The year seems to be flying by. It feels as if summer is already over with the weather we are currently having. So much rain! But it is better than the dreadful heat although we were spared the worst effects of that by the shade of the garden. Still it was not pleasant. I spent that week grooming rabbits in order to thin their coats as much as possible and moving bits of reflective material around to keep the sun off when the natural shade wasn’t enough and cleaning hutches and runs even more often than usual to keep the flies to an absolute minimum. Happily this was sucessful although very exhausting. None of the animals succombed to the heat although I did have to poke a few that were so flaked out that it was hard to tell if they were breathing! The rabbits really seemed to appreciate the bare patches from my having plucked them and were chasing the breeze instead of following sun puddles around their runs. Those with tunnels were able to lie in the cool earth. I picked up one black rabbit who was almost cold that technique was so effective! I would happily have crawled down a tunnel myself if I hadn’t been so busy.
Some people may have noticed that we have fewer animals than usual and yet we are still full. This is partly because we have an unusually large number of stroppy single rabbits that I can’t seem to bond. Hamish, Anenome and Filbert have had repeated failures, we simply don’t have a good match for Sorrel the little wild rabbit and now the pair of New Zealand white bucks, Xante and Corinth have had a big birthday break up. They reached a year old and that very night had an enormous fight which Corinth resoundingly won. There wasn’t a single mark on him but poor Xante was well and truely battered with a biten face and lots of fur pulled out:( So now six sets of accomodation only have one occupant as opposed to the 18 they could theoretically hold if occupied by trios. In addition we have far few trios than previously. Rabbits we have lost lately tend to have been in trios meaning that they did not leave empty places behind them. We now have only 6 trios whereas we had 18 last year. So although our overall number of rabbits is well down we still have the same number of groups. The number of guinea pigs has also fallen substantially. At our busiest in our first year we had 112 guinea pigs!! But we were rehoming then and it was before we had many rabbits at all. Now we only have eight. This is a bit sad but since that first year we have been asked to take far more rabbits than guinea pigs and our set up suits rabbits better anyway. Especially since all the problems we have had with the barn meaning it is no longer an option to keep them in the stables in there. The two guinea pig sheds we built provide wonderful accomodatiin for piggies but only for a maximum of 16. And as we had to borrow one of the sheds for a group of rabbits who had to stay dry that is temporarily reduced to 8. So for the moment we don’t have any places available for guinea pigs either.
The reduction in numbers does have an up side. Because everything keeps getting more expensive but our income struggles to keep pace we would be hard pressed to look after the numbers we had previously. It has always been a bit miraculous that we managed to fund everything but now we are cutting into reserves and our accounts sinking into the red. It may not be possible to take in more animals even when we do have the space. We really do need new sponsors and other sources of income if we are to continue to function. Fundraising has never been our strong point. Our strong point has been our dedication to doing the absolute maximum for the animals in our care, providing them with an outstanding quality of life. People have approved of this and supported us but not enough people are aware of us. Please if you are able support the work we do by becoming a sponsor or giving us a one off donation. Sponsors and supporters are welcome to visit any Saturday between noon and 3 pm. It is now possible to use Virgin Money to make regular monthly donations which some may find easier than setting up a standing order.