those who don’t know me here's a little personal background . . .
Throughout my childhood my European immigrant parents kept lots of animals,
and of them all, the bunnies were my favourite.
Thankfully, I was not aware that some of our pet lambs, chickens and rabbits residing in the backyard provided food
for the table. All I knew was that rabbits appealed to me and I took to their quiet undemanding ways. The rabbits were not
aloof and selfish like our cats or subservient and constantly begging attention like our dog. I know I am unusual when people
tell me that when they (for example) smell horse manure they remember fond childhood experiences of their pony or staying
on a farm. I on the other hand, enjoy the odour of rabbit poo! Strange isn’t it?
Even though it feels like it, I am unable to say I have had
an entire lifetime experience with rabbits. During my teenage years, as with most young women, my youth was distracted with
other important issues such as joining the work force. I then graduated to changing and washing nappies — thousands
of them! Recollecting my childhood fondness for bunnies I decided to keep a few crossbred pets for my children’s (and
my) enjoyment. In 1987, while buying a hutch from a breeder, (wow, that's 29 years ago!) my eyes first set upon an
amazing breed called the English Angora. I was besotted and gladly paid $200 for a breeding pair named Charlie and Chinchin.
I didn’t find out until later that they were a bit overpriced and not suitable for showing however, as their type and
coat were quite average.
At the time we moved (bunnies and all) from the coastal town of Kiama to Canberra, you had to obtain a license in
order to keep rabbits and each license was restricted to a maximum of ten rabbits. I still have the old discoloured piece
of paper somewhere – although government regulations of a ‘rabbit permit’ no longer applies.
I searched thoroughly
for local breeders but found only a few that bred Netherland Dwarf, the most popular breed in those days. Before long I travelled
across the border, driving for three long hours (one way) just to enter my bunnies in the closest and only NSW club at the
time, the Rabbit Breeders Association in Sydney. Since then the interest in keeping and showing fancy rabbits has grown and
subsequently additional clubs have formed and branched out to various other parts of the country.
It was in Sydney that I fell ‘hook,
line and sinker’ in love with the dopey looking Dwarf Lops and then the Cashmere Lops soon after they were imported.
The bunnies I brought back from Sydney were the foundation stock that helped launch the lovable Lop’s popularity in
Canberra. Even though I adore the English Angora’s docile and placid nature, they are a specialist breed and not suitable
for the average pet owner.
Currently I only breed Mini Lops and Mini Cashmere Lops. I have been tempted to add some of the other gorgeous (established
or new) breeds but must admit a certain bias towards a Lop’s podgy face, cheeky personality and docile, curious nature.
Now you know why there are so many ‘Lop’ photos throughout my book!
I chose the name of my rabbit
stud ‘Bonreiki’ after my in-laws kiwi fruit orchard in New Zealand. Their home and orchard was serene and beautiful
and on a clear day you could even see an active volcano on an offshore island. I have very fond memories of the idealistic
times we had when we stayed there. Although it was sad when Mum and Dad sold the orchard, I wanted the name Bonreiki to somehow
continue as a family tradition and was especially won over after finding out that the Polynesian interpretation means ‘to
grow’. How perfectly apt when you see tiny newborn kits and watch their amazing growth rate from one day to the next.
In 1990 I was encouraged
to form a Canberra based sub-show committee of the Rabbit Breeders Association. Later in the same year I started training
as a judge, eventually qualifying a few years later - though have since retired.
With a small band of enthusiasts,
we managed to successfully organise shows and display bunnies for the first time in the ACT. After five years of gaining experience,
confidence and a strong desire to go it alone, the Canberra Rabbit Club emerged.
Apart from holding rabbit shows
we promoted and displayed at school fetes, agricultural shows, pet expos and so on. The annual Canberra Royal Show is the
biggest (and most tiring) event. It is held over three days and we end up talking to hundreds of people — giving advice
and showing off our rabbits. Apart from the business of working for the club, my motivation has always been the pleasure of
promoting bunnies as delightful pets. Over a period of time I decided that the show scene wasn't really in mine and my
bunnies best interests so these days am happily doing my own thing.
While I am on the phone having one of my typical
lengthy conversations, family or friends sometimes remark, "There she is yakking about rabbits again" or "You
should charge fifty cents per minute." I take such ribbing indifferently and am not at all concerned if anyone thinks
I’m a bit wacky, eccentric or just obsessed with rabbits. For me, learning, promoting and advising about rabbits is
a lifetime passion. I hope that by sharing what I have learnt helps to improve the living conditions and understanding of
bunnies here ‘down under’ in the ‘land of Oz’ or wherever else they happen to reside.
P.S. the primary reason for moving interstate was to set
up our family business, perhaps locals may have heard of 'Alucom' advertised on the radio
So anyway, I thought it might be a good idea to mention that if anyone needs flyscreen
to protect their rabbits from various deadly insects (spider bites, fly-strike, Myxomatosis and Calicivirus)
to please mention my name Christine Carter (the boss's wife) and you'll receive a substantial discount –
or in some cases free of charge scrap material. So too, our company may have other useful products such as used
security doors, which could be utilized to make bunny enclosures and exercise runs.
156 - 158 Gladstone St
Fyshwick, Canberra, ACT
Phone (02) 6280 7465
Click on screen shot to go to company website
*Please do not contact Alucom
about anything to do with bunny rabbits!
You should instead contact
Phone (02) 6297 7750 or EMAIL
Alucom generously donated tough, protective security screens for our local RSPCA's
extra large bunny enclosures.
screens help guard rescued rabbits from viruses (for example Myxomatosis was an ongoing problem) and known intruders such
as snake attacks.