PDA

View Full Version : Got myself really upset/worried/in a right state/wound up last night... Poor Biscuit



GrahamL
03-08-2010, 08:45 AM
Had to get this out, or i'm going to explode!!! :cry:

Last night, Biscuit was free-ranging in the living room as he always does every night for about 5-6 hours...

About 9pm, i noticed something on his left hind foot, looked like he'd got something wrapped around one of his nails. I kept on trying to look, and it appeared to be a piece of cotton / material. I didnt want it to rip his nail off if it got caught on something, so attempted to tug on it, but it was properly wound round it.

Then it hit me "i can't pick him up" i thought to myself. It was obvious from a very young age (i've had him since he was 8 weeks old) that he was never goign to be a 'picky up / cuddley' bunny, but he loves attention, nose rubs and being stroked, but it's not hopeless to attempt to pick him up - he gets totally hissy and goes nuts.

It scared me so much that i couldn't help him. In the end, i did manage to get it off, by hand feeding him pellets (he sees them as treats at the moment as im cutting back on them) and doing it really quickly and it was a piece of cotton from the cushion he loves to dig at. He could sense my distress and that just made it worse.

My point is - what if it was something more serious? I wouldn't be able to help him. I sat in bed whilst my OH was asleep and got so angry/upset with myself, i sat there with tears streaming down my face. It wasn't a good night last night as it was for us, but this just made me so emotional.

What would you all do, does anyone else have really bad troubles picking up their buns and how do you all deal with situations like this?

Really need some reassurance/advice from anyone who can give it.

Thanks in advance for anything anyone can suggest from a rather unhappy bunny dad this morning :(

Gray

JLG
03-08-2010, 09:00 AM
you just need a hug first of all!
I confess to being new back to buns after 30+ years so i am no expert but my Sparkle is not a picky up kind of bun either. We had a few weeks of battling in the mornings for me to pick her up to put her in the run. We had charging about the hutch, growling, charging, boxing, nipping etc etc. We have compromised now in that she knows where the run is so the pair of them now go to it themselves without the picking up issue (smart bunnies!). i do worry about medical things but I know that in an emergency I would be able to project 'I'm in charge, let me deal with this' energy and so far in terms of checking nails and bottoms this has been ok. I think as with all animals, it's about the energy you project (I'm a firm believer in Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer), so if Biscuit was in real distress he would look to you as his leader and you'd have to respond accordingly. Easier said than done of course, maybe you are worrying too much because I'm sure that if it was a real problem, he wopuld let you know and he would come to you to sort it out. As it was, you thought it was a problem but he wasn't bothered. Not at all sure if that helps but just wanted to reassure you. Glad I'm not the only worrier. ;)

holidayhutch
03-08-2010, 09:05 AM
Hi Graham
I'm sorry this was so distressing for you. We sometimes have boarders in that need their nails clipping or have to have medicine but hate to be picked up. If it is for their nails, we wrap them in a towel and pick them up that way and then gently prize out one leg at a time. Rabbits also like to feel secure and when our vet picks the buns up she holds them so they are facing into her and they always seem to tuck their heads into the crook of her arm - like a kid having a jab who cant look at the needle.

You could possibly build your rabbits trust up too by sitting/lying on the floor with it and letting it climb on you, stroking and grooming it whilst it does so, this can then be built up into it allowing you to place your hands on it for longer periods of time and then a gentle lift a couple of inches off the ground etc etc.

I hope you have a better day today :)

Jack's-Jane
03-08-2010, 09:07 AM
I have had some Buns who are/were MEGA stressheads. The late Felicity was by far the worst. So I can fully understand how you feel.

With Biscuit it may be best to try several different approaches to handling :-

1- In a confined space sit on the floor yourself and then pick him up and put him down almost straight away then feed him a treat. Repeat several times

2- From a confined space put a hand on his shoulders and use the other hand to give nose rubs for a few seconds. Then confidently and firmly pick him up and tuck his head under one arm so his eyes are covered. Do not walk about but hold him for a few seconds before putting him back on the floor by squatting down yourself and placing his feet on the floor BEFORE letting him go.

