Rusty, Lucy and RosieGood Sunday morning all! I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Well, it is time to introduce you all to one (or two) of my critters in my weekly series Royal Ranch Royalty. In honor of one of my most dedicated readers, Daisy over at Compost Happens who mentioned me again on one of her recommended readings list, I am proud to introduce Lucy and Rusty Rabbit! I know that Daisy also has rabbits, as a matter of fact she has one that is practically a twin to my Lucy (the black and white)!
Rusty and Lucy are considered house rabbits, meaning that they live almost entirely indoors. Until they chewed on my beloved Grandma's china hutch they had full run of the house, but after that their exercise space has been more confined. In the warm summer months we do move them outside into an outdoor run that has a lid on it, which they absolutely adore! I have to say that rabbits have been some of the most interesting pets that we have ever owned, and that I will never look at a rodent in the same way again.
These are some very intelligent animals. They can hear that veggie crisper drawer open from no matter where they are in the house and you can hear them start stirring in their crate. They know their carrots and salad are on their way! They also know our routines very well; during the winter months, when they spend more time in their large dog crate, sort of hibernating, they know that they are fed on the same schedule as the rest of the "herd", and get all wound up when they hear me getting my boots and coat on to do chores. Sometimes I wonder if those two little rabbits are going to knock that big crate over in excitement to get to their breakfast!
I guess I should explain myself when I say "little" rabbits. Rusty is part Flemish Giant so he is very large for a rabbit, close to twenty pounds. Lucy is no shrinking violet, tipping the scales at around 12 pounds, she is part Rex, one of the most intelligent rabbit breeds.
Lucy (the first) and SpikeThe story of how I ended up with these two rabbits is a good one. We had tragically lost our first house rabbit Lucy on Christmas Day. My first Lucy was like a dog, never chewed on anything she was not supposed to and followed me around, just a fantastic rabbit. So anyway, I was not planning on getting another when of course I got a call from a friend working rescue who had another Lucy who needed a home because classroom rabbits had been outlawed. As you have come to find out from reading this blog, I don't turn down many animals in need of a home, so Lucy 2 was ensconced in her new home within the week. I was worried she was lonely since she had to be in her crate more than the first Lucy had been since she had more "destructive rabbit' behavior that we had to be careful of than her namesake. I knew that there was a rabbit rescue outside of Denver so I contacted them.
I was informed that rabbits are quite picky about their mates, and are even quite violent if they do not like a rabbit and that I would have to bring Lucy down to the rescue and let her chose her new best friend. Yes, this sounds like quite a bit of trouble to go to for a set of rabbits, and it was, but you should see how much the two of them love each other! So anyway, I took Lucy the hour and a half down the mountain to this shelter and the kids and I picked our three favorite rabbits and the volunteers started introducing Lucy to them. Rusty had been our first choice, and before we even left Lucy and Rusty were fast friends. The shelter insisted that we leave the new friends there for a week while they keep an eye on them to make sure that Lucy was not going to beat up her new boyfriend! After their week was over the new couple was delivered home where the entire family was required to be here to sign papers and have an interview to see if we were acceptable people to have one of their rabbits. I almost laughed at the situation, but was glad to follow procedure, knowing that they needed to be that strict to make sure that their rabbits ended up in good homes and not out in the forests, because they are difficult pets to keep.
Rosie and LucyWhich brings me to my next point. Rabbits are wonderful house pets, period. But, they stink and they have A LOT of hair that sort of floats into your environment. So I would highly recommend them to a certain kind of pet owner; first and foremost, I can't imagine they would be good for anyone with allergies, and secondly I think they would be good if you have time to keep their crate very clean. They can be very lovey or they can be very distant, but all of them are fun to watch, and have a very playful side. It is hysterical to watch their antics and to see a rabbit go ripping across your living room and then jump as if he is clicking his heels together and then dive under the couch! One of my favorite things about our rabbits has been the inter-species relationships I have seen between them and the other animals. The top picture shows how Rosie is patiently waiting for her turn to get some greens from Rusty and Lucy and the next picture is of my first Lucy with one of our kittens Spike that was a little mixed up when he lost his Mama too soon, and finally Rosie and Lucy having some playtime!