How to help Fat Fluffs rabbit rescue

Massive caveat - I am an occasional volunteer and not formally associated with Fat Fluffs. This page is to raise awareness and paint a picture of what can be done. It may be slightly wrong or out of date. You should always contact them first.

Tea break with the Fat Fluffs residents. Tea break with the permanent Fat Fluffs residents.

Since they helped us bond Bunminster and Joy, and in the process brought Clem into our lives, we've been quite attached to the Fat Fluffs rabbit rescue, based in a village between Birmingham and Coventry. It's similar to most animal rescues but only takes rabbits, which means they're not tacked onto the side of the dog and cat kennels and are given the priority they might need.

Fat Fluffs is also a sanctuary, housing a pack of 10-20 rabbits which cannot be rehomed for health or personality reasons, but their primary mission is to accept any and all unwanted rabbits, get them healthy and rehome as many as possible.

We just did our end of year household budget and our three rabbits cost us a little over £1,200 in food and vets bills in 2017. This is not a problem, of course, but it does put Fat Fluff's mission into some perspective. By my guess they have 90-100 rabbits at the moment, including a batch of 40 which arrived the week before Xmas. (These had been breeding in a 2-bed flat by someone who, I believe, has now been moved to a care-home. One of the side-victims of mental illness are the animals used for comfort and companionship, and I have no doubt this person loved their rabbits, but that's another issue for another day.) The point is Fat Fluffs pick up these pieces and it costs a lot of money to do so, not to mention time and effort.

Obviously, in this Age of Utter Awfulness™, with society's safety nets fraying, you may consider there to be more pressing issues than rabbit welfare. I would never argue against you, but you pick your battles and I have chosen this one, amongst others.

So, if you want to help Fat Fluffs, here's how.

Volunteer your time

Rabbits are usually very clean creatures but they do produce a lot of poop (this is the official rabbit husbandry term for lagomorph excrement). At best their litter trays just need emptying and cleaning. At worst they don't know what a litter tray is and have made their own rules. The hutches need cleaning daily. There are 32 hutches. Many hands = light work.

You're cleaning hutches while the rabbits are in them, and some rabbits welcome human contact. In fact cuddling them can be critical to their well being, keeping them suitable for rehoming. So it's not all scooping poop!

Cleaning starts around 10am and is usually over in a couple of hours. Email volunteer@fatfluffs.com to register your interest and they'll send you the info.

Fat Fluffs are not open to the public. You can only visit by appointment and they're not listed, so don't try and find the address and just turn up!

Look at the mess this new arrival has made!
Look at the mess this new arrival has made!

Money buys food and medicine but more critically pays for vet visits (so many vets visits!) and the salaries of full time staff like the amazing Adam who knows everything and was always happy to answer questions when we adopted Clem.

The donations page on the website has lots of options but is a bit scrappy so I reckon the easiest way to send them cash is probably PayPal using this button (taken from their site):

And of course there's the Gift Aid form which powers-up the donation by 25%. Don't worry about this if you're sending a few quid, but should you be making a more substantial donation it goes a long way.

Send supplies

A recent, and very successful, thing has been the Amazon Wishlist. They list the stuff they urgently need and invite people to order it for them. This way we're bypassing and fees from cash collection and getting supplies in as quickly as possible.

Spread the word

If you've spent any time on the internet you'll know it's basically powered by people sharing pictures of cute animals. Fat Fluffs have plenty, plus some heart-warming/breaking stories to go with them.

The Rabbits for Adoption section of the site has the current slate who are ready for their foreverhomes. And then there are the Success Stories, where people who've adopted a bun or two report on how they're getting on. (Look, there's Clem!) If you see any real cuties it would be a shame not to show them to the world, and link back to the site.

The main social media platform is the Facebook page which is worth keeping an eye on for news. They're also very active on Instagram at @fat_fluffs. The Twitter, @fatfluffs, is pretty dead but does have a link to the site so it's worth mentioning when tweeting about them.

Board your bunny

If you have rabbits then consider using Fat Fluffs (or another sanctuary) to board them when you go on holiday. Not only are you leaving your loved ones somewhere with experts and medical facilities on call, boarding is a significant income stream for the charity. At Fat Fluffs, boarders, residents, and newcomers are kept strictly separate with newcomers quarantined and everything sanitised so there's no risk of catching anything.

The last time we boarded with them it cost £16 per day for all three rabbits in one hutch. That's a bargain.

Adopt a rabbit

I left this til last as it's not something to be entered into lightly. There's so many misconceptions around keeping rabbits as pets - that they can live alone in a cage, that they're perfect for children, that they don't need much attention, that they're cheap.

As I said, we spent over £1,200 last year on three rabbits. They need at least an hour a day of attention, including a run in the garden whatever the weather. They need to live in packs of 2 or more, but if the pack hierarchy is off they will fight and draw blood until it's sorted again (we spent £670 on vet bills last year). They hide any illness until it's almost too late and then have to be force-fed recovery food. They live for around a decade. They are a HUGE commitment.

Keeping rabbits healthy and happy is surprisingly similar to owning a dog, commitment-wise. In fact I'd say a cat is easier because cats tend to look after themselves. You really have to look after rabbits.

All that said, keeping rabbits changed our lives for the better. I have no regrets. So if you think you have the space, time and budget to give two (or more!) rabbits a home, please go to Fat Fluffs before the pet shop.

Adopt, don't shop!

Again, I'm not formally associated with Fat Fluffs. This post is not canonical information. If you want to help in any serious way you should always contact them first.

On behalf of the rabbits, thank you!