- The Carrot Tribune - January 2019

The Carrot Tribune

In this issue...

  • Bunny of the Month
  • Hoppy Hour
  • Basic Bunny Class
  • Does this Carrot Make Me Look Fat?
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Guinea Pig of the Month

G-Force is truly a force of nature! He is an active and engaging young piggy who enjoys a good cuddle, and won't say no to a treat or two. He is fast on his feet and is a busy boy, but when he does slow down, he appreciates attention from adoring humans. In addition to all these wonderful traits, G-Force has beautiful markings, and a very shiny coat - what more could any prospective adopter want!

Want to know who the first Bunny of the Month of 2019 is? You'll have read more on bunssb.org!

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Basic Bunny and Guinea Pig Class

Note: Basic Bunny and Guinea Pig Classes are now on Sundays.

Our next class is Sunday January 13. Join us on our Facebook event page to learn more! 

1:00 to 2:00 - Handling and Husbandry
2:00 to 2:30 - Training

Bring your Rabbit or Guinea Pig. Learn easy handling and care-taking during the first hour, then for the last half hour play training games that are fun for you and your pet! 

$5.00 for an individual
$10.00 for a family
Free to BUNS volunteers

All classes are in the Humane Society Education Building, at 5399 Overpass Rd, Goleta, (to the east  of the Animal Shelter)

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January Hoppy Hour

Note: Hoppy Hour is on a Sunday!

Bring your fuzzy friend on Sunday January 27 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM and give them an opportunity to socialize with other rabbits and guinea pigs! Socialization is a very important part of overall rabbit and guinea pig welfare, and a Hoppy Hour is the perfect opportunity to let your fuzzy one play with others. 

Hoppy Hour will take place on the Humane Society Lawn, at 5399 Overpass Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93111. Admission is $10 per rabbit or guinea pig. All animals must be healthy and rabbits must have been spayed or neutered at least 30 days in advance.

Our registration/waiver form is available online, making it faster and easier to sign your critters up for the Hoppy Hour and Pignic! You can fill out out a Rabbit or Guinea Pig form before coming (we'll have forms available at the registration table if you forget):

Please join us for an afternoon of fun!

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Does this Carrot Make Me Look Fat?

Is January your cue to notice how tight your jeans have become? Between holiday celebrations and cold weather keeping you indoors it is easy to put on a little extra weight. Do our bunnies and piggies pick up a few extra ounces too? It is easier than you think. Maybe your bunny doesn’t get exercise due to bad weather or your holiday commitments. Of course you feel bad, so why not an extra treat here and there? If your bunny picks up those pesky few ounces, how will you know?

Most people think their bunny is at the ideal weight, but most people don’t know their bunny’s weight. In a survey of British rabbit owners, 26% of people chose a picture of an overweight bunny rabbit as the best illustration of their bunny (see PAW Report Animal Wellbeing Report. 2018 PDSA). Fur hides a lot of sins. To judge your bunny’s or piggie's weight, you have to be hands on.

You can compare your bunny or piggie to a chart which shows five body shapes. The bodies range from very thin to obese. Make the comparison by going to this website: https://www.pfma.org.uk/pet-size-o-meter. The chart comes with instructions. Which picture would you choose?

What do you do if your bunny or piggie is a little plumper than it should be? Well, of course you should talk to your vet about diet. But even with your vet’s advice you have to make some choices. If you are like me, you want your pet to eat food that looks good to you. And, like me, you may have chosen those extra treats and larger meals for your pet. There are so many choices at pet stores. Which foods are healthy choices?

A recent study compared rabbit body condition Dutch rabbits on four different diets: hay only, pellets and hay, muesli and hay, and muesli only (see Prebble, JL, Shaw, DJ, and Meredith, AL, “Bodyweight and body condition score in rabbits on four different feeing Regimes”. Journal of Small Animal Practice. (2015) 56.). What is muesli? You have seen the bags or rabbit food with grains, dried veggies, dried fruit and nuts. That is muesli. After nine months the rabbits on the hay only diet were at optimal weight. Rabbits on the pellets and hay or the pellets and muesli were above the ideal body weight. Rabbits on the muesli only diet were obese.

The study concluded that rabbits on a hay only diet were had the best body condition. However researchers were concerned that the hay only diet may not provide the required vitamins and minerals. They suggested that pellets be added to a rabbit’s diet. However, they suggested that the amount of pellets be 25 to 26 grams of pellets per kilogram of rabbit. That is less than half of the manufacturers recommended portion. They did not recommend feeding muesli. But, if you must feed muesli, be sure your rabbit or guinea pig also has hay.

Really, though, how many of us will feed our pets hay only or even hay with just a few pellets? 57% British rabbit owners report that they give treats to provide variety to their bunnies. 39% give treats to make their rabbits feel happy. And 22% give treats because they make us feel happy. Happy is good. Right?

Right! But happy can also be healthy! There are lots of different hays. Your bunny or piggie can look forward to variety in hay Here are some suggestions from Oxbow: http://oxbowanimalhealth.com/blog/fun-ways-to-feed-a-variety-of-hays-handout. Why serve Yogies when you can harvest some fresh grass from your yard add some dandelion greens. Treat your bunny to some fresh wheat grass or cat nip from the health food store or pet store. Sprinkle his hay with some herbs from your spice cabinet - basil, thyme, oregano, mint, sage, rosemary. Substitute fresh fruit for dried fruit. If you have a garden, strawberry or raspberry leaves are just as good as the fruit. You can do it. You’ve got this.

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