To scruff or not to scruff?

Rabbit Talk  Forum

Help Support Rabbit Talk Forum:

Joined
Jul 13, 2022
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Location
42503
I think every breed is different, actually every rabbit is different, I have holland lops and rex.

I try and avoid picking them up by the scruff as they think its a preditor and they get panicked, heart rate increases and they are basically scared crapless.

With most off my holland lops i hold them like they are sitting in a chair one hand supporting under front legs their backs tucked against my body and bottom supported by my other hand, they seem to like this and I barely get scratched, it also makes nail clipping easier.

With the rex's I tend to support the whole body cradling like a football on one arm head tucked as close to elbow as possible, I use the other hand to hold them in place with some of them I also use that hand to cover their eyes.

I think if you let them get used to you and handle them daily, eventually they wont mind you picking them up.
Thanks for the ideas. I'm sure trying to befriend them. I think I will do some practice picking up and holding before breeding day so it isn't so stressful hopefully.
 

dlynn

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
55
Reaction score
81
I am pretty new at this rabbit buisness. I started out with 3 adult NZs and they were used to being scruffed when I brought them home. I have read it's dangerous and can tear the skin so I attempted to pick them up "correctly" but they attempted to slice me up with the razor blades attached to their feet. They ended up getting scruffed and were successfully bred and no skin tore. So thinking ahead to the next breeding...is it common to scruff rabbits of this size?
I'm pretty new too. I have found I like to use an old flannel pillow case to move them. One hand holding the bag, the other arm supports the weight from underneath. They seem to calm down when heads are covered. Not to breeding yet, but moving them to a temporary exercise space. Worked good when I brushed them. They sat in my lap with back legs safely still in bag. By the time I brushed the rest, they sat pretty calm and let me do their legs too. Bag also caught lots of the shedding hair.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2022
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Location
42503
I'm pretty new too. I have found I like to use an old flannel pillow case to move them. One hand holding the bag, the other arm supports the weight from underneath. They seem to calm down when heads are covered. Not to breeding yet, but moving them to a temporary exercise space. Worked good when I brushed them. They sat in my lap with back legs safely still in bag. By the time I brushed the rest, they sat pretty calm and let me do their legs too. Bag also caught lots of the shedding hair.
Do you put them head first in the bag?
 

arachyd

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
667
Reaction score
176
Location
NJ
As I've mentioned a few times and as @Alaska Satin states here quickly flipping the rabbit on its back with the head lower than the rest of the body immediately stills the rabbit. If you've ever taken an infant CPR class it's similar to the move used to turn a baby over while holding it. It's a very valuable bit of knowledge and comes in handy for moving rabbits. It's priceless for nail clipping too because they just lie comfortably in your arms or on your lap and let you do whatever needs to be done.

I don't lift rabbits by the scruff. I will grab the scruff to hold a rabbit stable while I slide a hand under it from behind, between all 4 legs and lift with my hand under the chest and flip it over into my other arm. When you flip a rabbit over do it toward your chest so it can't fall.
 

Secuono

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2011
Messages
4,351
Reaction score
267
Location
Virginia
I've got two that need two handed scruffing deathgrips or shooed into a basket. One is all around nasty all the time, other randomly decides he doesn't like being held. 🙄
You can bruise the muscle from scruffing, if they freak out on you and you hold on or pin them down.
 

Preitler

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
1,140
Reaction score
400
Location
Austria
Since I have seen that scruffing causes haemorraghes I don't do it anymore, maybe except in an emerency like breaking up a fight to pin one down, but I don't lift them.

Handling rabbits is a matter of practice, in the first years I looked like I did sparring for Freddy Krüeger with hands tied. A thick jacket helps a lot.
When I pick them up I put my left hand on their head, the right under their chest with a finger or two between their front legs, lift their front a little and in the same motion the left goes under their body to their right rear side, then I lift them and swoop their rear legs towards me, so that they rest against my body, my left hand supporting their rear somewhat tilted.

