Is it Normal/Okay for a Rabbit to be Nearly Impossible to Pick Up?

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by brandiallyn, Jul 4, 2019.

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  1. Jul 4, 2019 #1

    brandiallyn

    brandiallyn

    brandiallyn

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    My 5 month old rabbit, Beatrice, has been handled from birth, but she hates hates HATES being picked up now that she's gotten a bit older. She will run away if I make any motions to pick her up, and if I start picking her up, she will squirm, kick, and jump out of my (and anyone else's) arms. I have tried to clip her nails and she even managed to get away when I used the "bunny burrito" method. She does not growl, lunge, or bite when I try to pick her up, just squirms away.

    I have taken her to the vet and not even they were able to cut Beatrice's nails. I asked the vet if they have ever had another rabbit who behaved this way and she said that they didn't.

    I just feel like I've done something wrong! Has anyone else had this issue? She's a great bun if every other way; this is the only problem I've had with her.
     
  2. Jul 4, 2019 #2

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

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    She’s in a age where bunnies will be harder to handle because of the hormones.

    It’s normal for bunnies to not liking being picked up. Have you tried distracting your bunny. Often when trimming my bunnies claws I let my bunnies munch on a treat while being a burrito.

    Distracting a bunny will often help them to calm down
     
  3. Jul 4, 2019 #3

    brandiallyn

    brandiallyn

    brandiallyn

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    I just had her spayed the other day, so I'm hoping that she'll start to calm down once her hormones settle. I'll definitely try again with some raisins or banana once she's all healed. ;) Thank you!
     
  4. Jul 4, 2019 #4

    SableSteel

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    I would not feed raisins to my rabbits. Not only are they high in sugar they've been linked to kidney failure in dogs.

    I have yet to meet a rabbit that truly could not be held. They're not large animals - you just need to be confident and gentle. For the most part, when a rabbit struggles while being picked up it's because it feels insecure or unsafe with the technique, so this will likely get better once you get better at picking her up in ways she is comfortable with. I would be upset about the whole bunny burrito thing if I were a rabbit too - I doubt getting rolled up into a towel is unstressful. And if every attempt to pick her up ends unpleasantly, she might want to avoid it.

    The football hold is by far the easiest and safest method of holding and carrying a rabbit in my opinion. You want the rabbit's head tucked between your body and upper arm (covering its eyes. this also prevents the rabbit from pushing forward, which is their natural response when scared), then have your lower arm along the side/bottom of the rabbit (around the legs - your arm should be right between the muscular part of the hind leg and the hock. This also prevents the rabbit from exerting too much force with its hind legs if you have your arm there controlling it) and the hand under the rabbits rump, supporting its weight. With practice you can safely carry two rabbits this way, one under each arm. If you don't feel comfortable with this yet, you can also put your other hand over the back of the rabbit or around its abdomen to further prevent it from escaping the hold. If you need to trim nails you can also have somebody crouch in front of you and reach the legs while in football hold (though I normally just use my second hand for that).

    To get the rabbit into this hold you can just lean down and scoop them under your arm. The first step should be to get the head under your arm. If the rabbit does try to move or escape away from you it's pretty easy to transfer it from holding with two hands (which is how they are when I catch moving rabbits - one hand around their chest, one under their rump) to the football hold.

    This is my 8 mo boy Randall helping my demonstrate
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Jul 4, 2019 #5

    Hermelin

    Hermelin

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    You can use veggies and pellets as treats, if your bunny have a favorite petting place it can also help.

    One of my bunnies while being picked up will hold a treat in his mouth if I scratch the cheek or behind the ears. I can always hear the bunny purring.
     
  6. Jul 4, 2019 #6

    brandiallyn

    brandiallyn

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    Oh wow, I didn't know about the raisins, thanks for telling me!

    I will try the football hold for sure! Thank you both so much for the information. :)
     
  7. Jul 5, 2019 #7

    Orrin

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    I will echo the importance of technique. As I mentioned recently in response to a similar question, our vet tech who has been a bunny person all her life, knows how to pick up any rabbit and they don't so much as wiggle when she does it. The linked video demonstrates; but, it is easy when the bun is on a table. Our vet tech swoops them up off the floor, expertly. In the video, Mary Cotter and Amy Sedaris demonstrate.

     
  8. Jul 5, 2019 #8

    Preitler

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    Imho, that's an exclusive dog problem, grapes are toxic to them, I don't know of any other mammal they are toxic to.

    Anyway, raisins are a very sugary treat, I just use their regular pellets (they don't get much of those, I feed mostly forage).
     
  9. Jul 5, 2019 #9

    Niomi

    Niomi

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    I have a therapy rabbit that I got from a rescue. He was picked up often starting at four weeks old. He still hates being picked up, but he loves to be held. I have an adjustable cat bed that I bought from PetSmart. I get him to go in the cat bed, and then I pick him up, cat bed and all. He has done it so often that I just put the bed on the floor, and he gets in it. If I try to pick him up without the bed, he tried to run away from me.
     
  10. Jul 5, 2019 #10

    Hermelin

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    2 of my bunnies love being picked up except for one. She will often squirm and run away if I do it wrong. In the beginning she would always bite me or leave deep scratches. But I can understand it become uncomfortable when your a big bunny, myself don’t have as good hand on her as the smaller breeds.

    But she allows being picked up if I do it in her way.

    So try to find the way your bunny it’s most comfortable with, that is still safe for them. My 3 bunnies have all different ways on how they want to be picked up and held.

    But if it still too hard, you can use a travel cage or a basket to move her around with
     

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