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


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).