Bunny doesn't like being picked up

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mutzie690

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I've had my Barnaby, a Holland Lop, since he was 8 weeks old. He has always loved to be picked up and has spent hours just snuggling and cuddling in my lap. When he turned 6 months old, he started fighting being picked up. He throws his body about and kicks like a madman with his rear feet. Once I have ahold of him he calms and is able to relax and be snuggled on. My question is, do I continue to forcibly pick him up, until he hopefully doesn't mind it again, or do I resign myself to not being able to ever pick him up again? I do not want to cause him any undue stress. I am totally fine if it is advised to not pick him up. I can still pet and snuggle some with him at ground level. Just a side note, he has never been dropped, handled roughly or abused. And he is neutered.
 

Blue eyes

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You describe what is completely typical and common. Baby rabbits are different creatures than adult rabbits - often compliant and docile. Adult rabbits (which yours now is) are often nothing like their baby selves.

Rabbits are stubborn and strong-willed and do not like being 'manhandled.' If it's snuggles you're after, let bunny come to you. When he's in the mood, he'll come over for attention -- provided you aren't forcing it on him. It's all part of respecting or at least recognizing and acknowledging a rabbit's constantly changing moods. By allowing him to be more active in initiating that contact, it will help strengthen your relationship even more.

On a side note, your experience is yet another example of how 'early handling" does not make for a handle-able rabbit. It goes along with what Caroline states:

Founder of Bunny Bunch rescue, Caroline Charland, states, "People often think a rabbit must be held a lot as a baby in order to like being held as an adult.I don't find this true at all. Over the years, the Bunny Bunch rescue I founded has saved many mother and baby rabbits from shelters. All the babies were treated the same. When they became adults their personalities varied-- some liked to be held, some hated to be held and some tolerated being held."
(Rabbits USA 2014 magazine)


So please don't feel like you did anything to make him not like to be held. ;)
 

RWAF

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Rabbits really don't like to be picked up. They are prey animals and their wild instinct tells them that it's a predator picking them up to make them into dinner. It's far better for them if you interact with them on the floor where they feel much safer, and where they aren't going to hurt themselves, by jumping out of your arms. It's very common for rabbits to be seriously hurt or killed when this happens and even struggling when you hold them can cause serious injuries, as bad as broken legs or a broken back.

There is advice on handling here Handling
 

Niomi

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This is my rabbit Downy. I use him IMG_20200728_184604318.jpgfor pet therapy. He doesn't like to be picked up. l have him hop into this adjustable cat bed and then he is fine with being picked up and held, as long as he can stay in the bed.
 
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