Our first baby rabbits arrived in 1993 when we bought 2 beautiful netherland dwarfs for our daughter’s birthday. Frisky and Snowdrop were so small they would fit in the palm of your hand. At that time rabbits were commonly sold in pet shops at the young age of 6 weeks old. Nowadays the British Rabbit Council recommends that they should not be sold before they are at least 8 weeks. This is because a young rabbit is very prone to stress and this can trigger gut stasis, resulting in a fatality.
Anyway, our story has a funny, but common, beginning. We bought 2 female rabbits, the shop said they were 2 females, the vet said they were 2 females, a friend with a pet shop also said they were 2 females. Yet within a few months Frisky was constantly chasing Snowdrop around the hutch, never giving her a moments peace. It then became obvious that Frisky was indeed a young buck. So we bought a second hutch. I now realise that at 8 weeks old you cannot guarantee that rabbits are female. In 2006 I bought a young doe from an experienced breeder, but after 3 weeks I discovered that it was a buck with a split penis! This means that at the early stages the rabbit looks like a doe.
After many years of keeping netherland dwarf rabbits we got our first dwarf lop rabbit in 2001 from the Lothian Animal Rescue centre in Balerno, Edinburgh. Poppy was such an angel. She had the run of the whole garden and when you wanted her back in her hutch you simply offered her a piece of wholemeal toast and she would jump in the hutch to get it. This was so different from trying to catch a netherland dwarf, who could run like lightening if it thought you wanted to pick it up and put it back in its hutch!
Our small stud grew to include Rolo, Chili, Peter and Amber. All were loving pets with individual personalities. Peter and Amber’s photographs are below. They were mini lop rabbits with excellent temperaments.
In 2004 we bought our first orange show buck. Jane Duffy bred Herman. He was son of King, a successful orange show buck. He was my pride and joy, absolutely beautiful. However, disaster struck within a few months of getting him. I got up one Sunday morning to discover that his hutch had the wired pushed in and the door that been forced open. Despite putting letters detailing the lost rabbit through all our neighbour’s doors, we never got him back. Later that night we discovered that we had a local fox. There it was at 6 pm in our garden right up at our patio window looking in at us! Even when my husband went out into the garden it didn’t run away until he was almost right up at it. This was a dog fox that looked mangy and disgusting. A few hours later we had a second fox in the garden, a stunning orange fox with the most beautiful tail. So we reckon that they were looking for food to feed their babies. Every night, during the night they were back in our garden terrifying our rabbits, who were thumping all night long warning each other of the danger. Every night I was up and down checking on the rabbits. We had no choice but to empty the garage and move the rabbits in there. At least they now get peace at night from the fox. However, when I put the rabbits out for a run in the garden I need to keep a careful look out for the foxes to keep my rabbits safe. A lesson has been learned; foxes can undo hutches with swivel catches. All owners should replace these or add a bolt, which is much more secure.
A caring home for loving bunnies
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