About What We Do and Why
The two species that we help are routinely poorly treated in our society. Rabbits are the most neglected animals in the UK (according to the RSPCA). The common usage of the term guinea pig says it all for them. Both species are too easily available for purchase, being on display in pet shops where pester power often means that they are bought without proper forethought. The housing sold by these same petshops mean that the animals live lives of misery in cramped conditions developing painful health conditions through lack of exercise. Both species can also breed at an alarming rate, and accidental litters are all too common particularly as pet shops are notoriously bad at sexing rabbits. The desperate straits these animals end up in mean that there is a huge need for places of safety for them, both sanctuaries and rehoming rescues. Hopper Haven used to try to fulfil both functions but due to the huge workload had to decide to concentrate on just the sanctuary side of things because that is what we do best and we stopped rehoming in 2010. We do however continue to provide help to any of the animals we rehomed in the past including taking them back if their new home cannot continue to provide for them for any reason. From now on, apart from animals who have been here before, we will aim to take in animals that are in need of a sanctuary place by reason of age, health issues or temperament.
At Hopper Haven we aim to provide the best quality of life possible to our residents. This means they get the largest possible accomodation, the companionship of their own species, an appropriate healthy diet, and prompt and appropriate health care. Animals will only be put to sleep if their quality of life has deteriorated to the point that that is the only humane thing to do. Most of our rabbits live outside as that is where they are happiest. They all have runs where they can dig, forage, find patches of sun to lie in, argue with the neighbours, snuggle with their friends, hear the birds and the wind in the trees and feel the breeze in their fur, living life the way a rabbit is meant to but with the fall back of a warm secure hutch or shed to keep them warm and safe from predators overnight. Just a few are housed inside the barn when they have health issues meaning they need dry footing all the time due to limited mobility. The guinea pigs are housed in large villages in the barn, never in cages unless they are ill and need extra attention. They also benefit from the dry footing. Unfortunately this means that we are unable to house many males as they are agressive with each other even when neutered. The rabbits mostly live in pairs or trios. At any time we have between 80 and 100 rabbits depending on how many trios we have, as each place can house either a pair or a trio but not all rabbits will tolerate more than one companion. It can be tricky to bond some rabbits but we never give up and living alone is only ever temporary. We occasionally have larger groups in the big sheds when we have easy going rabbits but rabbits are too fond of arguing for it to be possible very often and we also need the big sheds for giants when we have them.