Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Rabbit Interactive - Dr Anne McBride's lecture

We'd like to share with you some of the things we learned at the RWAF Conference in Edinburgh over the weekend Dr Anne Mcbride's lecture on behaviour started the conference for the owners - she started off by making us all think about how rabbits have evolved in our culture to where they are now and how we have created different breeds that may have welfare concerns. One of the most interesting parts of her talk explained how domestic rabbits will react to the shillouette of a hawk and flee, but not to the shillouette of a goose, which they instinctively know is not a predator. Clever bunnies. We think that this shows that domestic rabbits have the same instincts and the same needs as their wild relatives and need to behave in the same ways. A Hutch Is Not Enough

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

If you love rabbits you will love Rabbiting On magazine!

If you love rabbits you will love Rabbiting On magazine! Do you have houserabbits, or are you thinking of bringing your outdoor rabbits inside for the winter? If the answer to either question is yes, then our Winter issue of Rabbiting On is for you. It's our Houserabbit Special. We know that some of you are old hands at having your rabbits indoors but there is always something to learn and we have focused on houserabbits in these articles, though of course there is still plenty for those of you with outdoor rabbits. We have articles on Bunnyproofing your home Houserabbit health issues Moving an outdoor rabbit indoors What can go wrong (when keeping houserabbits) Winter greens - free from nature's larder in the summer...but how about growing your own in the winter? This is just as important too for outdoor rabbits. Antifreeze - a deadly poison. This is vital information for all pet owners What houserabbits need - giving them the right environment Welcome to my world, which is part 2 of our series on communicating effectively with rabbits Christmas Crafts...making bunny safe decorations Of course there are all our usual features too -News, Campaign Updates, what's new at Bunny Bazaar, It's My Bunny, Roundup, Conference Report, Paw Prints, Bunny of the Year and so on. This issue is only available to RWA members, so please, if what you see here is of interest to you, join us. You'll get 3 further issues of the magazine during the year and all the many other benefits of being a RWA member. All details are here for the UK http://www.bunnybazaar.com/HRWAMSC/Membership-Subscriptions/NEW-Adult-Membership-UK-only-Annual-Subscription here for Europe http://www.bunnybazaar.com/HRWAMAO/Membership-Subscriptions/-European-membership--annual-subscription and here for the rest of the world. http://www.bunnybazaar.com/HRWAMAOI/Membership-Subscriptions/International-membership--annual-subscription Join us and add your voice to ours. Together we can make a difference

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Vet Membership - for rabbit friendly practices

Is your vet rabbit friendly? The RWAF holds a list of rabbit friendly practices. To be included on the list, vets must be members of the RWA AND complete a questionnaire that gives us some information about their practice so that assess if they are rabbit frienldly or not. We need a named vet at the practice also, as not all vets in the practice may be as good as others with rabbits. If you think your vet is good, and would like them to be on the rabbit friendly vet list please ask them to join and we will send them a questionnaire. Other benefits of joining are here: http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pdfs/RWAVETMEMBERSHIPINFO.pdf

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Could you be an Angel?

Meet Angel. She lives very happily with one of our RWA members, April, as you can see in the video, and her new husbun, Ricky. A few months ago, she used to live alone in a tiny hutch. It was filthy and stinking. The roof leaked. The hutch was exposed to all types of weather, including blazing sunshine, and her owner had it covered in a tarpaulin because of the leaks, but that was left down over the front of the hutch hour after hour after hour so Angel couldn't even see out, nor get any fresh air, nor relief from the rank odour of her hutch. April rescued her from that, and now Angel is showing us all what sort of life a bunny ought to have and how joyful, playful and fun they can be http://youtu.be/zJjyHmn3YKY Ricky is equally lucky. He was found wandering the streets around his home town. He'd been someone's pet but had either escaped or been dumped. He was brought to April by the lady who found him. Adverts were placed to try to help him find his way back home, but his owner never came forward. No one was looking for Ricky, or missing him. Luckily he has a great and a safe, secure life with his Angel. This is how Angel lived before - not good is it?
Angel and Ricky are two of the lucky ones. We know that 67,000 rabbits a year go through rescues centres in the UK, but many thousands more are left to live in conditions like Angel used to. This is why our ' A hutch is not enough' campaign is so essential - we need to reach the owners who are not caring for their rabbits properly, and we need to work with retailers to improve the information they give and products that they sell to their customers. Please help us to help rabbits - Join the RWA today, and treat yourself to our quarterly magazine Rabbiting On. http://www.bunnybazaar.com/HRWAMSC/Membership-Subscriptions/NEW-Adult-Membership-UK-only-Annual-Subscription

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Peter Rabbit

We have been sent this story by Runaround, from one of their customers, and have permission to share it. You'll need your hankies, but there has a happy ending. 'A Hutch Is Not Enough'; apart from causing health problems, we can crush a rabbit's spirit and do lasting damage to them if we do not care for them properly. There are thousands and thousands of rabbits out there like Peter, who will not be lucky enough to find their guardian angel like he did. They cannot bark, nor whine, and are so often ignored and doomed to become 'garden ghosts' who suffer in silence while they endure the misery of solitary confinement and are unable to do any of the things that rabbits should be able to do like run, jump, dig, forage, and snuggle with another bunny. We take our hats off to his new human friend, Jane. She's done a great job and both she and Peter have benefited hugely from their new relationship Please please help us spread the message that 'A hutch is not enough' and share this story. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pdfs/peter_rabbit.pdf

Monday, 22 October 2012

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Christmas is just around the corner and creeping closer every day. We all have those special presents to buy, and of course our normal shopping needs too. If you shop online from any of literally hundreds of stores, please register with Give As You Live first, choose the RWF as your charity, and every time you shop via the Give As You Live website, the stores you buy from will donate some of their profit to the Rabbit Welfare Fund. It won't cost you a single penny.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Can you help RWAF

We'd like to ask you to do two things. Firstly, complete the Digital Donor Review 2012 that is being run by Give As You Live. If you complete their short survey, which really only takes a few minutes, you could be the person who wins £5000 for their chosen charity. We really could put that money to such good use, working to improve rabbit welfare. Here's the link. http://www.rwaf.org.uk/2012review Secondly, Christmas is galloping up on us all, and we all have shopping we must do. If you shop online, please go to Give As You Live, register as a supporter of the Rabbit Welfare Fund, and then you can shop via the site at hundreds of your normal highstreet and online stores. The stores will give us part of their profit for everything you buy...it won't cost you a single penny. http://www.giveasyoulive.com/ And the greatest Christmas gift idea of all, buy somebody you know...or yourself if you haven't this already, membership of the RWA which you can get here http://www.bunnybazaar.com/default/off/category/Membership_Subscriptions/New_Member

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Bunny Bazaar

The RWAF is an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of pet rabbits, you can help us many ways, but perhaps one of the easiest is by getting your bunny goodies from our very own mail order shop. All profits go towards our work, please have a look at the website and like the facebook page to keep up to date with special offers :-) thank you. http://www.bunnybazaar.com/

Monday, 8 October 2012

Rabbit Interactive - Edinburgh November 24th 2012

We are holding a second vet conference this year, with an owners stream also. We are delighted to be working with Buddies Bunny Rescue and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. The conference is on 24th November 2012 and will again have the Rabbit Interactive format of a mix of lectures and workshops, with many of the same Educators taking part - details are available on Bunny Bazaar, where you can also book. Please hurry, places on both streams are limited. http://www.bunnybazaar.com/default/on/category/RWA_Conference_Rabbit_Interactive

