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View Full Version : To handle or not to handle - what are your views?



Bitzy-B
04-06-2011, 05:27 PM
:wave:

Bunnies that don't like being handled ....... what are you views on the best way to deal with it?

Leave them to it and handle them as little as possible so as not to stress them??

Orrrrr

Insist on handling them daily so that they'll get used to it and get over their dislike of it??

Orrrrrr something else??

:D

Domino27
04-06-2011, 05:32 PM
My fluff monster hated being picked up when I got him, I persevered with him and would pick him up everyday and increase the time every week. He now no longer struggles as he knows he is either going home or outside/inside. I can't hold him for long lengths of time like I can with my other one so he gets put down ASAP to avoid stress.

I say persevere unless they really cannot accommodate it

Pebblesetc
04-06-2011, 05:33 PM
I try but Buckley is too quick for me, I can only handle him at the vets or in a bunny-burrito.

Ambience
04-06-2011, 05:34 PM
Only handle for meds and nails etc.. Try and avoid picking up if unneccesary so not to cause stress- i prefer to honour the animals wishes. There is a reason some buns like being picked up and others dont and that is entirely down to the individual bun. Also some buns may become better with handling some may not and that is individual too. I personally limit contact and try to make things stress free.

fruitandnutcake
04-06-2011, 05:43 PM
I only pick up Chloe when absolutely necessary like when she has to go to vets to be vaccinated. But I'd like to be able to check her bottom daily - just in case. Problem is, I get to a point where she'll let me stroke her while she is eating pellets (treat) , but if I try to pick her up, she won't let me near her for a week!

Tinsel
04-06-2011, 05:44 PM
Only handle for meds and nails etc.. Try and avoid picking up if unneccesary so not to cause stress- i prefer to honour the animals wishes. There is a reason some buns like being picked up and others dont and that is entirely down to the individual bun. Also some buns may become better with handling some may not and that is individual too. I personally limit contact and try to make things stress free.


On the whole I agree with Ambience, and would let the bun dictate how much contact there was but - if the bun became ill it may be that reacting badly to handling/syringe-feeding etc could worsen its chances of successful treatment, so that would be a dilemma :?

So all you really need is a crystal ball to dictate a) if it will become ill and need medicating in later life and b) if it will stay handling resisitant or would improve with more handling.

Guess I'm not much help :oops:

Bitzy-B
04-06-2011, 05:45 PM
I only pick up Chloe when absolutely necessary like when she has to go to vets to be vaccinated. But I'd like to be able to check her bottom daily - just in case. Problem is, I get to a point where she'll let me stroke her while she is eating pellets (treat) , but if I try to pick her up, she won't let me near her for a week!

This is just what my two are like.

allie1904
04-06-2011, 05:50 PM
I pick up smudge daily so that when he needs Meds or nail clips it's not such a shock for him. I know how long I can hold him for before he gets stressed, so I never let it go past that point.

Leximo
04-06-2011, 05:51 PM
Buddy really doesn't mind being picked up, however the only times that I will lift him is when I check his bum (twice a day) or carrying him inside. Even though he doesn't struggle or try to run away when I pick him up, I'm pretty sure he doesn't like it anyway so I refrain from doing it too much. :)

I never really have to pick him up to put him into his carrier if we go the vets since he goes in there himself (strange bunny), however we've only made two trips to the vet for vaccinations so far, so I bet he will start to associate his carrier with the vet soon enough :roll:

BattleKat
04-06-2011, 05:53 PM
It depends if you really want snuggly bunnies or not.

I'm happy for my bunnies to be look-but-don't touch pets, and I generally leave them to do their own thing. It's easy enough to get them when I need to do nails or take them to the vet just by luring them in to a carrier with some pellets.

fruitandnutcake
04-06-2011, 05:58 PM
My other 3 are snuggly bunnies, so I don't really mind that Chloe isn't - but I'm very paranoid about flystrike - even though I know their walk in run is clean, their litter trays are cleaned regularly and they are not confined to a small space so flystrike is unlikely. So for self re-assurance I'd like to be able to check her bum without stressing her.

