Archive for the ‘house rabbits’ Category
Amid the evocative smells of roasting green chile, Fall is upon us suddenly. The nights are heading toward very nippy to nearly freezing, but the afternoons are warm and golden. There is nothing like New Mexico fall! This will be my second one since I moved here a year ago.
Everybody – flock and human and dogs – are doing great, though Poppy, our Maltese puppy of one year busted her knee and had to be splinted for 6 weeks after which she was operated on. The splint was a trial for her, as was her “cone of shame” in the beginning. Now, she’s back to her bouncy self, but we have to keep her not quite as bouncy as she’d like while her knee mends. But she can go for very short walks, which she looks forward to with great enthusiasm.
BunRab appreciates this nifty 2-story bunny thingie that my sister made out of fence railing.
Steve enjoys sunning himself on his “porch”:
And Sam appreciates the addition of his climbing perch and swing
And the cockatiels are in fine fettle. This is Charlie’s preferred place to nap during the day, on my bookshelf. St Francis, whose feast day is tomorrow, is benignly looking on…
May your fall be as lovely as mine!
And we did not bust at all, but had a great trip, even though I was very tired from the start, having had little sleep after a marathon packing/cleaning day before. Steve and Sam were crammed in travel cages on the front passenger side, the two cockatiels in travel cages were in the back seat that had been flattened. Bun Rab was right next to them in her fairly spacious cage. After an initial getting used to the positioning, everyone soon got used to their places and seemed to really enjoy the ride.
During the trip, there was some chattering, but mostly everybody understood this was a long-haul trip and just settled down. Everybody ate well – Sam nearly ate non-stop, dunking his pellets in water and slowly eating the outsides like ice cream cones.
It was exhausting hauling everybody’s cages into motel rooms, but they were all real troopers. I couldn’t have had better companions. On day 2, I drove for 11 hours, getting us to Williams, AZ at dusk. And by the afternoon of day 3, we were flagging. Near Gallup, NM, we stopped under a shady tree and all of us napped silently, listening to the birds outside chirp in the early fall heat.
On day 3, we all rolled in around 2:30 pm. My mother had just returned home from the hospital, having contracted West Nile Virus a couple weeks previously. I had fast-forwarded my trip to New Mexico by an entire month so that I could be here to help Mom and my sister. Mom nearly died, but with many prayers and a dose of very good luck, she pulled through without complications. We are soooo very grateful she lived to tell the tale.
Meanwhile, my living quarters weren’t ready because I had arrived a month early, so I camped out in the living room of Mom’s house with my bird cages parked in various places and Bun Rab penned in beneath the dining room table to be out of the way of traffic. Chipper and Charlie had to bunk together, to save room. That worked, but sometimes the racket of competitive singing and one-upping was very hard to bear. But, again, all the feathered guys were very flexible, even getting used to my sister’s Maltese dog Maizy.
By October, we all moved into my new “cabin,” and then it was time to get used to another home – the 3rd one in 2 weeks. Steve regressed quite a bit, but that was perfectly understandable.
Once settled, though, things fell into place and we’ve now been here since then, enjoying family life again and being together again for the holidays – so far: Thanksgiving, a beautiful Christmas, and a very cold January.
Sam is the most easy-going and adaptable of the flock, and he has been happy with everything – no matter what changes I make, rearranging his cage position, changing the routine, he’s happy-go-lucky because he gets to be with me most of the day (I work at home).
And Steve has been generally pretty darn happy too. It’s taken him all this time to progress to this miracle moment of venturing OUTSIDE of his cage without hanging onto it by one leg!
And now, for a little light humor, I give you Chipper! Just click on the link following:
And Bun Rab is ecstatic! She gets to have the entire run of my cabin – no cage.
We’ve had some great spring/early summer weather with mild temperatures and lots of rain. But summer finally caught up with us in the last two weeks with triple digit temperatures and some humidity (usually it’s pretty dry here).
Bun Rab copes pretty well, armed with frozen water bottles and a fan blowing directly on her. Here she is cooling her heels against the bottle:
The avian flock seems to be fine with it, so long as I give some misty showers each day.
