Cast your mind back to the Year 1983. There were some unforgettable moments:
- Shergar was stolen
- Michael Jackson’s Thriller video was aired on MTV for the first time
- Flashdance and Return of the Jedi were box office hits
- I got my first rabbit. A Netherland Dwarf called Flopsy.
Even at the age of 9 I had a strong sense of responsibility to provide my rabbit with enrichment. Unfortunately, for poor Flopsy, I opted for sticking up the centre poster of my Smash Hits on the garage wall opposite her. She could look and see which band had made it into the centre of the magazine that week.
Fast forward to 2022; I have 4 English Angoras: 1 German Angora and, thankfully, a far greater sense of what enrichment my rabbits require to enhance their life experience and stave off boredom.
Last year I fenced off an area of my garden and built two 9ft x 13ft enclosures for my Angoras. They have access to their 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutch and enclosure all day. It’s all grassed, with chicken wire underneath the turf. I have also had the enclosures covered with clear plastic. In the enclosures I’ve included a selection of wooden hides, buckets, large plant pots, large zippi tunnels from Omlet and wooden bridges.
I move it all around regularly to create change and interest within their environment. I’ve bought plant potholders from Poundland. I buy herb pots from Tesco’s and put them in the holders. If I hang them a little higher on the enclosure it makes the rabbits reach up and work to get their food. Hanging from the roof of the enclosures are Rabbit Caddi Holders.
This keeps the food off the floor and they have to work a bit to get hay, vegetables or fruit out!
Some evenings I use the Rosewood Options Fruit and Veg Skewers. I’m accused of spending more time and effort in food preparation for the rabbits than I do for my family! C’mon…. who doesn’t love a kebab?!
Birthdays…easy! Each of my rabbits have a Naturals Celebration Cake from Omlet uk.
The cake doesn’t last very long, but longer than a slice of coffee and walnut cake does with me!
I have also signed up to Bunnies that Lunch. They provide a monthly box of carefully selected bunny-safe toys and healthy treats. I love waiting fir the monthly delivery and find that it usually contains treat ideas I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen for them myself. And they love ripping the box apart too!.
And here’s one I made earlier….
Wash out a used Costa Coffee Cup (other coffee shop brands available), pop a Woodlands Mini Bale in the bottom and top it with loose hay and fresh dandelion leaves and ‘Hey Presto!’ Home made enrichment!
You could go online to the Binkybunnycafe and spend £9.50 on a Bunnychino (yes…that’s actually a thing!) It could be annihilated by the end of the day, or it could be completely snubbed!
You can get Blue Peter creative. A toilet roll with hay and sliced greens in it. An empty tissue box with Readigrass and Marks and Spencer Apple Fruit Crisps in it. My daughter Megan and I like to try and get as creative as we possibly can.
Following Lockdown, I had a huge re-think about environmental stimulation for my rabbits. I think back to how dull and repetitive each day was stuck indoors and how I needed to fill it with creative tasks. Am I creating all this stimulation to make the rabbits feel better or for me to feel better about caging them? I don’t know. But I do know that at the end of each of their lives I can look back and feel that I did everything to hopefully make their lives more fun and interesting.
Megan is 10 years old, roughly the same age as I was when I got my first rabbit. Thank goodness she has a greater insight into the enrichment needs of rabbits than I had at her age.
Although I certainly had the greater enrichment gift of waiting to find out which band had made it into the centre pages of my Smash Hits magazine!!