Sunday, 7 October 2012

FAQ about Myxi

Myxi is infecting rabbits across the whole of the UK, here are some FAQ by our Vet Expert Advisor Richard Saunders. Please vaccinate your bunnies. 1 - How do pet rabbits get myxi? The most likely source of infection for pet rabbits is via biting insects and other arthropods, mainly fleas, but also flying biting insects such as mosquitoes, transmitting the virus via their mouthparts, from local wild or domestic infected rabbits. Also possible, if wild rabbits have access to the garden, or can get close, eg through a mesh fence or run, is direct infection from rabbit to rabbit via respiratory tract secretions. Of course, once one rabbit in a group is infected, this route is also a worry with regard to the infection of the other rabbits (see later) 2 - What is the incubation period? (How long from one going down with it to keep fingers crossed until the rest are clear?) The incubation is variable, depending on the route of infection and thus the site of disease. Skin lesions (from biting insects) may be seen from as early as 4 days, becoming very definitely noticeable by 10-14 days. One can expect by that point, that the eyelids will be noticeably swollen, and if biting insects are the route of infection, one is probably out of danger of infection at that point, as long as no infection been introduced after the suspected date of the initial case. Lung infection can be seen in group housed rabbits, where aerosol spread into the environment, leading to inhalation, and subsequent pneumonia, may not be noted until up to 20 days after infection. This is much less common than the typical skin, face and eyelid swellings that are so familiar. 3 - If one rabbit in a pair or group gets it, will the rest? Not necessarily, especially if they are rapidly separated, or steps are taken to reduce insect spread. Individual immunity obviously varies, otherwise all wild rabbits would have succumbed to it and died by now. Previous infection or vaccination will help afford immunity, but immunity is not long-lived, and not absolute. Different rabbits will have different health statuses, and be more or less susceptible. However, given the highly infectious nature of the disease, and the generally poor level of immunity present, the likelihood of infection of all in contacts is highly likely. 4 - Should infected rabbits be pts? This depends on the virulence of the strain, the form of the disease, and the immunity of the rabbit. If the lesions are dry and nodular, and quite discrete, this cutaneous myxomatosis carries a good prognosis, and I would definitely not put such rabbits to sleep. If there is generalised disease, with swelling of the head, including ears and eyelids, and genitals, with or without lung involvement, then the outlook is far worse. If these rabbits have been vaccinated, they have a better chance of survival. Treatment with antibiotics (for secondary pasteurellosis and other bacteria), anti-inflammatories, nebulisation and drugs to improve respiratory function (to help breathing), nutrition, fluid therapy, and raised environmental temperatures (to 85 F / 29.5C), may effect a cure in a small number of cases, but this has to be weighed against the distressing and uncomfortable nature of the disease, and the welfare problems if a decision is made to treat. It is a horrible way to die, and extremely unpleasant for anyone watching it. 5 - If one rabbit in a pair or group gets it, should it be isolated straight away? If a decision is made to treat one rabbit, then really I think it needs to be isolated from the others. Whilst that doubtless adds to that rabbit’s stress (and that of the healthy rabbits), the risks of infecting the others are significant, even if diligent insect vector removal is performed. Treating ideally involves raising the ambient temperature to 85F / 29.5C for the infected rabbit, and that is not comfortable for healthy rabbits. 6 - Should the remaining partner, or group members also be isolated from other rabbits in case they are incubating the disease and able to transfer it to rabbits in the next run / enclosure? (either by direct contact or close proximity for mechanical vectors) Ideally, yes. If all were infected at the same time, and one or more have lesions, the others may simply be a few days behind, and therefore potentially infective soon. They should all be treated for fleas, and placed in a separate airspace to definitely infected, and definitely unexposed rabbits. 7 - How can we prevent myxi in the first place: vaccination Vaccination is the mainstay of preventative healthcare. Regular vaccination, either every 6 months, via the intradermal and subcutaneous routes, using Nobivac Myxo, or every year, by the subcutaneous route alone, with Nobivac Myxo-RHD, is advised. Xeno or Advantage Spot On and Rearguard 2 days apart? Insect control is vital. Rearguard DOES NOT prevent, kill nor deter fleas. Permethrin based products eg Xenex spot on, repel and kill biting insects and fleas. This has the advantage of preventing them from biting and spreading myxomatosis Advantage does not need the flea to bite, to take up the active ingredient and die, but it may take up to 12 hours to kill fleas, which obviously permits them time to attach and spread myxomatosis. Environmental control, using insecticides, insect repellents, and physical barriers eg fine mesh on windows and doors, mosquito netting etc is helpful, especially at times of the day when they are active eg dusk. Preventing other domestic pets from bringing either wild rabbits, or fleas from wild rabbits, into the home or garden, is important. Rabbit fleas may be carried by dogs and cats, after they have hunted wild rabbits. They typically line up on the edge of the ears. Domestic pets should be examined, treated, and not allowed near rabbits until it’s certain that there are no fleas present. 8 - How do I need to clean the environment (shed / hutch / paving / grass) before reintroducing rabbits to an area that had an infected rabbit in it? Inside fleas it can survive for up to about 4 months, and the survival times in the wider environment are very much less than that, although to be sure, obtaining new rabbits within that length of time is unwise, and although stringent flea control and disinfection should be sufficient to minimise the risk, new infections are still possible from fleas and flying insects that gain access, so ongoing control is vital. 9 - If my rabbit has had myxi will they be immune? Should I still vaccinate This is controversial, and it’s difficult to give firm advice here. I would prefer to err on the side of caution. Some references suggest lifelong immunity following recovery from natural infection, and others suggest absolute immunity for several months. Without performing antibody testing, it is best to assume that all animals are susceptible, and I would recommend vaccinating with both myxomatosis and RHD vaccines to afford the highest level of protection against both. The Myxo-RHD vaccine carries warnings to the effect that in rabbits with existing immunity to myxomatasis, there may not be a good level of post-vaccination RHD immunity. In such cases, a single RHD vaccine may be given 2 weeks after the combined vaccine.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bristol RAW events

Throughout the week exotic species veterinary surgeons Jemma Young BVSc MRCVS GPCertExAP and Polly Cornwell BVSc MRCVS GPCertExAP invite you to book your bunny for a free health check and advice clinic at our Whitchurch hospital and surgery. On Wednesday 19th September we ask you to join us for one of two special evening talks on: • Housing and diet • Avoiding behaviour problems due to boredom • An introduction to the latest rabbit vaccine • Flystrike - what predisposes rabbits to flystrike (maggots) and how to avoid it. The talks will start at 7.30pm and you have a choice of two venues: Whitchurch hospital and surgery, with host speaker Jemma Young BVSc MRCVS GPCertExAP Keynsham Veterinary Centre with host speaker Polly Cornwell BVSc MRCVS GPCertExAP. Refreshments and notes will be provided. We ask for a token booking fee of £10. All profits will go to the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund. On Thursday 20th September, for one day only, your bunny can have a complete health check, free of charge, with our special guest and leading rabbit expert, Richard Saunders BSc Hons BVSc MSB CBiol DZooMed (Mammalian) MCRVS. Richard is one of the most highly qualified and knowledgeable vets in the field of rabbit medicine. He is also an expert advisor with the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, a key member of the Bristol Zoo veterinary team and a consultant surgeon for small mammals and exotic species at Highcroft Veterinary Group. These events are limited to availability so please book early. All Highcroft rabbit owners are welcome, regardless of which surgery you would normally visit. For bookings or information, please call 01275 832410. We look forward to seeing you.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Rabbit Awareness Week

By sad co-incidence we've received some upsetting reports from several parts of the country about outbreaks of Myxomatosis. Both wild and pet rabbits are affected, and of course the unvaccinated ones don't stand a chance. Very often vaccinaed bunnies can be nursed through it even if affected. Please ensure your rabbits' vaccinations are up to date. The new combined vaccine is reported to give a higher level of protection than the old vaccine could, and protects against VHD at the same time. Far more vets have it in stock now, and it only needs to be given once a year. This time of year is always bad for mosquitoes, which are suspected of being one of the major ways the disease is spread, if you have tips to share about how you prevent mosquitoes please share them below.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Rabbit Interactive

We're all off to our Mad Hoppers Tea party and Conference today, so we will not be around to answer e-mails or take calls today or tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing some of your there. If anyone would like a rabbit-tastic free day out on Sunday don't forget you can come along to Wood Green Animal Shelters, Godmanchester, and look around the arena. There will be trade stands, including our Bunny Bazaar shop, Burgess Pet Care, Runaround, RSPCA - official (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and Galens Garden plus advice in the arena, and you can also have a look around Wood Green's rescue centre.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

RWAF conference - come and visit us at Wood Green Godmanchester this weekend

Why not come and have a great day out, you don't have to be a delegate to have a look around the arena which will be fu ll of information and goodies for all rabbit lovers. We will be there, ready to give help, information and advice for all your bunny queries. Why not take a tour round the many Trade stands in the arena on the day, displaying a huge range of products for your favourite rabbits and their friends. You can also visit the rescue shelter & see the work they do and the animals they care for. Even better all the stands are under cover and it is free to get in to the arena, so not even the weather could dampen your day! We hope to see you there :-) http://www.woodgreen.org.uk/about/visit_us/godmanchester

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

If I were a rabbit...

http://youtu.be/kko9_qeeOtU We've teamed up with the lovely people from Runaround again to make another video that shows 'A hutch is not enough'. This one is shorter and we hope that it will be appealing to rabbit owners across the board, and inspire them to provide the very best they can for their rabbits. Please share, and help the thousands of rabbits who have not been able to enjoy the sunshine, the grass under their feet, nor the pleasure of a companion all because they are condemned to a solitary life in a hutch.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Hop to it - RWAF guide to rabbit care

