose hay over pellets (even though they are essentially the same thing).

About pellets: I switched from Kaytee Supreme pellets to Oxbow Adult Rabbit Blend, because the timothy pellets are less fattening. While alfalfa is fine for young rabbits who are still growing, it is too rich for one who has already matured. Also, it is important when changing the diet of any animal to do so gradually to avoid upsetting their digestion (no one likes poopy pets anyway).

Umbra's Revenge

Today heard chewing noises coming from down the hall.Went to investigate and discovered Umbra attacking the vacuum cleaner. Take that scary-noise-thing!

Also, Umbra did a little stair master workout. I heard rumors that she was quite confident on the steps, which is quite distressing for me; the basement is not a bunny-proof place. I caught Umbra half way down the steps and persuaded her to rejoin me on the first floor with some dried cranberries. At the sound of treats she zoomed up the steps like a pro! Little pooper.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Another Great Site

Came across the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund's website today. It has great education resources, including articles, videos and posters. RWAF's main goal is to educate rabbit owners on why "a hutch is not enough". Point anyone you know who is thinking of bringing a bun into their home this way, the rabbits and humans will both appreciate it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Helpful Hints

Found a couple of images I would like to share with you. This first one is a visual rendering of proper bunny diets.

 The second was more interesting than helpful. Everyone knows that one human year is equal to one dog year, but what about rabbits? This chart can help you estimate your bunnies age in rabbit years! I found out that Umbra and I are pretty close in age.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Disgusted

Today I went to visit my fiance at work while he was on his lunch break. He works in a factory which is oddly located in the middle of the country side. Where we live has a large Amish community, and I pass many Amish farms on my trip today (and every day when I was in high school). Although I respect the Amish way of living simply, many farms are notorious for breeding animals for the pet trade. I was disgusted to see a "rabbits for sale" sign outside one of these farms today. I have often seen advertisements at similar farms for small dog breeds, and having worked with a local bovine vet when I was in middle school I have witnessed first hand the poor conditions and disregard (or ignorance) of genetics when it comes to breeding healthy animals. I obviously can't say that all Amish are guilty of running irresponsible breeding operations, however I am still disappointed to see animals, though especially rabbits which are so misunderstood as companion animals, being handed out without regard for their welfare in exchange for cash.

Bottom line: forcing animals to reproduce for the purpose of monetary income is inhumane. There are more productive occupations than sentencing animals to lives of misery due to poor breeding and delivering them to anyone with a few bucks and most likely no education on proper animal husbandry.

Whenever I come across situations like this I nearly want to shell out all my cash to save these poor creatures, but I would only be fulfilling the goals of the breeder. People need to be educated for this problem to be resolved, but even then people need to have the compassion for all life in there heart for them to put this education to use.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Funny Bunny

So things have been pretty uneventful here, but any bun owner knows that rabbits are constantly doing things that surprise us.

The other night Umbra was sleeping on the floor while I checked my email. After a while she got up and stretch and yawned.. and revealed that she had left a cluster of bunny bombs where she had been laying. I had to laugh, I'd never seen her sleep-poop before.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Good News

Regarding the previous post concerning a family friend who recently brought a bunny into her life, I am glad to say that she has brought her fluffy friend inside from being housed in the barn. For now the move is temporary due to the heat, but it was a step in the right direction. I further encouraged her on considering house-rabbit-dom by assuring her that rabbits are easily taught to use the litterbox and are especially consistent in its use when neutered. Hoping that Coco and his new mom have a long and happy relationship!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Education!

A family friend recently got a baby bunny and was recommended to them by my aunt to give her some tips and to determine the gender of her new fluffy friend. It can sometimes be difficult to educate others about proper rabbit ownership, I'm sure people are beginning to think I'm a crazy bunny lady, but it's equally difficult to not care about the well-fare of all rabbits after sharing my home with Umbra.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

For iPhone Users

I personally do not own an iPhone. I'm not crazy about bout Apple products... I am crazy about rabbits. So I thought I would share a link to this Rabito iPhone case in case any of my readers are lovers of both bunnies and iPhones.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Medirabbit

Just heard about this website on IHRS's Facebook. Its like webMD but for bunnies. I've just spent the last half hour perusing their database of rabbit health problems and tips to keep your bun healthy. I've already learned a lot in that short time and posted a nifty fact in the previous post.

Of course, no internet source can replace an experienced vet, so make sure to contact them if you are concerned about your fuzzy friend.

Did you know...?

Humans have the same number of chromosomes as hares, two more than rabbits (like the one that may be sharing a home with you and four more than cottontail rabbits.

Learn more about the differences between lagomorphs on Medirabbit.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Not Again!

I just returned from a friends wedding to discover not only a puddle around the litter box (Umbra sometimes misses)  but also a wet spot on one of her blankets that soaked through into the carpet.

