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  • angora rabbit troubles!

    not a clients, thank goodness... but my own!

    Charmin is a french angora and I got him from an abusive situation. he was a child's pet and he stayed in a hutch outside neglected. the little boy would yank out the rabbits fur through the bars in the hutch. so that has left Charmin hating to be brushed, and i have a really hard time shearing him. I just gave it a shot, and he was worse than the last time, and I am not sure I can do it.
    does anyone have any tips?
    rabbits can not be sedated, and you can not hold them down. and just a little bit too much stress they could just decided to kill themselves (for those of you that dont do rabbits)
    plus super thin paper skin
    they can break their own backs by trying to get away from you.

    Also, since he hates to be brushed he is pretty matted, but the mats are not close to the skin.

  • #2
    I've had 5 of them...but only one that was ever "severely neglected" or who-knows-what. She sure gave a whole new meaning to the word "pelt" when I got her at the age of 2.

    I used to put mine in one of those fuzzy cat beds (I call them "Russian Hat Beds") and they could tuck their faces in the folds of the bed and "hide" while I clipped.
    I know it's a drag...but I never did mine on a table because I was too afraid that if they sprung out of the bed...well, you know...the floor is a long way down for a bunny.

    The first bunny (the one taken from a seizure) I used to split up clipping her over a week or so, working on her for no more than 15 minutes at a time.

    "Edderland" on here...is a fantastic resource for bunny info and tips. Good luck. Their skin is like thin paper.
    Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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    • #3
      how much contact does he let you do?
      we use to do 'rescue' with rabbits and had 20+ rabbits at a time that have never been handled/abused.
      they take a loong time to come around...
      What we would do is take them in their cage (as long as they were not mean and bite you all the time) into a small quiet room and try to pick them up..(you can pick them up by the neck if you know what i mean...) and set them on our table and just cover their eyes and pet them..and every day do something different but in this room they should be 'relaxed'..rabbits will relax more if you hold your hand over their eyes...and slowly get her use to the scissor noise and stuff a day at a time and hopefully that will help..if this makes sense? i'm in a hurry right now!

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      • #4
        I'm not sure if you know or not (I learned the hard way...a very expensive bunny surgery for the equivalent of a hairball)...but make sure to give the bunny an ample supply of good quality long stem hay...especially if you only get part of it clipped. They go back into their habitat and clean themselves like crazy...ingesting all that partially cut off hair, and viola, a $500.00 hairball surgery!
        Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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        • #5
          What in the world gave you the idea that rabbits can't be sedated? We sure as heck don't spay/neuter them while they're awake! And yes, we do rabbit spays and neuters.

          For that matter, what makes you think you can't hold them down? We do that all the time, too. You just gotta know how it's done, and that would best be demonstrated by a vet tech or lab tech.

          Have the poor thing sedated and shave it down.

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          • #6
            I have heard you can put a rabbit in a "trance" by turning it on it's back, but I am not sure if that is any less stressful for the rabbit.

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            • #7
              I think grooming bunnies in your lap while sitting on the floor or in a chair is the safest & they usually just try to hide their head under your arm. it is much different handling bunnies than dogs - I would do a little bit each day & work your way through it - unless it is badly matted - where I would have him sedated & shaved.

              you can also put bunnies into a sleepy mode by turning them over - so that their head is lower than their heart. on your lap - scruff bunny's ears w/scruff on neck using your right hand & scoop bottown w/left hand - turn him over so that his head is sort of between your knees & rear feet closest to you - give him a minute but he will relax & go into a little 'bunny trance". this is the best way to do nails - groom tummy/sides.

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              • #8
                Depending on the matting, you can also hand pluck. I used to do this with a couple that I had because you get better spinning fiber...that was a lifetime ago though. I did most of it in my lap. If there were mats I clipped them out and continued to pluck. My bunnies never minded it once they were used to it.

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                • #9
                  When I volunteered at wildlife rehabilitation center we often had to deal with older baby orphan animals that still needed to be with moma but were to scared of humans. We would wrap them in fleese fabric and make sure their hads were covered. They were calmer that way and would let us feed them and handle them.

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                  • #10
                    poo wabbit, named aftew toiwet papew
                    The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

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                    • #11
                      i met that rabbits cannot be giving ACE or something like that. sorry!
                      i know rabbits can be sedated, i just didnt work it right LOL
                      i do angora rabbit rescue and all are spayed/neutered before adoption

                      a little while ago Charmin did let me work on him for about 5 minutes. I think what helped the most was me humming to him!
                      I put him in a box where he could not hop around much, or even move that much. and carefully shaved his back. and then i took him out of the box, covered his eyes with my hands and applied some pressure and he seemed to relax more. i did just a little down his side and decided to stop on a good note, and do more tomorrow.

                      and about holding the rabbit down...
                      i am NOT going to risk the rabbit breaking its own back trying to get away from me. and rabbits can actually die because of the fright of being caught....
                      not worth the risk.

                      I can only mess with Charmin usually 5 minutes and then he will start nipping at me and scratching me. he is a bossy bun! he will let you lay in the floor and hang out with him for as long as you like though.
                      my rabbits are not in cages, they have run of most of the house and use a litter box. Charmin came out of his shell pretty quickly after i got him. he just doesnt want you messing with his hair!

                      Id love to keep him long, and just trim him up to 1 inch all over in the summer, but that means he has to get used to brushing. more

                      thank you all.

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                      • #12
                        I would try to pluck it. It's easy to do and the rabbits don't normally mind it at all. If that doesn't work have it sedated and shaved off. Your vets will normally do it around these parts for about 100 bucks..After that just pluck it regularly and you should be fine. I used to shav mine and he was always really good. Just be careful and don't tilt their head back too far.

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                        • #13
                          If he's badly matted and doesn't like to be brushed, why don't you do what we sometimes tell clients to do. Shave him down (even if he has to go to vet and get knocked out) and start over. Maybe once all of the hair and matting is gone you will be able to get him accustomed to being brushed and worked on because it won't be painful for him w/the hair and matts gone.

                          I know you said you want him to be fuzzy, but if it's in his best interest to be kept short IMO that's what you should do.
                          SheilaB from SC

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ruckusluvr View Post
                            iand about holding the rabbit down...
                            i am NOT going to risk the rabbit breaking its own back trying to get away from me. and rabbits can actually die because of the fright of being caught....
                            not worth the risk.
                            I am fully aware of the damage rabbits can do to themselves, as well as everyone one else. A trained vet tech or lab tech knows how to safely restrain a rabbit with little to no risk. It IS possible to restrain them, and do it safely.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sarahliz View Post
                              I have heard you can put a rabbit in a "trance" by turning it on it's back, but I am not sure if that is any less stressful for the rabbit.
                              the only thing your going to achieve by putting a rabbit on his back is a case of wild back legs .when a rabbit feels threatened and no means of escape they will flip onto their backs and kick the tar out of their attacker,Rabbits are not docile little warm fuzzy creatures they can do some major damage with those feet. As for grooming it have it sedated for the grooming

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