Thursday, 25 May 2017

Life Lately // All The Things!

'Kevin' the cat who's taken to living on our front porch

Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve posted anything, let alone an update on what’s been going on around here – and let’s be honest that has been a lot! So, what has been keeping me from updating this little space on the internet? Mostly my complete lack of internet! Since I moved into the new house we have had nothing but the measly mobile data supplied on our phone plans – not quite enough for blogging! I’ve missed writing (and reading all the other wonderful blogs) a lot but I have been finding ways to keep extremely busy while I’ve been sans internet. Here’s what I’ve been up to of late:

Working, working and working! Work has been crazy busy and I’ve yet to have a day off this term, as well as taking on a big project that’s eating up some of my free time as well, It’s hard but I’m learning new skills as well.

Planning a big party that we held last weekend – watch this space for all the details (I won’t drop the ball again, promise!)

All the cleaning and unpacking! We’re not finished yet but the house has been scrubbed within an inch of its life and I’ve unpacked enough boxes to build a small house out of! The end is definitely in sight, even if a few doors are still kept firmly shut against the mountains of clutter to be sorted!

Getting rid of carpets! It’s certainly not a task I anticipated embarking on so soon after moving into a new place but the dogs managed to rip a hole in the hallway carpets within days of moving in – so I started the monumental task of ripping them out, stripping back the awful 80s adhesive underlay, sanding and polishing… I’m currently on step two due to a complete lack of time but it’s been great to see the wooden boards emerging. I’m also very glad for my prior experience in my old house as it means I’m not stressing about it – I know just how long this task can take and I also know how satisfying it will all be once I have it looking nice!

Quadrant ensuring that there was no way Mark could leave her at the shelter!

Quadrant cat – another stray has wondered into our lives and taken up residence in our lounge room (not to mention Kevin, the cat that’s decided to live on our porch, definitely not a stray but still wants to live in our house!)

And here are the little things filling my day to day with joy:
My new literary obsession! 

Watching: old episodes of Hart of Dixie - pure escapism in the best form!
Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman - I just started and I already love it.
Listening to: the contented purrs of a cat that's finally found a loving home (not to mention the loud yelling when she's hungry!)
Cooking: not much - I'm still drowning in leftovers from the party!
Feeling: Tired - I've had so much going on lately that it's doing me in! In the best way possible!
Planning: lots of lessons in the unlikely subjects of Biology and Cooking!
Loving: the idea of a relaxed weekend at home.
Enjoying: starting to see some progress around the house.

Little things of note:

  • We've booked all our eating spots for our holiday to the States and I'm finally starting to get excited (food makes everything seem real!)
  • I've signed up for the next Hogwarts Running Club medal which means I'm still in the running for the Challenge Medal at the end of the year!
  • My craft room/office space is starting to take shape - after nearly two years without one I'm more than a little excited!
  • The Quadrant cat has been half killing mice so they crawl away and die and I have to hunt down their bodies before the house starts to smell too bad! (I'm sure you were all dying for that piece of information!)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Why You Should #ChooseChocolate This Easter // Cost

An honest look at the cost of a bunny from the wonderful Penny at Regarding the Secret Life of Rabbits

So you're thinking about getting a bunny this Easter? Easter and bunnies go hand in hand, it seems like a no brainer, right? Wrong. The decision to get a bunny is a big one, despite what many pet shops, books and websites will tell you, bunnies are not simple starter pets, they are exotic animals that need a lot of specialised care. This series of posts will take you through the basics of feedinghousing, heath carehappiness and cost to help you decide if buying a bunny is really the right choice for you.

If you are thinking about getting a bunny one of the biggest things to consider is cost, despite popular opinion bunnies, when cared for properly, are not cheap pets. I have dogs, a cat and bunnies and I can safely say that the bunnies are the most expensive. Bunnies might be small but they are exotic animals and require a lot of specialised care. Let’s break it down:


Food is the big ongoing cost when it comes to bunnies, don’t be fooled by their small stature, bunnies eat a lot! Bunnies need to eat constantly to keep them healthy, this adds up to a lot of food! Bunnies should have an unlimited supply of grass hay, this can usually be bought at pet shops, and here, in Australia, it ranges from about $6 - $24/kg. A pair of bunnies will eat about a kilogram of hay per week – more if they hay is lower quality. A small portion of good quality pellets is also a good idea (Oxbow make an excellent range – see here for further information on feeding your bunny) A bag of good quality pellets will set you back $25-$30 for about 2kg. When fed appropriately this should last a couple of months for a pair of rabbits. A daily portion of greens is a must for healthy rabbits and is perhaps the most expensive part of their diet. Don’t be fooled into thinking they can just eat your scraps, bunnies need high quality leafy greens daily. To provide this you need to be buying a variety of vegetables for them this costs as much as $15-$20 per week. This makes for a minimum of $25 a week for a pair of bunnies or nearly $1300 a year!     


