Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Introducing: Tea Cake


Here is our Tea Cake! No, WE did not name him that...that was the name he came with. This was the photo that his previous owner sent me. I'm pretty sure it must be a baby picture, because he is much larger. He is 3 years old according to his pedigree papers. I believe his color is black. He is oh-so-soft and sweet. Unless he is agitated or anxious. Then he's kind of cranky. But, really, who wouldn't be?

Here he is with his box on our lanai.
When we picked him up from the previous owner's house, we saw that he was kept outdoors in a nice big hutch. He had a fenced in little area in the shade to run and play. They had made him a little wooden box to hide and rest in. He came with his brush, his box, and a pet carrier so we could bring him home.

About 15 minutes into our drive home, our sweet little Tea Cake decided to spray us with urine. Now, when I say "us", I really mean Josh. I had the carrier on my lap with the door facing Josh, who was driving. I got a little squirt on my forearm, but poor Josh really got soaked. This really endeared the rabbit to him. James, in the backseat, was even wondering how HE got wet! Oh boy...

Then we had to stop at Tractor Supply, where we spent nearly $100 on a cage and other miscellaneous rabbit supplies. This made Josh even more glad that we got a rabbit. When we finally made it home, it was past bedtime for everyone. And I had a soggy-bottomed bunny that needed some serious bathing. (I've heard you are not supposed to bathe them, but when they are D R I P P I N G with unpleasantness SOMETHING has to be done!)

Bunny Bonding
After the kids went to bed, I gave Tea Cake a quick little bath just to wash his feet and belly and whatever else was dirty. For the most part, he was pretty well behaved. I wrapped him in an old towel and brought him to my room where Josh was building the hutch kit. I dried off the bunny and snuggled him for a little bit. When the cage was built (which was quite an endeavor considering that it was missing pieces and the directions were very poorly written), Josh held Tea Cake so I could clear a spot in the laundry room for the cage.

The next morning I bunny-proofed the lanai and Josh took Tea Cake out for some fresh air. He really enjoys laying on the cold concrete floor. I've offered him romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, carrots, apples, a few bites of banana and papaya. He greedily mowed down the lettuce, ate most of the carrot and didn't touch the other things. He has eaten some pellets and chewed on some Timothy Hay. I am thinking about building some sort of large table about 4" off the ground and growing some grasses and lettuces and herbs in it so he can graze while he is on the lanai. I had an idea to put down small gauged chicken wire just above the dirt so he can't dig in it and make a mess. Now that summer is coming he won't be able to spend much more than mornings and evenings out there anyway, so we will see.

 After Josh put the bunny down to let him run around, he hopped away and then just sat watching Josh. They sat there for a long time checking each other out. It was pretty cute. Then Tea Cake hopped over and sat at Josh's feet. Awww!!

We haven't let the kids have much contact with him yet. The family he came from had some wild children and I get the impression that they really frightened poor Tea Cake. He gets very anxious whenever the kids get too close. I will wait until he is completely comfortable with Josh and I and then slowly introduce James and JoyAnna.

He has nipped our clothes a couple of times to let us know when he has been handled enough. We just give him his space. We're still strangers to him. I'm not sure if that's right or not. He has tolerated some brushing from me, but usually after 5 minutes or so he has had enough.

This afternoon while the kids were napping I went out to sit next to him on the porch. He didn't get up and move away, which was nice. Maybe he's getting used to me? I sat petting him for a few minutes and then stopped. He moved closer to me so I would pet him more, it seemed. So I did. He asked so nicely! Then I stopped again and he got up, took several little hops toward me and licked my leg!! Then he scooted back again and watched to see what I did. He literally left a little bunny kiss mark on my skin! It was this little wet circle. So I scooped him up and snuggled him and told him what a sweet little bun he was! Then he hopped away. We're still getting to know each other, but it's nice to see that he wants our attention.

Sunday afternoon I got a phone call from Mrs. Flowers. She was calling because a friend of hers was hoping to find a new home for one of her English Angora bucks. Mrs. Flowers recommended us! SO....we will go pick up 1 year old Dylan on Thursday! I'm told that he is a sweetie, he is completely house-broken (he uses a litter box like a cat), and has one limp ear. The limp ear is a disqualification if the kids were to ever show him, but that's not why we want these bunnies. They are great pets because of their docile personalities, so they are a good breed for introducing children to rabbits. Plus, I want to learn, and teach my children, the art of spinning.

After I wrote that (-----^) the kids woke up from their naps. I let James go out to visit Tea Cake first. He went very quietly and slowly and was able to sit very quietly down next to the bunny. Tea Cake sat while James stroked him and offered him a carrot. Then JoyAnna took a turn. Lydia was only allowed to look from the window and say "Hi!". Tea Cake was very sweet and much more relaxed while the kiddies were petting him. He didn't run away or hide and he never nipped them. We are really enjoying our first animal!

James offering a carrot.
JoyAnna hanging out with Tea Cake.

Enjoying some porch time with the bunny.

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