I'm not sure if this is because her litter box needed emptying or because she thinks she hasn't been getting enough attention. To be safe I'll be sure to tackle both possibilities.

Potty Training Relapse

So I've been explaining to a lot of people lately how I have a house rabbit- meaning not just a rabbit that lives indoors, but a rabbit which has free run (at least of certain rooms). Many people are shocked that Umbra is litter-box trained and that she uses it consistently, especially since she was spayed (another shocker for people unfamiliar with the house rabbit philosophy).

So naturally, with all my bragging about how well adjusted to living indoors Umbra is, she would have to go and pee on the couch today. Luckily a blanket took the bullet, so to speak, which is much easier to clean than the couch itself... also my mom wasn't home to witness this incident as she is skeptical of house-rabbitry.

It seems like Umbra is often the embodyment of Murphy's Law (anything that can go wrong will go wrong... especially when your mother or roommates are present). It is probably one of the most frustrating aspects of having a house rabbit.

On the bright side, although my mom has gotten after me for Umbra pulling a Houdini and complained that she couldn't my little stinker confined, when Umbra is out on my watch she has been really good about going to her room on command, with my mom as witness. Take that Mom! Yes bunnies may not be comparable to dogs or cats, but they deserve a place in the home despite all their mischief. Often the solution is just learning to think like a rabbit, and not trying to expect the rabbit to think like a dog, cat or even a human.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Extra Grooming

I often call Umbra my stinker, and usually it's just a term of endearment, but sometimes she truly is quite smelly. This time I realized it was time for some spot cleaning when Umbra kept sticking her butt in my face while I was sleeping.

For the most part, rabbits do well enough on there own when it comes to bathing, and you should never give your bun a bath unless recommended by your vet (generally elderly or handicapped buns may need a bath), however there is one area that is often the source of foul odors. If  you have a stinky bunny its probably time to clean the genital scent glands. Although not a very pleasant chore (for human or lagomorph) it is very simple. All you need is a damp cloth and/or cotton swab (dry or wet). While holding your rabbit, locate the scent glads on either side of the genitals (they are just in the folds of furless skin). There may be some dry build up that can be brushed away with the dry cotton swab, then gently wipe the offending areas with the damp cloth.

WARNING: the smell will get worse once you locate its source. It maybe be advisable to hold your breath otherwise gagging and nausea may effect the human.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Internet!

I just had wireless installed in my house. At the moment I am a bit busy so an more thorough update will have to wait, but I wanted to let everyone know that updates will hopefully be more frequent as of today!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pee-proof Hay Box Project

I forgot to mention that I finally got around to completing one of my summer projects!

In a previous post I linked a page on DIY multi-level bunny condos, and at the end was a nifty tip on how to keep your bun from using the hay manger as a litter box.

All it took was a dozen 4 in. bolts from a home improvement store and a power drill. Below is the end product and so far the hay has been pee free!!! This is especially good news since I'm having no luck finding a farmer who grows timothy. Just lots of alfalfa which is way to fattening.

Side note: because Umbra is a rex she is prone to fur loss on her feet causing callouses called "sore hock" this can be aggravated by moisture so I have since removed the manger from her litter box because she doesn't need to be spending leisure time with pee-pee-paws.

Also, Umbra had a little adventure the other day. While I was at work I got a text from my mom saying that Umbra had escaped her pen and that my mom could not catch her. I was frantic with worry for the next few hours. Luckily there was no damage to either rabbit or house so I couldn't be mad at Umbra for long.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beating the Heat

As it is summer now, I think now is the best time to talk about keeping your bunny cool. For most house rabbit owners this isn't much of a problem: you're bun gets to enjoy the air conditioning with you! (side note: if you do have air-conditioning, make sure you're bun is never confined directly over or under a vent where they can actually become too cold.)

In my case, I happen to not have air-conditioning (besides a window air-conditioner which is really ineffective) at my mom's house where I live during the summer (my apartment does).  So for those in a similar situation here is a few tips to avoid a hot bun :

1) Frozen water bottle- Pretty self-explanatory, I recommend removing the labels so that they aren't eaten by your bunny, also its a good idea to keep a couple extra in the freezer so that you can switch them out and refreeze as they thaw. This is a pretty common practice at fairs and for those who keep rabbits in outdoor hutches, apparently Umbra has never heard of it though because she seems to not understand that she is supposed to lay next to the bottle to cool off. Instead she just tries to chew on them.

2) Keep a fan nearby to help circulate the air. Like any electronic make sure the wire is chew-proof. Also make sure your bun is okay with the fan. Some rabbits don't like the noise or the wind created by fans.

3) Wet their ears: since rabbit's can't sweat to cool off like humans do, they release heat through their ears. The blood vessels in the ears swell to accommodate extra blood flow and the thin skin of the ears allow heat to pass through. You can help this process by rubbing water on those big ears.