We firmly believe that education is the key to improving rabbit welfare. Very often people are unaware of the correct way to properly care for companion rabbits and we want to get the right information out to as many people as possible. Sometimes we have to be a bit 'in yer face' and pass leaflets on to people, as not everyone will look on line. Every year we give away thousands of our educational leaflets which cover most aspects of rabbit care, health and welfare. We have just updated these and compiled them into a new booklet which covers all the basic information every rabbit owner needs to know. If we can give these booklets away free of charge we will be able to get them in to more pet shops, rescue centres and vets - so can you please help us with the printing and distribution costs? If you can help towards the booklet costs, please text as follows: To donate £1 text RWAF12£1 to 70070 To donate £2 text RWAF12£2 to 70070 To donate £3 text RWAF12£3 to 70070 To donate £4 text RWAF12£4 to 70070 To donate £5 text RWAF12£5 to 70070 To danate £10 text RWAF12£10 to 70070 You will get a text back asking you about Gift Aid. If you are a UK Income Tax payer, then please declare it, and we will be given 25% extra by the Treasury at no cost to you. If you aren't a taxpayer then please don't say you are. If you prefer, you can make a donation at our brand new online shop, Bunny Bazaar, where you can also buy anything your bunnies might need http://www.bunnybazaar.com/default/on/category/Donate

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Bunny-lympics - don't have a hutch potato

The government is promoting fitness for all in this Olympic year, and because so many rabbits suffer health problems because of bad diet and lack of space to exercise, we are joining in with a call for fitness for rabbits. So are your bunnies world-beating athletes or hutch potatoes? These are the events where we think your rabbits should be aiming for their own medals. Long jump, Triple jump and High jump – given the right conditions, your rabbits will be able to show you their own interpretations of these events! Sprint and Hurdles – don’t expect your buns to stay in their lanes though! Distance running – in the wild, rabbits cover an area of up to 30 football pitches in a day, so give them as much room as you can. Relay - because, of course, your rabbits are in neutered pairs or compatible groups, aren't they? Football and Volleyball – give them something to knock around their enclosure, they’ll love it. Gymnastics – they’ll get top marks for artistic impression if you give them what they need! And their very own event, most importantly, in which all rabbits can excel, Digging and Tunnelling. So...are your rabbits fit enough? Check our Making it Right page for some ideas on how to let them show their Olympian natural behaviours! None of the Olympic athletes got as fit as they are in a day. For them it takes years of training. Please remember that if your rabbits aren't used to having lots of space, don’t throw them in at the deep end. Increase their area gradually with a partition within a larger enclosure over a period of weeks. An overweight, unfit human can't take to the running track, and neither can your rabbit. Do it slowly and carefully - but please...do it!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

August's rescue bunnies

We are featuring three rescues for August. On our Featured Rescues Page is Little Paws Rescue which is based in Leeds. The owner, Laura, is willing to travel (within reason) to find just the right home for the rabbits in her care. http://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html We also want to show you Marley and Friends rescue which is at Saltburn in Cleveland and Agatha's Annex which has just moved house to Leighton Buzzard Marley and Friends has been operating in an unofficial capacity since January 2012. The small set-up is managed from the family home by Sophia, who is a full time student. The rescue is completely self-funded, with the exception of a £50 grant from the RWAF Rescue Fund, and a donation from a private individual. Lauren adopted Maggie Magpie from Sophia in February, about her she says "Sophia has taken in neglected, abused and abandoned rabbits, got them the veterinary attention they needed, cared for them and gave them one to one attention to help them over come their behavioural problems as a result of their past experiences. She educates people on rabbit welfare when she can and has set up a Facebook group dedicated to promoting the welfare of all small animals. Having adopted a bunny from her I can honestly say that what she does is truly inspiring" Our current resident is Hughie, a 9 month old English bun. On arrival he was extremely nervous and would flinch if anyone approached him. We believe he was mishandled and possibly picked up by his ears. He's starting to enjoy head rubs and showing signs of being an inquisitive young bun. Hughie needs a patient home where he can continue to gain trust in people. All rabbits are treated for fleas and worms and are vaccinated and neutered. For any further information, Sophia can be contacted via her email:sawoodings@hotmail.co.uk [IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/roslynlamb/Work/10thJuly1.jpg[/IMG] Agatha's Annex has undergone a major move recently but is once again ready to adopt out rabbits to good homes. After a quiet 2 months due to relocating from Harpenden to Heath and Reach near Leighton Buzzard, Agatha’s Annex is up and running but with just 15 cages instead of the 34 that were occupied during last year. 8 baby guinea pigs are arriving next week too from a situation where a rogue male lived very happily with 10 females making them all pregnant! Thankfully the 15 year old owner had the good sense to ask for help before the situation got out of hand. I did tell him he was responsible asking for help as soon as he realised he had a problem, as of course some adults don’t until they have 50 + to care for. We were lucky too that as the girls were young, and just 1 was born to each female. I'll be sexing and sorting these now 4 week youngsters ready for new homes, I expect after the holidays now, as not many people rehome during August. The rabbits we have taken in recently are a family of Mum, Dad and 5 babies, 4 sisters 12 weeks old, and one brother just 8 weeks old, in with Mum for now. They are small rabbits and Mum and Dad have a lot of white but the main body colouring is Agouti. As you can see from the photos, they must have some Dutch in them as the 4 sisters are very multi coloured with Dutch markings. Jester is also arriving soon. He's 2 years old, and is neutered and vaccinated. All details are on Rabbit Rehome http://www.rabbitrehome.org.uk/rescue.asp?Rescue=307 and Ruth, who runs the rescue, can be contacted there or on ruth.oddie@sky.com [IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/roslynlamb/Work/-99068781953E4A528.png[/IMG]

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

New Bunny Bazaar website

Our new Bunny Bazaar website has gone live. Please have a look and remember that all profits go towards RWAF and our campaign work. Thank you.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Buns in the sun

Hope every bun is enjoying the sun, but has got plenty of shade and ofcourse hay and water. Rabbits find it easier to drink from a bowl than a bottle so in this hot weather it may be better to give them access to both. Remember to check the stopper on the bottle is working every day. It is NOT a good idea to bathe bunnies to cool them off, we've added some information about bathing to our website. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pdfs/BathingBunnies-RO.pdf

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Great North Run Sunday 22nd July 2012

We are thrilled that one of our dedicated supporters James Fairman will be running to raise funds for the RWF in the Great North 10K on Sunday, 22nd July. He has told us that he will be going the whole hog and running in a rabbit suit...we hope he gets cool (dry!) weather. If you would sponsor James, that would not only help our welfare work, but give him lots of encouragement, which we really think he deserves. You can pledge your sponsorship here http://www.justgiving.com/James-Fairman If you are going to be in the North East on the day, why not give him your personal encouragement too by being on the Gateshead Quayside and cheering him along? Here's the route. http://greatrun.org/App_Files/Gr_Files/Bupa-Great-North-10k-Gateshead-2012-Course-Map.pdf Well done, James, and thank you!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Have you heard of Rabbiting On?

We know you all enjoyed our series on foraging wildfoods for your rabbits, and want to remind you that there will be an article about it in the next issue of Rabbiting On, our great magazine that is free to all members of the RWA. (Join here to get quarterly issues http://www/rwaf.org.uk/join and all the other benefits membership brings) We are as always heavily involved in our welfare work, and in particular improving rabbits' lives via our A Hutch Is Not Enough campaign, and you can support that directly with a text donation. If you want to donate £1 you should text RWAF11£1 If you want to donate £2 you should text RWAF11£2 If you want to donate £3 you should text RWAF11£3 If you want to donate £4 you should text RWAF11£4 If you want to donate £5 you should text RWAF11£5 If you want to donate £10 you should text RWAF11£10 With your help, we can make a difference

Friday, 6 July 2012

Forage Friday - Mallow and Yarrow

Common Mallow, Various flower shapes and colours.  Very pretty!  Entirely edible Common mallow, in its early flowering stage, is perhaps the prettiest of our wild plants and it's reckoned to be entirely without any harmful qualities, so ideal for our small furries (and us! And tortoises, if you have those!) to eat. It's entirely missing in winter and spring, but in early summer can be seen growing on roadsides, lanes, waste ground, banksides and meadows. The leaves are up to 4 inches across at their widest, very bright green and shiny. They vary slightly in shape from kidney-shaped to 5-lobed but those lobes are always connected at the base into a single leaf. The centre where they meet the stalk is dark, sometimes puple-ish, and the stalks grow up from the plant base. Flowers come later in the summer and are striking. They're rather reminiscent of many varieties of cranesbill flowers and always have 5 petals, though it may be hard to see the separation between those petals in some specimens. They vary in colour from pinkish to a deeper purple with darker stripes on each petal radiating from the centre to the edges of the petals, fading as the reach the edge. By the end of the season, the plant becomes un-attractive, with a rather tough stalk and very few leaves, which are dull and of poor quality, with perhaps one or two flowers. However, throughout, they remain totally edible. Try the plant yourself! It's glutinous, and so great for thickening soups and stews. As always, be certain you have the plant you think you have, and wash before feeding to your pets (or yourself!) Yarrow, So pretty.  The pink flowers are from my own plant This plant flourishes in the summer and flowers from July onwards, in a variety of colours, most often white, but various shades of pink too. The leaves are reminiscent of fern and in better nourished soil, it can grow up to almost 4ft high. It is also known as Milfoil. It's a common roadside plant, with very tough, angular stems, and in poorer soils, it rarely grows higher than a foot. It will die back in autumn and be all but undetectable over the winter. The flowers grow in clusters and it's only when you look more closely that you can see the individual flowers and how pretty they actually are. If the plant is bruised, every part of it emits an aromatic odour. The leaflets are much cut, resembling hair-like segments. The plant can be found in most pastures. It's believed to contain tonic properties and is often deliberately sown in permanent pasture alongside grass. ............... We are very pleased with the response to this series of messages on wild plant foraging and glad that we've been able to help your rabbits have a more varied diet of natural foods. Like all good things, though, it has to come to an end...but not quite. The next issue of Rabbiting On (free to all RWA members) will contain an article on foraging wild plants for rabbits. Remember too the two books we sell in our online shop, Green foods for Rabbits and Cavies by FR Bell and Rabbit Nutrition by Virginia Richardson. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/index.php?cPath=38 and also the Postcode Plants Database, so you know what is likely to grow wild in your area http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/plants-fungi/postcode-plants/ Many of the plants we have brought to you can be grown in your garden from seed. Contact Galens Garden or Rabbit Nutrition for seeds. We also want to remind you about our 2012 conference, Rabbit Interactive which will happen on 1st September. Watch this space for more details.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Our featured rescues for July

