Our rescue group, Huntsville Friends of Rabbits, runs on donations, and our budget is very tight. However, we are proud to say that we make every penny count! As the Education Bunny for HFR, I make it my business to ensure that every donation is used in the best possible way. Most of our donations are used for vet expenses, and we have found ways to keep our other costs way down.
One way is to buy our hay directly from a local farmer. He grows an orchard grass/Timothy mix hay which is just delicious! Because we buy directly from the farmer, and pick the hay up ourselves, we get it for $5 a bale. If we bought a bale's worth from the pet store, or even an online dealer, it would cost a fortune! And we go through bales and bales of hay! Getting our hay direct from the farm greatly reduces our costs.
Here is the barn where "our" farmer stores the hay. Look at that beautiful grass! It's so green and lovely up at his farm!
And here is our truck, filled with delicious hay!
My chauffeur, Dr. Bruce, helps load it in and drives it home for us. It gets stored in our garage, in a cool place where there is good air circulation so it doesn't mold. This cut was brown, but usually it's a soft green color.
What else do we do to save money? Well, let me tell you about our bunny garden!
My personal gardener (who is also my secretary and wardrobe assistant) has a wonderful veggie and herb garden. This cuts our veggie expenses significantly. In addition, the garden supplies us bunnies with herbs and gourmet lettuces we otherwise wouldn't get, as they are too expensive for us to buy at the grocery store. We grow several types of basil, mint, fennel, dill, salad burnett, sorrel, oregano, and three to five varieties of lettuce. We even grow edible flowers like roses and violas. Everything is organic with no pesticides.
Because my gardener grew up in New England, she knows how to extend the growing season into the winter, so sometimes we even have kale and lettuce in December and January. Check out these mini-cold frames made out of old cages and clear shower curtains - yes, that's kale, growing under the snow!
We use old cages to protect the young lettuce plants, too. We have a resident groundhogs on our property who don't seem to understand that the lettuce is just for bunnies, so we have to make sure they can't get to it. That's right, folks - at the main foster home the lettuce is caged and the bunnies run free!!
Here is a photo of one of the youngest of our salad stealers. Isn't she cute?!
Another way we cut costs is by using newspaper to line our litter boxes instead of Carefresh or other commercial litters. It really works just as well! We are always happy to take donations of newspapers!
One unusual way we save money is by having one of our members, Dr. Bruce, do our coccidia tests. He is a biologist, and can do the fecal float tests needed to check for these nasty parasites. If we had them done through our veterinarian it would be quite expensive, as every bunny who comes into foster care needs to have them, and we do periodic checks on our resident bunnies as well. The test also picks up any worms we might have. It's very important!
These are just a few of the ways we make all of our donations go as far as possible. We want our donors to know that we appreciate their help, and we stretch their dollars in every way we can. If you have donated to us, thank you sooooo much!!! We foster bunnies just love you!!!
Huntsville Friends of Rabbits Education Bunny