Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Importance of Hay - Murphy's Story

The Importance of Hay

A rabbit's diet should be at least 80% of hay, they should eat at least their own body size in hay a day.
Rabbit's need constant access to hay to snack on throughout the day and night, this is to help keep the gut moving and to stop any blockages of fur or other things ingested. The long fibres help keep the muscles in the stomach stay strong.
Rabbits have 28 teeth and they are continuously growing, they grow around 12cm a year, hay helps grind these teeth down and stop them growing into the side of their face and cause abscesses.

Murphy's Story

After a few messages back and forth, I was speaking to a lovely lady who was looking after her daughter's rabbit, after her daughter moved out and was unable to carry on caring for him. He was around 5-6 years old, known to be in good health and hadn't had any of his vaccines or been neutered. We arranged for her to drop him off with some of his food and we'd plan on getting him neutered, if it was advisable due to his age, have both his vaccines and pair him up with a female bunny.

I was passed a cardboard box where this little bunny was sitting hunched up inside. I gently lifted him out, gave him a big cuddle and placed him down on the floor, where he ran to the litter tray full of hay and sat there peacefully.

After speaking to the lady more and observing the bunny I asked if he had had his teeth checked recently and she said 'why do you think there is something wrong with his teeth?' I stated that I ask these questions for most of the bunnies that were handed over and I was being more cautious as this bunny was stated not to of eaten hay for over 5 years.

Once the lady had left, bunny, now named Murphy, picked up some hay and kept spitting it out, I offered him some of his food which he seemed disinterested in and some treats. We would normally let a bunny settle in before we did anything for them, but we noticed some very overgrown nails and they had to be cut straight away for his own comfort.
Whilst trimming his nails I noticed his two front paws - one looked deformed without any hair on and the other was missing some hair, looked sore and had yellow fur around it.
An hour went by, he hadn't moved, drank, eaten or shown any interest in anything, his paws were sore to touch and I had a bad feeling about it all, so I rang the vets immediately. They managed to book him in for that evening.

It is always better to phone the vets if you are worried about a bunny's health as they can go down hill very quickly, especially with new rabbits, although sometimes it takes awhile for them to settle in, so they might not be in the greatest spirits, but even if you just book your new rabbit in for a general health check!

Whilst we were waiting for the veterinary appointment time to come closer, Murphy would sit grinding his teeth, so loudly, every ten minutes or so, still wouldn't eat or drink. This was very concerning and I was so grateful for the later appointment, I just wish it came sooner.

We arrived at the vets, they weighed him, checked his body condition, checked his ears and teeth. We explained our concerns and explained our plan for neutering and finding him a lady friend, which they completely agreed with but told us before he would have surgery for the neuter, that he would have to get better first.
The deformed bare foot and the balding yellow foot was burns from where he had been drooling, a life without hay had badly done damage to his teeth and now his paws, the vet prescribed him some gut stimulate, antibiotics and pain relief to try and encourage him to eat and poop, as a bunny with gut stasis isn't a good bunny to operate on and he would have to go back in the morning for an operation on his teeth.

After a night of him still grinding his teeth, we kept him indoors near our room so we could hear him. We heard nothing through the night, he hadn't even moved from where we placed him by the looks of it. Nothing was eaten, still no poop, but the vets decided he needed his teeth looking at or he may never eat again.

After a long afternoon of waiting for him to come out of surgery I received a phone call, 'Hello I'm calling about Murphy, we did all we could with his teeth, the operation was going well, we managed to complete the operation, but unfortunately he didn't wake up, I'm so very sorry.'

We did all we could for him, I loved him so very much in the small amount of time of knowing him. The dreaded collection of the body had to happen though, so we went to collect him right away.
We spoke to the vet further and they said it was the life without hay that left him malnourished and with bad teeth, his teeth were the worst they had ever seen at the surgery, they even photographed it to show us. Most of his teeth were rotten, rotting or had already fallen out, he had some growing into the side of his face, which was the ones they had to remove, this was causing him all the pain.
Murphy had woken up for a few minutes after the operation but he was too poorly to carry on and his body just gave up.