3- The pet carrier method- round him up into a pet carrier and do all you need to whilst he is in the carrier. A bit awkward, but not impossible.

Basically, not getting into 'chase' mode before picking him up. If he is in a confined space he cant run away. Dont let him jump to the ground when you put him down. As far as possible keep hold of him til all his feet are on the ground. If you have to walk whilst holding him hide his head under an arm so his eyes are covered. Keep the handling confident, firm but not rough.

Finally, dont beat yourself up. Some Buns are a total nightmare to handle however hard we try to improve things.

Fluffers
03-08-2010, 09:17 AM
All good advice here :thumb:

Neither of my two foster buns liked being picked up much but they are much better now. A combination of calm, confident and gentle handling. Repetition is important and patience too but I found there was a marked difference within a week. As Jane says, being as close to the ground as possible when releasing makes a big difference as they don't panic when they see the gap between where they are and the floor :shock: this often makes them scrabble to get free.

Be confident and relaxed, Biscuit will pick up on this and feel safe :D

Don't worry if it takes a while, there's no hurry. Just do a little every day, you and he will get there :D

Keep us posted ;)
xx

Bitzy
03-08-2010, 09:27 AM
I know exactly where you're coming from Graham .......... I've had Dizzi and Rascal since they were 8 weeks old (they're now 18 weeks) and at first they were lovely cuddly buns then all of a sudden they both decided that they HATE being picked up!

Dizzi tries to scrabble over my shoulder and Rascal just wriggles and wriggles until I'm scared I'll drop him if I keep hold of him!

Its a nightmare as I do the bum check every day and they just hate it and I now feel that they associate me with having something horrible done to them (being picked up for bum checks, taken to vets etc etc).

They're currently separated so I think I may spend some time sitting with each of them in the run and trying some of the above suggestions.

No help whatsoever but just wanted you to know you're not alone!

GrahamL
03-08-2010, 09:32 AM
Thanks Jack's-Jane and all others who had replied. Think i needed just someone to tell me "it's okay"

Think i just had a really bad night of it. I'm going to ask some further questions by adding comments to your text below, hope thats okay.

:oops:


I have had some Buns who are/were MEGA
stressheads. The late Felicity was by far the worst. So I can fully understand how you feel.

With Biscuit it may be best to try several different approaches to handling :-

1- In a confined space sit on the floor yourself and then pick him up and put him down almost straight away then feed him a treat. Repeat several times
I'll try this - think my downstairs bathroom may be the best place for this, its ~7x3ft its the smallest room in the house.


2- From a confined space put a hand on his shoulders and use the other hand to give nose rubs for a few seconds. Then confidently and firmly pick him up and tuck his head under one arm so his eyes are covered. Do not walk about but hold him for a few seconds before putting him back on the floor by squatting down yourself and placing his feet on the floor BEFORE letting him go.


You say 'Confidently Pick Him Up' - what method would you use to pick him up. I tried the way our vet showed me, with fingers infront and behind the front legs and putting my hand under his bottom half, but he just struggles and scratches the hell out of me (i have scars to prove it!!) Sorry if i sound really dense, i'm just not finding it as easy as i thought i might! I'm normally quite a confident person, but this isn't as easy! I can't work out how to get his head into the corner of my arm with the way i try and pick him up :?:roll:



3- The pet carrier method- round him up into a pet carrier and do all you need to whilst he is in the carrier. A bit awkward, but not impossible.


I understand this one, he does tend to sit very still in his carrier (when i finally battle to get him in:lol:), but i think thats from being scared.



Basically, not getting into 'chase' mode before picking him up. If he is in a confined space he cant run away. Dont let him jump to the ground when you put him down. As far as possible keep hold of him til all his feet are on the ground. If you have to walk whilst holding him hide his head under an arm so his eyes are covered. Keep the handling confident, firm but not rough.

Finally, dont beat yourself up. Some Buns are a total nightmare to handle however hard we try to improve things.


Thank you :wave:

GrahamL
03-08-2010, 09:34 AM
Bitzy;



Its a nightmare as I do the bum check every day and they just hate it and I now feel that they associate me with having something horrible done to them (being picked up for bum checks, taken to vets etc etc).


