Thanks for reading about Cider and my musings on life with my house rabbit. I'm retiring this blog and resurrecting "Life with a Lagomorph" on Tumblr. Look for me on Tumblr: rkelagomorph. Looking forward to sharing pictures of Cider and to sharing the adventure of living with an adopted house rabbit.
A blog about house rabbits wouldn't be complete without the initial discussion of poop. As a rabbit owner, the topic of poop sneaks into conversations, particularly conversations about gardening. When not in pursuit of an MBA, I enjoy spending weekends and warm spring and summer months cultivating my green thumb. Being a rabbit owner is conducive to this, especially when fertilizer is involved. I fertilize my flower beds with compost from the compost bin, and the basis for my compost bin is, *drum roll, please,* bunny poop! When neighbors or visitors to my house comment on the health and vitality of the vegetation in my flower beds, I enjoy the reactions I receive when I tell people that I fertilize with bunny poop.
A great aspect of being a green thumb cultivator with a pet rabbit is that I never lack for organic matter to put into the compost bin. I clean Cider's cage every day and rather then toss all of that organic matter into the trash, I toss it into the compost bin. This organic matter includes hay and the contents of Cider's litter pan, the majority of which is poop. Why is bunny poop beneficial to the compost bin and to the plants that compost fertilizes? Rabbits are herbivores. All of what goes into a rabbit and comes out is plant-based, making bunny poop ideal for compost. The poop itself is a great source of nitrogen and phosphorous. Nitrogen is needed for photosynthesis, and phosphorous is needed for the conversation of nutrients. (If you would like to know more, click on either "nitrogen" and "phosphorous.")
My compost bin contains more organic matter than bunny poops and bunny hay. I strive to incorporate a smattering of organic matter such as fruit peels, clippings from bushes I've recently trimmed, the occasional dose of grass clippings and those disposable coffee cups and lids, to name a few. That being said, the majority of what goes into my compost bin is bunny poop. Throughout the spring and summer and often into the fall, I water the compost bin on occasion and stir up the contents with a pitchfork. Upon the arrival of spring. I time the spreading of the compost to coincide with the annual mulching of the flower beds. Prior to spreading the mulch, I spread the compost around each plant in a circular pattern. Then, I spread the mulch and allow the decomposing organic matter to do its duty of fertilizing the plants.
Rabbits communicate through body language. To know what state of mind or mood your rabbit is in, rabbit owners should do research into bunny body language to ensure correct interpretation of what a rabbit is communicating. I'd like to devote a post to one of my favorite rabbit displays of happiness: the bunny flop. A rabbit who is extremely happy and content could potentially do a bunny flop. A flop is basically exactly what it sounds like. The rabbit will flop on its side with legs stretched out. See below for picture of Cider bunny flops.
I love bunny flops. They're so cute. (I've ultimately arrived at the conclusion that almost everything bunnies do is cute!) Additionally, a bunny flop is a rabbit communicating contentment. What pet owner doesn't feel elated knowing that one's pet is really happy? (A rhetorical question, I know.) A bunny flop done in one's presence indicates that being in the presence of that human makes the bunny happy. These bunny flops all occurred during homework sessions over the course of my MBA coursework. As you can conclude from the picture, Cider has a specific location for bunny flops. The three pictures were taken on different days, yet the bunny flops all occurred in the same geographic location. Somebunny does indeed enjoy having me spend lots of time in the bunny room working on homework!
Question: Are you working on an MBA (Master of Business Administration)? Then a rabbit is a great pet for you, just as long as you are willing to devote the time that a rabbit requires. Why is a rabbit a great pet for MBA candidates? I'll explain. For the past two years, I've been enrolled part-time at Radford University working on my MBA. I typically have classes once or twice per week and spend the remaining weekdays and weekends working on homework. My desk is located in the bunny room, so, conveniently, when I have homework, I have the opportunity to spend all of that time with Cider. Depending on the day and the workload, I could potentially spend between two to six hours at a time at my desk in the bunny room.
I know for certain that Cider enjoys these homework sessions. He'll either go about this business eating hay, tossing toys or lounging, but more often than not, he's sitting near by feet or underneath the chair I sit in. The picture below is a view of me looking down to find a bunny sitting on the floor next to me. If I'm sitting in the bunny room working on homework, Cider is often nearby.
While being in the same room as the bunny is a great way to spend time with a pet rabbit, interaction between rabbit and human needs to occur, Pet rabbits, particularly Cider, are quite content to entertain themselves with toys and appropriate objects to chew on, yet they do like to interact and play with you.
I located a great website containing a list of suggested games to play with one's pet rabbit. A favorite in my house is what we have deemed "Chase the Bunny. Even though Cider really enjoys being downstairs with us if we're watching TV or if I'm reading on the couch, he likes to be coy and pretend that he doesn't. Often, when I go into his room to fetch him and bring him downstairs, he'll run away. If I act like I'm going to leave the room, I'll look down and find a bunny at my feet looking up at me as if to say, "Well, aren't you going to take me with you?" Then I reach down to pick him up and he runs off again. If I actually do leave the room without fetching him, sometimes I'll turn around and see Cider bunny close to the doorway looking at me, like, "Hey! Where are you going without me?"
Another favorite in our household is "Bunny Obstacle Course," where the human provides the obstacles. If Cider is downstairs in the living room, and one of us humans lays down on the floor, one will inevitably become an exploratory hill for Cider. He'll put his paws on legs and peer over the top of the human lump. He'll hop around and sniff noses or heads. Sometimes, when he's feeling brave, he'll even hop over the human mountain on the floor. Laying on the floor is a great way to interact with a rabbit. I've found that they feel much more comfortable when you're closer to their height and allow them to approach you. Cider is quite content to inspect whichever human is laying on the floor.
An activity that I enjoyed is rearranging Cider's room after I clean it. I clean his cage out everyday and give the bunny room a thorough cleaning (dusting and vacuuming) once per week. After cleaning, while certain objects have a set place in the room, such as the furniture, I place his toys and cardboard boxes in different locales on the floor. Exploring the new setup of his room keep him occupied and engaged for a bit.
In addition to spending time with one's house rabbit, the importance of interacting and engaging in play with one's rabbit cannot be overlooked.