Thursday, January 26, 2012

House Bunny Colony Update

     So it's been awhile since I set up the Bunny Room. Sapphire and Misty live together loose in my mud room, ruling their own world. I worried they wouldn't get along at first, but they have become extremely bonded. 

     There are some pitfalls to bunny colony living. Mainly, keeping them entertained. Because if not they will make their own entertainment.

     Sapphire loves to dig the litter out of the box, then pee on the floor. "I'm doing to right! The litter is all around me!" More litter boxes made the problem much worse, as she dug out more litter and Misty peed on the floor too. For the record, Misty is the good rabbit. Misty is just happy to be here, she requires no effort. Sapphire believes I should be showing her my full-time awe and servitude. Misty is very clean, Sapphire is not. Misty is always in the litter box. Sapphire is not. Misty is always polite and cute. Sapphire is... Sapphire.

     So at first the solution was to sweep the floor at least daily, twice preferably. But that eats up a lot of my life, and if I didn't get the floor swept that day, it was now peed on and required mopping as well. So instead, Sapphire needed an appropriate place to dig.

      This area is sectioned off with a 2x4 so that the hay does not go EVERYWHERE. Because the hay also started becoming a potty, I added the food bowl and give them their treats and treat sticks there. This discourages the clean freaks from making it a potty.

     So now Sapphire regards digging in the litter box about the same way we would look at swimming in the toilet. She is at heart not that kind of rabbit. She plays in her hay most the day. She is totally queen of the pile.

     She digs through there like there is some treasure she has yet to find. You can hear her in the middle of the night, *chit chit chit* digging and playing.

     In the summer I am already planning an outdoor play area. We have a local fox, so it will have a top and either a full wire floor or one the extends 1' inside, with the middle left open for digging. They would only be out when I was home and outside, but it would still give them a change of scenery, some grass, and a chance to be dirty.

     Providing lots of toys also helps with boredom. I think of rabbits who live in little cages, maybe have one toy that never changes. People call them dull, stupid, and boring. But no! I can give these guys all kinds of toys, hay, things to destroy, and they are constantly at work on them.

     Sapphire loves the little willow balls you can buy, branches woven together, usually with a walnut in the middle. The ones at Walmart sell for $4 and she will destroy it in about 20 minutes if she's in the mood, or it may last 3-4 days first. Recently I found some heavier duty ones at Petsmart, and that one has lasted 3 days now. If I don't pay attention to her when she requests an apricot, she will pick up her ball and beat my leg with it.

     Misty on the other hand never resorts to violence. She amps up the cute. She stands on her back legs, tilts her head, gives the nose a wiggle, lets the ears flop. She'll work you until you are about to explode from the sheer level of cute, and you must give her an apricot. She then hops off to eat it on her shelf.

     Here are some of the current toys. They always have chew sticks, but those are basically neglected unless Sapphire is using it to trick Misty out of her treat stick. When I used my last trash bag I set the box down on the steps near the door on top of some other cardboard. Sapphire deftly leaned out and snatched it away, then paraded through the room like she'd found the deal of the day. I let her keep it, currently it's in about 4 pieces. It is apperantly cooler then the usual toilet paper rolls I stuff with hay for them to destroy.

     They also love the stuffed treat logs, which are an edible log stuffed with rabbit treat stick. Sapphire generally hoards these. She'll work it until the treat is far enough inside she can pick it up, then carry it around and beat me with it like she does her willow balls.

     They both love treat sticks, but Sapphire it obsessive. Often she will scarf hers, then go steal Misty's. Misty got wise to this and would then sit on her treat stick, so Sapphire couldn't get it. Once this led to a little tift and Sapphire got sprayed with the water bottle. Now she will instead go find something else, one of the wooden carrots or willow balls usually, and dance around like it is the coolest thing ever. She'll run past Misty, grunting and shaking it. She'll dance and bounce like a maniac, then go 'bury' it somewhere, usually behind the litter box or in the hay. Misty then goes to investigate this apparently amazing toy and *boom* Sapphire has her treat stick.

     But then here lately it has changed. They now are always together, always side by side. Misty usually sits on her shelf and destroys some cardboard next to Sapphire and her obsessive hay-hunting. And when it comes time for treat sticks? They share. They both eat the same half, then hop over and eat the other half.

     Proof see, Sapphire has learned to SHARE!!!! It is the most miraculous thing of them all.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see Sapphire is still a butthead, but more importantly that she is doing great and is happy with you :)