Most of you already know Alice so here’s a little more about her new friend, Pepper too.
Pepper came to us as an indoor rabbit, he’d been a bit mischievous as a garden rabbit in a garden with a four-foot fence and two cats ~ following the cats in his family over the fence to go out to play. Having wintered indoors, we had to wait until spring finally arrived before he could move to his new home with us in our garden.
Pepper moved into Alice’s old hutch with a mesh run attached to it so that they could both see each other, but not cause any harm if they decided they weren’t going to get along. In theory I was supposed to put them together for their first meeting in the bath, a neutral small space where I could watch them intensely, but since they seemed to have got over any initial aggression and were quite comfortable together through the mesh, I skipped that bit and let them both out into the garden with close supervision.
We took a little risk here since our garden was Alice’s territory and in theory she would defend it against the new intruder. At first there was a little scuffling but that didn’t last long at all and they soon settled down, all be it at different ends of the garden.
Once they’d both accepted the garden was for sharing, the next stage (as my rabbit consultant ~ Middle Daughter~ explained) was to compete for the garden hierarchy. This seemed to take a sort of jousting format.
Alice was usually the instigator, facing Pepper nose to nose in a sort of stand-off, but he would just put his nose down on the ground to be washed and she always backed down first.
Pepper seems very laid back, he didn’t get annoyed at Alice at all he just kept putting his head down and then resuming his grass-munching when she went away.
They seemed quite happy sharing smaller spaces in the garden and I started to leave them outside without supervision, just checking on them every half hour or so, I guess Alice got bored first and gave in to Pepper’s request to have his ears washed. I spotted the grooming as I checked on them though the window and grabbed my camera to catch Monday’s photo … “the first kiss”.
There’s still a little way to go yet, I’ll be taking the run away on the old hutch this weekend, and hoping to have them both sleeping in the new hutch by Monday, then with a little fixing, patching and building, I’ll join the two hutches together and they’ll have a nice place to live, each with a new friend.