To scruff or not to scruff?

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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

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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.
 
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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

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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

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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

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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 KrĂĽeger 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 
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