Fun with Rabbits!
Today I discovered there are unique problems that come from having four boy rabbits, called “bucks” in the rabbiting world. All of my boys are intact, meaning they were never neutered. Most of the time this doesn’t cause any problems.
And then there was this week. My daughters often help with the rabbits. They are great helpers. Sometimes the rabbits get mixed up into the wrong cages, which also usually isn’t too much of a problem. It’s also Spring, a time when the rabbits get a little frisky. Sadly my boys have no girls to get frisky with. The reasons why we don’t have girls rabbits is I am not prepared to deal with the things that happen once rabbits start having babies; getting more cages, finding homes for babies, eating the rabbits, what to do with the hides, can I do that myself? All these things made me think of having all boys, much simpler. Right?
So my cages are stacked on top of each other, three cages, I clean them all at once each week, brush the rabbits, all that good stuff. Oh yes, I said I have four rabbits, I do! The fourth is a little Mini-Rex, black, adorable, friendly, maybe too friendly. Oliver is a free range rabbit, he lives in the barn, will even come out and ask for treats. Cute, right?
Sometime the bottom cage gets left open or it’s loose and Oliver, the Mini-Rex, tries to get in there. Normally the rabbit in the bottom cage, Fred, chases Oliver right out. However we had a bit of a mix up and Rae, our most passive rabbit, appropriately nicknamed “Rug” was in that cage instead this past week. When I noticed it mid week, I shrugged and thought, “I’ll change them back when I clean cages”. No worries, right?
At this point you’re wondering, I thought this was about bathing rabbits?! I know, just hang in there.
Rabbits are Dirty.
I went to clean cages and reached in for Rae and saw Oliver was in there too. “Oliver get out of there, stop stealing Rae’s food.” I took Rae out and noticed, he was filthy, just dirty all over. The only thing I could think of was Oliver did it. He often tried to jump into a box or cage when I was moving rabbits around so he could “have his way” with the other rabbit. Because he’s a rabbit, and that is what they do, right? My three angora rabbits are a settled group, four to six years old while Oliver is only a year and a half old. I know they are all considered adults but the angoras are settled, they only get excited when I try to turn them on their backs to groom them. They freak out a bit, except for Rae he just lays there, like I said he’s a rug, the only difference is he eats and poops. So I’m thinking Oliver must have been having lots of fun the last few days with his friend Rae. Lots of dirty rabbit fun.
Anyway, he is sooo dirty I am worried whether his current fur growth is ruined. He is maybe a week or two from getting sheared again! Argh, stupid horny rabbit! Then I think, “Maybe I can give him a bath!” I mean if this happened to any of my other rabbits, maybe not, but Rae really is just a living rug.
So, I did it, put a tiny bit of water in a sink, put Rae in and gave him a bath. I kept his face out of the water because I wasn’t sure he wouldn’t just lay there and drown, I shampoo’d him with some lavender baby shampoo I use for washing alpaca and other fibers. Then rinsed him and rolled him up in a towel, because he soaked up a ton of water, and blotted him as well as I could. I was thinking it might take days to get him dry so I figured I was all in by now, let’s break out the hair dryer. I didn’t think this would freak him out because I have actually used a vacuum on the rabbits before, they get dirty sometimes. It took me a while to get him dry, I alternated between a heat and cool setting just because I didn’t want to overheat the Rug. After a while, he was a fluffy and clean as I have ever seen him!
As I said, I don’t think I could do this to Fred, he would probably freak out, he’s super skittish. However, if you have a calm rabbit, maybe they would enjoy a bath every now and then! I’m hoping he stays nice and clean until I shear him next week!