H Maughan
04-06-2011, 06:29 PM
I tend to leave them to it. One of my pairs are unhandable. I try to be friends by handfeeding them treats and stroking their heads a little. In future I will try to get my rabbits better handled before they reach the stage a couple of mine have as for vets visits etc it makes things difficult. Though one of them is a p@h rescue who had 3 homes before I took her.

Helen x

shelley
04-06-2011, 08:21 PM
I try to have a cuddle for about 2 mins a day, neither of mine are that bothered either way. Lola doesnt really like me walking with her in my arms and Buster doesnt like to be picked up for too long but i can check their bums easily and move them from one place to another etc with out any struggles

beki
04-06-2011, 08:37 PM
I would handle. It has taken me a year and a half but I have finally won with reggie but only recently. He runs off and acts scared when I try and catch him but one caught I can carry him around quite happily for a few minutes and often take him for a walk round the garden in my arms. He let's me cuddle him now too.:love:

Rhianna
04-06-2011, 11:35 PM
I handle all mine as I've found it really difficult when I take the buns to the vet if they aren't used to being touched by humans. My vet can tell mine are regularly handled and he lets me hold them rather than a nurse.

I also need to pick mine up to put them in the garden if it's a nice day and I am home. I could pop them in a carrier but I use the time to check their bottoms and nails.

Their hutches are in their concrete runs so I don't need to handle them daily. I don't hold them for long if they aren't enjoying a snuggle as I try to balance respecting their wishes with the need to be able to check and medicate them as and when necessary.

steph182
04-06-2011, 11:36 PM
Milly doesn't like being picked up, but I still do it every day to check her bum.
I give her a little treat when I put her down and she's pretty much ok with it now

Grin
04-06-2011, 11:39 PM
Only handle for meds and nails etc.. Try and avoid picking up if unneccesary so not to cause stress- i prefer to honour the animals wishes. There is a reason some buns like being picked up and others dont and that is entirely down to the individual bun. Also some buns may become better with handling some may not and that is individual too. I personally limit contact and try to make things stress free.


I'd go with that point every time!! I'd let everything be on their terms and just handle when necessary (which really isnt often at all for most buns) :)

halfpenny
04-06-2011, 11:54 PM
Surely all buns should be handled twice daily for bum checks, etc. I always handle the buns, no matter how adverse they are to it. I find it makes them trust me more over time an even though they may never be cuddly, they allow bum checks, teeth checks, nail trims and are fairly well behaved at the vet.

Jenson
05-06-2011, 12:15 AM
I would prefer to be able to pick Jenson up but he really struggles and hates it. I had hoped he would get better when he was neutered but no.

I need to find someone who is experienced to help me handle him more.

So long as I don't lift him, he's ok, hops up on my lap for pellets and next to me for fuss. So long as I don't actually lift him!
His nails will need doing soon, I have no idea how we're going to do that, vets have done it before so thats my fall back plan.

VikkiVet
05-06-2011, 12:22 AM
Neither of my girls were overly handlable when I got them, particularly not Indi, but over time (about a year) they got progressively better. I think the main things that made a difference was making sure they were ideally positioned to lift them - facing towards you, not awkwardly bending around something or being dragged out of a hidey hole etc - and doing lots of very short handlings with benefits at the end - mine were mainly into the run (benefit = grass & exercise) and out of the run (benefit = dinner!) so that it creates positive associations. As they got better I would pause part way there just to give them a few seconds stroke before carrying on, and this got longer and longer so that they can be held for a few minutes now without struggling. Also very important to put them down correctly - facing towards you and held firmly until all 4 feet are on the ground, so they they can't panic and struggle, which creates negative associations and risks injury.

As others have said, I think its important to be able to reasonably handle a bun if they become ill, and if you only do it for vets and nail trims they always think being handled leads to bad things happening.