Housing may not be a large ongoing cost but it is worth bearing in mind as it’s a fairly large amount of money to set up. If you choose to keep your bunnies in a playpen set up while they are unsupervised then you will need to sink a bit of money into it, my playpens cost me about $70 and I use 1 and a half per pair – one playpen does not give a pair the space they need to be truly happy. Inside the playpen they have two litter trays (the lipped variety) - $15 each, hay feeders - $5 homemade or $20-$30 premade, food and water bowls - $5-$10 each, towels or blankets (second hand) - $5-$10 and their houses - $15-$20 homemade or $50-$100 premade. This all comes in at around the $400 mark – more if you don’t have the time, skills or tools to DIY their homes!

Your bunny is going to need floor time in at least one room of your house – this room will need to be bunny proofed. Bunnies have sharp teeth that are constantly growing, hence bunnies chew everything. It is important that where your bunnies run power cords are either kept up off the floor or they are covered so your bunny can’t chew on them, some options include products such as Critter Cord or covers from the hardware store. Another thing to bear in mind when it comes to bunny proofing is to ensure your bunnies cannot get under or into couches or furniture they could damage or could be hazardous to them. It is hard to estimate costs as houses all vary, this could cost you very little or you may need to get/build barricades around lots of different areas. Please consider costing this for your own house before getting a bunny as it will cost a lot less to bunny proof than it will cost to replace or repair what has been chewed on.  

One ongoing cost that you need to be aware of for housing your bunny is the cost of litter, rabbits need a safe pelletised paper litter or similar, their littler tray will need to be changed daily to avoid your bunnies smelling, this means at least one large bag of litter per week at about $15-$20 a bag. This litter can be found at pet supply stores or in many supermarkets. 

From the wonderful Make Mine Chocolate Campaign 

Toys and treats

This is perhaps the cheapest category but no less important as you don’t want a bored and destructive bunny. Toys can be made cheaply with a variety of treats such as these ones from Oxbow – they will set you back $8 and last you a few months. Small pieces of fruit are also a good option, as your bunny can just have a small portion from your own food. 


Bunny healthcare is important and costly. The current recommendation in Australia is for vaccines and check-ups every six months. The vaccine and appointment will set you back about $80 or $90 per bunny. Some vets will combine the consult fee for both your bunnies but you will still be paying about $120 for a pair of bunnies. That’s, at a minimum, $240 per year for a pair of bunnies. The cost of getting your bunny spayed on neutered also needs to be taken into account - this one off cost is not one to dismiss and it can set you back a couple of hundred dollars per bunny. This is just basic, preventative healthcare, if your bunny gets sick it can cost a lot more.


Bunnies live for 8-12 years, depending on the breed – this carefully if you want to make this kind of financial commitment for the next 12 years of your life.

This staggering amount of needs a bunny has adds up to over $2000 a year in on going costs – over their lifetime the cost of a small car! For me, a bunny’s love is priceless as I see them as part of my family, every cent I spend on keeping them healthy and happy is worth it! But, that staggering cost is something to think twice about before embarking on the journey of bunny ownership.  

Note: this costing is for a pair of dwarf bunnies – if your bunny is larger or you have more than two the cost will increase. All prices are in Australian dollars and based on my experience as an owner of two pairs of dwarf bunnies. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Why You Should #ChooseChocolate This Easter // Health Care

The worry of an ill bunny - from here

So you're thinking about getting a bunny this Easter? Easter and bunnies go hand in hand, it seems like a no brainer, right? Wrong. The decision to get a bunny is a big one, despite what many pet shops, books and websites will tell you, bunnies are not simple starter pets, they are exotic animals that need a lot of specialised care. This series of posts will take you through the basics of feedinghousing, heath care, happiness and cost to help you decide if buying a bunny is really the right choice for you.