How to get your bunny to eat hay

If your bunny won't eat hay there is lots you can do and try. There are a large variety of different hay available, the most popular being Timothy hay which also comes in lots of different brands and from different places, all tasting differently and of a different quality. So just because you've tried one type of Timothy hay, doesn't mean your bunny won't like a different brand. The greener more stalker hay is the best. There are other types such as meadow hay, oat hay and alfalfa hay but alfalfa hay should be limited for adult buns as it can be quite fattening.

There is also a large variety of hay that contain different mixes, from dandelion mixes to marigold mixes, apple mixes to carrot mixes, they aren't good all of the time but to help encourage them to eat hay and they are a fantastic treat.

Cutting down on pellets can help encourage them to eat more hay, after all an adult rabbit over the age of 6 months, only needs a tablespoon of pellets per kilo gram of rabbit per day.

Put hay above or in their litter tray, rabbits love to eat and poop at the same time, this will help encourage them.

Mix hay with grass and herbs this will encourage them to eat more.

Hay cookies are available to help them get used to eating hay, but only give 1 or 2 a day.

Try rubbing some hay around their mouth, sometimes this encourages them to bite it and find out that they actually like it.

Make toys out of cardboard tubes stuffing them with hay and herbs.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Rabbit 101 - Gut Stasis

What is gut stasis?
Gut stasis is a deadly condition which can cause a rabbit not to want to eat or drink, it is where the bunnies digestive system slows down or completely stops. Bad bacteria then builds up into their intestines and releases gasses into their system which can cause very painful bloating.

What are the signs of gut stasis?
Gut stasis usually shows itself by your rabbit not wanting to eat or drink anything, not wanting to do much and generally not themselves, sat hunched up and their poop will likely be very small or nonexistent.

Why do rabbits get gut stasis?
Gut stasis can caused by a number of things, a bunny in pain often gets gut stasis, if a bunny gets spooked that can cause them to go into stasis, bunnies with bad teeth, a stressed bunny, even lack of exercise can cause it. Every bunny can get stasis, for a number of reasons, it is just important that you spot it before it gets worse or before it is too late.

What should I do if I suspect my rabbit has gut stasis?
If you suspect your rabbit has gut stasis, you should contact a vet immediately, rabbits go down hill very quickly and need urgent veterinary care. Your vet is likely to administer pain relief and inject them with a gut stimulant, to get the gut moving again and get them poop. They may also give some antibiotics to help combat the overgrowth of any bad bacteria.
They will sometimes send you home with more medication usually pain relief and sometimes more gut stimulant to administer later on or the next day. It is good to also offer Critical care to encourage them to eat more and to get food and nutrients into them. Critical care is a powdered mix that you mix with water to a consistency where it is able to be put through a syringe and syringe fed orally to your rabbit. Depending on the vet and the severity of the problem, they may want to do some x-rays to check their is no blockages before treating and sometimes also like to keep them in on an IV drip to get them hydrated and to soften the the mass in the intestines. 
Once you are home you can offer them lots of fresh water, hay and greens to encourage them to eat. If you usually offer a bottle then it is good to put out a bowl of water too, to encourage them to drink.
After treatment your rabbit should start to perk up and begin to eat, if your rabbit doesn't show any sign of improvement or gets worse it is important to re-contact the rabbit savvy vet for immediate action. With the correct care and time, your rabbit can make a full recovery.

