It has been awhile since I added a new entry to my blog. I keep promising to be more consistent. Here’s a story from the beginning of May It is about two bunnies I had the privilege to rescue.
A lady found out that a bunny was sheltering under her son’s house last fall. All winter long the bunny stayed under the house. Finally the weather got warmer and the son and his mother were able to see the bunny and realized they needed to capture it and find it a new home. They called what they thought was animal rescue only to find that the folks who came to get the bunny took it to the pound. This terrified the lady! She had not rescued the bunny to have it put down. So she quickly put the call out via friends and face book friends and then went down to the pound to get the bunny off death row. she did this by adopting it and hoping a permanent new home would turn up.
I have had Angora rabbits in the past, and being a farm with a focus on producing fiber and keeping fiber producing animals, it seemed I could find a way to help the lady and the bunny. Doors opened and there were good signs that this was meant to be. A friend offered me a cage that with just a little retrofitting turned into a perfect bunny home. So, I made a plan to meet the lady and the rabbit and bring it back here to the farm. Guess what? It turned out that there had been another bunny discovered under the house. They were buddies apparently because they were both Angoras. And yes, I took that one as well.
Now for folks who do not know very much about Angora rabbits, they are the producers of this delightfully soft fiber. If angels had hair and you could touch it, it might feel like Angora Rabbit hair. It is whisper soft and fine. It is extremely warm and durable. I have an angora sweater I have owned for twenty five years and I still wear it on occasions. It is an elegant and very expensive fiber and garments made with it are to treasure. There is a reason for this. The fiber needs to be harvested from the living animal either by combing weekly or in some cases by shearing twice a year, maybe once. This depends on the breed of the rabbit. I want to keep with my story so I won’t get too far into the harvesting of the fiber here.
Let us just say that this grooming is extremely important to the rabbits well being . Rabbits like this have been bred to produce fiber and to be dependent on people. One does not find them hopping around in meadows or forests. This is why it is so rare to find them under a house and surviving all winter long on their own. The lady knew if the rabbits were not cared for they would die in the oncoming warmer weather because it had been months since they had been care for and they would succumb to heat exhaustion if not relieved of their coats..
When I first met them, they appeared to be blocks of matted fiber that reminded me of very stale marshmallows. It was hard to figure out where the bunny started and the matted fur ended. It was an extremely painstaking process for us both, bunny and me to begin to free up and find limbs. After about four hours at the first sitting, I managed to find feet and legs and get them loose so the little thing could hop and move without restriction.
Happily, for many reasons, my daughter was finishing up a class at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina at the beginning of the month and she came for a visit. She was able to help me with the grooming of both bunnies. We managed to get all the mats off them. In the end we had piles of matted hair twice the size of the actual bunny In some places we used manicure type scissors and went little quarter inch snips at a time. In the end all went well and it was certainly worth it to be able to see them able to hop around, explore part of the house and enjoy a little freedom. They are really nice animals. they are curious and animated and seem happy and are now a part of the fiber bearing assortment of animals here on the farm.
Angora rabbits can be house broken and are usually friendly. They need to be groomed regularly and have their nails trimmed. They also need some soft wood to chew on and good food and some hay for roughage and fresh water daily. Bunnies live for quite awhile. They should never be considered a casual pet for a child unless he or she is very interested in the breed, fiber production or the breeding of Angora rabbits as well as a long and lasting relationship caring for an animal.