Gender confusion

Katrijn.

Yes, dear Haas?

Do you think it is confusing for our fanbase if we stick two ears up at traditional gender roles and sit in whatever hay box we like?

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Haas my dear…

…we lagomorphs are positively famous for confusing humans when it comes to gender.

It’s why we are so admirably successful as a species!

Aaltje on bad staff habits

Dear Bunnington Post,

I am a long-tailed, short-eared wabbit and I have picked up a lot of training tips for my staff from reading The Bunnington Post. Without your sage advice I would never have been bold enough to teach my staff to vacate the sofa on my approach or get them to buy a kingsize bed because all three of us need to fit in it at night.

I have a question.

Poes

Do you think it is acceptable for staff to share my toothbrush? We have had quite a few discussions, shall we say, on the subject and it appears to be a bit of a sore point with both of them. Personally I think they should fork out and get their own. How have you solved this problem with your staff?

Any thoughts and advice welcome.

Affectionate nosebumps and snorgles,

Aaltje

 

Stuff we’ve learned about headtilt

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Here we have Bouffe, who developed a headtilt in early 2014. We thought it was the end of the world…

Two years on, Bouffe has adapted to life at an angle by developing clever tactics and skills to do everything he wants to do. We’d say he is one happy chappie these days, living a very comfortable life as a free-range houserabbit and receiving no end of adoration and admiration from all who meet him.

So, what have we learned about headtilt?

Let me count the ways.

Lesson 1: there are headtilts and headtilts

When our adored Bink acquired a headtilt while he was a very healthy and happy rabbit, he only lasted a few weeks before a seizure took him. So when we saw Bouffe descend into the same misery, we automatically assumed the worst.

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However, rabbits can acquire a headtilt in different ways, and this makes their prognosis different too. While Bink succumbed to the neurological ravages caused by the e.Cuniculi parasite, Bouffe’s headtilt was caused by something else: an ear infection.

There are examples of rabbits recovering from headtilt caused by e.Cuniculi, while others live on with their tilt when the progress of the parasite can be halted. It also depends on what kind of neurological damage is done by the parasite, and this is not necessarily the same in all rabbits with an ‘e.Cuniculi headtilt’.

It is also worth pointing out that most rabbits are likely to test positive for e.Cuniculi, some figures suggest up to 60%, and thankfully the vast majority of those will never fall ill. Headtilt is one of the things that e.Cuniculi can cause, and we learned that headtilts can have a cause other than e.Cuniculi.

Lesson 2: Bunny adapts

We thought we knew how resilient rabbits can be, and then we met Bouffe. Even in the hours and days right after the onset of his tilt Bouffe’s appetite was undiminished. He became a Roman senator and reclined while being fed his tasty morsels.

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As soon as he started to feel safe, he seemed less worried and started to calm down. After a week or so of sleeping, eating and being cuddled he also had more energy to start doing things.

First, he started moving about more, so we gave him more safe, soft space. Then he developed an impressive ninja-flip to get up in a hurry whenever food or other excitement announced itself.

He also learned to produce his cecals (wet poos that look like a bunch of small, shiny grapes) and turn around to eat them. Normally rabbits eat them straight from their dispenser, shall we say, but Bouffe cannot do this anymore.

Bouffe eating cecals outside

The cecals are important for rabbit digestion as they contain enzymes their gut needs to break down cellulose in their food. Rabbits do not produce this enzyme themselves, so they need to recycle them to keep a healthy balance.

Bouffe also learned to map his surroundings so he can safely navigate his way around his home. He likes to follow walls, flower beds and other landmarks clockwise, we think it is to do with his altered field of vision. He can pick up quite a speed when moving around familiar terrain and is agile enough to jump up and down steps and obstacles that are several inches tall.

Lesson 3: a little extra care goes a long way

Bouffe cannot get up to as much mischief as before, such as jumping on furniture or chewing on things. His balance and aim are not good enough for the former and the angle of his head is wrong for the latter! The upside of this is that he has no cage and is 100% freerange now.