4) Take shelter in the basement. Normally it's too cold in a basement for a rabbit, but on really hot days I will move Umbra downstairs to escape the heat. Like any room in your house, make sure that it is bunny-proofed. If your basement is unfinished or partially finished, it may be an unsafe place to keep you're bun.

Here's hoping you have a happy, mild and safe summer with your bun!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wild Encounters

So there's been a young cottontail that has been hanging around my shed. I have often startled it while it was grazing under the grape arbor, but a few days ago it decided that I wasn't all too scary and continued grazing. I ran back inside and grabbed my camera and shot a little video for you. Most of the action occurs in the first minute after that its pretty boring, except that a chipmunk sneaks up behind me but runs away when I turn to film him.



Apparently I've just been attracting a lot of wildlife lately, I had a run in with some families of Grackles (they're like crows but shinier) some and today I startled a wood chuck who was rummaging in the compost pile (this caused it to whistle at me quite loudly and I had to go to the other compost bin to avoid being attacked).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Adorable Video

Found this watching videos on youtube while the fiance snores on the couch.


I love seeing unlikely duo's like this. Maybe we could learn something from them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Umbra Spends the Night

Well I've been feeling bad because I haven't been able to spend as much time with Umbra, so last night I decided I wouldn't put her back in her pend when I went to sleep. My biggest fear would be that Umbra would eat my hair while I sleep.. but come morning I could detect no bald patches!

Umbra did wake me extra early, and although its nice to be awakened by bunny kisses, I'm still not a morning person. Umbra soon tried a more annoying tactic: more digging, even on my face (again)! So I had to lure her into the ex-pen with some pellets, a big juice lettuce leaf and a promise that I would let her run in the living room when I woke up (which wasn't until noon).

Naturally though, once Umbra was in the living room she only wanted back to the bed room and escaped down the hall. So I just left the gate open and she got in so laps around the house. Hopefully she has expended all of her energy so no more digging.

Also I've attached a video of Umbra attacking the bed. (and yes I do have stuffed animals on my bed, my fiance got them for me)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update/ More Summer Reading!

So I'm back to work now, which can cause some bunny boredom, but I've been trying to keep Umbra occupied during the day with lots of run time and extra hiding places to play in. After a week of burrowing between the bed and the wall, Umbra seems to be moving on to a new activity: furiously attacking my pillow and mattress. It started a couple days ago when I was awakened by my little queen of escaping, scratching tirelessly at my pillow (which I was sleeping on). Soon she was scratching and biting at the sheets on my bed, and this behavior has continued. I think now that Umbra is satisfied with her "burrow" (which she is very defensive of, I've gotten a fair many nips for peeping in on her as she works) she is going about hiding her entrances. I think she is trying to spread the "dirt" (actually my pillow and blankets) as a wild rabbit would to hide the evidence of burrowing from predators. She even tried to dig my face the yesterday as I was trying to nap and I ended up being kicked out of my own bed and forced to sleep on the couch!

 Despite the extra bossiness, Umbra has been more affectionate lately. She's been enjoying lots of petting and I've been enjoying the resulting tooth-purrs. Still, I've been thinking more about trying to find my little queen a king to share her queendom with. I received an email from IHRS about attending a bunny date in two days, but alas I am away from Indy from the summer, and I'm not sure a four-hour-drive followed by bunny-speed-dating would be all that productive. Traveling is stressful enough not to mention encountering a dozen or so rabbits after Umbra hasn't seen a single rabbit for nearly a year. I feel like all the stress would lend to negative results at the bunny-date. So it seems my queen will have to wait until fall to find her prince charming.

On to another topic: I've been doing more bunny-related summer reading since my last post. I read the previously mentioned "The Private Life of the Rabbit" by Mr. Lockley. It might be a tough read for those who aren't fond of non-fiction, but I found it interesting enough to power through it in a week. Essentially, Lockley is recapping his experiments and observations of wild rabbit warrens in England. I found it provided great insight into the mind of rabbits (including our domesticated rabbits who are descended from the wild rabbits of Europe). There are a few sections in the book that may be tough for a rabbit-lover to read. Because the study was meant in part to better understand what is considered a "pest" in England, there is much talk of different methods of extermination. But, if you can get past that I think you will find you will better understand your rabbit as a social animal and see that the rabbit is misunderstood by many. I think rabbit lovers would especially enjoy the last chapter, where Lockley makes some wonderful comparisons between rabbits and humans. Even I was surprised to learn some of the ways that we are alike!

