Bambi, with us from 2014 – 2018
Bambi was a sable mini-rex buck born in 2013. He came to us as all he had to live in was an indoor 120cm cage and his owner’s living circumstances were soon to get worse with nowhere at all to keep her animals as she had to move. He lived in a group of rexes which included at various points in time, Dachs, Florence, Sweet Cicely and Nutbrown in our largest enclosure. He was always very sweet and snuggly with the others but was never a healthy rabbit often suffering bouts of impaction stasis and always thinner than he should have been. It was one of his bouts of digestive trouble that carried him off in early 2018. Rabbits are very susceptible to bloat as they have a small chest cavity so an enlarged stomach can actually press on their heart and kill them quite suddenly. It was quite a shock as he hadn’t ever bloated before and because he was quite young. He is very missed both by us and his companions.
Sarah Scuttle, with us from 2013 – 2018
Sarah Scuttle was a chocolate and ginger Abbysinian cross female guinea pig. She was born in 2012/13. She came to us as she and her friend Flo were no longer getting enough attention. She had ringworm on her nose and bottom when she arrived but we soon cleared it up. She was rather a nervous piggie at first but as she gained seniority in the village she became very settled and confident. She was a very large contented lady pig, but became much thinner as she got on a bit. She died at the beginning of 2018.
Chervil, with us from 2013 – 2018
Chervil was a very handsome ginger wooly lionhead buck born in May 2012. He came to us in 2013 as his coat was so long and fine that it was almost impossible to manage. He had to be shaved straight away despite arriving in January. The coat that came off him was felted together like a jacket. It was important to bond him straight away to keep him warm, so he was bonded into a group. Sadly this later fell apart, and he then lived with Minuet. He had severe digestive trouble after Minuet had to be pts. He took her loss extremely hard and became extremely thin but thankfully finally recovered and gained a lot of weight becoming a handsome and substantial rabbit. He was with Colarado for a while and then with Maisie and Mahonia. The three of them were very happy together in one of our large enclosures, then sadly Maisie died and he got yet another new friend, Pansy. Pansy ended up his sole companion until she too passed away towards the end of 2017. He was again rebonded this time to Lily and Peony but soon after that Lily died and he developed gut trouble again and this time he didn’t come back from it. He was rather unlucky in love and took each loss to heart, feeling it deeply.
Lily, with us from 2012 until 2017
Lily was a not quite lopped gold doe who was born in 2011. She came to us in April 2012 after causing havoc in her family with her behaviour. Her people simply could not cope with her. We bonded her to Evan at first who was returned to us after losing his previous partner. Lily was delighted with him. She was an incredibly active joyful rabbit who took great delight in honing her skills as an escapologist. She was good at opening gates and digging under fences, not to mention darting through gates like a flash when a hooman entered or left her run. What a character! But no sign of any agression at all. She lived with Peony after Evan, and with Chervil for a while before succumbing to a serious illness in late 2017. She lived her life to the full.
Melody Gibson, with us from 2012 until 2017.
Melody was a big speckled butterfly lop doe. She came to us after her owner sadly died in 2012, having previously taken one of our buck’s Khargosh home with her she was returned with him. She was born in approx 2006. She was a much loved house rabbit in her previous life but really seemed to love being outside too. She was really happy here and was good and active. But it doesn’t stop her from biting the hand that fed her, at least not when that hand was cleaning her hutch. She was fiercely territorial and gave me the worst bite I ever got on my wrist and did some nerve damage which took six months to go away!! She took a dislike to me (doorkeeper) when she arrived as she had an extremely mucky bottom which it took me hours to get clean. She obviously really didn’t appreciate the intimate attention. I never had to do it again but she didn’t forgive me for years. She was fine with everyone else, even allowing them to stroke her, but would lunge at me with her mouth open and really sink her teeth in if I didn’t move fast enough. But she did forgive me in the end. To my surprise after she lost her longterm partner Khargosh and I was able to bond her with two other bucks, Yarra and Murray she totally changed her opinion of me and never once showed any aggression again. I think the two weeks she spent alone made her really lonely, and appreciative of them and of me for giving them to her. It is remarkable how strong and particular a rabbit ‘s feeling can be.