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It is easy to look after him well. He gets weekly penicillin injections which we administer ourselves. These keep the infection under control, which seems to still be in his system somehow. He has been on these for nearly two years now and he does well on them.

He also gets drops for his eyes, which need a daily clean. He cannot wash his face as well as before, so we lend him some help in the grooming department. His eyes don’t drain very well and can produce a mucky fluid when irritated, which they can easily become. The fluid tends to clump up his face-fur.

Apart from some brushing when he is moulting, we don’t do any other grooming and Monsier Bouffe always looks meticulously clean from his ears to his tail.

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Lesson 4: It’s OK to laugh

Bouffe has such a sunny disposition that we think he probably doesn’t mind when we just have to laugh at some of his antics and accidents. His new strategies for eating, grooming and moving about are just adorable to observe. Sometimes he falls over when he is washing a hard-to-reach spot on his back. It’s funny, so what? We laugh, and he responds to the commotion by coming up to the nearest set of feet or hands and nudge until a treat is forthcoming.

He does love a fuss, does Bouffe.

Yep, we get guilt-tripped into treats post-giggles, even if dearest Bouffe has no idea he’s doing it. Now that is clever, yes?

Lesson 5: bunny is happy

How can we tell? Well, when Bouffe first came he was a seriously underweight bun who in the preceding six weeks had nearly died from starvation prior to his rescue, endured the Brazillian of Shame (also known as neutering) and just as he was getting used to his calm and pleasant surroundings at the Blue Cross, we put him in  a car and drove him to yet more unknown surroundings, noises, smells and people.

You bet Bouffe was majorly displeased and showed it.

Because he had always had to worry about food he was very stressed at feeding time and would growl, lunge and scratch at hands. He did not like to be touched anywhere beyond his forehead and he did not want to approach us.

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These days Bouffe is the opposite of what I described above: he’s affectionate and will spend hours licking your hand if you let him. He gets up to greet you in the morning and does his little excited dance that includes waggling his ears and his tail and running up and down his favourite rug.

A rabbit which is interested in food and eats well, is interested in contact and cuddles, and is lively, for example moving about, exploring or just following your movements with its ears is a bunny that’s happy to be around. Bouffe certainly is – and we’re enjoying being with him every day.

Lesson 6: Bouffe’s story helps others

It makes us very happy to learn that other ‘waiters and waitresses’ are picking up useful nuggets from Bouffe’s story. Perhaps a few other bunnies get more or better care as a result: great! And maybe the story gives those waiters and waitresses some hope and confidence they can do this too for their own bunny.

Keep posting your questions or comments. We love to hear them and help other buns.

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Haas-prank

I was crafty yesterday.

Waitress was cleaning out our summerhouse where we like to hang out in various hayboxes, the dog bed, my man cave and Katrijn’s boudoir. We had made our usual sterling contribution by filling our extra large litter tray – it fetches a high price in the Bunnington Post Bespoke Fertiliser Shop.

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Our Bunnington Post Bespoke Fertiliser is subject to strict quality controls

It is very satisfactory to see that it takes our staff 45 minutes to make our home presentable again. We like to help them (read: supervise their hapless efforts at interior design).

I digress.

Waitress thought she was clever by letting me and my Katrijn have the run of the garden. Thought it would distract us enough to go slack on the supervision! Well, it did, I have to give it to her.

While she was busy weighing up and bagging our precious produce for sale and installing  stylish new hayboxes, Katrijn and I romped around the garden in the weak winter sunshine.

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Now, this garden is new to us and full of unknown stuff, so we have a lot of work to do. We also know it worries our staff because various things grow in this garden that do not agree with us, delicate creatures that we are.

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Click to enlarge

Anyway, me and Katrijn were having an excellent time doing laps and chinning things while occasionally running into the summerhouse to pay waitress a surprise visit.

