It's been a while since our last blog post and I wanted to give all of our supporters a bit of an update on our work here at Nibbles. We had a lot planned for this year, but with the Covid-19 pandemic it's put a bit of a spanner in the works.
It was an incredibly long 8 weeks with our volunteers away, all the animals to care for and the caravan to renovate. I can't thank you enough for the support you all gave, during such a difficult time for everyone! We really couldn't have done it without you all and it was fantastic to see our volunteers return. They were all utterly speechless when they saw the caravan for the first time and if the outside wasn't the same, they wouldn't have believed that we hadn't simply replaced it with a new one.
Over the past 5 ½ years Nibbles has grown from nothing but a patch of land and good intentions into a custom built rescue, with a team of 10 dedicated volunteers who keep it open and running. Nibbles is the only specialist rabbit and rodent rescue in West Wales and one of only two rescues catering for these animals.
The majority of our work focuses on rabbits, and the sad truth is that we simply can't provide placements for every unwanted rabbit we get asked to take. If we had space for 30 rabbits tomorrow, we'd need space for 40 next week. We can currently house a maximum of 22 on site and have 3 sanctuary rabbits who live permanently with Rachel. On average rabbits wait around 12 months to find a home and during this time we are constantly asked to take more. With this in mind one of our goals this year was to look at ways in which we can help promote the rescue and the animals we have searching for their forever homes.
By reducing the amount of time rabbits wait, we can increase the number of rabbits we take in. Since reopening in June we've been very busy with adoptions and have already rehomed two bonded pairs, and currently have 4 rabbits out on trial to bond with existing rabbits. We were all over the moon when our longest stay rabbits were finally given the chance for their very own happily ever after. Chewy and Han Solo arrived with us back in January 2016, as part of an unwanted litter. These boys have waited and waited and waited, to be honest we had all given up on the idea that they would ever find their very own happily ever after. Out of the blue, an application arrived for the boys and by the end of the week they left us for the perfect forever home. We were all sad to see them leave after such a long time, but living at the rescue doesn't compare to life in a forever home. With so many rabbits, and other animals, to care for, we simply can't give them the same level of attention they would receive in a home.
With so many leaving us we've been able to offer placements to 11 new rabbits. We've welcomed Bracken, our giant bunny, and she's already hopped off to meet another giant bunny called Loki and we are hoping they fall for each other. The other 10 rabbits have come in via Greenacres, including 7 little babies from two separate cases. We are currently waiting for them to mature enough to neuter before we can make them available for adoption. The mother of the litter of little lops, is still with Greenacres and currently nursing a second litter of 5. Dad, Jaxx, has already arrived with us and has been neutered so no more babies for him. But, he was in urgent need of a dental, this has now been done. Once the current litter is weaned, mum will be spayed and depending on our availability we hope to be able to offer them space here. With so many new arrivals needing neutering and vaccinations our vet fund has run extremely low. By the time we have neutered and vaccinated all the rabbits our total bill will be around £1,230.
Our other goal for the year was to start raising the funds required to build further rabbit housing. Back in 2018, we cleared a further patch of land to allow the rescue to expand. We had already added five rabbit units in this area, consisting of two 8x4 kennels, one 10x4 kennel, one 6x10 unit, and a 6x7 hutch run combo. We have just managed to get a further 6x10 pen up, to move Bracken into a larger space while she waited to head off.
We want to add a further two 6x10 units, a quarantine unit, bonding pen and a further unit for a single rabbit. This will allow us to increase to 28 rabbits at anyone time with further ability to cater for emergency cases. Summer is now quickly coming to an end and our window to build further housing is drawing to a close. However, we would like to build one further 6x10 unit this year, if possible. To achieve this we need to raise £500 to cover the cost of the materials needed and have a spell of good weather to get it up. The hardest part of creating new housing is laying the paving. All of the volunteers are well aware of my constant moaning about laying paving! Over the past 5½ years I've laid over 400 paving slabs by hand. It's certainly my least favourite job and I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.
July is also our annual booster month for a number of our sanctuary rabbits and we've also had some long stay bunnies who required boosters. Booster vaccines are one of our biggest expenditures and it's very hard for us to keep these funds in place. Our adoption fee covers the vaccinations of the next rabbit to arrive in our care and sponsorship helps to cover the cost of vaccinations for our sanctuary rabbits, but it always wipes out the kitty with a few extra pounds to find. It's always a constant juggling act to ensure that we have the funds available to pay our monthly vet bills.
With that said, Nibbles simply couldn't be here without our amazing supporters. We can only do what we do because of that support. Many people thank us for the work that we do. But the truth is, it's people like you that keep the rescue open and running, without your support we simply wouldn't be able to continue. We only provide the space and the care for the rabbits and rodents who need our help. You guys are the ones which pay their vet fees, buy their food and bedding, pay for the timber to build more housing and cover the cost of the dreaded paving slabs!
There are loads of ways in which you can make a difference to the animals in need of help. You can sign up to make a small monthly pledge to help towards the day to day care costs, you could sponsor a sanctuary rabbit, or sign up to Amazon Smile or EasyFundraising to raise free donations for the rescue while you shop online. You could even hold a birthday fundraiser for Nibbles on Facebook and help replenish our vet fund towards the cost of neutering rabbits arriving into our care. To find out more about how you can become involved and help rabbits and rodents in need of a safe place until the perfect forever home can be found, no matter how long that takes, please hop over to www.nibbles.org.uk/get-involved. Like I said, we just provide the facilities, you guys are the ones saving lives!