Dodging the usual Spring-like British weather of rain, wind, the occasional sunshine before it rains torrentially again, I am busy painting (under an umbrella), repairing and expanding Castle Garth Guinea Pig Hotel at the moment. Two months later than planned, I might add, so as usual I am way behind schedule. However, in between all this activity I have had the pleasure to witness some beautiful love matches.
Way back in February I was asked to bond a pair of Dwarf Lop bunnies. Domino known as 'Dom Dom' who is a male of 16 months and Cherry known as 'Pie' who is a female of 10 months and who had only just been welcomed into the family. Up until their arrival at Castle Garth Guinea Pig Hotel both had been kept in separate houses which were situated in close proximity so that each rabbit was aware of the presence of the other without actual body contact, although nose kisses were allowed, until they had both been neutered and the appropriate waiting time had elapsed allowing for Domino's operation to take effect. This then would enable me to supervise their first meeting.
Both bunnies duly arrived for their holiday and housed separately but still very close together. Domino settled in immediately but Cherry was a very shy bunny and decided to hide for the next two days and stamp her feet at every opportunity. This was not unexpected so she was allowed to eat, drink and settle at her own pace. The weather of continuous rain didn't stop until the Monday anyway so the first meeting was decided for that afternoon.
As you can see in the photo above, we don't just have a lawn in our bunny enclosures, we have logs, tunnels, clumps of grass, pebbles, boulders and slabs. It's kind of a bunny adventure playground.
Domino was allowed in first with lots of binky running, climbing and exploring, then Cherry was allowed in . . .
This was the first bunny match I had attempted and I can honestly say it was just perfect. Domino halted in his tracks and bounded over to his friend with zeal and vigour. Cherry just sat there and waited. There was a lot of chinning from Domino, which in bunny language means 'you now belong to me'. There was humming, which I like to think was his way of singing a bunny love song and then - yes, there was a lot of humping - a LOT of humping, and then some more humping, and then some more !!! Three hours of humping and Domino was exhausted !!! At this point they both flopped down side by side and fell asleep. And that was it, bonded bunnies.
And the pair haven't been apart ever since. They follow each other everywhere, eat together, play together, sleep side by side. And as an added bonus Cherry has lost her shyness. Unfortunately for the family, she has also taken onboard Domino's 'I'm a boy, I was born to be messy' and when they left their room a week later I cannot describe the mess. Talk about Rock 'n' Roll divas !!!
So as part of Castle Garth Guinea Pig Hotel's expansion I have bought a play house to convert into our exclusive bunny cottage which will have direct access to the bunny adventure playground. I will, of course, photograph this for a future blog post.
During April I also had two guinea pigs to bond as part of Castle Garth Guinea Pig Hotel's Foster Buddy Scheme. This is when a piggy has lost his/her housemate and the family have decided they do not want to start a cycle of trying to find a happy match for their guinea pig to make a pair. I bond their piggy to one of our Foster Buddy Pigs which must be returned to us whenever their piggy passes away. I recently rehomed nine guinea pigs of various ages and was able to match Twinkle with another female from this group. Midnight Star also known as 'Star' was the baby of a group of four very dominant females, so was always at the end of the queue for food, a place to sleep and attention. Since being bonded with Twinkle, Star has discovered she no longer has to battle her way past anyone to get anything and loves her new friend dearly. You can also see Twinkle loves teaching her new piggy friend how to behave.
Midnight Star and Twinkle