After finishing "The Private Life of the Rabbit", I began reading "The Warren" by Fred L. Tate. Tate's novel tells the stories of a hand full of rabbits, many who had rough starts in life, from the point of view of rabbits that he has owned himself. While Tate does not do as well as Richard Adams (author of "Watership Down"), in capturing in the thoughts of rabbits (which I admit, it is very difficult to write from the p.o.v of an animal and do so eloquently and believably) the stories have good message. They touch on the proper care of rabbits and the hardships that they face when they are misunderstood, mistreated and ultimately discarded. I found myself close to tears in a few parts, laughing at other (mainly at bunny mischief which all bun-owners have experienced) and happy when these rabbits finally find a place they are loved and cared for both my humans and fellow rabbits.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Summer Reading

I decided you all deserved some extra reading, so I'm doing two posts today to make up for my absence!

On the topic of reading, I'm quite the avid reader, but during school I have very little time, but I plan to make up for this over the summer, starting with the six hour drive after my brother's graduation in Southern Indiana way back north to Northern (practically Michigan) Indiana where I grew up (not very enjoyable for poor Umbra, it was really hot too).

In anticipation of this grueling journey, I stopped in at a bookstore down in Bloomington (where my brother lives) and picked up a book. At first I thought I would add too my Jane Austen collection, but then I spotted "Watership Down". I was aware that this book is a classic, but I had no idea what it was about until recently, and even then just vaguely. I had read something online about famous rabbit characters in literature, but still did not know that the book was completely about rabbits.

I'll admit that I was a bit embarrassed by my own rabbit-obsession, but there is a reason that this book is so loved (by everyone, not just bunny fanatics like myself.. and probably you too).

If you're not familiar with "Watership Down", it is NOT about navel battles and whatnot (as I previously assumed by the title), but in fact a very engaging story of a group of rabbits who set out across the English countryside to establish a warren of their own.

I won't go much more into the plot because I would hate to ruin it for those who haven't read it yet (and I strongly advise you too). Also, don't think that because this is a story about animals that it is a children's story, it can be appreciated by people of all ages. I believe this is a major reason why the book became so popular. Richard Adams, the author, came up with the story, simply as a way to entertain his daughters on long car rides, but in book form, it is much more than just a bed-time story.

I think rabbit lovers will also enjoy the accurate portrayal of rabbits. Adams consulted with naturalist and author of "The Private Life of the Rabbit", R.M. Lockley, and as a result his characters stay true to their species, and are not too much like people (which is often the case in animal literature).

Usually I'm really excited to get to the end of a book, but as I neared the end I became sad that it was already over. Adams has woven such a beautiful and enthralling tale that I wished it could just go on for ever. I have to say that I envy is daughters to have a father who took the time to come up with such brilliant stories, and I intend to read all of his works (even if they are not bunny related).

Finally, I will leave you with my wish that "Watership Down" would be made into a movie (if only to keep the story alive in my mind just a bit longer). I discovered at my local library that an animated adaptation does exist, but it fell short of the magic that the book offers. And although this is often the case with movies based on books, I believe that a much better version could be made today. The current movie, made in the 70s, was just fine for back then, but animation today is so much more. Not only has the technology and technique advanced, but animation is not just for children. Anyone who has seen any of the Pixar movies knows that it is enjoyable for adults too, which is why I think they would be perfect for making an updated film version of this beloved novel... one that hopefully sticks more closely to the plot of its literary inspiration.

Hopefully future updates will be more frequent!

long over due!

Well I finally got down to the library so that I can have internet access!

So now I will recap the last couple weeks as briefly as possible. Umbra is settled in, and I have reconstructed her new cage. However, She doesn't spend anytime in it, I sill let her run around in the ex-pen which takes up half my room. It's not as much space as she's used to but it's better than being in a cage all day. She gets free time most days, which means full run of my bedroom, and sometimes a couple hours in the living room.

Unfortunately I was unable to bring my lettuce sprouts home with me; there was just too much stuff in the car, but we plan on planting some outside here soon.

Another low light, is Umbra still hates my fiance, I have no explanation for it. He's tried to be patient and quiet around her and he always gives her treats when he's over, but she refuses to forgive him for who-knows-what. My only theory is that she doesn't like that he picks her up, but he hasn't done that for quite a while, and if that was the case she would surely hate me.

Umbra's latest pass time is excavating a  tunnel between my bed and the wall (my bed is on a solid platform so she can't get under it). I've stuffed some extra sheets and pillow cases down there and she's been completely absorbed in digging in them and arranging them. Although all the digging can be annoying when you're trying to take a nap, it keeps her out of trouble... for now.

Other than  continuing to soil her hay, the summer is off to a good start. I have a couple of projects I would like to get underway soon including building a second level to Umbra's cage (I do have a little shelf for her to sit on at the moment but it's not very stable) and I would like to test a hay-soiling deterrent as seen in a link I posted previously on how to build your own cage (scroll to the bottom of the link and you'll see, its really quite clever). Oh and on the topic of hay, I have had no luck in locating where I can buy timothy by the bale yet, but there is a farmer down the road and I will check there next.

This post will be followed by another on my summer reading (yes it is rabbit related!).

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wild Binkies

My brother spotted a cottontail binkying in the weeds from his apartment window. Wish I could've gotten it on camera!