Steve still won’t come out of his cage except briefly to his ledge outside of the food hatch door. But he does come out each night there for head rubs. Lately, he’s even been venturing out to play with a toy I got for him last year. Up till now, he’s been too afraid of it, but I’ve been using it myself to show him that it’s not going to hurt him and it’s not scary after all. It’s a fun toy that has 4 buttons. Each one, when pressed, has a different sound: “hello!” “hello, bird!” “I love you” and a short recording of laughter as a bird might interpret it.
Steve has finally found out how to apply the right pressure to get it to say something. Now, he presses the “hello!” to get my attention. He’s perfectly capable of saying “Hello,” as I heard him answer my cell phone ring with a loud “HELLO!” But he usually chooses not to talk.
Steve is finally also developing a playful side. After I cover him up for the night, he clanks up and down his cage and waits for me to lift the cover to say a final good night by hanging upside down and soliciting touch and head rubs through his cage bars. It’s hard to believe he never knew how to play before – such a basic part of any normal African Grey’s nature! It’s taken him nearly two years to get to this point. I can’t imagine how sterile and empty his life was before.
He’s just as phobic about coming out of his cage as he was when I adopted him, but he’s made some great progress in the past two years. I couldn’t be more pleased. And I think he is too.
Everybody’s doing great around here. This is Steve, in a very upright position, feeling naked and exposed by my camera, which he doesn’t care for much. We made a little breakthrough today! Steve accepted – even seemed to like – being sprayed with warm water! He’s been watching the exuberant and very enthusiastic bathtimes of my other birds, and I think he’s been ready for a little while. When I’d finished with the cockatiels, I made a fuss of how great the concept of a bath was, I knelt down so as not to spray above his eyesight and scare him, and began spraying him from a distance through his cage bars. He liked it! (Believe me, he would have growled and screeched and freaked out if he did not want it.) His first instinct was to fluff up his feathers and welcome the warm water. Then I think he thought about it and stopped being spontaneous. But he didn’t move away. I’m really glad about this because I doubt he’s had a bath for years and his skin and feathers must be very dry and uncomfortable.
I’m also including a video of today’s clicker training to show you how much more relaxed he’s become since the last time I did the same routine.
Saturday is cage cleaning time, so everybody gets involved. That included Bun Rab, who finds shredding newspaper hugely fun. (And what’s even more fun for her is to find Harrison’s pellet pieces on the floor.)
While Sam’s cage was being cleaned, Charlie sang to Pippin:
And all is right with the world – at least in our universe!
Hope your coming week is a good one.
This photo is a bit blurry, but those white fluffs hanging off Bun Rab’s whiskers are 2-3 down feather from my cockatiels. This happens every day when Bun Rab “forages” underneath the birds’ various cages. What is she looking for? Remnants of Harrison’s bird pellets! She absolutely loves the stuff. I can’t imagine it would be bad for her, but they could make her fat over time, so I don’t give them to her at all. But I figure the occasional pellet and crumbs here and there won’t go amiss.
Several times a week, I wrap the larger pellets for Sam in adding machine paper. I usually perform this task while I watch a DVD.
At my side on the floor is a large pickle jar I drop the completed pellets into. Occasionally one of two things happen:
1. I will miss the jar, and the wrapped pellet drops to the floor – Bun Rab swoops in to grab it.
2. If I leave the jar top off too long, she will actually reach up and remove a pellet out of the. The little sneaker!
Here you see her at work on a dropped pellet:
and the result:
We’re going through the last heat wave before Fall begins in earnest (at least, I think it might be). All the poison oak has conveniently turned red around here. Tips of some maples are beginning to turn golden, and the lawns are bone dry – well, mine is. I don’t like using precious water just to keep my postage stamp lawn looking green. I water shrubs and plants to keep them going till the rains start, but the lawn is my last priority.
Inside, we all cope in our own ways. Bun Rab, being the furry mammal in the house, sprawls out to catch any coolness available.
The birds, who generally like it hot, just get sleepy.
Hmm….a nap does sound good right about now. I just might join these guys. They know best!
After a long absence, I plan to post regularly again. It’s been a difficult few months. Chronic pain from an old injury is no fun! I’m glad to say that I’ve made great progress in these past months and have hope that I will continue to grow stronger and be able to ward off the worst pain.
