Feeding the children

Russell is pretty small, so you’d never know just by looking at him that he eats like A PIG. When I first brought him home, and still had all his food and supplies stacked haphazardly by the door, he tore through the (new) bag of pellets and thoroughly chowed down. Then he happily abandoned the bag to stuff his face with the greens I’d just chopped and drizzled with applesauce. Nothing has changed, and don’t even get me started on treat time.

Gas station soda cup provided for scale.

Gas station soda cup provided for scale.

Anyway, he and Janie get fresh vittles twice a day – morning and evening – and it’s always a big event. At 7 AM, when I get up to clean their pen and prep the breakfast things, they’re usually asleep under the bed in the spare room. I try to be quiet, lest I am attacked by two hungry bunnies before I can get their bowls washed, dried and refilled, but it doesn’t always work. Also, somehow every single species in the animal kingdom knows that the sound of plastic packaging means food and once heard, plausible deniability goes out the window. “No, babies, it’s not breakfast time yet.” “BULLSHIT, Mom! We totally heard the cellophane!”

"I don't ever want to leave you. Not even a foot to the left to eat out of my own bowl."

“I don’t ever want to leave you. Not even a foot to the left to eat out of my own bowl.”

 

This morning was one of those mornings; in fact, I had managed only to open the door to their supplies closet before they were circling my feet. If you have bunnies, you may be familiar with – perhaps even have your own version of – the intricate dance known as the Don’t Step On Them. This dance entails taking the fewest possible number of steps required to retrieve, fill and replace the food bowl(s), effectively taking lagomorph attention off yourself.

Russell and Jane each have their own food bowl, a sweet little crock in the likeness of a lettuce head that I believe I bought at Petco for five or six dollars. They’re supposed to be heavy enough that buns can’t turn them over (Haha! Good one, Petco!) but in reality are merely cuter than bowls that don’t look like a lettuce head. If you have a bonded pair, you really don’t need two bowls, since the buns will share, but Russell insists on having his own everything. (Yes, rabbits absolutely can insist.)

Pretty cute, right?

Pretty cute, right?

Once they’re distracted by food, I dump the litter boxes (two, one for Russell and one for Russell and Jane) and refill them with bedding. I prefer Southern States pine pellet bedding. It’s made for horse stalls so it’s crazy absorbent and a 40-lb. bag is only six bucks. They go through a bag about once every 10 days, but that’s because I change it every single day – which you don’t have to do. I’m just paranoid about the uniquely pungent odor of rabbit urine permeating my home. The buns also get hay, which is where it gets interesting. Jane willingly eats timothy, orchard grass, whatever, but Russell is (SURPRISE!) stubborn about it. I made the mistake when I first brought him home (when he really, really needed to gain weight) of letting him eat whatever he wanted. So he got to eat delicious unhealthy alfalfa way more often than he should have, and now he’s spoiled, and it’s my fault, and I’m a terrible mother, and I’m sorry.

Anyway. Once the litter boxes are clean and hay has been added, I always proclaim, “Clean potties!” and they run over to inspect them. Then they each get a flavored timothy biscuit; Jane gets apple and Russell gets carrot and the crumbs Jane couldn’t eat fast enough, and they snuggle at the door of their pen while I take out the trash. And we do it all again the next morning.

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