I don't have to handle them often, for things like going into the garden or back to the hutch they know the routine and listen to commands (and the pellet pail ;) )
 

Zee-Man

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2020
Messages
240
Reaction score
318
Location
Delaware, USA
I've never considered scruffing. Not for any particular reason. It is just not natural to me. Dosiedoe is somewhat aggressive. Every time I put forage in with her she charges me and will attempt to bite. She has had teeth make contact but never actually bitten. I have come to understand that this is just her habit, gotten who knows where. Once she does her charge I pet her and she goes all submissive. When I pick her up it is with a hand under her belly and a hand on her shoulders getting her snug against my body with forearm under hers. She hates the transition for I'm sure it makes her afraid of falling. But then she feels safe and I can move her easily enough.
 

dlynn

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
55
Reaction score
81
Do you put them head first in the bag?
I put the bag down open, put one hand across shoulders to restrain, the other under their bottom holding their hind legs. And lift in then flip bag up. Or try to. My goal is to have them laying flat in the bottom. They have gone in head first then I move the pillow case around to reposition. I don't want to put weight on their head. I am leaning down into a tractor with thick hay bed. Don't know how I would maneuver in a cage.
Do you put them head first in the bag?
 

ladysown

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,623
Reaction score
1,076
Location
near London, Ontario
scruffing is not okay for ANY size rabbit, it still does the same damage.

My method for those that would rather NOT be handled... I do a pincher hold over their shoulders and flip them over, I pull them out and then put them into a milk crate. Then I bring them wherever I need them for brushing out, pictures, health check etc. They go back into the milk crate to make the trip back to their habitat and then I tip the crate so they simply hop back in.

For everyone else, I do a scoop up from the belly grab. Works equally well for ALL sizes of rabbits. Scoop up and hold tight to my body or scoop and move into a milk crate.
 

HTAcres

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
275
Reaction score
272
So over the past two years, I have read a lot about scruffing. It is my current opinion (held lightly) that we aren't always refering to exactly the same thing. When someone says "scruff," I am thinking of how a puppy is scruffed (which they can be because their moms can do that) - it is right behind the ears. My husband actually had to show me because I was doing it wrong when we were breeding our German Shepherds. I never could do it as well as he could because his hands are so strong. Anyway, I can see how that would be very bad for rabbits. However, what I am less sure about is if grabbing a handful of skin on their sides/back is as bad especially when they are smaller. I tried many ways to handle my rabbits - and let me just add another iteration of it takes practice even if you are otherwise animal savvy - and nothing works for me (so far) except to grab a handful of skin, usually on the side, slide them towards me in the cage, lift and pull to me in one motion. Anything else leaves me bleeding sometimes even with kevlar gloves.
 

rockyhillrabbits

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2022
Messages
144
Reaction score
160
I have found that holding their ears back, flat, and lightly holding both their ears and a little bit of pressure on their neck works very well to calm them down and move them. I can easily flip them onto their back for nail trimming by holding the ears with the left hand and with my right hand on their hips, I just lift and scoot the butt until the rabbit is on its back. They don't seem stressed or scared by this. If I have to actually grab a hold of the scruff to pull a rabbit out of a cage, as soon as I have access I change to a football hold with the rabbit close to my body. I keep my forearm under the back legs instead of holding the back legs against my stomach. I had a hysterectomy in february and it still hurts to get poked, kicked, etc in the belly.
When I pick them up, I will tuck the head against my left arm, and sort of scoop them up with my right arm against their side. There's usually no kicking or struggling that way.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2022
Messages
21
Reaction score
14
Hi all I’d like to share my experience at the veterinarians recently when I brought our new boy in for a general check up. They offered to clip his nails by sliding him out of the crate to the examining table and basically laying on him! The technician’s stomach and chest were on our rabbit And our rabbit head was around where her throat was. She gave the warning that his back would break easily if I didn’t learn to do it this way. The tech created the effect she said of a weight blanket and was able to clip his toes claws. I really can’t agree that our rabbit was relaxed or peaceful but at least he couldn’t move and injure himself! He was clearly stressed when he went back into the crate.😢

So many of you gave wonderful experiences of how to clip nails in a peaceful way for your rabbits. Would any one of you like to comment on the advice I received? Meanwhile I fully intend with my husband to practice the advice you all gave rather than what I saw at the veterinarians!

