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View Full Version : How can I educate a family coming round next sunday



Jackaroonie
06-04-2013, 11:59 PM
Arghhh sorry I am fuming at the moment :evil:

Basically my auntie text my mum this morning asking if their friends and their young daughter (who is about 10) if they could come over and see my rabbits and get some advice as they are looking to get some.

Little did I know until half an hour ago is that they want to come and handle my rabbits so the little girl can decide if she's scared or not! For one my rabbits do not like being handled at all, they will wriggle kick and if you cant hold them properly they will be on the floor. I only hold them if necessary , Pickle is petrified of being picked up and I have never picked up Pixie and do not plan to in the for seeable future! Rabbits are prey animals not a childs toy!
Im sorry but if i knew that she wanted to come and handle my rabbits I would of said I did not want them to come over!

What on earth can I do?there is no way they are handling my rabbits.

bethepoet
07-04-2013, 12:11 AM
I don't understand why you're so angry - they're clearly uninformed, that's why they're coming to you. You should be glad they're doing the sensible thing and asking for help. Rabbits are seen as cuddly animals, it's a bad stereotype (not the right word but it's late so it's all I can think of), but you're lucky that you can set your auntie straight and hopefully show her and her daughter how rewarding it can be to keep rabbits, even if they aren't cuddle monsters. I had no idea you shouldn't pick a rabbit up before I got them :lol:

Maybe you could prepare some things to say? Start off with a basic explanation of what a prey animal is, and why they don't like being picked up. Then take her for a look around the shed, maybe give her some safe treats she can offer them instead of touching (or show her how to stroke them nicely, if they're okay with that).

Even my three year old cousin, who LOVES animals, understands "no grabbing", "gentle strokes" etc :)

You have a great opportunity to do some good here.

Oonagh
07-04-2013, 12:15 AM
I have been in this situation before, my bunnies love being stroked, but hate being picked up. When someone asks to hold them I usually tell them they aren't animals that in general liked to be handled and I would rather they didn't. I understand its hard with younger children especially. I usually say they can stroke them and feed them a treat, but they can't really pick them up. They usually are just quite happy to feed them a treat and give them a quick stroke. Maybe you could give them some leaflets on looking after rabbits, and maybe try explaining rabbits need a lot of care and would be better to wait until the child is older. Hope this helps :D

Hele
07-04-2013, 12:24 AM
I've done this with my animals in the past and would do so again.

Yes the buns needs always come first, but a 10 year old can be reasoned with, you can explain that things can be done on a rabbits terms, sitting quietly, letting them come to you ect ect. A fantastic chance to stop people getting rabbits on a whim. Personally I think they are being very sensible in researching before buying (even if it is just to see if the kid is scared!)

I would actually let the kid try to pick a bun up (if they seem comfortable with the buns and are not stressing them out) not pickle or pixie of course, but how about Lily and flopsy? I'm not suggesting that they get a rabbit each and wander around with them, but if you are there and they stay close to the ground then I don't personally see a problem (of course you know your rabbits and I don't so your decision), the bun will probably kick, the kid will get scratched and be less inclined to want one!

Obviously it depends on the kid, and if you can trust them to be sensible and calm, if not then I'm 100% on your side, no way would they be going near my bunnies, but if she is a good kid then I don't really see the harm. How old were you the first time you held a rabbit? Everyone has to start learning somewhere and if coming to yours means that these people learn from someone who understands how a bun needs to be treated so much the better. Otherwise they are likely to go to a breeder and be told that rabbits are cuddly and love being carried around ect ect

natsusakura
07-04-2013, 12:41 AM
I would show them how to handle the buns, because if they decide to get a bun then surely it's better to know the correct way to handle them rather than not knowing and dropping the bun?
I'd also talk about why you have them living in pairs so they realise the importance of having to bunnies (this also allows you to cover neutering)
Make sure you let the 10 yr old know that buns prefer being stroked on the ground and that they wont always come to you if they don't want to.

Also in regards to pixie and you not handling her I personally think that this is a bad idea.
Surely it's better to get her used to being handled then if she's ever ill it will be easier to medicate her?
If she isn't handled at all then it will just be more stressful for her if she does get ill.
Or not even illness what about bum checking and clipping the nails etc. without regular handling these simple things that need to be done to make sure they are healthy will become even more stressful for her.
I'm speaking from experience.

You can also point them in the right direction of a rescue and then if they have any more questions they can ask the rescue :)

Jackaroonie
07-04-2013, 02:39 AM
I've had a long thought over things and feel a lot calmer now. It's just that I do not have a clue who these people are and I don't know what the child is like so as you can imagine I am slightly concerned.

I'm going to take this as an opportunity as you say to try and advise them on rabbits , what they need and go through companionship , neutering , ovaccinating , space , cost ect. There's no way I'm letting a child handle my rabbits though it's nothing personal I wouldn't even let my older brother handle them . It's just not worth the risk of them struggling and then the girl possibly dropping them . At the end of the day I can't afford to stress out my bunnies.