Update:

Umbra did fine on the trip.She eating hay in her litter box as we speak. My brother has to move out by 5 p.m., but we will be at his graduation then, so Umbra will be babysat by my cousin and her two newly adopted rats.

Just a Heads Up

Tomorrow I will be moving out of my apartment for the summer, and my mom only has dial up soooooooo updates may be few and far between for the next couple months.But don't fret! I will return to the city in the fall where I will have more reliable internet access. I would stay here year round, but my fiance still lives back home (3.5 hours away).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Upgrade You're Bunny Condo

Bunny World Foundation posted this link on Facebook. If you can't let you bun have free run all day, it helps to have a fun enclosure, and here is a great way to build one!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Technical Difficulties

There seems to be some issues with my blog. I will get email notifications that comments have been left, yet they do not appear on the blog itself, so I apologize if it seems I have ignored some comments, I really haven't.

Not sure how I can resolve this issue.. and I wonder if my computer problems have anything do do with Umbra playing on my laptop hmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Animals as Prizes

So anyone following House Rabbit Society's Facebook may have noticed that yesterday there was quite an uproar about carnival/fair company based in the South West that gives away live animals (goldfish, parakeets, turtles and rabbits) as "prizes".  I don't know if it has helped any as of yet, but their must be hundreds of comments rebuking  Frazier Shows for this irresponsible, senseless act (click on the hyperlink to contact and place a complaint). Others have been contacting the New Mexico Humane Society (where Frazier Shows are soon to be having an event) as well as other animal welfare groups. At this point I don't see how we can be ignored.

I had never heard of live animals, other than goldfish, being given away at fairs until last summer. The boyfriend of a good friend of mine lives not to fair from where the Bristol Homecoming is held, so the three of us decided to walk there. On our way there we passed a woman carrying a baby bunny in her arms. I seriously had to do a double take, and Ben (my friends bf), being sarcastic as he is, said "oh ya they're giving bunnies away at the fair" which at the time seemed like a ridiculous statement (he was joking anyway. To our surprise, when we arrived we encountered more fair-goers toting rabbits and soon came across a pen in which a dozen or so rabbits were being kept along with a game (I believe some simple toss game which certainly does not determine a persons ability to properly care for a living thing).

Being that Umbra had recently come into my life, I was becoming quite the rabbit advocate and was so distraught at the idea of these lives being traded so carelessly I was about to use all the cash I had on me to rescue those bunnies! Unfortunately I chickened out because I, as a broke college student living under my mom's roof, had know idea what I would do with all those rabbits and I doubted they'd be any better off with me. Besides that I cared, I really don't have the ability to feed, house and provide medical care for more than a couple buns, but caring doesn't always yield results.

My disgust at this practice has been renewed upon hearing of Frazier Shows, and who knows how many other companies that give away animals too. I just keep thinking back to those people at the Bristol Homecoming who weren't even given a cage to transport their "prize" in, and how terrified those little buns most have been under all the flashing lights, loud music and screaming children. Obviously who ever hosts these games does not care about proper animal husbandry, and I wonder the point of it all. How could giving away live animals be more cost effective than just giving away toys, unless the animals were barely awarded the most meager and basic of needs.

So does anyone really wins in this situation? Obviously the animals are the biggest losers, having their lives treated so haphazardly, and likely to live a miserable life, be abandoned or even die prematurely. Second, do the people who participate and "win" a pet, truly win? Just like the unwanted Easter bunnies, these animals were victim to someones whimsy at the spur of a moment, will the human soon discover that the animal is a burden that they were unprepared for? They didn't realize it at the time, but they've been conditioned to think that rabbits are cheep "starter" pets, when in reality they can be quite burdensome financially (see earlier post "One Pricy Pal"). Last we must look at the companies who exploit these animals. Is this really a better money-making strategy? Whether or not toys are more or less expensive, I don't think that carnivals will lose costumers if they just stuck with giving away giant stuffed teddy bears, people will waste just as much money playing silly games for their girlfriends and kids. I once spent over $20 (at $1 or $2 a game) trying to win a big yellow dolphin (which I technically didn't win, the officiator of the game pitied me and gave me the dolphin at the end of his shift, but not after spending all my money).

So I ask you, my readers, though few there are, to make a big stink whenever you see such atrocious behavior at a fair, call and email everyone you can think of, tell all your friends and family to boycott these venues until justice is found for these innocent creatures.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why I Love Animals

Most people say they love animals because they love unconditionally, but I don't agree with that. Everything has conditions, it just so happens that the conditions of humans are complicated and ever-changing. That's why some people turn to animals for companionship; animals are simple. Feed me, give me a place to live, treat me with kindness and I will love you forever, no questions asked.

New Cage!

