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Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Understand why your rabbits behave the way they do - and what you can do about it.
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Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#1  Unread postby dulcimer lady » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:51 pm


I have 2 large rabbits. Don't know what kind they are - that's not really something I'm concerned about. One is so black he's almost blue and the other is varying shades of brown. They are not pets so they are not tame. They are nice and calm but their not "babies" kwim? So it's not like they'll just crawl into my arms. I do not need to pick them up often but occasionally the need does arise.

What is the proper way to pick up a very large rabbit - that does not want to be picked up - without hurting it?

Also, (feel totally stupid for needing to ask this) but when they mate, do the females sometimes try to "hump" the males? I know how to sex them and we checked before purchase that I did in fact have one male and one female. But when they were put together for mating, the female tried several times to mount the male. Is this normal or do you think we made a mistake when we judged her a female?

Thanks in advance for putting up with my newbie questions. :oops:

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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:04 pm


Handling a big rabbit that is not used to being picked up can be a problem. I like to have someone to help me. I find what works best for me is to scruff them (take hold by the loose skin at the back of the neck and lift) and then as quickly as possible support the hindquarters. If I am going to trim claws or something like that, I like to have a chair handy, sit down with the rabbit leaning back against my chest and have the other person do the trimming. They usually do not struggle once they feel supported and are tipped back.

Some people find that if they provide the rabbit with a plastic bin, like a dishpan, it will hop in and can be removed from the cage that way.

Yes, females that are eager to breed will sometimes mount males. If these are full grown rabbits, the testicles on the male should be obvious - two hairless sacs, one on each side of the vent. Females usually develop a fold of skin under their chin... It's called a dewlap. The only way to be certain you have a female, however, is to take a good look at the genitals. Overweight males can sometimes have a bit of a dewlap as well.
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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Brody » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:38 pm


I hold rabbits tight to my body - I don't get an extra set of hands when handling animals .. I also make sure I'm wearing jeans and long sleeves until I really know the rabbits :)
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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Jack » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:05 pm


One way, if you can grab it,
actually this works best if you don't have to (if you do, never the ears, but rather by the 'scruff' of the neck)
is to pet the rabbits head down, just start on the bridge of the nose, between the eyes, put a hand on the head, put it down, place a hand right before the back legs, under its tummy. then pick it up with both hand, if it wants to fight still, then you just kinda have to learn how to gently hand a fighting rabbit, I prefer not to let the rabbit fight me. Once I get the rabbit up, if it wants to fight me, I hold it much like Brody, tight to my body, spine to my chest with one hand right below the front legs (which are in the way if he wants to bite, and if they want to get you with the hind legs (and remember they can break their back kicking) a hand under the rump, I don't like to hold them like this because the rump isn't supported, it works better once you sit down. If a rabbit is fight, putting feet to you can be a recipe for becoming a bloody mess as the rabbit attacks or tries to get away. Oh long sleeves, light gloves and heavy clothes (Carhartts anybody?) are suggested.
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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Cattle Cait » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:08 pm


Everyone's covered the handling pretty much so...

Yes, the doe will hump the buck. I can't tell you why, I don't try to understand what's going through their little horny bunny minds, but they do it.
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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Jack » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:24 pm


dominance, who humps who, well, who comes out on top :)
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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Secuono » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:50 pm


For rabbits that just HATE being held and kick like madmen, I pick them up by the scruff of their necks with one hand, bunny facing away from me. With the other, I place it on his/her rump and wrap my fingers around their legs firmly, then lower them so they rest on my hand on their bums. Sometimes I'll also tuck them under my 1st arm.

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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#8  Unread postby ottersatin » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:08 pm


Dulcimerlady,
you might fair better if once you get the feisty
rabbit out, place him/her on a table and press their heard
down to the table with enough pressure to hold them there.
Not enough to hurt but enough to show that YOU are the dominant rabbit.
This is what a Dam or other dominant rabbit in the herd would do.
DO NOT allow the rabbit to become the herd leader, YOU are the Herd leader.
There is no rabbit that cannot be controlled once you are in possession and control
of thje proper tools. If a Rabbit refuses to accept their place in your herd,
you will have to make the decision as to whether or not this unruly rabbit will
be able to remain or be sent to Freezer Camp.
There are a lot of tough decisions which must be made when dealing with Rabbits.
Your well-being is more important than that of any rabbit which cannot be handled.
As always, JMPO.
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Last edited by ottersatin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#9  Unread postby dulcimer lady » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:05 am


Thanks for all these responses. They have really helped. I have so much to learn! Give me a chicken, and I'm you're go to gal, lol. But I'm not very far along on the rabbit learning curve yet.

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Re: Very much a novice & have a couple of questions

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Miss M » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:22 am


That's okay... on this board, we're all spread out all over that curve! It won't be long before you will be helping others on here, even though you may not know much more than those you are helping. :) You'll still have useful information that somebunny needs.
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