Over the months, I’ve had time to think about life, about art, about my passions, and what I still want to accomplish in my life. Although it has been 13 years since I’ve been in remission from breast cancer (after 10 years, one is considered “cured”), I never stop feeling the press of time, especially as I age.
As much as I love to paint and still feel the urge to do so, I’m going to continue my sabbatical from art for the present. My other passion is family history and genealogy – and of course, my parrots. Both of these particular passions are currently receiving all of my attention right now.
My favorite uncle Hank Domagalski, a World War II bomber pilot in the Pacific theater, used to be the family memory keeper. He was the only one who made 8 mm films and interviews of family members and events. When he passed away a few years ago, these materials came to me and I’m slowly gathering material to self-publish a number of books about my family lines. If you are interested, you can read a short article I wrote about my father’s family at this link (my article is on pages 6 and 7 of the pdf here). This type of research takes quite a lot of time and thought, and it is something I feel I must do as a legacy to my family.
My parrots and my house rabbit are doing just great. For the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing for the addition of one more rescue parrot into my family, and I’ll be posting more about that later. This photo shows my rabbit Bun Rab checking out the carrier in which I’ll be transporting my new charge by airplane. I’m very excited!
So that’s my news for now.
Hello, everybody! I’m hanging in there and having some slow successes with the chronic pain issues. Blog posting will be sporadic for awhile, but I’m still here.
When I last posted, I mentioned having had to spay Bun Rab, my rescued bunny. She’s doing great, by the way. I’ve noticed 3 immediate improvements:
1. She stopped going into false pregnancies/nesting urges
2. She is 100% reliable with her litter box now
3. She seems altogether happier and friskier, now that she’s not driven by reproductive urges
So, it was a good move.
I’m always trying to find ways to provide stimulation and fun for my birds, and now my rabbit. It’s pretty easy to make a house rabbit happy. You provide plenty of space, good quality food/hay, a safe environment for resting and eating, and TOYS! In this case, very cheap ones. The best ones I’ve found are wadded up pieces of paper packing = play ball! Here is Bun Rab doing what she enjoys every evening when I come home from work:
You may hear Bun Rab at the beginning (the reason the camera is all over the place is because she took the camera strap in her mouth and started dragging it). She makes a low soft rumble. It seems to be a noise she makes only when she’s having a lot of interactive fun. The jumping into the air between ball tosses means she’s very happy. Full blown twisty leaps are called, in besotted rabbit owners’ parlance, “binkies.”
My birds find BunRab’s antics amusing, but they are so used to them now that they hardly bat an eye, as they’re too busy with their own antics. (You may note that I’ve installed a folding pet fence around the bird cages. This fence is to prevent BunRab from chewing on electrical cords under the cages.)
It’s been some time since I last posted a new piece of art. I apologize for that. Some chronic pain issues have slowed my output to zero for the last few months and I’m working on getting out from under that situation. There are some solutions I’m working on, though the results are slow going – but positive!
Meantime, I will continue to periodically post about my menagerie and nature – the elements that always inspire my creativity.
As for my charges here, they are all doing very well.
Bun Rab is recovering from being spayed 1.5 weeks ago, soon to have her stitches removed. She was constantly going into false pregnancies and losing her good litter habits. There was another compelling reason to have her spayed: apparently 80% of unspayed rabbits get reproductive cancers, so this move may insure that she’ll live that much longer and be healthy.
She was one stoned rabbit when I brought her home! But within 2 days, she was back to her old self and not letting anything stop her from her rabbit routine and her unsatiable curiosity about her surroundings (even when they don’t change!).
She currently has full run of the kitchen during the day. When I get home from work, she joins the birds in the living room (she can see – and most certainly hear – them from her kitchen), where she sniffs everything and runs back and forth.
Sam continues to enjoy watching her.
Chipper, Charlie, and Pippin are doing fine too. Even Chipper no longer freaks out when Bun Rab explores the living room. The situation was solved when I bought a folding dog pen. I place this around the birds’ cages (there are three of them against each other) so that Bun Rab can’t get under their cages. So now all is well.
I have the fun of a visit with my mother and sister next week and will take off time from work so we can really enjoy our vacation.
And here’s hoping all is well with you too. Have a good week ahead.