Appearing when they least expect it does wonders for standards in service delivery.

Katrijn enjoys lawns in particular, because of the low risk of mane-entanglement while bunsploring. She’ll join me in flowerbeds and likes me to clear the way for her first. Of course, being the gentlebun here I am very happy to oblige.

I was making some excellent progress chewing through vines and and twigs underneath the blue corner seat, which Katrijn and I have chosen for our summer love nest, when I noticed waitress wearing her concerned expression.

I immediately lay down and started panting.

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She frowned. She looked at me for a while and walked off again.

I upped my game, and crawled under the blue seat where I lay down again to repeat my performance.

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I added some extra drama by crawling and turning on my belly and stretching out in my hideout for about 15 minutes. All this was a bit wet and mushy of course but a small price to pay; besides, I’d been doing the Bunny 500 just minutes before so I was kinda hot and bothered anyway.

Now waitress was truly shaken. She mumbled something about evergreens, delphiniums and nightshades, and then she took the bait: she got on her knees and picked me up from my little nest, just as it was getting nice and warm. She put me down in a very fragrant, fresh hay box.

I decided to play one more trick on her.

I stayed still. Reader, it was hard to resist the urge to dig into all that lush hay that was caressing my sides and sending tempting waves of eau de hay to my nostrils, but I did it. I sat and put on my most pitiful stare and then…

I refused a treat she waved under my nose.

Now she galloped off into the house where I could see her looking for the telephone.

She was going to ring the VET.

That’s when I decided it was time to draw a line under my prank. Nobody messes with a vet.

I ran outside and started chasing Katrijn.

Katrijn started chasing me.

We invaded Bouffe’s favourite flowerbed.

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Waitress came into the garden, looking astonished.

We mobbed her for treats.

Waitress beat a retreat.

 

– The End –

 

 

2016 Bunnington Post Calendar™

We have an exclusive 2016 Bunnington Post Calendarfor our fans.

 

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Happy 2016 and many the carrot be with you!

Soz ‘n like, stuff

Yeah, so, it’s been, like, really busy and stuff around here. Been down with the kids Miller and Lola, who dragged their waitress over for a play date the other week.

I have to say it’s life-affirming, or should I say chill, to hang out with the young buns once in a while. My personal physician Ian commented only yesterday that at 8,5 years old I am in pretty good nick overal, what with the head tilt business taken into consideration and all.

I put it down to keeping in touch with the next generation!

That said, I have to say today’s teenage bun is a bit forward… they sit in your food bowl uninvited. Peruse my tray, which I consider a highly personal space myself. Public canoodling is also acceptable these days, it seems.

Anyway. Sorry it has been a while. I’m still in recovery [position] after that last visit from my dear friends Lola and Miller. Look at her pretty black lop ears! Isn’t she lovely though?

Ooh, I can feel a Stevie Wonder moment coming on…

RK

My friend Fletch

So the other week my friend Fletch finally convinced his waitress to take him for a visit. We’d been meaning to discuss the finer points of food bowl size and the benefits of lawns for some time, but he literally had to drag her over here, as it were.

I suppose bribing her with a pub lunch sealed the deal (note to self: waitresses respond well to food-based rewards).

Fletch and Bouffe meet

I had not realised Fletch is not exactly French Lop sized, what with being a Golden Retriever/Labrador cross, but then again, canine geometry is one subject I failed way back when while at the lycée technique. I felt somewhat embarrassed my rug didn’t prove big enough for the two of us.

Fletch and Bouffe nose-to-nose

Then again Fletch curls up pretty compactly because he’s considerate and kind like that and we were able to have a nice catch-up in reasonable comfort after all.

Lovely chap, is Fletch. He has to suffer the indignities of bathing at times, being being a dog he has developed an ingenious way of discouraging his staff from doing it all too frequently. Pop over to his blog to marvel at his ingenious Eau de Woof method. I think you’ll be impressed…