Melody outlived both her beloved boys and was then bonded with Eric and they lived out the end of their lives together, both being pts at the end of 2017 when she was around twelve years old and had lost the last of her mobility. I was actually relieved that they both reached that stage at the same time as neither of them were strong enough to cope with another bonding but would have been lost on their own. They both had to contend with worsening ear abscesses, the scourge of lops, which finally gave each of them a degree of head tilt which aggravated their frailty due to their ages and greatly reduced their quality of life.
Florence, with us from 2011 until early 2018.
Florence was a grey mini-rex doe who came to us in July 2011 after being seized by an animal welfare officer from an overcrowded situation. She was only half the size of the rest of her littermates and had wrinkled skin as her coat did not fit her properly, the runt of the litter. She arrived with her mother Sweet Cicely. They both lived with Dachs and Bambi until Sweet Cicely died of bloat in 2016. Florence had no fur on her feet partially because she is a rex and partially becuase she over groomed them, close to self-mutilation, she also chewed off the fur on her belly and everywhere else she could reach, but thankfully she never broke the skin. This meant that she kept developing abscesses on her feet and so needed regular antibiotic treatment and to live on a soft, dry surface. For this reason the group lived in our biggest shed which had doors that open wide, the next best thing to a run. After losing Sweet Cicely the three remaining rexes were bonded to and then took care of our oldest resident Nutbrown. He had been here for more than eleven years and was blind and frail but Florence and the others were very sweet to him. They had the biggest shed and run and Florence’s feet seemed to cope well with the soft surface in there.
Florence was a strange looking little creature. I sometimes thought she looked like a little kangaroo or wallaby rather than a rabbit. Her coat was amazingly soft and very sleek. She had a tiny little head never reaching anything like her mother’s size. As she was such a runt I didn’t really expect her to live as long as she did, but she didn’t do too badly living to seven. At the end she went down hill very suddenly.
Speedwell, with us from 2011 until 2017.
Speedwell was a grey dwarf lop buck. He was very friendly but a bit too laid back. He was brought to us in July 2011 because of illness in his family. He was said to be two at the time. He lived with Iris for years but since she passed away he was bonded with Jasper and Jade. Sadly Jasper passed away not long afterwards so after that it was just the pair.
Speedwell was never very active during the day but would come to life as dinner time approached. His favourite time in the garden was the end of the day and he was always enthusuastic about his food. Unfortunately he got a lump in his abdomen and went downhill very quickly and died at the end of 2017.
Peony has lost both her partners, Lily and Chervil over the last few months and is in need of a new companion or two.
I tried bonding her to a pair of giants, Juniper and Minerva, a couple of weeks ago, just after Chervil died but she proved herself to be quite fiesty and it didn’t go as well as hoped.
Take your corners please! Peony in one and Juniper and Minerva in the other. And it didn’t get any better than this:(
I am now trying her with smaller pair in the hope that some of the difficulty was caused by fear agression on her part and that she will feel more confident with smaller rabbits and so behave better. She really needs it to work as without her partners to wash her face it has become evident that she has nasty tear duct infections in both eyes and although they are being treated with antibiotics that is no substitute for having them kept clean by a loving companion or two. In fact it is very common for rabbits only to show symtoms after losing a partner as Peony has done because it is so effective.
Above Peony can be seen in a dog carrier being introduced to Jade and Turmeric. This is the first step in any bonding and helps to get them accustomed to the proximity of the new rabbit/s in a safe place where they are not able to do each other any harm and where they feel a little uneasy and in need of comfort thus setting them up to turn to the new rabbit in order to recieve this. I think another factor in the failure of the attempt to bond Peony with the giants was that this step had to be skipped as they were too big to fit in the carrier.