I've been envying all the great homemade rabbit condos I've seen online. And just when I was trying to find the best price for the NIC crates (the panels are popular with small pet owners for making custom cages), someone posted on Indiana House Rabbit Society's Facebook that they were selling a couple of old custom cages they no longer needed! Even better yet, they were going to give half of what they made off of the cages to IHRS.

I'm planning on keeping this cage at my mom's for when I'm home on breaks and for the summer. She isn't entirely comfortable with the idea of a free ranging house rabbit, but I don't like the idea of Umbra being shut up in a little cage all day (I do have a cage but it's really only there to put Umbra's litter-box and water bottle in, and she can use it as a hidey-box and something to climb on because I keep a blanket over it). Right now Umbra has free run of my bedroom all day and a couple hours of playtime in the living/dining room, but I want her to have more room to move around and not have my mom nagging me all the time.



To give her even more room, I want to add a second floor (and then my little queen can look out the window and survey her kingdom!).

Daily Bunny

Check out the Daily Bunny blog and see if you recognize anyone.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Umbra Game!

Went for a stroll around the city with Maria today and found this gem in a little hipster shop!.. Now if the bunnies were black it would be a perfect match (but Umbra might think they are her army of mini minions)!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Joys of Rabbit Parenting 2 and 3

2)When, during the spring molt, everything you eat WILL be coated in rabbit hair. It is unavoidable.

3)When you discover your rabbit is a kleptomaniac... but only for pink erasers... and sometimes pens... if they have squishy rubber grips.

Mustard Greens

Umbra seemed to be bored of her usual Boston green lettuce so I've been trying to mix things up a bit. However, Umbra is just about the picky-ist  bun around. She took to kale pretty well (a pictured in a previous post) but last week I bought mustard greens.

She was pretty hesitant about eating them, but would get around to it eventually, until yesterday, when she refused to touch them. So I made a trip to Marsh to pick up some lettuce more to her liking, and gave my roommate the mustard greens... and she found out why Umbra didn't like them... they taste like spicy mustard. I guess that makes sense.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hair Buster Comb Review

Despite a very hectic morning (overslept almost missed a final exam and had to go on a hay run because I ran out) I have managed to find a moment to tell you about my new hair buster.

As mentioned in the last post I purchased a hair buster from binkybunny.com and it arrived yesterday (a day early in fact! props to binkybunny). I immediately put it to the test.

Sad to say, the hair buster did not live up to my expectations. But I'm not going to completely throw the hair buster under the bus. In an earlier post on grooming, I featured a fellow bun lover and it is plain to see that the hair buster works great for her rabbits.

I think the reason for my less successful outcome is the fact that Umbra is a mini rex, and rexs have especially short, fine fur. So I give the hair buster comb a thumbs up if you have a rabbit with normal fur, but I recommend a brush with much finer (closer together) teeth for rex rabbits.

When I next have some free time I hope to make a video demonstrating the different brushes I have tested so far.

Hair Buster Comb

Just got my hair buster in the mail today!

Unfortunately I've been so busy with finals I won't be able to say more than that till.. tomorrow.. maybe.. hopefully. We'll just have to see how that goes...

I'll post a review ASAP!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Joys of Rabbit Parenting

.. the moment when you see your bun munching on something and hope that its poop.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bunny World Foundation

If you haven't heard of BWF, they are a great bunny rescue out of California. They've even been featured on NBC Nightly News for there work trying to stop the sale of newborn buns on LA's Santee Alley. Because these poor babys are usually taken away from there mothers too soon and kept in poor conditions they often don't make it.

BWF is overwhelmed with so many rescues right now and they can really use your help. I'm going to add an app to the side bar that will take you to BWF's fundraising website, there you can make a donation via paypal.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mischievous

I don't know if its the warm weather or what, but Umbra has been especially active. She runs laps around the living room nonstop, upsets objects on the coffee table, noses into people drinks, tips her litter box and now has added theft to her repertoire.

Just this evening she repeatedly snatched an eraser off my roommate's lap as she studied for finals. Tired of her new toy being taken away, Umbra runs off with the eraser and hides under the bed from where she growls a warning when Brittni tries to retrieve the eraser. Although she was startled (my roommate, Umbra was just grumpy) we both laughed and agreed that rabbits have very distinct personalities (to put it nicely).

Nonetheless, I cherish my little queen, and the title is fitting she can be a royal pain. I have to love it, we have a lot in common.

Umbra stuffs her face with kale for lunch

Monday, April 16, 2012

Just a Quick Update

I've been pretty busy here between work and upcoming finals, but I wanted to make a quick update.

First: My lettuce is looking a little more like lettuce and less like bean sprouts, but it will be a while before they are ready for rabbit consumption.

Second: Whatever was wrong with Umbra's ears seems to have cleared up. My vets prediction that her ears would go completely bald has not come to pass. I wonder if it had anything to do with her upcoming molt...

