Life, it happens to all of us. But what do you do when you have animals that need you to be able to survive? For me this is a major reality. I am a mom of five beautiful girls ranging from 12 years to 2 months old, three of which I homeschool. So you can say I am a little busy. I've had two pregnancies since starting Samollynn Angoras, and it's not easy to juggle it all. So I'm here to give you some pointers as to what has helped me over the years deal with the chaos of life.
It's ok to lower your standards a little.
Please bear with me as I explain myself. When I say lower your standards I in no way mean neglect your animals. As I said above, these animals depend on you for their care and wellbeing. But what I do mean is, do they really need to be combed out daily? Actually it's better that you don't. Get yourself a good grooming blower and groom them once a week. This is actually better for their wool quality. Combing breaks down the wool making it not as wonderful to spin.
Now cleaning is where it may get a little trickier. I mean no one wants to live in their own poop, so why should your rabbits? For me my guys live in wire cages and have a good three inches between the bottom of the cage and the tray, making cleaning very simple and not necessary to clean daily. I do clean weekly, but during crazy season I've been known to push it to two. Keep in mind, even after two weeks, my guys are not sitting in their own poop. This is fine during the colder months since the smell isn't as strong as it is in the summer. This is also fine if your guys live outside or in a shelter outside.
Now for the indoor bunny, I'd say clean when you can. Ask for help, it's ok to do that. I know when I just had my last baby it killed me not to be able to go out and feed my rabbits and having to ask my oldest daughter to do it. No, it did not kill me to make her do work, it's good for her, it killed me that I was unable to see my sweet babies because I was settling in with my own newborn baby. I did manage to get out and clean after a week, but sitting still and having other people do things for me isn't something I'm good at. Which brings me to my next point.
Know your limits.
If your body is tired, stop, try again later. If you don't take care of you then who will care for the rabbits? If your body is still healing, let it. If you are so inundated with work, your boss is asking you to pull extra shifts, you are traveling more, you are homeschooling your fourth child who is requiring more of your time, reprioritize. Look at your schedule of the day. Are your mornings hectic (I know mine are)? Then maybe you go out in the afternoon. Tired when you get home from work? Maybe getting up an extra thirty minutes would help. For me I grab whatever time my kids allow me and go out to clean and groom.
Now for those of us who have a "few" rabbits, how do you handle the amount. Well again know your limits. I'm infamous for thinking, well what's one more. Well that one more turns into five quickly. You get a color you love, or one that is just a doll and so sweet that you couldn't part with it. So I break my rabbits up into days. I choose an amount to do a day to groom and clean cages. This has helped me immensely. This way everyone gets groomed and cleaned, but I'm not overwhelmed with doing them all at once. I also do that with plucking.
Haha plucking. Now that takes time. So what do you do when you are either expecting big changes (like having a baby for example)? Or big changes unexpectedly happen? Shear them. It's ok, trust me. I am not one to shear my rabbits. But if I don't have the time to pluck then I will shear. This way your not spending days plucking a rabbit, just one day. Yeah you may now have more prep time in spinning, but it's one less thing to worry about. I am in that chaotic time of life right now, with the holidays soon to be behind us, an expansion going on at my house, homeschooling three children, and a small baby who needs me regularly, you bet that I am shearing right now.
I hope that some of these pointers help in being able to handle your herd during crazy times of life, because let's face it they will happen.
Side note: If you have a rabbit (or more) and you just don't have the time for them? You've tried and tried to make it work, but reality is it just isn't. It's ok to down size, or find a good home for your rabbit. Don't ever feel ashamed of having to do this. If you do have to do this, try and find them a good home first. This is stressful and emotional I know. If you just can't find them a new home, or don't have the time frame to do so, contact the breeder and see if they will take it back. I know for me this is my policy. I tell every one of my new bunny parents that if for whatever reason they can't keep the bunny to return it to me. This way the burden of trying to find them a new home lands on me and they don't have to worry about it, and I also don't want to see my rabbits end up in a shelter. I had this happen to me a few times this past year, and I found a new home for all but two. I fell in love with these two girls and they are now a permanent part of Samollynn Angoras.
I am Amanda Fontaine, I run Samollynn Angoras and have been doing so for about five years now. I hope to spread not only the lovely fiber that they share with me, but the knowledge that I have learned over the years from others, and my own experience.