To The Best of Buns

16465569_1653277584969017_6315287317531590656_n(1).jpgAs if allowing two long eared fuzzy ingrates in the house wasn’t enough, I eventually relented to us hosting a temporary visitor.  A particular bun from the mean streets of Melbourne got picked up by a cop and needed a home for a short while so he could get fixed and make his way to the greater Orlando rescue group.  I was expecting an ornery skittish bad bun.  What I got instead was an incredibly sweet creature.  Someone either lost him or kicked this guy out.  Either way, they are losing out big time.

I have never been much of a pet or animal person.  Herbie changed how I feel about keeping animals a bit.  Every time I would open up the back door he would be pawing at the edge of the cage for pets.  I could scratch his nose, rub his ears, pet his side, and he would just lean in for more.  I was sick while we had him and sat in his cage quite a bit.  He came over and gave me lots of love and attention that helped take my mind off the cold.

This story ends in tragedy though.  We were supposed to have him for a month.  A few weeks to recover from his street injuries (a few bad scrapes on his side and back), a quick neutering from the vet, and then a few more weeks of recovery before going off to the main Orlando group.  Though he appeared quite healthy and healed from previous injuries, he did not survive the neutering operation.  Rabbits are very delicate and sedation for surgery is touchy.  Maybe he had other issues we didn’t know about.  Maybe he was very old.  Maybe we just got unlucky.  We will never know.

In the two weeks we had him he completely nuzzled his way into my heart.  I was even starting to think of a way we could keep him along with the other two we are beholden to.  In the short time he earned himself a few nick names.  Herbie was the name he came with, but he also went by Herbacious, Herbie The Love Bun, Herb-a-licious, Herbert Hoover (when food was around), and Herbert J Whiskers (when he was feeling formal).  Honestly I probably forgot a few at this point.

Though we never got him to a forever home, we can still give him a final resting place.  We had him cremated and collected his ashes.  I thought it would be fitting to build a little box for the occasion.


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Something this serious calls for the family wood.  These walnut pieces have been in my family for decades.  I cut a chunk off and decided to go for a bandsaw box.  I have never made one before, but thought this was a good time to try something new.

I didn’t make any layout marks, just went went with my gut and cut out the first things that came to mind.  First the overall shape is cutout, then the back comes off.  With that set you can cut out any number of drawers you please.  In this case, just one.  A similar thing happens for the drawer, only you need to cut a front and back before carving out the central drawer cavity.

Cutting and glue-up went smoothly.  I did only minor sanding and didn’t bother with finish.  A wealth of off cut pieces gave me plenty to make a drawer pull in the shape of an H.

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After a few weeks of waiting we got his ashes back along with a few paw imprints in clay.  We laid him to rest in his little hand made home under the orange tree in the back yard.  Maybe we should call it the Herbert J Whiskers memorial orange tree.

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Bunny Feeding Fix

Our rabbits are many things, and one of them is tenacious when it comes to food and treats.  We got them an automatic feeder to make sure they get pellets at the same time every morning.  Honey found she could chew, claw, dig, and ram the feeder to get more.  Screwing it all down to a wooden base made tipping harder, but didn’t stop the chewing.

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I needed to remove their access to the device.  Listening to Honey claw and dig at the bowl for hours on end is getting old.  I ditched the old bowl and used a 4″ to 2″ PVC coupling as a funnel.

I mounted it with some small screws run in through the side.  I can remove it and make repairs or changes if need be.  The dispenser sits over it nicely and is held in place with a few low cleats.  They keep it from shifting, but you can pick it right up if adjustments are needed.

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dsc_0649Next a length of pipe acted as a down spout.  I start with only this downspout, but the pellets came out too quickly from the drop.  They would hit the bowl and go everywhere.  The bunnies didn’t mind the game of 52 pellet pickup, but some pellets would escape the fence.

A few elbows helped slow everything down.  They have enough velocity coming down the chute to not get stuck in the first one, but aren’t going so fast to scatter all over when they hit the bowl.

The whole contraption sits nicely on the bun-servation tower, and a few screws ensures they can’t knock it down on themselves.  It has been a week and the silence is golden.  The furry raptors don’t seem to mind the change, they get food all the same.  Now they just don’t short tomorrow’s meal by shaking it out early.

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Bun-servation Tower

Our bunnies are spoiled.  That much is certain.  They sit in our chairs on the porch constantly, and I think part of it might be that it gets them high enough above the screened in porch edge to be able to see the yard.  So, I built a bunny tower they could climb up in to chill and observe their domain.  It took a few iterations to get it right, so hold on.