Lily & Flopsy will tolerate being picked up as I do have to check them regularly to make sure their bums are all clean ect in the summer sometimes twice a day. It's literally for 30 seconds if that . I never hold them too long , as I say they tolerate it but do kick and struggle so you've got to be used to rabbits really to handle them correctly. Pickle is absolutely scared of being picked up he will run back and Forth and thump so I don't pick him up at all unless necessary like emergency vet appointments ect there's absolutely no point in trying to man handle him and stressing him out when there's no need. My bunnies have a strict controlled diet so the risks of them getting mucky bums are slim but of course that doesn't mean they won't get one. I have ways where I can get them to periscope and lean up the rabbit run and I can quickly look down below. But if needs be I can pick them up . It's just I don't want my bunnies to associate people as predators as they'll become terrified of people and will run away in the fear of being constantly picked up.

With Pixie I know that she can be picked up so I'm not that concerned hence why I'm not too bothered about picking her up as to be honest there's no reason too . My bunnies Pickle & Pixie especially are very friendly bunnies and adore humans they'll happily be stroked and jump onto your lap when they can trust you . Pixie is very much like my precious Bella in the way she jumps onto my lap and things she's a special bunny :love:

I'm hoping I can advise them and maybe after realising the needs of rabbits they'll decide not to get some but if they are prepared I can defiantly lead them in the right directions to rescues :)

elmoandfern
07-04-2013, 07:10 AM
good luck, i'm sure once they see your fantastic setup and hear how much you know about bunnies they'll think twice about getting them as a child's pet unless they are going to be properly cared for :love:

Bailey's
07-04-2013, 08:42 AM
My two daughters are 9 and 12, we have had rabbits most of their lives so they are knowledgeable and confident around buns but its when their friends come around that I face the same issues as you.
My girls are great and know they don't let their friends near the buns until they have explained how they need to behave around them, to be quiet, not to try picking them up and let the buns come to them.
It's all about education and if they can learn from someone who is experienced and knowledgable then it's a great starting point, both for kids and adults!
I'm sure you will do the right thing and hopefully have a positive outcome, be it guiding them on becoming a good responsible bunny parent or with the realisation of how difficult they are to care for properly they may dismiss the idea altogether.
Good luck:thumb:

I<3Rabbits
07-04-2013, 08:49 AM
well when i was very little my siblings had a pet bunny and were very careful around him:) she might be really good with them! But I think you defiantly need to bring up rescues, housing, costs, is she going to get bored etc etc. sorry i wasn't really much help:oops: Also say something like sorry you cant hold them as rabbits don't liked to be held. Good luck:wave:

BigBunnyBenji
07-04-2013, 09:22 AM
Like everyone else has said, I think you could actually give them good information on rabbit handling.
You'd just need to say, your rabbits don't like being picked up, and it's natural for them to feel that way as they are prey animals and it makes them feel vulnerable. Some rabbits will grow into not minding it, but it takes a lot of patience, and they can hurt you a little in the process, with their kicking and scratching around. It really depends on the individual rabbit, they should be aware that they may not necessarily get a rabbit that is ok with being picked up.
But then, you can also say, just because the rabbit doesn't like being picked up, it doesn't mean that they aren't loving. Rabbits will happily be stroked and come for cuddles with their owners, and sometimes sit on your knee. :)

I know exactly where you're coming from. I live with my sister who is 16, and originally when I first got my giant, she saw him as an opportunity to show off to her friends when they came over. She begged me to let her pick him up, but I told her in no uncertain terms that she was not to pick him up without me, or without my permission. He struggles so much that I don't think she could hold him. I get covered in scratches everytime I pick him up, I have to wear a protective coat. :lol:

jwr
07-04-2013, 10:21 AM
Arghhh sorry I am fuming at the moment :evil:

Basically my auntie text my mum this morning asking if their friends and their young daughter (who is about 10) if they could come over and see my rabbits and get some advice as they are looking to get some.

Little did I know until half an hour ago is that they want to come and handle my rabbits so the little girl can decide if she's scared or not! For one my rabbits do not like being handled at all, they will wriggle kick and if you cant hold them properly they will be on the floor. I only hold them if necessary , Pickle is petrified of being picked up and I have never picked up Pixie and do not plan to in the for seeable future! Rabbits are prey animals not a childs toy!
Im sorry but if i knew that she wanted to come and handle my rabbits I would of said I did not want them to come over!

What on earth can I do?there is no way they are handling my rabbits.

cor thats like a bit of fresh air to hear that! rabbits do not like being picked up i totally agree with you ......i'm glad your so protective over them i'm just the same......its the mother who needs to like rabbits because nine times out of ten they are the ones who end up looking after them when the child gets bored...so work on the mother as much as the child ;)

KateB
07-04-2013, 01:05 PM
It's probably wrong of me to think this, but if your buns are wriggly kickers then it may actually put them off!

But on the flip side, if they're actually bothering to do some research then thats a good thing.

I think you might just have to play it by ear and see whether they sound like they'll take on advice and be good bunny owners - in which case be positive with them and explain that they won't like being picked up unnecessarily but show how your buns are still friendly. But if they seem closed minded to big hutches & potential vet bills etc then I'd make a big point out of how buns can kick and scratch.....