Douglas an agouti French Lop was only 16 weeks old when he came to stay with us, and when I was introduced to him for the first time, I was stunned at the sheer size of him for such a young age. ‘Big’ isn’t a word big enough to describe him! Douglas will reach full maturity around eighteen months old when hopefully he will have grown into his ears! This gorgeous big baby stole my heart from the minute I set eyes on him; in perfect health with a superb coat and a delightful nature, Douglas could eat and sleep for England. I can honestly say my hay supplies reduced quite drastically throughout his two-week stay. He had one extra large bowl of Excell pellets twice a day (morning and evening), cabbage and carrots for breakfast and supper, Excel forage for breakfast, mounds of hay and corn on the cob as a treat now and then – a true guzzle guts in every sense of the word and rightly so; a growing bun of Douglas’s size needs to have access to dried food (i.e. pellet form) at all times to graze on throughout the day and night, and also plenty of hay, as hay should make up 80% of any rabbits daily diet. Douglas was litter trained and kept himself immaculately clean and would often spend time grooming himself. He loved me to fill one side of his hutch full with hay under which he would tunnel, getting himself quite giddy in the process; he enjoyed hiding but would soon reappear at the smell of a carrot! Each morning at wake up call, we would often find Douglas fast asleep snoozing under his extra long floppy ear, even the sound of the radio being switched on didn't open his eyes – however a tickle behind the ear did the job quite effectively!
Poppy was housed separately to Douglas in the Rabbitry due to the fact her owners at the time of boarding were still in the process of bonding both of them together, and hadn’t quite reached the final stage where both buns could comfortably and safely live together. At four years old, Poppy is much older that Douglas and she’s the prettiest little bun with a peach, grey and cream fur coat. She’s an eccentric little doe who likes things her own way and she has the foulest of tempers when she has a mind to. In contrast to Poppy, Douglas’s nature is extremely easy going and he settled into the Rabbitry straight away, whereas Poppy was a little uncertain of her new surroundings. I think she wasn’t a shy or timid bunny simply displeased that her owners had gone on holiday and left her behind. Both Douglas and Poppy’s owners were naturally anxious about leaving their babies, however they made sure to keep in touch with me on a number of occasions via email whilst on holiday in Abu Dhabi, and of course I could send them up to date information about how each bun was settling in and hopefully alleviate any undue concerns.
Poppy made her mind up quite early on that she was going to be as awkward as she possibly could; for the first week, Poppy refused to acknowledge me, or let me near to make a fuss of her. She disliked her hutch cleaned out each morning and was adamant she wouldn’t eat all her dinner, although she ate a bowlful of chopped carrots each evening with her medication, and nibbled her way through a bed full of hay each day. I patiently persevered, and each day spent time talking to her with the hutch door open until she let me stroke her ears. Slowly she became familiar with my presence and finally realised I was the one taking care of her, fussing and feeding her each day. Eventually, Poppy settled in to the rabbitry routine and dropped her guard; although it took a little longer than usual for Poppy to settle, we did reach the stage where she would let me pick her up and nurse her in my arms – if only for a couple of minutes at a time. When Douglas and Poppy went home, we missed them both terribly but hope to see them again in the New Year.