Featured rescues for July This month the featured rescues on our website are Odies Rescue in Suffolk and Rabbit Rehoming in Bath. They have many lovely rabbits all in need of a second chance, so if you live in those areas, and have space in your home, please consider adopting from them. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html There are many more, of course, across the UK, also in need of new forever homes, so please search any and all of these websites http://www.rabbitrehome.org.uk/ http://www.saveafluff.co.uk/ http://www.rescuereview.co.uk/directory.php We'd especially like to mention Betty and Quincy who are living at present in the care of the RSPCA at Gonsal Farm in Shropshire. Here's what the RSPCA says about this lovely couple It’s bunny love for Quincy and Betty Two bunnies in need of a new abode together Betty and Quincy RSPCA Shropshire (photo courtesy of RSPCA) Two bonded bunnies that have found love in RSPCA care are in need of a new abode where they can remain together. Quincy and Betty have both had difficult pasts making their bunny love all the more heartwarming. Poor Quincy is coming up for a year in RSPCA care after originally being found in August last year hopping around a street in Coventry. He was taken to the charity’s Coventry animal centre but after no one was interested in him was moved in December to Birmingham animal centre. But again no one offered a home to Quincy so his third move was to Gonsal Farm animal centre in Shropshire. It was since moving to Gonsal in February that his luck changed when he met and fell for the bonnie Betty. Betty’s past was just as unsettling after she was removed by an inspector after being found in a neglected state with several other rabbits. Her previous owner was prosecuted by the RSPCA and during this time Betty stayed in private boarding where she spent many months. In February Betty was transferred to Gonsal where love blossomed over the dandelions upon meeting Quincy and now the best friends get stressed when they are separated. “Both Betty and Quincy are quite nervous rabbits but after being through so much it is no surprise,” said Taryn Gronbeck animal care assistant at Gonsal Farm. “They are responding well to gentle handling but we really need to get them into a home where a patient owner can work on improving their confidence. We can’t separate them as they get very stressed when parted. In a new home, with the right owner, they will fully bloom into care-free, happy, bouncy bunnies.” If you can offer a love shack to Quincy and Betty please call Gonsal Farm animal centre on 0300 123 0753 . Gonsal Farm currently has lots of lovely bunnies patiently waiting on new homes. If you are interested in rehoming a rescue rabbit check out the RSPCA website at www.rspca.org.uk

Friday, 29 June 2012

Forage Friday - Burdoch and Coltsfoot

Burdock Burdock is safe to feed in a balanced mix of plants, and in moderation. It's normally found in hedges or on open ground and commonly on waste ground. It has a two year life cycle. In the first year the plant is close to the ground and in the second it flowers and forms seed heads. It can grow to approximately 1.5m tall with large leaves reminiscent of rhubarb, and slightly furry. Our photo shows how one of the lower leaves of this plant dwarfs what is quite a big mobile phone. The root is edible too. The flowerstalk becomes quite woody, so the plant is best harvested in its first year. This is the plant that is included in dandelion and burdock. Coltsfoot Our second edible plant is coltsfoot. Its yellow (dandelion like) flowers appear early in the year before the leaves appear. Flower stalks spring direct from the root and have an unusual stalk, looking as if there are buds all the way along it. The leaves appear after the flowers have withered and again are reminiscent of rhubarb but are very dull-looking, with a silvery and downy back and often silvery lines tracing across the top surface. It's a common plant, found in many gardens and on arable and waste land. It's hard to eradicate once it's established itself. The roots grow deep and shoot out in all directions. The leaves can grow to a very large size. It's a safe plant to feed, as with others, in moderation,and very popular with rabbits, both fresh and dried.

Monday, 25 June 2012

What Bugs a Bunny?

Hoppy Monday Everybun! The RSPCA have launched their new campaign 'What Bugs a Bunny' today. The RWAF are supporting this campaign and we hope that you will too. The RSPCA will be tweeting all day about rabbits, so get re-tweeting, and at 2pm there is a live rabbit chat on their facebook page. Their website has lots of information about the campaign, and to make sure you don't miss anything why not sign up to be part of their rabbit community? http://www.rspca.org.uk/media/news/story/-/article/WhatBugsABunny_June12

Friday, 22 June 2012

It's Forage friday again

Today we're featuring two very common plants that you should be able to find in flower at this time of year. The first is chickweed. It has tiny white flowers and it's leaves are egg shaped and in pairs all along the slender stem. It has a hairy line that runs up one side of the stem. When this reaches a pair of the leaves, it swaps to the other side of the stem, and so on till it reaches the top. It spreads very quickly once it has established itself and some gardeners consider it a nuisance! Although chickweed can't be called a valuable green food because it has no special properties, it is a good source of minerals and vitamins, it is safe to feed it, and a small amount makes a welcome change when other greens are hard to find. It's an annual and can be found in flower throughout most of the year. Chickweed The second plant is the sow thistle, which is also known as milk thistle , because when the stem is snapped it exudes a milky substance. This is a very good and very popular food for small furries, who can eat both the smooth and prickly variety. It's an erect, branched plant and can grow as tall as 4ft (120cm) Sow Thistle We know that some of our readers have adopted or rescued rabbits who are pregnant and they should know that this is a great plant to feed to nursing mother rabbits, but it's entirely safe to feed to rabbits of all ages. Not to be confused with the common thistle which has no feed value for rabbits. Sow thistle is easy to distinguish from the common thistle because of its bright yellow flowers, which are similar in shape and colour to dandelion flowers. They appear in clusters at the extreme top and branches of the plant. All varieties of this plant are equally useful. Some have very smooth, tender leaves, and others are slightly prickly, but not so much that they are painful to gather, and nor will they cause problems for your rabbits. They're best fed when the stalks are tender and juicy, because when they're fully grown, the bottom half of the centre stalk can become hard and woody, so for this reason it is at its best and most palatable when it's a foot or two high. This is an annual plant and it flowers from June to September. Collect seeds to grow some next year, or else you can buy these seeds and many more from both Galens Garden and Rabbit Nutrition websites. To find which plants commonly grow in your area, so you know which seeds to buy, enter your postcode here http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/plants-fungi/postcode-plants/

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Think rabbit rescue

Most of the calls the helpline is taking at the moment are from people that no longer want their rabbits - reasons include pregnancy, children loosing interest and not being able to afford to look after them any longer. Before anyone takes on rabbits as pets, please be sure that you can afford care for them properly, this includes neutering and vaccinating (we estimate total costs are £11,000 over their lifetime) and that you can commit to keeping them for around 10 years - rescue centres can not cope with the number of unwanted rabbits each year. Please please share, to raise awareness of the thousands of rabbits in rescue patiently waiting for their forever homes. Neuter

Saturday, 16 June 2012

More free forrage feasts...

