Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Art Of Caring For A Cottage Bunny {And Sir Oliver Twisty Topsy's Tale}

My dear friends,

Upon learning that I have a cottage bunny, I've begun to have numerous 'rabbit care' requests. So, I thought it'd be a lovely trip down memory lane, to tell of Oliver's story; as well as, elicit some helpful information.

In my early twenties, is when my desire deepened, to have a bunny that could live in the house with me. When I became a mother at the age of twenty; endlessly, I would read the stories of Beatrix Potter, to my children. They also loved the Beatrix Potter videos on VHS {that tells you how old I am, shhh...} and watched them always.
I've had a deep affection for Beatrix Potter since my youth and thought it amusing; that she had rabbits that lived inside of her home with her, as pets.
Oliver and me, dressed for Halloween, as Beatrix Potter and Benjamin Bouncer.

When I was nineteen, I bought a Peter Rabbit journal; I wrote inside, that I wanted to own a pet rabbit one day and name him, Oliver.

When I met my dearly beloved gardener, we began sharing our likes and dislikes; and of all the particulars we'd dreamt of. From the first moment we started talking, I fell head over heels in love!
We had been dating for a few months, and my birthday was fast approaching. Jeffrey asked me what I'd like as a gift. I told him that I was eager to make, as many of my dreams come true, as possible. Now, that I was in control of my life, I wanted to embrace all I'd ever desired. It felt wonderful to feel free and to choose things for myself. I told him; that I wanted a bunny, to live with us in the cottage; hop-hopping about.

He said, "okay... If you find the one you want, I'll acquire it for you." 

I can never explain in words, what that did for my soul. I cried for a whole thirty minutes; I was so touched.

You see, throughout my life, I was always told what I could and couldn't do. It was either my parents, religious figures, ex-husband, or extended family.

I was now with a person that respected me and wanted to see me fulfil all of my dreams. 

Rabbits have the sweetest personalities. 

I believe deeply; that we attract into our lives the types of pets we have. When I decided to get a rabbit, I waited on inspired action. I didn't want just any rabbit. Only as I write all of my desires down on paper, I too, wrote down what characteristics I wanted my bunny to have. I wanted a calm demeanour; especially, and I liked the look of the lion head breed. I had done extensive research on the lion head breed, but, I kept seeing that the Jersey Wooly breed was more docile. So; therefore, I went with the Jersey Wooly.

I had my father create a bunny hutch out of an old pie safe. He converted the pen, by adding levels, stairs, a sleeping area and wire bottom for poop droppings.

 I actually made two pens for Oliver. My next-door neighbour was moving away and asked if I wanted her old dog crate. I said, "oh, yes, indeed". I have now exchanged the little mat inside to a cotton bath rug, and added some lace around the top like they used to do in the Victorian days. It's the perfect little house for Oliver during the evening hours.
I did a large amount of research; on how to care for a bunny. You, too, are sure to fall 'down the rabbit hole', once you start googling. Have fun!

I feed Oliver a healthy organic diet; and here's why: It keeps him in outstanding health, and I don't take my pets to the vet, unless, I'm in dire straights, or can't find a solution myself.

All of the pets I have owned; have lived long, healthy, happy lives. 
Above: I applied gold metallic spray paint to an old wired dog kennel crate; as well as, an old piano keyboard. I then added some Victorian lace; now, Oliver has two hutches.
Depending upon the type of hutch your rabbit dwells in; I would suggest placing it on a stand or have something made with legs. It helps immensely with the cleanup. Rabbits are messy little animals; the height solution will save you enormous headaches. Trust me on this.

At night, I throw a blanket over Oliver's hutch. As you know, wild rabbits live in burrowed tree trunks and holes; so they love dark, closed~in spaces.

If tinkle/pee happens to get on the basket, take it outside, and spray it down with the hose. Afterwards, I spray Oliver's basket with {doterra essential oil} lavender; that I mix up in a spray bottle with water. Let it dry in the sun. Over time the basket will begin to fall apart; however, when this occurs, I go to the thrift store and get another one, for about two dollars. Rabbits love wicker and will chew it, to file down their teeth. So, in my book,  that's two birds with one stone. {Wink, Wink}

I take Oliver outside daily, to play in the garden. Below is a list of particulars that I keep on hand for Oliver.

~Timothy Hay {You can get large bags at Walmart for $6.97}

~Purified Water {You don't need all of those fancy drinking drip bottles, just a little ceramic bowl, will do correctly}. Again, my philosophy is that rabbits don't have decorative containers in the wild, they drink from brooks. I do suggest purified water, though, because over time I'm not sure I'd like the results of tap water consumption.
I always say, "prevention is best!"

~Wood, cardboard boxes, driftwood or old branches. I observed Oliver's chewing patterns and found that he likes his wooden box with hay. So, therefore, I let him eat his wooden box, and that leaves one less thing for me to do; which is, teeth filing.

~Rabbits are like all animals; they tinkle and poop in the same spot from where they previously left their scent. Rabbits are very clean and can be litter trained, just like a cat.

~Rabbits poop where they eat their hay. So, therefore, I change Oliver's bedding every other day. Many sources recommend using paper cat litter for rabbit bedding; however, I use a few paper towels { Viva Signature Cloth} instead. I line a plastic Tupperware {casserole size} pan with plastic grocery bags, then layer paper towels on top of that and then add hay on top of the paper towels. The cleanup is so much easier. I tried cat litter one time; it was a total disaster. Oliver kicked it everywhere!

~Herbs and vegetables- I keep Oliver's diet fresh from our cottage garden. He has his favourites: which are, parsley and rose petals. I also give him a daily serving of Naturals Nature's Salad by Rosewood. There are 21 ingredients, but, to name a few, there are, Marigold, dandelion, nettle and peppermint. Give your small rabbit samples of vegetables, herbs and florals, to see what they like and dislike. {Remember to check the rabbit source food guidelines}. 
~I use essential oils for Oliver, too. A {dōterra brand only} Melaleuca, Frankincense, Lavender and many others. I make my own blends; thumbs crossed, Oliver has been very healthy; and he is almost 4.

~If Oliver accidentally poops somewhere, other than his bed basket, I promptly pick it up and take it to his bed box. {I highly recommend getting Capture.} It removes any and all scents; and eliminates their need to re-scent their territory.

Nightly, I keep Oliver in his bunny hutch. In the morning, after I meditate; I barricade the kitchen and parlour room and let Oliver roam. Rabbits are nocturnal, so they are pretty calm and lethargic during the day. I take him out in the morning after the dew has dried, and let him bounce around and play. He's used to the air conditioner, so he can quickly become overheated; therefore, his time outside is limited.
He mostly sleeps beneath my feet or under my art desk. He's quite comfortable and will sprawl out and rest.

Oliver has brought a great sense of joy to my life; I feel as though a home isn't a home without a rabbit.

Have you ever thought of having a pet rabbit? 

Most Affably Yours Til My Next Swim, Raquelxxx

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