Friday, January 10, 2014

Beatrix's Sweater

During the hot summer months this past year, our family brought two new pets into our household. They are two adorable English angora rabbits. Brady had watched me stare at pictures of fluffy bunnies online, sighing over breeder websites for a while, and we finally decided to go for it. Gizmo certainly had quite a surprise waiting for her when she came home from camp.

Both our bunnies are girls. We made the long drive to the breeder's home with the intention to bring one bunny home, but ended up with two. I am really glad we did, since I have had a wonderful time getting to know them.

Today I am going to focus on Beatrix, our chocolate agouti rabbit. Just in case you did not know, English angora rabbits shed their coats about every three to four months. That is the time when their fur needs to be plucked or sheared from them, mainly on their backs. Their hair comes out extremely easy then. They do get annoyed with me, but I am careful to make sure they are as comfortable as possible through the process. It is possible to wait longer, and keep them in "full coat", but maintenance to keep them mat free becomes a much bigger responsibility. Their hair is finer than cashmere, and can mat up quickly if they are not properly taken care of, which can be painful for the poor bunny and bad for their health.

I had been toying with the idea of keeping Beatrix in full coat for about a month, but decided this morning that it would be best to go ahead and pluck her. After I finished an area on her back, I was startled to see some of her pink skin through the very thin layer of fur that remained. On her past pluckings, she has had her next coat already growing in when she loses the top one, but not so much this time. I knew it could happen, but it was still very alarming to me. She was just so naked!

Since I was worried about her getting cold with the sudden loss of a large amount of wool from her back and belly, I made her a sweater of sorts from a leg of one of Gizmo's old sweat pants.

 She is the smaller of our bunnies, but looks so much smaller after she has lost her coat. We all agreed she looked very cute in her sweater. Gizmo loved it and spent a lot of time cooing over Beatrix while working on her schoolwork. Well, all of us except for her....she was not all that happy about it. I think we could work out something a little more fashionable in the future, but this satisfied my need to make sure she was warm.