This week we are featuring two very common plants that are great for feeding to your rabbits and are all over the place at present. Again, these can be dried and kept for the winter when tasty natural foods are hard to find. The first is Cleavers. It has several names - Goosegrass, Sticky Weed, Claggy Maggie..perhaps you call it something equally fitting where you live. Photobucket This plant needs no introduction as we have all found it stuck to our clothes after a walk at some point, no doubt! It is an exceedingly common plant, and it is safe to use. It is thought to be diuretic, and to have tonic properties, but it may take some rabbits a few goes to get used to the taste. The second plant is Common Hogweed, also known as Cow Parsnip. Photobucket This plant is a member of the carrot family and can grow up to 3 metres tall! It can be found on grassy verges and open woodland and has very large leaves. Only the leaves and stalks should be fed, not the flowers. It is regarded by some as one of the most valuable wild plants for rabbits and has no harmful properties, as long as the flowers are not used. Please don't confuse this with the imported Giant Hogweed, which is far bigger and very caustic to even touch. Common Hogweed is a native species and perfectly safe both to touch and for your rabbits to eat. Giant Hogweed generally grows along watercourses and can grow to over 5 metres tall. You can read about it here http://www.ceh.ac.uk/sci_programmes/documents/GiantHogweed.pdf Make sure you can identify hogweed and do not confuse it with other similar looking but harmful plants like fool's parsley. These are covered in more detail in the following books (please remember prices include postage) http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=207 http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=982

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Rabbiting On

We've had an e-mail from a lady that read Rabbiting On in her local vet practice and as a result went home and improved her rabbits set up to allow them access from their hutch and to a safe exercise area, and she is thrilled at how much happier her rabbits are. Our website is full of good advice such as this: http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pdfs/Basic20rabbit20set20up[1].pdf We know our members value Rabbiting On and the advice it and the website contain...but wouldn't you like to share that with somebody else? Can you persuade one friend to become a member? Perhaps buy them their first year's subscription so they'll realise what they've been missing? Or perhaps treat your vet to a membership and help us spread the word about rabbit welfare? Please look at our website for more details: http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/join/index.php

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

June Rescue Pages Updated

Greenleaf Animal Rescue operates in the northwest of England. We've featured them here on our Featured Rescue page, including some of the lovely rabbits in their care, desperately seeking new homes http://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html Cotton Tails is in Wiltshire and their founder Mairwen Guard MBE tells us below about their work and some of their rabbits CottonTails® rabbit and guinea pig rescue (registered charity) has been running for almost 20 years, and during that time we have helped and rehomed thousands of unwanted and abandoned rabbits. Our speciality is our bunny speed-dating service, where we organise and assist in matching up lonely rabbits with compatible partners. All our rabbits are neutered and vaccinated before adoption, and our website is packed full of useful and interesting information about all aspects of rabbit care as well as details of rabbits and guinea pigs currently available. Details to go with the photos attached, but full details are on the website: Peter – a delightful very small half wild neutered male, now about 8 months old. His Lionhead mum apparently escaped from her hutch into the surrounding fields and gave birth to a litter a month later. The owner could not find homes for the babies, so Peter and his siblings arrived here. Peter will either be matched with one of the females here or will find a home as a friend for someone’s lonely neutered female. Photobucket Tom – Tom is a neutered male and he lives with his life partner Alfie, his brother. They make a lovely pair and are gentle yet amusing to watch. They are about 9 months old and will make fantastic pets. Photobucket George – George is now bonded with his daughter, who has yet to be named. George is about 18 months old, and his daughter is 8 months old, and both are neutered. They make a pretty pair! Photobucket Doe – Doe is a very attractive neutered female dutch rabbit who has been bonded to Zeb, a rather handsome neutered male lop. Both are around 18 months old. Doe is particularly friendly and will even tolerate being picked up! Photobucket Family of Belgian Hares – This family of 6 Belgian Hares arrived rather unexpectedly as the situation was urgent

Friday, 1 June 2012

Today is Binky Day!

Today is Binky Day. Today is the day your rabbits can celebrate by showing their joy in a-bun-dance. We've celebrated by making this video from clips sent to us by our supporters http://www.rwaf.org.uk/joy (There's a longer version too, which is even more binkytastic!) Please use one of the photos from those sent to our Facebook (or one of your own) for your avatar today on Facebook, Google +, your blog, your email ID, your forum profile, your Twitter account...whatever formats you use. Ensure your own rabbits are joyful enough and have the space and the happiness to binky for themselves. Tell everybody you know that a binky is a rabbit showing joy in a-bun-dance, and let's raise the profile of happy rabbits with them all.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Binky Day is coming - 1st June 2012

It's almost Binky Day - please share this poster to help us show everyone that 'A hutch is not enough' and that Binkies are rabbit joy in a-bun-dance! If you have a facebook account, on Friday 1st June we would love everyone to set ' It's Binky Day' as their status and change their avatar to one of the fantastic binky shots that have been shared on our own wall, share one of the videos and RT our binky day tweets. Whatever other form of social communication you use, forums, mailing lists, or just messages to friends and family, please spread the word there too. Thank you to everyone that has shared their fantastic binkies, we have used as many as possible on the poster. This is also available to download on our website, it's called 'Try this at home' http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/ahutchisnotenough.htm

Friday, 25 May 2012

Forage Friday - Clover and plan for the winter

It's Forage Friday again, and since we're having such lovely warm weather after all that rain, everything's growing like....weeds! This week we want to tell you about clover. Clover is a member of the pea family and the whole of the plant is safe to be fed to rabbits. It is a good source of protein and very nourishing, and is believed to be a good tonic and useful for feeding during a moult. Rabbits love it, and it's often in hay; clover hay is thought of as one of the richest types of 'albuminoids' . There's plenty around just now, so now's the time to plan for winter when none of this scrummy, nutritious foraging will be around. Take small bunches and tie them together with string then hang them upside down somewhere that has a good air-flow and isn't damp. They won't take long to dry out, and when they're nice and crispy, you can store them in paper (not plastic) bags to keep them fresh. You can also try this (carefully!) with nettles, which rabbits will not eat when fresh, but love when dried out.
If you would like to read up on more wild plants and green foods, why not try this book? It's only £7.45 (including postage) from the RWAF shop. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/product_info.phpproducts_id=207 If you can not find any wild forage, try Galen's Garden: http://www.galensgarden.co.uk/ They stock a wonderful array of seeds, so you can grow all the plants you might need

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Binky Day, its almost here

Binky day is almost with us! Please keep trying to catch your bunnies binkying and sharing them with us. On Binky Day, we would love everyone to share a binky photo on their facebook wall, or send out an e-mail and put 'It's Binky Day' as your status or title, to get lots of people thinking about rabbits. We will be doing a press release to try and generate media interest too, so that we can spread the word that 'A hutch is not enough' Please help us :-) Please be sure that your bunnies are fit enough to do binkies, and if your bunnies are having their binky sessions in the garden, they are safely enclosed, protected from predators and any birds of prey that might be around.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Forage Friday!

It’s Forage Friday! We all know that a rabbit's diet should be around 85% fibre, 5% pellets (not muesli) and 10% greens, but perhaps not many of us are brave enough to try to find natural and free sources of food for our rabbits. Grass and dandelions are the obvious things that we would go for, and they are an excellent addition to the diet, but over the next few weeks we are going to look at other goodies that we might find for our bunnies to enjoy. Starting with Plantain This is ribwort plantain, and it is commonly found, It usually flowers June – October. The good news is that the whole plant is edible, and is a good source of vitamins and minerals, and it's believed to have properties that help rabbits resist or fight off infection. There is also a broader leaf type of plantain called 'Greater Plantain' which is edible for rabbits too. The Bazaar Buns wereenjoying their forage baskets this morning in the sun, as you can see. If you just cant wait to find out what else you can forage for your buns, then why not treat yourself to ‘Rabbit Nutrition’ by Virginia Richardson – available from our shop for £6.50 inc postage. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=38&products_id=982

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/pdfs/GiantRabbitCareGuidelines.pdf We've added some new information about giant rabbits to the website recently.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

May rescue pages

On our rescue webpage for May we feature Cuddly Critters in Essex and Animal Concern in Cumbria. Both work hard to rescue and rehome rabbits in their area and would appreciate your support. They have rabbits for adoption but also appreciate practical support. Please visit this page to find out about them: http://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html We've also been contacted by Rabbit Residence Rescue who are in need of help. Rabbit Residence Rescue is situated in Hertfordshire. The Rabbit Residence Rescue is currently experiencing an emergency situation. Even with a steady stream of rabbits being rehomed to great new homes, the rescue has more rabbits than ever. Numbers have been pushed up by increased pressure for places and a number of emergency intake cases. Recent emergency cases include three baby wild bunnies that arrived at two and a half weeks old having been dug up in their nest at a building site, and a group of six baby cashmere bunnies that were, sadly, abandoned in a cardboard box in a field and were handed in last week. These bunnies will need to be neutered and vaccinated before they are rehomed. We already have an outstanding bill with our (very understanding) vets practice making these forthcoming costs a big concern. We are also desperately trying to repair sheds and improve weather proofing of enclosures. If anyone is able to help us in any practical way, please contact us at SponsorRabbitResidence@gmail.comor go to www.rabbitresidence.org.uk The Rabbit Residence Rescue is based in Hertfordshire and is run by the rescue manager/founder, Caroline, and a dedicated team of volunteers. We love all the bunnies in our care as if they were our own pets and are dedicated to providing the best possible care and to encouraging others with rabbits or wanting to adopt to do the same. We have a non-euthanasia policy and will never have a rabbit with quality of life put to sleep. This means we have many elderly and special needs rabbits that stay with us long term. We are a not-for-profit organisation.