How do you prevent gut stasis?
Ensuring your rabbit has a good diet will help prevent gut stasis occurring, it should be mostly a diet of good quality hay, this is to help with their digestive system, provides them with a large amount of fibre and also keeps their teeth ground down and healthy. You can see a good diet in our Rabbit 101 - Diet post.
Reducing the amount of stress and noise around your rabbit can help keep gut stasis a bay, also giving them enough space and enrichment will keep them active and help.
Regular vet check ups can help keep your bunny healthy and can help check to see if there is any underlying issues with your rabbit or their teeth which can help keep your bunny healthy.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Marvin and Suki

After loosing my dog to a mystery illness, I was left heart broken and pining for another pet, he was my saviour. We discussed what pet we might like and decided on a bearded dragon. Although I came across a rescue centre online that mainly had rabbits and guinea pigs and decided I would go and have a look, just for some free cuddles and there was a lovely lady bunny that I loved the look of, baring in mind I knew nothing about rabbits or guinea pigs!
Turning into a house at the top of a road, we were taken around the back where there was a couple of sheds, some with hutches in, others were the hutch. We took at look at the female that I had my eye on, but we weren't allowed to interact with her as she was in the middle of a phantom pregnancy and very grumpy. I was taken to the guinea pig shed and told to hold out my arms, whilst she opened up a hutch, this was when black bunny was placed into my arms, he just sat there and snuggled in, I was told how to support his bottom whilst holding him and she explained his story. 
This bunny had no name, he came in with his brother, not long after he was born, they fought so were separated and his brother went off to his new home. They were in the rescue for around 6 months, as no one wanted a black bunny. So the rescue took it upon themselves to bring him indoors every evening whilst they watched the soaps, to give him lots of love and cuddles.
We left the rescue and took a visit to Pets at Home to check prices of hutches and items, not intending to get one there are then, but I couldn't get the little lonely bunny out of my head and we bought a carrier and supplies after phoning the rescue and headed back to collect him!
They were delighted bunny had a home and even a name, I chose the name Marvin on the way to collect him.

The rescue didn't usually rehome single bunnies, but they agreed if we gave him enough attention and time then he would be okay. We adored him and spent most of our spare time with him, giving him lots of love, hugs and cuddles which he seemed to enjoy, whilst we were learning about rabbits, he taught us a lot of things.
Until one day he went absolutely crazy, buzzing around my friend, we didn't know what was wrong, although she had a unspayed female at home, he could smell her and was flinging poop all around the room.
My friend left and he was still acting very strange, my partner and I were sat watching television, when he jumped up on our laps, climbed the back of the sofa and sprayed us both in the face! This was not a pleasant experience and he was booked straight in for neutering.
He lived with us for around 16 months as a lone bunny, he seemed content. As I was researching bunnies I kept coming across that rabbits should ideally be in pairs or groups, I thought my boy was okay... seeing other bunnies with their partners made me think it really wasn't fair on him and decided to research how to go about getting another rabbit, when a single female appeared on the same rescue's website. She was crossed with a dwarf and was rather small compared to the other bunnies at the rescue, so they were looking for her to have a small husbun, she was spayed and ready for her new home. Marvin was a Netherland dwarf cross too and was fairly small, so we took him back to the rescue to meet this little lady.
They placed the white bunny, then called Charlie, in a small run and asked us to place Marvin in with her.... they did nothing! no reaction. We waited for around 10 minutes whilst they just sat there, then suddenly Marvin started humping her and her head. We weren't sure what to think, what was my baby doing?! Apparently it was normal and was to help work out who was in charge, as long as they were not biting and fighting the rescue lady didn't seem too bothered.
We stood chatting and watching them, whilst there was a lot of ignoring and a small amount of humping from the bunnies. They said that the meeting was very successful and they wouldn't usually expect bunnies to be so calm on their first meeting, we signed the paperwork and was given the okay to take them both home after an hour or so of them being together, they sat side by side in the carrier and we took them home.
We spent the day on bunny watch, seeing how they interacted with each other and within hours they were snuggled up together, so they went to bed together that night and have been together ever since.
We were so lucky with this bonding, I'm so glad we decided to check her out, Charlie became Suki and we had a bonded pair, Marvin and Suki.
There is nothing like another bunny friend and I feel guilty for not doing it sooner for him, but years later they are still going strong together.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Winning for the wedding

