Friday, December 23, 2011

Barney and Salt - Bonded Bunnies

 Barney (a Chinchilla - the grey coloured bunny) is currently my oldest rabbit.  He is about 6 or 7 years old now.  We rescued him from someone my husband knew.  They bought Barney for their 6 year old daughter, but didn't know how to look after a bunny very well, and got mad when he urinated on their couch.  I highly doubt they put out a litter tray for him though, or spent the time needed to train him.  Bunnies are actually easier to train than cats, but that's for another post. To cut a long story short, rather than hear that this poor bunny was going to be put down, my husband suggested that perhaps this bunny should live with us.  I only had Charcoal at the time, and Barney, being definitely male, wouldn't be a problem.

So to our home came Barney. I could tell straight away that he had been through a tough time.  He was very skittish and not very trusting.  He still isn't very comfortable around people, but I am very patient with him, and he will tolerate pats on his nose and gentle cheek rubs.  He has never bitten me or the children, which is fantastic for a bunny who had trust issues.

He lived with Charcoal for a while, but those two didn't really bond.  Charcoal was too much of a people bunny, and Barney didn't know what to make of this funny lop eared rabbit who thought he was a person.

Two years ago we rescued/adopted Salt and his sister Pepper.  Salt (a Himalayan looking Havana) is such a funny character.  He is timid, but placid and loves his cheeks rubbed.  He will hop away, then realise he does actually want to be patted.  He and Barney bonded instantly.  They definitely call them 'snuggle bunnies' for a reason.  There is just something about bonded bunnies that is gorgeous.  They look after each other, they share, they are gentle with each other, they snuggle up to each other, they preen each other, and they really don't like being separated from each other - they pine.  Of course, they mate each other too.  *Gross!*  Barney is the dominant male in this pair.

Salt is very vocal.  He likes to chatter away to me in his little bunny whimpers to let me know he is happy, that he likes what he is eating, that he wants to be patted, that he is curious why I am patting Storm in the hutch below and not him, and that he needs some more water in his water bottle. 

He is a sook as far as bunnies go (pretty normal for male bunnies though!), but he is well behaved.  I had to bring him inside to treat him for a mild eye infection, and he decided to sit on his towel and not move for an hour.  Any other bunny would have been hopping all over the house.  He was curious, but he is a fast learner. A stamp or two of my feet when he started to wander, and he was back in his spot as quick as a flash.  He got flat leaf parsley as a reward :D
Barney is just starting to show signs of slowing down.  He is more lethargic and doesn't eat as much as he used to.  He is very happy though, and who knows how much longer he'll be around for.  He will continue to be loved just as all my other 'bunny children' are.

Both these bunnies were moved out of the wooden hutch they were in, and back into a metal hutch, as they're both chewers.  Two destructive boy bunnies who weren't content to chew through other things I provided for them (like fruit tree branches, cardboard boxes, cardboard rolls, telephone books etc). 

Barney managed to chew his way through into Storm's hutch, and somehow bit Storm's mouth, resulting in a visit to the Vet because it wasn't healing very well, and causing permanent damage.  Poor Storm has lost feeling on one side of his mouth now, but he seems to be okay.

*Sigh*...bunnies!  They're just like naughty children, aren't they!! ;D

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