Exactly how i felt, that he feels that picking up currently is a 'bad thing'.

Gemmapookie
03-08-2010, 09:39 AM
Hi graham, first of all make yourself a sugary cup of tea and take a deep breath :)
many, many buns hate being picked up but rest assured that in anemergency medical situation yOu would figure it out. My bridge bunny tilly loved attention but hated being picked up and would fight it like crazy. I found the best tactic with her was to tempt her into her cage with some food (she was free range but used her cage as a litter tray etc) and approach her from the front using a towel. Shed still have a grunt and a wriggle but it made it so much easier!
When my bun mimi was poorly recently i also discovered another good method. She had a very bad head tilt and was rolling uncontrollably. If myself or oh tried to pick her up on our own the head tilt would cause her body to twist so badly that it became impossible. So our method was for one of us to hold her front feet and head and the other one her back end and legs so that she was held very securely and couldnt hurt herself. It was then a 1,2,3 go to lifting her up and placing her securely between our legs on the floor. Shes better now but we still use the one at each end method to pick her up if we need to as it seems to stress her less.
Hope that helps a bit. Youre a GREAT bunny dad so dont beat urself up xxx

Fluffers
03-08-2010, 09:41 AM
I think don't go for the full pick up straight away. Lots of nose rubs and hands on his back/head etc to start, then just lift his front feet up for a second (treat), repeat etc. Then lift all of him up for literally a second (treat), repeat etc. Take it slowly, little and often. As you say, you need to help him to understand that being picked isn't a bad thing. You'll find that as you relax, he'll relax and then you'll just get better at it :D

BattleKat
03-08-2010, 09:43 AM
my Eli is terrible for being picked up, and he's a big boy too so he has some real power when he starts kicking you.

I tend to lure him in to a carrier, then sit him on something quite high up with some food when I want to do things like clip his nails. He won't jump from such heights and the food acts as positive reinforcement.

lizzyjm
03-08-2010, 09:55 AM
I have the same problem at the moment. I spent ages last night trying to get Sergeant to just keep still - not even pick him up - so I could see what the sharp thing I felt when stroking him was. I tried the towel thing but he still wriggled out. I've given up now and will take him to the vet instead. He does seem perfectly normal at least, not in pain or anything at all. I know I'm meant to be checking them both regularly as well but I just can't pick either of them up well enough to get a look at them! It's not so bad at the moment as they are both healthy, but I'm worried about if they get ill or when I have to trim their nails.

GrahamL
03-08-2010, 09:58 AM
Thanks all for your reassurances. It's so terribly appreciated.

Sat here wobbling about trying it again tonight, i should have his new puppy pen arrive today so im thinking about maybe using a few sections of that to setup an enclosed area to try in.

How long should i repeat the quick 'up and downs + treat' for? About 2-3 minutes or more? Then let him have a run around and try again later or tomorrow?

Sorry for all the questions, i feel suitably embarassed! :oops:

susie bun
03-08-2010, 10:10 AM
I've learnt a lot from this thread as I too have a bun who hates being picked up. Even the vet struggled to hold him when I took him for a nail clip. At the moment he's getting his way because I have a broken arm and my parents adopt the play safe approach by putting him in his carrier to get him from hutch to run. Good luck with Biscuit. He's a lovely wee fellow. :wave:

FriskyClover
03-08-2010, 10:18 AM
I'm going to try all the advice on here, Inky is a nightmare to pick up, which is weird because he is a super friendly bunny.

I find with Inky that if I can do what I need to sitting on the floor while I hold him he is a bit better. Also, he is a terrible jumper, so being on the floor lessens the chance of him injuring himself. It's still a two person job though.

georgie_f
03-08-2010, 10:19 AM
Bless you! I don't like picking mine up either but sometimes you just have to do it for their own safety or their health.

The biggest problem I normally have is if I let my trio out to free range in the garden. It's a nightamre getting them back in! I can normally kind of heard Thistle and Jess back in, but where Brian is so much younger, he has more energy and by the time I've hearded him anywhere near the shed door, Thistle and Jess have hopped out again. :roll: Generally, I have to resort to cornering Brian and picking him up but he hates it! I have found it's much easier if I get down on his level rather than bending over him. If I'm sat down I guess I look smaller and less intimidating. He'll normally hop over to give me a sniff, I'll slowly move my hand over his head and give him a nose rub then whilst he's got his eyes shut, enjoying himself, I'll slip my other hand under his tummy. Once I have hold of him, I'll tuck his head under my arm whilst I walk back to the shed with him.