Weddings can be costly, but wouldn't it be great if we could get some things for free? Yes FREE!
I have currently won my wedding jewellery and cufflinks, I'm hoping that because we haven't set a date yet, that by the time we do eventually get married and we've saved up, that they may be some other things that I could win along the way. There is no guarantee in winning competitions, some people are luckier that others, but it is definitely worth a try! (These competitions do not include honeymoons, although there are quite a few competitions for them out there)

If you win anything from the competitions below or you have won something already for your wedding, we'd love you to tell us about it. Feel free to share your wedding related UK Competitions below too!

End date / Prize / Entry Type / Answer
10/06 Win more than £400 worth of jewellery
11/06 Win your table top flower arrangement (FB)
12/06 Win A £250 Online Voucher With Jon Richard Jewellery - Suits*
12/06 Win £60 to spend with Frederick Thomas (RC)
13/06 Win 3 bridesmaid dresses (FB)
13/06 Win a personalised ring box (FB)
13/06 Win £100 to spend with Frederick Thomas (Gleam)
13/06 Win £100 voucher to spend at Frederick Thomas (Gleam)
(RC) - Rafflecopter

Friday, 8 June 2018

Lincoln and Lexi

Lincoln came to us after we saw a Facebook advert where the lady had adopted him from Pets at Home, just a week before, he was living in a rat cage with just a bottle of water and a bowl of food. The lady said she was moving and unable to take him with her, we only went to visit him, to have a look, but I fell in love instantly, especially seeing what he was living in. He came home with us that night and settled in straight away, we supplied him with plenty of hay and water and reduced the amount of pellets, we also gave him a name which he didn't have before! 
We decided on the name Lincoln after we explored some names and I texted a couple of photos to my family to show off the new addition, he had a long grey beard and one of the name suggestions was Abraham Lincoln, instantly I loved the name Lincoln and thought it suited him perfectly.
We later got him neutered and waited 6-8 weeks before thinking about bonding him with our other two rabbits (which I will introduce later on) The boys didn't get on very well to begin with, we even tried taking the three for a car ride to help with the bonding process, but it was slow going, so they all lived next to each other for a month before we bonded the three together.
Lincoln started loosing weight as the other bonded pair would get to the food before him, so we took the decision to remove him from those two and get him his own friend, once a potential lady became available.

Not long after Lincoln, this little lady became available via Facebook, there wasn't many photos of her, one of her hiding under a blanket, another of her hidden beneath the previous owner's lap. So we didn't really know what this lady looked like and only knew her name was Fluffy, they originally wanted a large payment for her, but I messaged them and told them that she would have a great home with us, sent them photos and didn't think anything of it, not expecting a response.
A few hours later they messaged me to arrange collection.
On arrival, the lady bought her to the door, whilst brushing her, took me through to where she was staying, she was downsizing her animals as she was renting a room from someone with her partner. We discussed Fluffy's situation of her being spayed, runny eyes and her matted coat and after a quick cuddle, she came home in the carrier with us.
Fluffy was living in our lounge for awhile and Lincoln would come out for a playtime when she was in her cage, we did this for a couple of nights and they seemed to show good signs of bonding, where they would explore each other through the bars, ignore each other and lay down next to each other, no aggression or annoyance.
One night we thought we would let them out together with supervision and see where it led. It was pretty much an instant bond, hardly any humping, no nipping and they just snuggled up together. So we kept an eye on them and decided we would let them stay the night together.
In the morning they continued with their good behaviour, seemed inseparable and have been together ever since.
She does a great job of grooming Lincoln and his beautiful mane, which as Lincoln has grown older has turned brown and shortened. Unfortunately he has a hard time grooming her as she is long haired, when she arrived with us she was severely matted and we had to cut most of her fur off, with regular brushing and help from Lincoln we can manage her long locks.
We discussed new names for her, wrote down our ideas and we swapped lists and circled any we liked, Lexi came out top and works beautifully we think with Lincoln's name. The perfect pair.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Wedding planning list

Being engaged for quite some time, we would love to get married but it can be quite expensive. People generally spend between £5000-£20,000 on their wedding. 
Here is a typical list of things to budget for, for your wedding. Hoping this might help when you are planning your wedding or just looking for some rough idea of what you might have to budget for, not all are necessary but it is a generalised list for all.