Third: On a similar note, I ordered the hairbuster comb from binkybunny.com. You may have seen this comb used in a video I linked in my last post.

Anyway more to come if I can ever get a break.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You know it's spring when...

... hair falls off your bunny in handfuls. Yep, its the bi-annual molt.

I wanted to get a video or at least pictures of Umbra molting, but she wasn't in a cooperative mood, even when I tried to bribe her with some carrot greens.

Anyway, it's really important to make time for some extra grooming when you're rabbit starts to molt. Like cats, rabbits a fastidious groomers, but unlike cats they can't regurgitate hair they swallow, and this hair can end up blocking the rabbit's intestines.

Unfortunately for me, Umbra resents being brushed and refuses to hold still. I recently tried placing her on a high surface where she can't get away. I've seen it work for others, but Umbra was still squirmy and attempted to jump off the table a few times. So this technique is not for us. I wouldn't recommend it if your bun has a habit of taking some dangerous leaps of faith; it's not worth the risk of injury (which is a very real possibility; as a child my brother's rabbit, Oreo, leaped out of his arms and broke his neck).

It does help to have treats around as a distraction. My roommate and I also take turns petting Umbra's forehead while the other brushes her body.

Of course a good brush is key too! You're local pet store will offer a variety of brushes. Below is a brush advertised for use on rabbits for sale at PetCo. I have a similar brush (for cats, but essentially the same) and I'm not a big fan. The bristles are two sharp for a rabbit's delicate skin, and I think they remind some rabbits of being attacked by a predator.

  The second brush is more like the one I currently use. It's actually a de-shedding brush for small dogs, but it really does the job. Some similar brushes can be really pricey, $40 and up, but I got mine at Meijer's for around $5.
For more info on grooming visit the HRS website, or check out these videos! The first I choose because it shows you just how much you're bun can shed.
The second is by the same person. The video is very thorough, but she gets distracted at times, so bare with me, it is still a helpful video.
And one final tip: the most fun way to groom your rabbit is petting them! Not as effective as a brush but more more enjoyable for your bun and a good bonding experience.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Carrot Tops

During my weekly grocery shopping trip, I spotted a woman at a self-check out aisle tearing off the tops of a bunch of carrots. Before she could throw them away I explained that I had hungry bunny at home who would enjoy them. So Umbra has a free snack!

It was a happy Easter for my bun.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thoughts on "Pets with Spunk" Article

A few days ago I read an article titled "Want a Pet with Spunk and Character? Bunnies Have it All!". Overall I enjoyed the story and could relate to the fellow bun owners who were quoted, and I'm sure that all you other rabbit lovers out there would like it as well. However I do have some concerns with this article.

First off, the author did a wonderful job highlighting all the great things about owning a rabbit. I too once thought that rabbits were pretty much all the same; quiet, shy and boring. I know differently now that I have a house rabbit. I emphasize house because I previously had rabbits kept outside in a hutch where their distinct personalities could not be appreciated.

So I know you're thinking, "ok, well that's all fine and dandy, what was it that you didn't like?" Well in a way what I liked was also what I didn't. This article hardly touched on all the hard work that goes into caring for a rabbit. Besides mentioning that rabbits need a few hours out of the cage for exercise each day, very little was said about the reasons NOT to get a bunny.

Now before you attack me over that last sentence, I am all for rabbits! I love mine to death, but it takes a very specific person to be "rabbit person" and I wish that the author would have gone more in-depth on the subject.

My second objection to this article is the date it was published (April 2nd), within a week of Easter. I can only hope that readers are not persuaded to buy an "Easter bunny" on account of this article.

On the bright side, another article, to which the first was linked, addresses all the problems that I had with the first. It is titled "10 Things to Consider Before Bringing Home That Easter Bunny". Unfortunately, I don't trust most people to inspect the link in the original article (or the links to HRS), but I guess I'll have to try and have some faith in humanity and continue to educate everyone I can about the 3rd most relinquished pet in the U.S.

One last thing. I know the picture above has caused to controversy in the rabbit community. The feeling is that this gives rabbits a bad rap. I believe the maker of this card meant well because it is very true about many rabbits bought for children, however, we must remember that this is not the rabbit's fault. When taken care of properly by people who are patient and understanding of rabbits' nature, a bun can be a wonderful companion.

Back From the Vet

So it turns out neither of my theories about Umbra's condition were correct. The vet believes that the hair loss is a manifestation of stress, most likely do to hormone changes after her surgery last month. Not gunna lie, I am a bit skeptical and I wish he had at least taken a skin scraping, but doctor knows best...

I find the diagnosis ironic, the trip to the vet certainly didn't help Umbra's stress levels.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ear Trouble

So a couple days ago I noticed that Umbra had some flaking around the edges (and later the back) of her ears, accompanied by hair loss. After some research in HRS's health resources, I'm thinking that Umbra has either fur mites or ringworm. Neither is very serious, but nonetheless we are going to take a trip to the vet tomorrow afternoon... I'm sure Umbra will be thrilled.