Health Care

Choosing a vet

Bunnies are very complicated animals with various serious health care concerns. Like any other pet bunnies need regular vaccinations, check-ups and can have illnesses that require a trip to the vet. Unlike dogs and cats bunnies are not such common animals that all vets know how to properly treat them, because of this you will need to do some research and find an exotic animal vet who understands how to properly care for your bunny. Bunny savvy vets can be hard to find and you may have to be prepared to travel to see one.  


 Just like dogs and cats rabbits need vaccinations to keep them safe from major diseases  - in Australia we have a vaccination for one strain of calicivirus which is administered on a six monthly vaccine schedule. Some countries have vaccines for a second strain of calicivirus and for myxomatosis, please check with your vet to ensure your bunnies are getting the correct vaccines to keep them healthy. 


Getting your bunny spayed or neutered is important for both social reasons and medical reasons. Socially de-sexed bunnies are gentler, cleaner and display less territorial behaviours such as biting or spraying. It also eliminates unwanted pregnancies and more baby bunnies in the rescue systems or being killed. On top of that female bunnies who have not been spayed are very prone to uterine cancer, as many as 80% of un-spayed female bunnies will die before they reach 3 years old from uterine cancer. More information can be found here.   



Bunnies have very complicated gastrointestinal systems which need to be kept running constantly and healthily. If bunnies stop eating for even short periods of time they can go into stasis. Stasis is a condition where your bunnies gut stops moving and bunnies can die really quickly if this occurs. Bunnies can stop eating for many different reasons including blockages, gas, pain or fear. It is important to figure out the reason your bunny has stopped eating as well as getting the gut moving again to ensure your bunny can recover. The best chance your bunny has is to take it to your bunny savvy vet early, your vet can advise you on the best treatment plan and help ensure a speedy recovery. DO NOT leave your bunny and ‘see what happens in the morning’ your bunny could well be dead by morning. Stasis is incredibly serious and should be treated as such.

If you suspect your bunny has stopped eating because it’s afraid there are a few things you can try: first, take away the thing that is scaring your bunny, if this is a storm or some loud noise you can’t control you can try playing calming music to your bunny to help settle it down. Secondly, try syringe feeding it a little bit of pineapple juice to see if that reminds your bunny that eating is something they should do. Thirdly try hand feeding your bunnies favourite foods, if they start nibbling that’s a good start. If your bunny is frightened you should continue to monitor your bunny throughout the night (or day) to ensure they are regularly eating little bits and resume eating as normal once the frightening event has past.

So, how do you know when to take your bunny to the vet? A good rule of thumb is to give them a treat, a small piece of apple or similar, and see if they eat it. If they ignore it then it’s time to call the vet, if they eat some of it, keep monitoring and trying to encourage them to eat. If they gobble it all up then they are probably fine, keep an eye on them but don’t stress about it!
More information on stasis can be found here.      

Myxomatosis and Calicivirus

Unfortunately here in Australia we have 3 strains of calicivirus and myxomatosis while we only have a vaccine for one strain of calicivirus (it is also estimated to be at least partially affective for a second strain). As these diseases are terminal and contagious it is important to keep your bunny away from these diseases and try and keep them safe. Some strategies you can use to try and ensure your bunnies' safety include: keeping bunnies inside, ensuring they are being kept away from mosquitoes and other insects, washing fresh vegetables and fruits and not feeding grass from potentially contaminated sources. Further information on helping protect your bunnies from any of these terminal illnesses can be found by talking to your bunny savvy vet or here.

Bunnies can be extremely rewarding animals but they require a great deal of specialised healthcare, which can be time consuming and expensive, be sure you know what you are getting into before making this commitment. A healthy bunny can live for 10 or more years, many outdoor, caged bunnies live as little as three – this is like a dog only living to two or three, it’s unnatural and unfair. If you decide to get a bunny you are making a 10 year commitment to care for another life. 

Please keep in mind I am not a vet, this information is for example only and does not replace the expertise of a vet. If you have questions or if your bunny is sick please see your vet ASAP.

Check back next week for more information on just how much it really costs to keep bunnies (spoiler: it's a lot!)