Note: I fully intended this spring and summer to be a lot more active in this great forum. In late spring I got my fourth Covid shot and then went immediately into the new experience of atrial fib and atrial flutter! After three electric cardioversions from late May until late September, I am now scheduled for a double cardiac ablation in November. I hope to be a lot more active in times to come!!!
 

HTAcres

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
275
Reaction score
272
Hi all I’d like to share my experience at the veterinarians recently when I brought our new boy in for a general check up. They offered to clip his nails by sliding him out of the crate to the examining table and basically laying on him! The technician’s stomach and chest were on our rabbit And our rabbit head was around where her throat was. She gave the warning that his back would break easily if I didn’t learn to do it this way. The tech created the effect she said of a weight blanket and was able to clip his toes claws. I really can’t agree that our rabbit was relaxed or peaceful but at least he couldn’t move and injure himself! He was clearly stressed when he went back into the crate.😢

So many of you gave wonderful experiences of how to clip nails in a peaceful way for your rabbits. Would any one of you like to comment on the advice I received? Meanwhile I fully intend with my husband to practice the advice you all gave rather than what I saw at the veterinarians!

Note: I fully intended this spring and summer to be a lot more active in this great forum. In late spring I got my fourth Covid shot and then went immediately into the new experience of atrial fib and atrial flutter! After three electric cardioversions from late May until late September, I am now scheduled for a double cardiac ablation in November. I hope to be a lot more active in times to come!!!
I simply don't see a reason to do it that way, that is all. I found clipping nails has become easier with practice.
 

ladysown

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,623
Reaction score
1,076
Location
near London, Ontario
scruffing is actually NOT okay for any size rabbit. It does separate the skin from the meat. Not a good thing to do yes?

How Alaska Satin described grabbing them is helpful. With my large breed buns, I guide them into a milk crate or pail and carry them using that. I trim nails with them resting on a board.

Small rabbits that are fighting being picked up.... are usually easy to do a belly scoop and hold close, and those that run away, a solid hold WITHOUT scruffing helps them to settle. When they are settled you can belly scoop and hold. A football hold keeps them very secure.

Best thing though... get those kits used to being held consistently!
 

Skai

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Apr 7, 2022
Messages
55
Reaction score
65
Location
NW Arkansas
I am pretty new at this rabbit buisness. I started out with 3 adult NZs and they were used to being scruffed when I brought them home. I have read it's dangerous and can tear the skin so I attempted to pick them up "correctly" but they attempted to slice me up with the razor blades attached to their feet. They ended up getting scruffed and were successfully bred and no skin tore. So thinking ahead to the next breeding...is it common to scruff rabbits of this size?
This is the method I use on older rabbits over six months. Reach in and hold the rabbit by the scruff with the right hand, hold the back legs together with the left hand and pull the rabbit out of the cage, feet first. Once out of the cage, lower the left hand slightly so most of the weight is on the rabbit's bottom. Then turn the rabbits head to the left and put the front of the rabbit under the left arm while keeping hold of the feet with the left hand. This leaves the right hand free for shutting the cage if you need to. Some people call this a football hold. Done correctly, the rabbit is usually docile and calm using this procedure, or will calm quickly, and you don't get scratched or bit and the rabbit isn't hurt. You can use this method on younger rabbits but with the right hand under their belly instead of holding the scruff. However, I've never been able to get a secure grip on a heavy adult rabbit by trying to hold on to the belly if it doesn't want to come out of the cage.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2022
Messages
171
Reaction score
223
Location
Alaska
Hi all I’d like to share my experience at the veterinarians recently when I brought our new boy in for a general check up. They offered to clip his nails by sliding him out of the crate to the examining table and basically laying on him! The technician’s stomach and chest were on our rabbit And our rabbit head was around where her throat was. She gave the warning that his back would break easily if I didn’t learn to do it this way. The tech created the effect she said of a weight blanket and was able to clip his toes claws. I really can’t agree that our rabbit was relaxed or peaceful but at least he couldn’t move and injure himself! He was clearly stressed when he went back into the crate.😢