First I thought a two level floor plan with ramps coming through the floor would work.  Take some 2x4s, notch them with fun hand tools, notch the plywood and screw it all together.  I wrapped the two levels in 1/4″ metal mesh to keep the buns from jumping out and hurting themselves.

And there it sat for weeks.  No takers.  I made the ramps too steep.  I saw one or two try to climb up, but they weren’t able.  Eventually I relented and made a longer gentler ramp for the first level that entered at the edge instead of the floor.  That went over well.

I couldn’t figure out how to save the top, so I eventually cut it off.  The ramp has a cleat every 4 inches.  I started with that, but they would slide on the plywood in between the cleats.  I added non-skid tread material in-between the cleats and they seem to be able to handle that really well.

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It is less of an eye sore with the second floor removed and the new ramp is working well.  As a bonus, I set the top section down, and they started using it.  We moved it back from the edge so they wouldn’t try to jump through the screen.  They have been using their carriers as a step to get on top.  I guess I should have gone with stairs instead of a ramp.

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In short, if you are going to build something for your buns, they are going to disapprove.  Just get used to it.  Aside from that, do any ramps at no steeper than around 1:2 rise to run.  My first ramp was closer to 1:1 and they couldn’t do it.  Use cleats and non-skid to help their feetsies.  Last but not least, they will chew on everything you make, so keep that in mind.

I am Tyrion the bunny, and I approve this message

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Hay Feeder Lid

It is all fun and games till someone has a tinkle in the hay bin.  The hay hopper I built for our new buns had an open top for filling.  Somebunny was taking advantage of this, and would sit in the hay bin while eating.  We were ok with this until the new babies started peeing in the hay pile.

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Fine, if you are going to be a bad bunny, then we have to add a lid.  I would make a simple flat top, but I don’t want them using it as a launching platform for going over the fence.  So, start with a piece of wood, and angle smartly with your great grandfather’s number 3 plane.

Now add a magnet and strap hinge.

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I screwed the hinge into the vertical fence support that the feeder is suspended on.  the magnet lets you open the lid and use both hands to load hay.  The sloped top seems to be keeping the buns at bay.  I have yet to see any of them try to get on top or into the bin.  Bad bunny behavior has been blocked!

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Bunny Fence Upgrade

Our ravenous rabbits know no bounds!  We have a baby gate we put up across the porch door to their area when the weather is nice.  The only trick is that they have taken to chewing on the fence from time to time.  It was cute at first, but they have been making headway on an escape.

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I cut out all the gate material below about 15 inches to clear out the chewed spot and make way for the new barrier.

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I could have upgraded to titanium coated steel mesh, but I figure they would chew through that in a few months as well.  Instead I went with thin acrylic sheeting.

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Covering just the bottom half kept the cost down and I doubt they will be able to reach high enough to do significant chewing above the clear plastic line.  I attached the left piece over the outside face of the frame because there was room.  The sliding action of the gate wouldn’t allow the right piece to be attached the same way.  Instead, I used some of the remaining white gate material as a backer, and drove screws in at an angle to wedge the plastic in frame.

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The Reaction

How was it received?  Pretty well I guess.  They have nosed it a few times, and tried to paw at it a bit.  Here was their first introduction.

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The window is clean for now, and provides an unobstructed view of extreme cuteness.  The way these buns are, I will come out one time to find them all raiding the fridge with a 4″ perfectly circular hole cut in the plastic window.  Clever buns!

 

Surprise Bunnies

A few days before Christmas we noticed Honey the bunny was plucking some of her fur out.  Oh no, that is nesting behavior and indicates a pregnant bun.  A quick trip to the vet later, and we had this: Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 2.03.15 PM

If you look carefully you can see 5 little spines and skulls in there.  Later that night, she popped and our collection of rabbits grew.

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Two of the poor things didn’t survive the first 24 hours.  I don’t know what was wrong with them, but I guess this is why they have big litters.  After a few days they started getting fuzzy and growing rapidly

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Unfortunately the little black one was lagging behind.  We don’t know why, but after a 12 days he was half the size of his siblings.  We started trying to feed him and keep him inside on a warming pad.  It was not to be.  He died before two weeks hit.

On the bright side the other two appear very happy and healthy.  At about 16 days they started opening their eyes and exploring a bit.  They are fuzzy, playful, curious and very jumpy!  We dubbed them Luke and Leia in honor of them being twins and the new star wars movie.  Check out this video of them being cute as can be.

Papa Tyrion got his snipping moved up and is not going to be making any more bunnies in this lifetime.