Rodney, a Houserabbit of the 60s

We tend to think of house rabbits as being a new approach to rabbit care but we have a bit of a family tradition of it. My mum has often told me about her house rabbit Rodney. So today we dug out the photoalbum and I asked her to tell me all about him…

Roderick Rabbit 1960s

“We got Roderick, known as “Rodney” or “Rodders”, from a pet shop in the  mid 60s. He was brought to be a magicians rabbit as my mum was a magicians assistant, but he grew to big to fit in the top hat, cutting his career short.

“He had a hutch under the kitchen sink when we first had him and freerange of the downstairs – quarry tile floors with a rug. He was partial to a cup of tea and frequently found with his head stuffed in visitors teacups when they left them on the floor. One of his favourite places to rest was on the rug in front of the real coal fire, stretched out with his ears folded flat. He often surprised visitors when he popped his ears up and they realised he was a rabbit, not a cat!

“He also liked to sit on the window sill and wait for me to come home from school. He knew what time I got home and would jump up to wait, if I was late he’d get bored waiting and nibble the plants. He was also partial to the television cable, which he ate on several occasions whilst the telly was on – he obviously thought he wasn’t getting enough attention. He did it so often the TV repairman would comment: “It’s that rabbit again” when he visited to fix it. That was the only thing he really chewed though apart from nibbling books a little.

“He was an uncastrated male but we didn’t have any problems. He was house trained – we trained him by putting a newspaper in his preferred corner then moving it closer to the back door. Once he was trained, he used to ask to go out like a cat when he needed the loo. On one occasion a medium sized dog broke into the back garden, I opened the door to let him out for the loo not realising  and he growled and launched himself  at it, grabbed it by it’s throat and kicked it with his back legs. I had to pull him off the dog and which ran off with its tail between its legs.

“He ate all the household vegetables, bran, crushed oats, and a few commercial rabbit pellets as a treat. He had free access to grass outside. We collected him dandelions and other weeds too. He used to visit neighbouring gardens for additional supplies, but he always came home again. Sometimes at high speed with the neighbours hot on his heels.

“In later life he lived with my German Sheppard, Sheba. They were good friends and Sheba used to wash his ears. He had a low pen which he could jump over, but the dog respected that was his space and didn’t intrude. When Rodney died (he must have been around eight by then) Sheba howled all night.”

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6 Responses to “Rodney, a Houserabbit of the 60s”

  1. D. Moll says:

    What a great story! Rabbits run in the family 🙂

  2. oh gosh Rodney sounds like a wonderful bunny with great character

  3. Charlotte says:

    Ah, so you were raised on the house rabbit idea… I first came upon it in a sitcome in the 80s called ‘The Mistress’… Felicity Kendal played a florist who had a house rabbit. I guess I was about 10. I always wanted house bunnies since then.

    Thank your mum for the Rodney stories.


  4. Manuela says:

    Lovely story!
    That’s sort of funny, my dad had a rabbit once.
    Wait… This is really weird! Right now I have a German Shepherd AND a rabbit!
    The only thing that’s different is that they’ve never met. They live in different countries, but my rabbit lives with me right now. (My dog lives with my cousins right now, but he’s happy because he’s with 4 other dogs! 😀 )

    My rabbit also chewed the GameCube Cable, but we managed to fix it, but we never play it… And Rodney was a dutch rabbit, just like mine! And also a male rabbit!
    Wow, Rodney and Sniffle (my rabbit) have lots in common!

    Once question though, which color of dutch? (There are two, orangy-brown and black)
    It looks like he was orangy-brown, from the photo. Which is like mine too! 🙂

  5. Tanya Maddox says:

    Just enjoyed reading your story about Rodney the house rabbit! I too had a house rabbit in the sixties. People thought we were crazy. His name was Herbie and he was a huge REW New Zealand. I have written his story as part of a collection of stories I am writing about my rabbits through the years…currently numbering seven. My youngest son’s furst rabbit was a Durch named Bunn Bunn. They were constant companions until Bunn died at age 14.

    Thanks for the enjoyable story.

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