Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Go ask Alice", and a Rabbit Primer

While I wanted so much to write this post earlier, I've waited a bit because I wasn't sure of the name of our newest staff member at Bow Street Flowers.

Two adorable teenage girls came in today to visit with Petals and noticed our newest addition while I was taking pictures of her.  They were captivated by both rabbits and we had a little exchange about her name.  I said she came to us as Button, and although I don't object to the name, I kept thinking of another:  they remarked that Button didn't seem to fit.  When I suggested that I thought of calling her Alice, they agreed it was VERY suitable.  And here she is.

I travelled with Petals last week to the House Rabbit Network for some "dates" with possible bonding mates.  "Button" and Petals didn't hate each other and she is an extremely affectionate girl with people.

I'd never have chosen a white rabbit.  But when Petals seemed not to mind her much, I asked to hold her and she fell asleep in my arms.  She is a big girl, she's strong and fast.  I have her in our other window right now, while she gets used to our shop.  Tomorrow we begin the bonding process.

I've been asked by a few Readers about the behavior of Rabbits and how best to care for them.  I'm pleased to pass on information from my experience over the last nine years.  I've made some mistakes, but I've learned from them.  Here is a Rabbit Primer for those who are curious or who have become recent Rabbit owners.

There are three most important facts to know about rabbit well-being:

1.  They require a strict diet of Timothy Hay, fresh greens,  fresh fruit (limited) and a bit of rabbit pellet each day because they love them and they are fortified with vitamins.
Do not share your sandwich with them, or give them wheat based treats.  No cookies, cake or bread products.  Our water delivery man gave his rabbit a can of fruit cocktail everyday.   That's like giving a diabetic a can of commercial peaches.
2.  Your rabbit needs excercise.  A good run about everyday will keep it well exercised.  A rabbit kept in a pen all day will not remain healthy for a long life.  Supervision is required .
3.Rabbits are social beings.  They love spending a lot of time with you or another rabbit.  If you are going to be gone a lot during the day and evening, a pair of rabbits will be ideal.  If you have time to spend interacting with your rabbit, you'll experience a deeply social, intimate relationship that's difficult to describe.  

Rabbits are very territorial.  When two are bonded, they live as one happy unit.  Intruders are not tolerated.  Rabbits will fight quietly and do a lot of damage in a very short time span: seconds, in fact.
This is a natural response to territory invasion.   We had one rabbit who broke into the pen of a bonded pair.  She was at Angell for two days and recuperated for over a month.  

 Meanwhile, Max continues to fill out and charm us with his adorableness.  He and ZuZu are closely bonded. A generally clean little rabbit, ZuZu has become something of a "Pigpen" probably because Max is an inexperienced groomer.  
She does 'school' him in the proper grooming process, but he's still a baby and ZuZu will take whatever  'loving' he has to offer.  Now for the bonding process with Petals and Alice.  When that takes, we'll have two happy pair of bunnies.


The Dancing Donkey said...

Definitely more an Alice than a Buttons. Methinks you may have a soft spot for those albinos.:)

An Urban Cottage said...

She's pink and so adorable!

Bow Street Flowers said...

Ha, Kris! I didn't even think about the Opal connection.

Steve, she is quite girly in her pink and whiteness.

Jen said...

She's darling! Reminds me of a book I had as a child--Marshmallow. I remember a gray cover with a white bunny on it. White rabbit? Jefferson Airplane? Grace?

Enough free associating. Fascinating to read about bunny bonding. You are such a good person!

flwrjane said...

She's a little lovey.

Though I'm sure up close and personal your shop is all hay changing and bunny chasing, from my seat it's like a fairy tale.

She's a rabbit Lucy.

Have fun.

xo Jane

thecrazysheeplady said...

I keep toying with a house rabbit, but for now will live vicariously through yours :-).

rachel said...

Such a pretty girl! I have strange yearnings for a rabbit or two now, but I fear WWIII would break out here.....

Terri said...

What a lovely rabbit! We think Alice is a good name for her, too :)

Good thing I don't live near...I'd have to visit the rabbits often!

Amelia said...

She looks so soft and cuddly...and pink. And she looks like an Alice.