Friday, 4 May 2012

New vaccine

We are still getting enquiries about the new combined Myxi and RHD vaccine. The main concern expressed with the vaccine is the potential lack of protection against Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, in rabbits vaccinated with the new vaccine, if they have been previous vaccinated recently against myxomatosis, or have been infected with it and recovered. This has been raised as a concern because some rabbits which had received previous Myxomatosis vaccination in trials in continental Europe did not develop immunity against RHD following vaccination with the Myxo_RHD vaccine. The vaccines used predominantly there are based on the myxomatosis virus, whereas the current one used here is based on Shope Fibroma Virus. This has led to some uncertainty until recently as to the level of protection so obtained, and the best vaccination protocol to be used in rabbits that have had previous vaccinations. Recent work has been collated by the manufacturers, and demonstrates that at lower levels of vaccine content, there is not sufficient protection. However, at the levels that the vaccine contains, the vast majority of rabbits developed antibody levels that are protective against RHD. The vaccine is also known to produce cell immunity, in addition to antibody levels, which cannot be measured by blood tests, and these results are typical of an effective vaccine as used in other species. The only way to examine the vaccine effectiveness further would be to perform challenge studies. This would entail taking vaccinated and unvaccinated animals and deliberately subjecting them to RHD virus, which would kill the unprotected ones. For ethical reasons this is not ideal, and would perhaps be especially unfortunate since the new vaccine has been made without the need to culture the virus in live rabbit liver, as is necessary with previous RHD vaccines. Without wishing to endorse a specific product, we feel that vaccination against these 2 killer diseases is an important part of rabbit preventative health. Any tool which allows us to prevent death and suffering, especially when this is made easier and therefore more practical to achieve, by only involving one visit to the vets per year, is to be welcomed. We will be covering this in more detail in the next issue of Rabbiting On, due out early May - to make sure you don't miss your copy please join and support our work, because A hutch is not enough: http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/join/index.php

Thursday, 3 May 2012

London Pet Show 2012 - Come to the Warren!

The London Pet Show, the UK’s largest event showcasing a range of pets, will open its doors to a wonderful world of creatures great and small on 12 - 13 May at Earls Court Two, London. Rabbit lovers are in for a real treat as the ‘Discover Small Furries’ section, sponsored by Burgess Pet Care, will be home for two days to some wonderful rabbits as well as guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, hamsters and gerbils...not forgetting Wood Green The Animals Charity, and The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund! The rabbits in The Warren will enjoy all their space in the connective run system provided by ‘Runaround’ and will be able to show the visitors that 'A hutch is not enough'. Nothing demonstrates that better than actually seeing bunnies happily living together in pairs and keeping busy, running, digging and foraging! The RWAF, Wood Green and Burgess Pet Care will be on hand to provide plenty of advice for rabbit owners and those thinking of taking on these wonderful and intelligent creatures as pets. Talks will take part throughout the show on how to look after each type of small furry pet to ensure they are healthy and happy. This will cover both days with experts to hand to answer questions on everything from the living environment your small furry friends need to how to feed them in the right way. For more details, please see http://www.londonpetshow.co.uk/timetables/show/8 You won’t leave empty handed either; with lots of specific information for each type of small furry in a handy care guide, samples and money-off vouchers. You know you’ll be leaving with all the tools you need to give your small furry the best care possible. There’s a whole range of exciting activities taking place,and you will even find out how to make your own foraging ball stuffed with a range of healthy tasty snacks from Burgess Excel. Your rabbits will love it – a great present to take home for your furry friends! We can offer a fantastic 30% discount off the standard ticket prices too if you quote RWAF2 when booking. Tickets must be booked in advance either on the website www.londonpetshow.co.uk or by phone on 0844 873 7332. The price includes a show guide and a goody bag. (This is the same discount as Burgess have offered so don't worry if you have already booked your tickets!) Don’t forget the show also features dogs, cats, exotics, avian and aquatics. Please visit the website for more details www.londonpetshow.co.uk

Monday, 30 April 2012

Binky Day - 1st June 2012

http://www.examiner.com/article/rabbit-welfare-and-association-fund-binky-day-2012 1st June is our first official Binky Day and word is spreading! Please keep sending the binky photos to rae@rabbitwelfare.co.uk and we will use as many as possible on the day. A hutch is not enough - let your rabbits binky!

Friday, 27 April 2012

PAH VIP trial

We, The RWAF, recommend rabbits to be kept in neutered social groups eg pairs, to provide companionship, enrichment, and enable natural social behaviours. Many reputable rescue centres neuter their youngsters before rehoming them, and this is ideal, as it enables them to be successfully bonded, and avoids many of the problems that domestic rabbits face, such as being kept alone, or being mis-sexed and producing an accidental litter adding to the rescue burden, as well as the the health and behavioural problems that entire rabbits can face. Our own guidance about neutering can be found here: http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/two_heads.htm We are aware that Pets at Home have taken steps to address these issues, and make it possible to acquire 2 already neutered and vaccinated rabbits in selected stores via their VIP trial, However we do have several questions surrounding the early neutering procedures, and their long term effect, as well as weaning, socialisation, transportation and vaccination. We are aware this issue is causing a great deal of concern, and we are giving it our full attention. However we need to be in possession of the full facts, before we can comment further, and we are awaiting these. We are also aware that this trial is being ceased and that no further rabbits will be imported to be sold in PAH stores.

Put your money where your heart is.

We have been working hard with lots of retailers, bringing rabbit welfare to their attention and working with them in several ways, ie improving the information on their website and hopefully improving the products that we sell. The retailers who have signed up to our retail charter, have pledged to help us make a difference to rabbit welfare in some way, so please shop with them when you're buying supplies for your animals. http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/walloffame.htm We know how passionate about rabbits our supporters are, so please investigate any other companies fully and if you don't feel comfortable giving them your hard earned cash, keep your conscience clear and shop elsewhere. Companies that feel it in their till when they do something consumers dislike are likely to rethink their practices.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A hutch is not enough

Yuk - this weather is awful and it's like winter again. It's a good time to remind everyone that 'a hutch is not enough' and this type of weather is just one of the reasons why we recommend that a hutch should be within a safe enclosure, or attached to a safe exercise run, so that the rabbits can chose when they shelter, and when they exercise. It is unfair to keep rabbits locked in their hutches in bad weather, because they are not able to behave as rabbits, to run, jump and dig for example. It is equally as unfair to keep them in a run with no access to their hutch. Please make sure that out door bunnies have the opportunity to exercise every day. Tarpaulins can be used to make shelter from the rain, snow and hot sun and allow some year round protection. Please check out our tips for a basic outdoor set up here: Please share this, and help us spread the word - a hutch is not enough.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Binky Day!

Binky Day is fast approaching. We'll be celebrating it on 1st June. Since mentioning it a while ago, you have sent us photos and videos that have brought smiles to all our faces. Many can be found on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151041372075301&set=o.191449507147&type=3&theater

We've uploaded a great video into our YouTube account too. You're bound to love this one. http://www.rwaf.org.uk/binky

Please spread the word to everyone you know, rabbit people or not, about binkies, and what this joy this bunny dance expresses.

If you have any more photos or videos to share, please send them to hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk so we can upload them for you, or share your own links on our Facebook page. http://www.rwaf.org.uk/fbrwaf

Friday, 13 April 2012

Myxi outbreak in Leeds

We've had reports of a myxi outbreak in Leeds. Please make sure your rabbits are all vaccinated. If you know of any other outbreaks please let us know - if ppssible share on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Rabbit-Welfare-Association-and-Fund/191449507147

Give as you live.

When you go shopping online, please continue to go to the stores via Give As You Live, naming the RWF as your chosen charity. Their special offer to charities bringing in new shoppers is extended until June, so while you won't be charged a penny extra, the stores registered with them will pay the RWF, and Give As You Live is still making a donation for every new customer to register with them on our behalf until June.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Spring your rabbits this Easter


It's easy to see why rabbits are the perfect symbol to celebrate spring, beautiful to look at and bursting with life. They are a common sight in our fields and verges; munching on grass, running, jumping and digging. And, according to a UK charity, these behaviours are what we should be looking for in our pet rabbits.

The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) is the largest UK charity with the aim of improving the welfare of domestic rabbits. This Easter the charity is urging owners to spring their rabbits from the confines of the hutch, into a large secure exercise area of course!.

"What you see in the wild and what you see in the garden is very different," said Richard Saunders, Vet expert advisor for the RWAF. "A lot of people keep a rabbit in a hutch, alone and with no space to exercise. This simply doesn't let them act as they would naturally. Rabbits need to run and jump, and they'd never live alone in the wild."

