Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bunny care - Shake, Rattle and Roll ... or Family Therapy for Bunnies

Well, thebunnylady (aka TBL) came over to check out the friction between Lucy & Ethel. She got to see Ethel imitate a piece of high-flying popcorn while Lucy tried to remove her fur a bite at a time. The broom broke them up. When bunnies are like that, they are biting at anything in a random frenzy - they could get unintentionally get your hand, too. So the broom is like curling, but with bunnies. At first blush, it seemed possible that it was an irreparable feud, the bunny version of the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Fortunately, she (TBL) did not give up. We moved them into a hallway and they did a little better; it's a hallway they have access to, but in this case, they were restricted to it ... a neutral demilitarized zone They tolerated each other so, next, we brought in some of their stuff: boxes, litter pan, food and water dishes.

Thebunnylady left and I planted myself where I could watch. I caught a couple of hopeful pictures.

Bunya gives the girls a "talkin' to."

Kisses all around
They hung out in the hallway until bedtime. We had discussed what to do and the decision was to put Bunya and Ethel in the pen and let Lucy stay in the hall. While we wanted to put all three of them together, we both feared what would happen to Ethel if Lucy regressed.

The next morning, they were reunited in the hall. Ethel was skittish when Lucy came too close, especially from behind. They had a couple of friendly nose bumps here and there. While I didn't have to do any bunny curling, the broom was handy and I did pick it up a couple of times. That seemed to freeze them in place like a game of Red Light.

Part two of the Shake, Rattle and Roll game plan was a trip to HRS, where TBL could continue to monitor their interaction. Most bunnies are not too fond of car rides and ours are no exception. We piled them into their carrier and hit the road. My wife was doing sentry duty, armed with gloves in case a fracas broke out. The broom gets a little unwieldy in the back seat of a car.

The stress of a car ride can bring bunnies together
You can see them huddled together in their carrier. Their ears were vibrating like a field of tuning forks. They were happy when the ride was over ... until they found out where they were.

Our HRS was a busy place today. The trip served a number of purposes in addition to the ongoing monitoring by TBL and other experienced volunteers. We restocked a lot of supplies, like hay cubes, food and treats. Picked up a new chew mat. The shelter also has a lot of sounds and smells they have to deal with, the hope being that the strange surroundings will unite the three of them and rebuild their bond.

The bunnies were also due for a manicure and pedicure. If their nails get too long, they can get caught, like in carpet, and they can really hurt their toes. On balance, you do not want to cut them so short they bleed through the vein in the nail.
Ooo, ahhh, watch the quick! Watch the quick!
Hmmm, okay, dear, now you've got the hang of it. So, where did you get your training in reflexology?
So, the bunnies are spending the night at the HRS. One of the volunteers sent us a picture:
If we bribe a guard, I think we can make a break for it.
Unfortunately, I forgot my wallet and there is not a big demand for poop as currency.
Tomorrow, I will pick them up and bring them home. The next part of Shake, Rattle and Roll are ch-ch-changes to their home turf, including the turf. The hope here is to remove any territorial bickering that may be part of the dispute.
The bunnies new putting green
The old carpet under their pen is gone. No smells of anybunny in particular. Also, we rotated the pen 90 degrees so the door is in a different location.

While a few of the old boxes remain, the great majority of it has been trashed (it will be recycled). All litter pans have been cleaned with vinegar and prepared with fresh litter and hay. There are multiple food dishes, so they can dine together or not, as they choose. New toys.

We shall see if any of this works ... we sure hope so.
Pardon me if my blog therapy has run a little long tonight.

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