So many of you gave wonderful experiences of how to clip nails in a peaceful way for your rabbits. Would any one of you like to comment on the advice I received? Meanwhile I fully intend with my husband to practice the advice you all gave rather than what I saw at the veterinarians!

Note: I fully intended this spring and summer to be a lot more active in this great forum. In late spring I got my fourth Covid shot and then went immediately into the new experience of atrial fib and atrial flutter! After three electric cardioversions from late May until late September, I am now scheduled for a double cardiac ablation in November. I hope to be a lot more active in times to come!!!
Gramma B: I am *so* sorry to hear of your heart problems. I just lost my brother to myocarditis, lung clots and sudden aggressive cancer after his covid shots. I will add you to my prayers for health and healing.
 

dlynn

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
55
Reaction score
81
Hi all I’d like to share my experience at the veterinarians recently when I brought our new boy in for a general check up. They offered to clip his nails by sliding him out of the crate to the examining table and basically laying on him! The technician’s stomach and chest were on our rabbit And our rabbit head was around where her throat was. She gave the warning that his back would break easily if I didn’t learn to do it this way. The tech created the effect she said of a weight blanket and was able to clip his toes claws. I really can’t agree that our rabbit was relaxed or peaceful but at least he couldn’t move and injure himself! He was clearly stressed when he went back into the crate.😢

So many of you gave wonderful experiences of how to clip nails in a peaceful way for your rabbits. Would any one of you like to comment on the advice I received? Meanwhile I fully intend with my husband to practice the advice you all gave rather than what I saw at the veterinarians!

Note: I fully intended this spring and summer to be a lot more active in this great forum. In late spring I got my fourth Covid shot and then went immediately into the new experience of atrial fib and atrial flutter! After three electric cardioversions from late May until late September, I am now scheduled for a double cardiac ablation in November. I hope to be a lot more active in times to come!!!
Sorry to hear you are having problems. All our wishes for a speedy recovery and better health. Small tip.. I found going out and talking to the rabbits and quail in the morning instead of sitting and watching news and stressing has helped me. And visiting rabbit talk feels like a little visit with friends.
 

Cosima

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 5, 2021
Messages
1,073
Reaction score
527
Location
Indonesia, anambas
This is the method I use on older rabbits over six months. Reach in and hold the rabbit by the scruff with the right hand, hold the back legs together with the left hand and pull the rabbit out of the cage, feet first. Once out of the cage, lower the left hand slightly so most of the weight is on the rabbit's bottom. Then turn the rabbits head to the left and put the front of the rabbit under the left arm while keeping hold of the feet with the left hand. This leaves the right hand free for shutting the cage if you need to. Some people call this a football hold. Done correctly, the rabbit is usually docile and calm using this procedure, or will calm quickly, and you don't get scratched or bit and the rabbit isn't hurt. You can use this method on younger rabbits but with the right hand under their belly instead of holding the scruff. However, I've never been able to get a secure grip on a heavy adult rabbit by trying to hold on to the belly if it doesn't want to come out of the cage.
the rabbit I was talking about before in this thread will scratch me even when I hold her like that.
 

RabbitsOfTheCreek

Netherland Dwarf Breeder & Well-known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
643
Location
Iowa, USA
the rabbit I was talking about before in this thread will scratch me even when I hold her like that.
I would suggest never picking up a rabbit and pulling them out of anywhere (Or even picking them up) by their scruff and back legs
 
Top