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French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get older?

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French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get older?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ckcs » Fri May 16, 2014 4:50 pm


My trio of FA's are growing fast. At 4 months old I put them at 6.5-7lbs. They are very nice and will sit on a tv tray for grooming for 30 minutes or more without a problem. No biting at all. I'm having 2 problems. When I move them from the cage to the table they do fine until I get to the table or cage. They kick and I am having a hard time controlling them. I have 2 other larger rabbits (8lbs) which are 5 years old and they are easy to move around. Do large rabbit get more comfortable being moved as they get older? I'm used to 3-4 lbs rabbits which are very easy to control. Also I have been only grooming the underside that I can reach when the rabbits are sitting. Trying to flip them and groom their underbellies is just asking for it at this point. Any advice on the underside?

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Sagebrush » Fri May 16, 2014 5:05 pm


I have a few who like to kick as soon as I either pick them up or go to put them in a cage or table to groom. I tend to grab them under the belly and flip them into my other hand, using the belly hand to hold them in place. A few times of this and they usually calm down. I don't have woolers but I found it is the best way to trim their nails. Might help you out though.

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Mary Ann's Rabbitry » Fri May 16, 2014 5:29 pm


I groom 20 rabbits a week... and how I do there bellies is I grab a bunch of fur at their backside and lift..I make sure their front feet are on the table and I comb there belly.. but because they are done weekly.. they are use to it and only take me one minute to do there tummy.. I never never never flip rabbits on there back to do their bellies.. I wouldn't have any arms left. lol.

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#4  Unread postby squidpop » Fri May 16, 2014 7:38 pm


Mary Ann's Rabbitry wrote:I groom 20 rabbits a week... and how I do there bellies is I grab a bunch of fur at their backside and lift..I make sure their front feet are on the table and I comb there belly.. but because they are done weekly.. they are use to it and only take me one minute to do there tummy.. I never never never flip rabbits on there back to do their bellies.. I wouldn't have any arms left. lol.

I can't picture this, do you mean you lift up their whole hind end up in the air with their front feet and head still on the table? Seems like they would kick like crazy.

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ckcs » Fri May 16, 2014 9:49 pm


Mary Ann's Rabbitry wrote:I groom 20 rabbits a week... and how I do there bellies is I grab a bunch of fur at their backside and lift..I make sure their front feet are on the table and I comb there belly.. but because they are done weekly.. they are use to it and only take me one minute to do there tummy.. I never never never flip rabbits on there back to do their bellies.. I wouldn't have any arms left. lol.



That sounds like a good solution. I'm looking at wrist to elbow scratches so I will be trying that for sure. Mine are still growing so I can imagine full grown they can do a lot of damage to you. Jumping from Lionheads to French Angoras has been a learning experience. Another thing I need to take care of is getting my cage doors to stay open when I take the rabbit out. The doors are 14" x 14" and like to close, when I grab the door and try to hold the rabbit in one hand thing go south really quick. I built the cages myself so just need to modify things a bit.

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#6  Unread postby skysthelimit » Mon May 19, 2014 7:57 am


They get more used to it as they are handled more often, most anyway. I have a buck who is still unhappy with being removed from his cage but I can flip him and clip him on his back. I make sure to turn kits over all the time, so they are used to me flipping them. I carry my buns like babies, tucking the head under the shoulder. They aren't apt to squirm if they can't see. When I put them in the cage, they go in butt first, my hand on the belly and on the rear, faced pressed into my stomach. If they squirm, I pull them closer. They had to learn to trust me to put them down.
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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#7  Unread postby owlsfriend » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:33 am


you might try to turn your rabbit like a football as you carry it, so it doesn't see where it's going and make the predictable "leap for freedom" as you are about to sit it down.

It is worth while to get your rabbit comfortable with being on its back. Sit in a chair with the rabbit on your lap facing you. Put its front paws on your shoulder and get it comfortable as though you are burping a baby, talking petting etc. Slowly bend forward, as if you are trying to make a rabbit sandwich between your lap and chest. If the rabbit begins to struggle, straighten up a bit. Once the rabbit is comfortable in the sandwich, you can leave him laying in your lap and slowly straighten. I put a towel across my legs and let the rabbit slide between a bit. You want the rabbit to feel "held" and secure. If at this point you gently rub the rabbit's belly it will go into a light trance, fully relaxed. (This reflex must be god's mercy for rabbits about to receive the "coup de gras" from coyotes, etc.) I mention this because if you are grooming the belly and hit a mat, the rabbit might "snap to" and off your lap. (Which might save a rabbit's life if it is about to be eaten, surprising its captor and allowing it to escape.)

This is a very vulnerable position for a prey animal. If you have not earned the rabbit's trust it will not happen. I once got a rescue rabbit that was 5 years old and had never been on her back. She'd been the pet of a home-schooled teenage girl who was going off to college. This rabbit was in very deep grief, missing her human, and also freaking out to meet "alien" rabbits. She had been the only rabbit in her existence since the nest-box days. I despaired of ever getting this rabbit to trust me. I've had her three years. She's bonded to a neutered wooler although she's intact (complete with mood swings) so I don't mess with them much. This time around doing her 90 day trim she started "chittering" as I held her--the rabbit version of purring, which her previous owner said she did all the time. I had never heard this, (from any rabbit) and was quite surprised. I tried getting her on her back as described above and succeeded!!!! After giving up on this doe ever accepting me. So emotional....

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#8  Unread postby ckcs » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:05 pm


I'll have to try holding them like that. Glad you finally succeeded with the rabbit. I had a similar experience with a mini lop that we got from our neighbors. She took over a year to warm up to us. Now she is one of my favorite rabbits.

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Sat Jun 28, 2014 3:18 pm


ckcs wrote:When I move them from the cage to the table they do fine until I get to the table or cage. They kick and I am having a hard time controlling them.


Firstly, whenever you put a rabbit back into its cage, always do so butt first. The cage is a place of security for a rabbit, and being handled is somewhat stressful, so if you have them facing into the cage they will want to get in there as quickly as possible and will try to jump out of your hands.

You need to teach them that they must be relaxed or they will not be set down. It is easier than it sounds, and shouldn't take more than two or three sessions lasting a couple of minutes.

When you remove them from the cage, do so by first gently pinning them to the floor with one hand over the ears and shoulders, and then slide your other hand under their belly. When you pick them up kind of push their shoulders into your supporting hand, and bring them quickly to your body. Tucking their head under your arm so they can't see will help most rabbits to relax.

Bring them to your table and using the same hold mentioned above, begin to set them down. If they start to struggle or kick, bring them back into your body until they settle down and then try again. Repeat this as many times as necessary, and under no circumstances put the rabbit down if it is doing anything other than resting in your hands.

Once it is on the table, keep your hand on its shoulders until it relaxes and then release it. Next, pick the rabbit up from the table by about a foot and if it remains calm set it back down. If instead it starts fighting you, bring it into your body. Repeat the exercise about six times and then return the rabbit to its cage, making sure to remember to keep your hand on its shoulders until it relaxes and then release it and give it a treat.

Most of my rabbits learn this lesson after only one session. Very rarely do they need to be "reminded" the next time they are handled.
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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ckcs » Sat Jun 28, 2014 10:38 pm


MSD, I'm going to work on that. I pulled one out tonight and held her with her head under my arm and it helped a lot. I gather this is owlsfriend was referring to as a football?

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Re: French Angoras are they easier to handle as they get old

Post Number:#11  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:33 pm


ckcs wrote:I pulled one out tonight and held her with her head under my arm and it helped a lot. I gather this is owlsfriend was referring to as a football?


Yes.

Glad it helped! :)
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