The charity is promoting its A Hutch is Not Enough campaign, which aims to educate rabbit owners and pet retailers on what rabbits need to lead full and contented lives. It stresses the importance of a large secure enclosure in which the rabbits can run and jump freely. "A Hutch should be a shelter as part of a bigger enclosure, never the sole accommodation," said Richard. "People get much more pleasure from their pet rabbits when they make a bit of effort to give them the life they deserve. And if you’re thinking of getting a rabbit but can’t commit to meeting their needs fully then you should think again.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

April's rescue page - have you got room?

Our rescue page has been updated for April and features two rescues, Windwhistle Warren in Gloucestershire and Little Angels Rescue in Essex http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html In addition, we feature two further rescues in this message, and a further case where a private person has come to the rescue of bunnies about to be dumped.

We start with a request for a very special personor family to adopt a special needs bunny and his bondmate.

The Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary has a rabbit section and recently two rabbits were handed in, one of them, Rory, had a problem which affected his movement, which the vet later confirmed as a broken back. This has been confirmed by a second veterinary opinion. Because of this, as you can guess, Rory is a special needs rabbit, and needs a home where people will be able to offer him the time and commitment he needs, and will also be able to offer his friend Rosie a home, as they are both very attached to each other.

We know that because of his special needs, Rory will need a special home, and know that this will be hard to find, but as he is such a lovely rabbit we think that he is worth all the effort that it will take, and hope that there is someone out there who will feel the same, who will welcome this pair into their home and hearts.


If you feel you are the right person to take on Rory and Rosie, then please contact Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary 01865 890239, email contact@oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk or via their website http://www.oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk/


Freshfields Animal Rescue is an independent rescue based in the north west. We have a non-destruction policy and prioritize stray, abandoned and abused animals. Our small animal unit houses on average 30 rabbits, 15 guinea pigs and other various small animals. All of our rabbits are neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped and health checked before they are rehomed.

We have rabbits of all ages, colours, sizes and types. Unfortunately some are harder to rehomed than others. We particularly struggle rehoming older rabbits (3+). For example Fifi and Zac are a fantastic pair of rabbits with no health problems and great personalities but because they are aged 4 and 5 they always get overlooked.


We also struggle to rehomed larger rabbits as most people who come to us want dwarf rabbits. An example of this is Jamie and Sylvia. They are French lops and have a really lovely temperament and cheeky attitudes and this all adds to their charm. Unfortunately because of their size many people are not willing to build a pen big enough for them and they are overlooked.

For more information on our rabbits and all the other animals at Freshfields Animal Rescue visit our website www.freshfieldsrescue.org.uk.


And finally, we were contacted recently by a lady who had been told by a man that he was going to turn out two 'Nethies' onto the street. She took them in, to find that they are in fact young large dwarf lops, harlequins. It's likely that there's a lot of French lop in them, given how big they already are at such a young age.

They're only 4 or 5 months old, but because they weren't neutered when she took them in, they began to fight and are now having to live apart from each other. The lady says

' They are now separated (since a couple of hours after we took them in) as they were fighting and we put them in the big runs, which meant we had to give up two runs for 2 of our bonded pairs. I would like to rehome them as house rabbits.

I have named the boys Jack (Calico) and Henry (Harlequin). Henry has amazing blue eyes. He is the gentle soul and Jack is full of energy and very friendly. Henry is also friendly but more of an introvert.'

Both are being neutered this week and they will have their VHD vaccinations next week. They are in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

If you feel you can offer a home to either Jack or Henry, then please contact hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk and your mail will be passed on to the rescuer.

April's rescue page - have you got room?

Our rescue page has been updated for April and features two rescues, Windwhistle Warren in Gloucestershire and Little Angels Rescue in Essex http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html In addition, we feature two further rescues in this message, and a further case where a private person has come to the rescue of bunnies about to be dumped.

We start with a request for a very special personor family to adopt a special needs bunny and his bondmate.

The Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary has a rabbit section and recently two rabbits were handed in, one of them, Rory, had a problem which affected his movement, which the vet later confirmed as a broken back. This has been confirmed by a second veterinary opinion. Because of this, as you can guess, Rory is a special needs rabbit, and needs a home where people will be able to offer him the time and commitment he needs, and will also be able to offer his friend Rosie a home, as they are both very attached to each other.

We know that because of his special needs, Rory will need a special home, and know that this will be hard to find, but as he is such a lovely rabbit we think that he is worth all the effort that it will take, and hope that there is someone out there who will feel the same, who will welcome this pair into their home and hearts.


If you feel you are the right person to take on Rory and Rosie, then please contact Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary 01865 890239, email contact@oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk or via their website http://www.oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk/


Freshfields Animal Rescue is an independent rescue based in the north west. We have a non-destruction policy and prioritize stray, abandoned and abused animals. Our small animal unit houses on average 30 rabbits, 15 guinea pigs and other various small animals. All of our rabbits are neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped and health checked before they are rehomed.

We have rabbits of all ages, colours, sizes and types. Unfortunately some are harder to rehomed than others. We particularly struggle rehoming older rabbits (3+). For example Fifi and Zac are a fantastic pair of rabbits with no health problems and great personalities but because they are aged 4 and 5 they always get overlooked.


We also struggle to rehomed larger rabbits as most people who come to us want dwarf rabbits. An example of this is Jamie and Sylvia. They are French lops and have a really lovely temperament and cheeky attitudes and this all adds to their charm. Unfortunately because of their size many people are not willing to build a pen big enough for them and they are overlooked.

For more information on our rabbits and all the other animals at Freshfields Animal Rescue visit our website www.freshfieldsrescue.org.uk.


And finally, we were contacted recently by a lady who had been told by a man that he was going to turn out two 'Nethies' onto the street. She took them in, to find that they are in fact young large dwarf lops, harlequins. It's likely that there's a lot of French lop in them, given how big they already are at such a young age.

They're only 4 or 5 months old, but because they weren't neutered when she took them in, they began to fight and are now having to live apart from each other. The lady says

' They are now separated (since a couple of hours after we took them in) as they were fighting and we put them in the big runs, which meant we had to give up two runs for 2 of our bonded pairs. I would like to rehome them as house rabbits.

I have named the boys Jack (Calico) and Henry (Harlequin). Henry has amazing blue eyes. He is the gentle soul and Jack is full of energy and very friendly. Henry is also friendly but more of an introvert.'

Both are being neutered this week and they will have their VHD vaccinations next week. They are in Ely, Cambridgeshire.



If you feel you can offer a home to either Jack or Henry, then please contact hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk and your mail will be passed on to the rescuer.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Last FAQ

There were various questions about calcium levels in the diet, but we think an earlier post covers them all:


We are getting calls and e-mails about the new vaccine but feel that some of these questions would be better answered by the vaccine manufacturer themselves; so we hope to bring more FAQ in the next issue of Rabbiting On.

Monday, 2 April 2012

More FAQ about Hay

Q12) Are rabbits more at risk from myxi from farm hay than processed hay?
A12) Wild rabbits don’t tend to have mites. It is possible that fleas or ticks could be present in the hay, and go on to bite and spread disease, but this is a pretty insignificant risk.

Q13) Is there any proof that readi grass can lead to bladder issues?

A13) It’s higher in calcium than timothy, and lower in water than grass, so in susceptible rabbits those foods would be preferable, but it is not a significantly greater risk in itself.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Q11) Can readigrass be fed instead of hay as the sole source of fibre? (Not advisable perhaps, but for owners of fussy buns or those who are overly concerned about mites in hay)
A11) Timothy hay best, but if they won’t eat any of these various timothies and other specialist hays, then it is better than nothing. The Oxbow etc has been packaged and stored and shipped and we’d be surprised if any invertebrates were alive in it.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Q8) Are there any plans to create a long term soultion such as a vaccination against EC in the near future?

A8) Not by anyone we know of.

Hay etc

Q9) The risk of myxi from hay is small, but does readigrass have the same risk factor?

A9) Readigrass has a different production process and should be free of live mites. We are not suggesting everyone stop feeding hay as the basis of the rabbits diet, but for those people who are worried about this, readigrass is a suitable alternative, for a healthy rabbit with no known under lying problems. .

Q10) Is Readigrass fattening?

A10) Not particularly. Pretty much equivalent to grass and hay

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

FAQ cont'd

Q7) I bought some zoflora as it says safe to use in pet areas, thing is would it be
safe to use near buns? I know it wouldn't kill EC spores though.