Feeding out of your hands, stroking them while they are eating etc also creates good associations with your hands being around them and on them too.

Jenova
05-06-2011, 12:27 AM
Other. :)
Neither of mine like being picked up but I do it every few days so they are comfortable with me doing it. Even if it's just to move them from one place to another. Usually I 'herd' them if I can which works most of the time. I think it's more to make me confident at handling them than to get them to like it. At the vets I'm confident and I can hold them in a way in which they're comfortable.

Elena
05-06-2011, 03:30 AM
Nutmeg hates being handled, she'll sit still for a few seconds then just bolt. Doesn't matter in what direction, to the sky, nose dive to the floor, massive leap into nothing. So I handle her as little as possible. When she needs oral meds I put it on food. She's much happier with feet on the ground so for injections that's fine. If I ever have to do something underneath I'm stuck cos I can't put her on her back at all. Her breathing isn't the best so she just stops breathing if I attempt it.

Bum checks I do with a treat or pellet in the air. I don't check every day though. Not unless it's summer and in winter not at all.

Bitzy-B
05-06-2011, 10:32 AM
I'd love for my two to be a bit more easily handled. Don't get me wrong, they're ok once I've got hold of them, its the getting hold of them that's the hard part and the fact that they're then not friends with me afterwards!!

At the moment I do like Schuette and hold treats high up so I can check their bums but I'd really like to be able to do it properly, especially as they're outdoors.

Like VikkiVet says, I think that because I only really handle them for vets appts or to brush them (which they hate) etc, then they're associating it with 'bad' things. :(

When they were babies they were handled daily then when they got to about 5 months old just decided they were having none of it! :?

Maybe I should start just gently lifting them for just a few seconds then popping them back down and giving them a treat!?! Once they're comfortable with that, then increase the time, just long enough for a bum check. :)

William
05-06-2011, 10:37 AM
I'd try to handle. Mine don't particularly like to be carried but are fine if I pick them up (like pick them up to put in my lap) and they love being petted. I would always want a rabbit that at least was friendly and liked being petted. Not liking to be picked up I could deal with because they don't often need to be picked up (i have indoor buns so normally they come to me) but I really love friendly buns.

Milo+Fizz
05-06-2011, 11:38 AM
I dont handle my rabbits anymore than I have to and prefer on the floor cuddles with them. Im very lucky that all 4 of my rabbits, despite very little handling will allow me to hold them without a fuss. I can tell they dont really like it but they allow me to do what I have to do when need be. :love:

HS
05-06-2011, 11:56 AM
Mine are all very eager to come over for nose rubs, but are not keen on being handled. They get hand fed their food, have headrubs and we do bum checks by making them stretch for treats.
They are picked up about once a week, and are fine with it, but we only do if for health checks, not for cuddles as they're really not keen!

LionheadLuver
05-06-2011, 12:26 PM
I insist on handling daily. It makes it easier for vet visits because they are handled often so are calmer when handled. I have to pick up and carry my rabbits from their hutch to their run in the morning, and then back again in the evening, so they are handled twice every day. They don't like being picked up, but they are fine and comfortable once in your arms. They like hopping onto my lap when I sit in their run, and they give me kisses when I sit outside their hutch. :)

With animals, I just think we need to handle them as much as possible, otherwise if you don't, when it comes to handling them, like at a vets, they become incredibly stressed and it makes it more difficult than it needs to be.

ETA: As I need to clip their nails every 3-4 weeks (as they have nothing to wear them down on), they need to keep still once held to make nail clipping an easy task. if they weren't used to be handled, then this regular task would be a lot harder.

Gertie
05-06-2011, 12:32 PM
We like to handle every day. My other half carries her from upstairs to the garden for run time and back in again in the evening, so she's pretty well used to it. He checks her bum at these times daily, so it's useful. I think if she hated being handled, I'd still try to gently touch her for a bit each day and work up to picking her up and putting her straight back down (like an inch off the floor or so).