Engagement Party
Engagement photoshoot

Stag Party
Hen Party

Ceremony location
Reception location

Give Notice
Wedding Insurance
Wedding planner or venue stylist

Bride's Dress
Bride's Underwear
Bride's shoes
Maid of Honour Dress
Bridesmaid dresses
Maid of Honour shoes
Bridesmaid shoes
Mother of the bride outfit
Flower girl's outfit
Page boy's outfit
Groom's suit
Best man's suit
Father of the bride's suit

Bride's necklace
Bride's earrings
Maid of honour jewellery
Bridesmaid jewellery
Hair piece/s

Table plan
Place names
Table decorations
Chair covers

Top table floral decoration
Table floral decorations
Maid of honour bouquet
Bridesmaid bouquet
Flower girl flowers
Mother of the bride corsage

Save the dates
Wedding invitations
Evening invitations
Guestbook and Pen/s
Thank you cards

Food and Drink
Arrival drinks
Toast drinks

Ceremony Music
Live Music / Band
Activities / Games


Cake slice
Postage Stamps (for invitations)
Guest accommodation
Groom box
Bride's gift
Gifts (for the wedding party)


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

WinitWednesday, low entry competitions, June 2018

My previous post seemed to be very popular, with low entry competitions, so I've scoured the internet to find some more for you all, including Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter, Blog and Gleams, if you are hosting your own competition under 300 entries, then please feel free to share in the comments. (UK or international competitions only, sorry!)

Under 100 entries
06/06 Skin academy pure collection - 33 entries - Facebook
07/06 Panda Tapestry Cushion Kit - 3 entries - Facebook
08/06 Vape collection - 84 entries - Twitter
08/06 Chocolate Picture Maker - 88 entries - Facebook
10/06 Win Jurassic World Merchandise - 18 entries - Twitter
10/06 Dragon Stuffed animal - 27 entries - Twitter
10/06 Bound Proof Copy of “The Things We Need to Say” & a Pack of Yogi Tea - 79 entries - Rafflecopter
12/06 Super teas and low sugar Battle Bites - 40 entries - Twitter
20/06 Children's sandals - 70 entries - Twitter
22/06 Child's toy BBQ - 15 entries - Gleam
29/06 An official England Shirt - 63 entries - Twitter
01/07 10 x 8 Canvas Print - 40 entries - Rafflecopter
04/07 £25 Amazon Voucher - 38 entries - Gleam
08/07 Tetris Dual - 81 entries - Gleam
31/07 Reed diffuser - 1 entry - Blog comment, Social media share
2500 followers £10 Amazon Voucher - 23 entries - Twitter

Under 200 entries
06/06 £20 Morrisons voucher - 110 entries - Facebook
06/06 Weber Barbecue - 161 entries - Twitter
07/06 £50 John Lewis voucher and Wild Thang Goodies - 102 entries - Facebook
11/06 Dad Hamper - 136 entries - Facebook
13/06 3 Months Supply of Proceive (Fertility Supplement)
18/06 Canvas Champ 10x8 Canvas - 164 - Gleam
19/06 Beauty Bundle - 122 entries - Rafflecopter
29/06 Fairies and Frosting giveaway - 174 entries - Rafflecopter

Under 300 entries
06/06 Dickies Europe workwear outfit - 278 entries - Twitter
26/06 Bottle Plus Infusion Bottle - 237 entries - Gleam
29/06 Ice cream bowl and mug set - 295 entries - Rafflecopter