A7) This is from the safety data sheet, which makes me think, no, it’s not a good
idea round pets:

Highly flammable
Harmful in contact with skin and if swallowed
Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed
Cause burns
Irritating to eyes
Irritating to skin
Toxic: danger of very serious irreversible effects through inhalation, in
contact with skin and if swallowed
May cause sensitisation by skin contact
Very toxic to aquatic organisms.
Toxic to aquatic organisms, may cause long term effects in the aquatic
Harmful to aquatic organisms, may cause long term effects in the aquatic
Harmful: may cause lung damage if swallowed.
Highly flammable liquid and vapour
Toxic if swallowed
Harmful if swallowed
Toxic in contact with skin
Harmful in contact with skin
Causes severe skin burns and eye damage
Toxic if inhaled
Causes damage to organs
Very toxic to aquatic life

Friday, 23 March 2012

FAQ cont'd

The new vaccine is arriving in vet practices this week. The UK tests have been
completed and although we do not have the results as yet we will update everyone
when we do.
I'm interested to know more about the new combined vaccine...and in particular
there's something in the data information which suggests that if a bunny has had
the other myxi vaccine in the past, the VHD element of the new vaccine might not
work. I‘d be interested to now why this is. What does this mean in practice?
Will the new vaccine therefore only be used for first time bunnies, or will it
be used in conjunction with one of the former VHD vaccinations? What advice have
vets been given about this?
The new combined vaccine has been tested in rabbits given the continental
Myxi vaccine, and there were borderline low protective titres to VHD. This is a
different vaccine to what is used in the UK against Myxi so there is now work
underway to see if the UK Myxi vaccine interferes to the same degree, though
they expect it not to be a problem. We expect results shortly.

Are Trigene and Vanodine safe for use with rabbits and would they kill

A6) Vanodine
is an iodine based product, which claims to kill other spore based
bacteria/fungi etc, and so I would imagine it to be effective after cleaning as
per our cleaning protocol:
clean the area to remove any scale or residue.
Ark-Klens , which is a benzalkonium chloride disinfectant and as such it should
be effective against EC and Myxi, to routinely disinfect the housing.
use Virkon (as an inorganic peroxygen compound) to kill any other
viruses.Note: Other benzalkonium chloride disinfectants and inorganic
peroxygen compounds may be available, in addition to those named
is safe at the dilutions recommended, and should be as effective as above
(product is claimed effective against spores, bacteria, fungi, mycobacteria and
viruses) assuming the above cleaning procedure is followed

Thursday, 22 March 2012

FAQ con'td Myxi.

Q2) What is the risk in reality of a rabbit contracting Myxomatosis from contact
with a recently Nobivac Myxo vaccinated rabbit?
A2) Its not Myxomatosis in the old Nobivac Myxo vaccine, so they can’t develop myxo
from it, so there is no risk at all.

Q3) If a myxi vaccinated bunny subsequently catches myxi 6 months later and
(thankfully) fully recovers from it, does this bunny then have some kind of
immunity to catching it again or at the very least a stronger chance of fighting
it again?
A3) No, not really, immunity is short lived.

Q4) I have an indoor rabbit n the vet said injections once a year is enough. If he was
outdoor he recommends twice. If I had 2 indoor bunnies is once a year
vaccination enough too or should they be vaccinated twice ?

A4) The RWAF recommends vaccinating all rabbits twice yearly or myxi and once for VHD.This advice will change when the new combined vaccine becomes available very soon, until then,
keep your vaccines up to date.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Myxi outbreak and Ask the Expert.

We’d like to remind you once more about keeping vaccinations up to date. It’s only a few days ago that a distraught member in Essex has asked us to let everyone know that myxi is rife there at the moment. If you know of any outbreaks please let us know, or share them here.

Please don’t let your rabbits miss or be late for any of their vaccinations. Until the new vaccine becomes available later this year, keep to the dates your rabbits are due, annually for VHD and six-monthly for Myxomatosis.

A few weeks back we asked our Facebook followers for FAQs on Myxi and VHD, and this threw up some questions about hay too. Over the next few days we’ll be publishing one or two of your questions daily with answers from our Vet expert advisor Richard Saunders BSc (Hons) BVSc MSB CBiol DZooMed (Mammalian) MRCVS .

Thanks to everyone who took part and contributed, we hope that this is both interesting and useful:

Myxi – Q1)How effective is the new combined vaccine against myxo. Have heard of lots of cases of pseudo myxo in last 12 months on vaccinated rabbits. Will this still happen with combined vaccine, is it a new vaccine more appropriate to recent strains?

A1) Data sheet for it is now online: http://www.noahcompendium.co.uk/MSD_Animal_Health/Nobivac_Myxo-RHD_lyophilisate_and_solvent_for_suspension_for_injection_for_rabbits/-58449.html

In theory, this new vaccine should be better, and it has been tested against virulent strains.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Bunny Bazaar

We'd like you to say hello and welcome to Toto, Sanza and Ayra.
They are the official office bunnies of the RWAF, and have got a very important job. Not only
are they promoting rescue bunnies (all being rescued themselves), and showing
how happy rabbits are in (neutered) pairs or compatible groups as long as they
have the correct environment, but they are also chief product testers for the
RWAF shop, which is now called Bunny Bazaar. (So we've nicknamed them the Bazaar
Buns) They will very shortly be launching the Bunny Bazaar website, but for now,
they have added some of their favourite goodies on to e-bay
Please join the Bunny Bazaar page to keep in touch with them, and for details about special offers.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Shopping for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is this weekend...please read Nutmeg and Betty's message

And send your Mum a lovely card from Charity Greetings http://www.charitygreetings.com/index.php

But mostly....a lovely gift bought via Give As You Live http://www.giveasyoulive.com/

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

RWAF supports rabbit rescue

We're featuring rescues regularly and for March we've a few to feature. Firstly, we have a new web page that will change monthly. So please look here, and we'll remind you again when
some new rescues are featured. If you can't help...perhaps you'd share the link
with somebody who can? http://www.rwaf.org.uk/rescues

And today we have more rescues who need support. The following messages are all written by the rescues themselves:

Peskys Rabbit Rescue is a small rescue centre run from our home in Dorset. Our space is limited and at present we are experiencing high levels of requests to take in unwanted rabbits. We try our
best to vaccinate, neuter and pair up rabbits here at the rescue and do rehome single rabbits to pair up with other lonely bunnies. These two are called Blossom and Domino.


Blossom is a 3.5 year old Lionhead X (Chinchilla I think)She is an absolute sweetheart and loves to run around, she is currently an outdoor rabbit with her partner, French Lop Domino, they are both used to running around indoors too. Her favourite thing is to have her nose rubbed! Her
current Husbun is 5 years old, he is quite an old man in character and dispite
all my efforts to get him running about he is happy exploring his surroundings
for a few minutes, and then securing the best seat for the next few hours!
Unfortunately, due to the french lops shorter life span, he may not have many
more years left and so Blossom will need a new friend when the time comes as she
is quite young still. The pair are very much in love and need a home with an
understanding and experienced owner who has a big hutch or indoor cage and run.
Both are vaccinated against Myxomatosis and VHD and Domino is neutered. They are
both in excellent health All enquiries are welcome via fiona_23@hotmail.co.uk or 07914568088,http://www.peskys.co.uk/

Fife rabbit rescue began in 2005 the rabbits are neutered and vaccinated before going to new home. I only ever re home in pairs or sometimes people come to the rescue with a single rabbit that they are looking for a partner for and I help them with the bonding. I have several large
hutches in my garden and 10 large runs where the rabbits can hop, run and binky in daily. I run the rescue myself and it is a lot of hard work. No matter the weather I attend to the rabbits needs several times a day. Spot cleaning, grooming, cuddling and checking things like teeth ears and bottoms! Often rabbits arrive in a dreadful condition and the feeling of being appalled at the owners allowing their pet get into such dreadful conditions never goes away but I am always glad that they come to me so that I can help them on the road to good health. Things like ear mites can cause such distress to a rabbit and yet it is so easily treated it is such a pleasure to see rabbits thrive after being so neglected. Some rabbits arrive pregnant or with litters.
One rabbit arrived with a 4-week-old litter a new-born litter and was pregnant
again! Helping these lovely creatures find the perfect home is always a

Sadly some rabbits are in the rescue for a very long time, there was a litter of 6 born here in March 2011 the first two pairs were rehomed by August but the last pair were 10 months old before they found a new home. Calls, emails and text messages are received every day from people unable to to keep their rabbits.

We truly do appreciate any help that can be given, be it practical, financial, or best of all offering a new, loving home to these lovely rabbits who truly do deserve a second chance. Please contact me at kareen@fiferabbitrescue.co.uk if you feel you can help.

And finally, staying in Scotland, we have a message from Buddies Bunnies about an event they're holding soon Buddies Bunny Rescue are holding a Rabbit Awareness Day at Carrington Village Hall, Nr Bonnyrigg, Midlothian on Sat 24th March from 10-4
Fun for all the family.... Lots of things going on including;
Meet the Vet
Meet the wonderbuns - Buddies Murphy & Paws Here's Award Winning Basil
Feeding demo's, free samples - advice from our Vet Nurses.
Buddies/RWA stand - meet the team and talk all things rabbity!
Craft stalls, tombolas, face painting, arts & crafts, homebaking and refreshments
Also watch Live rabbit agility with Vivienne and Rowan her Nethie!
£3 entry and kids go free.
Hope to see you all there,
The Buddies Team