More tomorrow when we hear the doc's diagnosis.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt (for big kids)

So I know Easter can be a pretty sad time of year for rabbit lovers, but if you're in the central Indiana area and want to help homeless buns while having fun, check out Indiana House Rabbit Society's 5th Annual adult Easter egg hunt! It's only $5 and proceeds go toward much needed supplies. However it is adults only! You must be 18 or older to participate.

I, unfortunately, will most likely not be going, but I hope to next year. Hope everyone who goes has fun! (click on the link above for more info)

Monday, April 2, 2012

As Promised..

My lettuce sprouts reaching for the springtime sun. Can't wait for them to fully mature! I'll probably have to do some additional bunny-proofing to keep Umbra away.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bad Dream

I had the most horrific dream last night!

I was riding a bike (who knows where) with Umbra inside a basket on the back. I stopped at a gas station (I don't know why, I obviously didn't need gas) and at the gas station there were baby bunnies for sale for Easter. The bunnies kept escaping and I caught them and alerted the store manager and began to lecture them on responsible bun ownership. I was quite proud of myself and even persuaded the bunny seller to be more responsible!

Then I continued on my journey and very soon the weather began to turn for the worse. My bike was blown over and Umbra escaped. I turned and saw a tornado was coming, but Umbra was nowhere to be seen!

After screaming and searching relentlessly for Umbra, crying all the while, I finally had to take shelter at the nearest house.

Soon the storm passed, and everyone was unharmed, but I was still frantic about finding Umbra. Come to find out the woman's, who's house I had taken refuge in, had found Umbra and brought her inside!

We were happily reunited, and but I'm glad it was just a dream.

Friday, March 30, 2012

lettuce

Wow! I've been way to busy this week, in fact I just got off an 11 hour shift!

Thought I should come up with some sort of update. Last Sunday I finally got around to planting a variety of lettuce in a planter that I've set on a window sill. I definitely didn't inherit my mom's green thumb, but they sprouted a couple days ago! I hope they grow quick, I can cut down on my grocery bill.

More soon (hopefully)!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pet Store Problem

So lately I've buying my rabbit supplies at Uncle Bill's Pet Center, a local chain of pet stores in Indianapolis. It is convenient because it lies in route to my grocery store, but whenever I go there I'm overcome with dread. This store is full of animals! especially bunnies.. half a dozen in each glass cage and there are usually 4 to 8 of these designated to rabbits alone. There are others for guinea pigs and chinchillas as well as wire crates with puppies etc. In fact I feel comfortable estimating that no more than half of the square footage is dedicated to the supplies you need for the pets. On all my visits there has never been more than 2 of the large bags of Oxbow timothy hay (the small ones would hardly last a day).

Another problem I have is the lack of info about the pets available. I've noticed that even the national pet store chains have begun posting basic facts and care information on enclosures.

I would like to add that I don't know much about Uncle Bill's Pet Centers policies and what not, but it has made me concerned on a larger scale. Is there any legislation (passed or in the process) which requires pet stores to educate patrons bringing an animal into their home? If not there should be, because I doubt the majority of people do the research themselves. I'm not saying this would eliminate the problem of abandoned and neglected pets, but it is something to think about (and maybe get the ball rolling), especially with Easter coming up (which all bunny lovers know is just a few months prior to an influx of unwanted rabbits in shelters).

I love..

.. coming home after a long day of work and cuddling under the bed with Umbra. And then getting a bunny facial

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bun Proofing Electrical Cords

Today I mourn the loss of my 3rd pair of headphones that fell victim to the incisors of a certain bunny.

I thought this would be as good a time as any to talk about bunny-proofing your electronics.

There's not much I can do about my headphones, except keeping them out of Umbra's reach (my recent loss was due to my roommate's carelessness), but it's more important to protect your bun from cords that plug into the wall. Don't assume that you can keep any wire out of reach; buns are great at getting into mischief. When it comes to rabbits and electricity, it's better safe than sorry.

The best thing to do is to instal some sort of cover. There are a couple popular options that I've heard of.
Pictured above is probably the most rabbit-proof option. They are made of rigid plastic, so don't expect you're bun to chew through these anytime soon! Drawbacks are they're hard to hide (although they are advertised as being paintable), plus they are the pricier option.
This is option two, which is what I use. This less expensive option is also more flexible, and less permanent. This fits my living situation in an apartment, plus these are easy to stuff behind furniture. I've also found that the bumpy texture discourages chewing (Umbra doesn't even try chewing these), and the wider the diameter of the tubing, the more difficult for your bun to get their mouth around it. One draw back I've heard, is that some brands use thinner plastic which can be chewed, so inspect before you buy (and don't go with the cheapest option).

Which ever you choose, your bun will be safer and you both will be happier.