Jade has just started eating hay so that shows that she feels safe and is willing to accept Peony, at least for now. Peony looks fairly relaxed too. Turmeric just looks rather squashed as he is pinned in the corner at the moment as Peony is leaning on him. Time will tell…
Right on to the next stage – a bigger space:
Turmeric and Peony
Jade and Peony
Peony looks interested…
Considering the situation…
Right time to get to know each other better:
The two species that we help are routinely poorly treated in our society. Rabbits are the most neglected animals in the UK (according to the RSPCA). The common usage of the term guinea pig says it all for them. Both species are too easily available for purchase, being on display in pet shops where pester power often means that they are bought without proper forethought. The housing sold by these same petshops mean that the animals live lives of misery in cramped conditions developing painful health conditions through lack of exercise. Both species can also breed at an alarming rate, and accidental litters are all too common particularly as pet shops are notoriously bad at sexing rabbits. The desperate straits these animals end up in mean that there is a huge need for places of safety for them, both sanctuaries and rehoming rescues. Hopper Haven used to try to fulfil both functions but due to the huge workload had to decide to concentrate on just the sanctuary side of things because that is what we do best and we stopped rehoming in 2010. We do however continue to provide help to any of the animals we rehomed in the past including taking them back if their new home cannot continue to provide for them for any reason. From now on, apart from animals who have been here before, we will aim to take in animals that are in need of a sanctuary place by reason of age, health issues or temperament.
At Hopper Haven we aim to provide the best quality of life possible to our residents. This means they get the largest possible accomodation, the companionship of their own species, an appropriate healthy diet, and prompt and appropriate health care. Animals will only be put to sleep if their quality of life has deteriorated to the point that that is the only humane thing to do. Most of our rabbits live outside as that is where they are happiest. They all have runs where they can dig, forage, find patches of sun to lie in, argue with the neighbours, snuggle with their friends, hear the birds and the wind in the trees and feel the breeze in their fur, living life the way a rabbit is meant to but with the fall back of a warm secure hutch or shed to keep them warm and safe from predators overnight. Just a few are housed inside the barn when they have health issues meaning they need dry footing all the time due to limited mobility. The guinea pigs are housed in large villages in the barn, never in cages unless they are ill and need extra attention. They also benefit from the dry footing. Unfortunately this means that we are unable to house many males as they are agressive with each other even when neutered. The rabbits mostly live in pairs or trios. At any time we have between 80 and 100 rabbits depending on how many trios we have, as each place can house either a pair or a trio but not all rabbits will tolerate more than one companion. It can be tricky to bond some rabbits but we never give up and living alone is only ever temporary. We occasionally have larger groups in the big sheds when we have easy going rabbits but rabbits are too fond of arguing for it to be possible very often and we also need the big sheds for giants when we have them.
Sweep is a black doe born in 2010. She came to us in October 2017 with her sister Sooty who has head tilt and could no longer cope well in her old home. Both of them have delightful temperaments. They are some of the nicest rabbits that I have met, very sweet natured and calm. Someone brought us a buck who had been in another rescue for a long time with repeated failed attempts at bonding him. We have called him Mr Spice. They had adopted him to go with their rabbit but it just wouldn’t work and they didn’t want him going back where they got him and back into a small cage so they brought him here. We put him in with Sooty and Sweep and they managed to calm him down from being a panicky ball of fear aggression flinging himself about with mad abandon to a happy little loved up husbun in remarkably little time. When I first put him with them he charged about posturing and threatening them while they calmly ignored him. When he finally sat still Sweep stretched out her neck to him and gently licked his nose a couple of times and then went back to ignoring him. You could almost see the cogs turning in his head while he tried to put that completely unexpected behaviour into his world view. She had just told him that he needn’t worry, everything would be fine, there was no need to defend himself. By the next day the expression on his face had changed entirely and a couple of months on and he is just a happy little rabbit instead of the ball of nerves who arrived. That could have been very different if not for Sooty and Sweep.