The National Rabbit Festival aka Shopping for Ralph
Held at Millennium Point in Birmingham, and the first of its kind in the UK, the festival brought together rabbit rescues, shops galore selling every kind of hay, forage and bunny treat you can imagine, and a full programme of talks from some of the country’s foremost experts on rabbit welfare.
It was the perfect balance of lighthearted fun and earnest, heartfelt rabbit welfare - and it was PACKED! (I'm not sure why I was so surprised - of course such an event would draw a committed crowd, and it sold out well in advance.)
The very first stand I visited when I arrived (quite randomly). I was a bit stressed after a dreadful journey and it was so nice to meet such friendly people. (We discussed the urgent matter of where the coffee stand was.)
I bought the little bunny treats for Ralph and he LOVES them.
I am definitely ordering more from these lovely folks.
Introducing.... The Full Power Cacao!
Having given up on finding any actual coffee, I came across a lovely stand in the corner offering plant-based food and drink - and felt confident something called a 'Full Power Cacao' would restore my energy levels.
It did. It was absolutely delicious and I've even tried to recreate it at home.
Visit their Instagram here - and book them if you ever need some ethical, conscious catering!
Having refreshed myself with the full power cacao, it was time to pick up a takeaway 'drink' for Ralph.
And how fabulous is this - the Spiced Pumpkin Latte treat cup from The Natural Bunny Company.
Such a clever idea!
Bought a delicious bag of forage from these lovely folks and had a great chat about forage and twigs... (as you do).
I promised to email them about our cider apple tree pruning - and I will do just as soon as I've finished this blog!
Little Hay Company
At this stand I bought two enormous taster boxes of hay (and a little forage box) - with absolutely zero thought to the fact I had to carry them home on the train.
We had a great chat about the 'ups and downs' of hay - the variations from crop to crop. For this reason it definitely pays to have a couple of hay suppliers in the bag and I'm glad I've added these folks to my list!
I can't tell you how happy I was to come across this stand.
Wildwood Bunnies distribute the wonderful Maze Havens - complicated cardboard box 'jigsaw structures' you can build to create a world of tunnels and hide-holes.
Ralph had one a few years ago - which lasted a good 18 months - and he loved it. It's high time for another and I think it will be his main present this Christmas.
I had the first one as a Christmas present from my partner. He was a bit baffled as to why I chose not perfume or jewellery but what he called "the world's most expensive cardboard box" - but other bunny lovers will understand.
Homemade for Pets
One of the last stands I visited and by this point I was already seriously weighed down by hay and forage - but even so I couldn't resist something called - wait for it - a Binky Bomb!
A little palm leaf bowl filled with dried flowers.
Ralph had this for his birthday a week later and loved it.