GrahamL
05-06-2011, 12:37 PM
Depends on buns personality as to whether they like handling.

Eg, Ginger, loves it - so we handle her as much as possible

Biscuit, hates it - so we do it as little as possible

Sometimes, the necessity is there obviously, but normally, i would avoid it if the bun did not want it.

Bitzy-B
10-06-2011, 09:22 AM
OK well the handling once a day thing to try and get them used to it doesn't appear to be working!

So far, since they're trip to the vet last Saturday I've managed to pick them up once!! ......... I just can't get near them and chasing them around the aviary just to pick them up and give them a treat seems to be defeating the object as its making them more wary of me.

I'm thinking I may just let them be, they're obviously not keen. :?

GrahamL
10-06-2011, 09:24 AM
OK well the handling once a day thing to try and get them used to it doesn't appear to be working!

So far, since they're trip to the vet last Saturday I've managed to pick them up once!! ......... I just can't get near them and chasing them around the aviary just to pick them up and give them a treat seems to be defeating the object as its making them more wary of me.

I'm thinking I may just let them be, they're obviously not keen. :?

Would be what i'd do, personally.

Bitzy-B
10-06-2011, 09:29 AM
Would be what i'd do, personally.

Yeah I don't want to force the issue ....... if they liked being picked up, they'd just sit there and let me do it!

I think they're getting wary of where my hands are so I'm going to try the hands off approach and see how that goes - I don't want them being permanently on edge when I'm around them!!

thenamesJT
10-06-2011, 09:29 AM
Rodge & Orla allow me to lift them into their carrier & are very good at the vets.

The buns & I have a very respectful relationship...they tolerate me & I feed & do their cleaning duties for them.....its working out pretty well.:lol:

Rachel89
10-06-2011, 09:37 AM
I had this big problem before, All my buns bar Honey have been snuggle buns.
Honey hates being handled, more the point she panics as shes partially deaf and partially sighted and panics.
She has no end of problems and is always at te vets and lives on meds so she needs to be handled for that.
If it was one of my others I wouldn't and would leave them to it or if she a healthy bun I would too but had to put my head together and really for her sake needed for her to be picked up.
Taken nearly two years but shes the biggest snugglebun ever now (unless its nail clipping then all hell breaks loose).

My new one that comes next week doesn't like being handled and will be left too it.
I think it really depends on the rabbit, as for Honeys sake it wold of done her more harm to leave her to it etc :wave:

Bitzy-B
10-06-2011, 09:58 AM
I had this big problem before, All my buns bar Honey have been snuggle buns.
Honey hates being handled, more the point she panics as shes partially deaf and partially sighted and panics.
She has no end of problems and is always at te vets and lives on meds so she needs to be handled for that.
If it was one of my others I wouldn't and would leave them to it or if she a healthy bun I would too but had to put my head together and really for her sake needed for her to be picked up.
Taken nearly two years but shes the biggest snugglebun ever now (unless its nail clipping then all hell breaks loose).

My new one that comes next week doesn't like being handled and will be left too it.
I think it really depends on the rabbit, as for Honeys sake it wold of done her more harm to leave her to it etc :wave:


Yeah I agree with this .......my two are (touch wood) healthy happy buns in every other respect, just don't like being messed about with!

When they were babies they were handled a lot and they got used to it but then at about 4 months (probably as hormones kicked in) they decided they didn't like it! I'm not going to force the issue as I don't want to lose any trust I've built up with them to date!

They're more than happy to come over and have a nosey/sniff at me, are happy being hand fed and when they're in the right mood they love nosey rubs ..... just don't like being picked up! Which is fair enough tbh!

clarebear
10-06-2011, 11:31 AM
Bramble doesn't like being handled, so I do it as least as possible. Bungee is fine once you have got hold of her and is happy to sit for ages having a cuddle, but the inital getting her out of her house can be a bit of a problem.