-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Sunday, December 07, 2008

RIP little ones

It has been a tough month. On Thursday our beloved pet rabbit Giantess passed away, the Saturday before poor Frenchie succumbed, and 3 weeks before that, we lost Little Miss. This post is a tribute to them.

Giantess aka Maggie Pie

the giantess bunny The giantess sleeping

We adopted Giantess about 2 years ago from a rabbit rescue centre. She had been stuck in a small hutch all her life until then, so it was wonderful to see her glee at realising she could run around free. She quickly bonded with Bert and helped him overcome his grief at having lost Snoozie.

Giantess got her nickname because she was the biggest bunny we'd had: an English spot breed. She was over twice the size of Bert, and it was very cute to see them cuddling together, sometimes she almost draped herself over him!

She was quite overweight at the beginning: but luckily she soon got to a healthy weight with all the exercise. Her favourite was to get inside the round wicker toy we christened "the tardis" because she used to like to stand up in it and then swing it around, bashing into things to make a lovely attention-grabbing banging noise! When she'd had enough it also proved a great place for a nap (see photo).

Giantess was a lovely girl with a mind of her own. She quite liked being patted so long as there was a lolly at the end of it, but was never happy about being picked up. She really came into her own as a carer when Bert got ill. She spent hours each day grooming him and making sure he felt loved. I don't think Bert would have made the adjustment to being blind and paralysed back legs without Giantess's care.

Giantess got ill so suddenly we didn't have time to deal properly with it. One day she was bounding around, the next just flopped out and not eating, so cold and losing strength. Vet did tests and found her kidneys had shut down. The vet taught us how to inject saline fluids under her skin, to help keep her hydrated, and we managed that for a week, but then it just stopped working. The skin punctures from the needles weren't healing so we couldn't keep the saline in, and it was clear it was time to let her go.

Sadly, Thursday morning I took her to the vets. Before taking her up, I moved Bert over to be close to her. Even though she was so ill herself, she still spent 20 secs washing his face. I think it was her way to say goodbye. RIP Giantess, the house isn't the same without you.

Frenchie aka The French One


Frenchie was one of the three battery hens we adopted last year. She quickly became a favourite due to her quirky character. Frenchie was initially picked on quite a lot, and yet she was the smartest by far.

To help build her confidence in the early weeks, she used to practice putting on a fight in the mirror. She'd sit in front of it and puff out her chest at the reflection (her), then peer up over the top to quickly check there was no real chicken there.

She was the first to master the art of "carrying". Previously when we put in a treat for them like pieces of toast or cake, there would be a giant scrum over it wherever it lay. Frenchie figured out she could go in, grab some and then run away holding it so she could eat somewhere else in peace! It took months before the others caught on and started to copy her.

She was also the only chicken we've had who "used tools". Frenchie loved to eat snails, and of course the shells are quite a hard defence. The other chickens used to give up most of the time, but not Frenchie. She worked out that if she found a snail, she could carry it over to one of the garden stepping stones. She then banged the snail forcefully against the hard stone a few times to crack the shell. Such a clever girl.

Frenchie got her name because of her comb. When she arrived from the battery farm, her comb had grown so large it flopped over and covered half her face - like a beret. Over the year it gradually shrunk to a more normal size, but still she retained her distinctive look.

Poor Frenchie died in her sleep last Saturday. She had been ill the past week and although we'd tried to tempt her with treats, etc sadly it was not to be. RIP dear little one.

Little Miss

Little Miss

Little Miss was a pampered chicken. We loved her although I don't think she ever fully forgave us for taking her from her original flock. Back when C1 died we were left with a distraught C2. We needed to find her a friend, fast, and the only place we could find in London that was willing to sell us a hen was a children's farm in Islington.

A huge donation later, and I was driving home with a very grumpy clucker in the back seat! She'd had an idyllic life there with her flock, lots of barns all with hay for them to play in.

Back home she was introduced to C2 who was just so clearly delighted to see another hen she couldn't stop chirruping. Little Miss gradually warmed to her new life and ended up forming a close friendship with C2. At nights they would snuggle together, and Little Miss laid us the most fabulous pure white eggs.

She never lost her attitude though - her name truly suited! She was a lovely chicken in her own way though and we were very sad for her to have gone.

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