It's really important not to rush and grab at them as they'll just associate your hands with the sudden shock of being whisked of the ground.

Also, if you're nervous about picking Biscuit up, put a long sleeved top on. Knowing you won't get scratched half to death is always a plus! :lol:

Fluffers
03-08-2010, 10:21 AM
Thanks all for your reassurances. It's so terribly appreciated.

Sat here wobbling about trying it again tonight, i should have his new puppy pen arrive today so im thinking about maybe using a few sections of that to setup an enclosed area to try in.

How long should i repeat the quick 'up and downs + treat' for? About 2-3 minutes or more? Then let him have a run around and try again later or tomorrow?

Sorry for all the questions, i feel suitably embarassed! :oops:

Aww, no need to be embarassed!

Play it by ear. Lift him for literally a second or two, just front legs if you like, then give him a treat. If he doesn't seem to mind too much, leave him a few mins then do it again. Repeat 3-4 times if you can but leave him for a while inbetween just in case he gets stressed. If he seems fine & relaxed about it and after a couple of days, try a bit more i.e. lift & hold but only for 10 seconds or so at first. Trust yourself and your instincts :). Make sure you are sat or kneeling when doing it so you are close to the ground. He will feel more comfortable if you are more on his level :)

Wear long sleeves and a high neck shirt/top when handling him to prevent injury, gloves too if you like. You will automatically feel more confident knowing he can't scratch and hurt you (not that he means to do it)

Try to relax, don't set yourself or him a target as such as this will add pressure and make you more wobbly - there's no hurry. Just enjoy getting to know each other and it will happen x

Alfagirl
03-08-2010, 11:02 AM
Tibbsy is a "Don't pick me up" Bunny and when I realised that she was very ill on Sat morning, I dreaded having to pick her up - assuming it would be a struggle as always.
However, I think she *knew* that I was trying to help her and was as good as gold when it came to taking her to the vet, and being examined when we got there.

I'm going to try Janes tricks too, so that it gets easier with Tibberific the Terrible. :lol::lol:

Also, please don't beat yourself up over it, you did the very best you could, and Biscuit is ok. If the worst ever did happen, then I'm POSITIVE you would be able to deal with it. He's still a baby too so you have time. (Apparently, pet bunnies are 'babies' until they are at least 4 years old ;) )

*lily*
03-08-2010, 11:34 AM
Louie is also a nightmare to pick up, although I CAN do so if I really need to.

I hate the fact they always end up sitting on your shoulder :roll:

Nicola1
03-08-2010, 11:40 AM
many, many buns hate being picked up but rest assured that in anemergency medical situation yOu would figure it out.

This is so true. Jasmine and Daphne really hate being picked up but me and OH managed to pick them up with their intestines hanging out before :shock:

Make sure whenever you practise picking him up you're at his level, on the floor, because I think with a lot of buns it's dangling so high from the ground that is scary - which is understandable with them being prey animals!

The towel tip is good too, I used to wrap Zero in a towel when I first got him, and he went from being a scratching, biting whirlwind to letting me hold him. He'll never enjoy being held but I can pick him up when I need to now.

Hope you're ok, and don't be so hard on yourself, you're a great bunny dad :)

Fluffers
03-08-2010, 12:35 PM
This is so true. Jasmine and Daphne really hate being picked up but me and OH managed to pick them up with their intestines hanging out before :shock:

Make sure whenever you practise picking him up you're at his level, on the floor, because I think with a lot of buns it's dangling so high from the ground that is scary - which is understandable with them being prey animals!

The towel tip is good too, I used to wrap Zero in a towel when I first got him, and he went from being a scratching, biting whirlwind to letting me hold him. He'll never enjoy being held but I can pick him up when I need to now.

Hope you're ok, and don't be so hard on yourself, you're a great bunny dad :)

I agree :wave::D