New French Angora rabbit owner

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by EHook518, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. EHook518

    EHook518 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2012
    Denver, CO
    So just like I got this great idea to get chickens, I got this great idea to get an angora rabbit. I first got the idea this summer while I was working at a summer camp at a local yarn/fabric shop. The shop manager brought in a shawl she knitted from the wool of her angora rabbit, it was so amazing! Then I saw one for sale on Craigslist, I missed out on him but figured it was for the best. I talked my boyfriend into the idea by proving that he would have a purpose (besides being a pet of course!). First he produces some great fertilizer daily, second I can sell the wool (or even try to spin it ha ha), and last he will be a class pet in two years. And to boot I found a great deal on a hutch so he didn't have to help me build anything (little does he know that I have an awesome hutch design in mind when the bunny outgrows the current one). So on to finding the most adorable furry bunny. Just by luck I came across a post on craigslist from a town south of Denver. Young french angora buck, blue pearl. I had done my research and knew I wanted a french angora so I was very anxious to hear back. Long story short, he was still available and after a long afternoon drive with my mother I had purchased a rabbit and a hutch. So now I have this beautiful rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, all the rabbit supplies one may need, and a few books on angoras and rabbits. Benny is very sweet but we have some issues and that is where I need some expert help.

    First: I can pick him up from his hutch and carry him inside where he can play. But when it comes time to catching him to go back to his hutch it takes a long time and is stressful for both of us. I feel like I am scarring him!
    My answer to this: Today I took a small carrier (which he loves, it is in the room where he plays and he always runs in there) and he climb from his hutch into it. Then I carried him to his play room and opened the door. Free to play. When it was time to go back I just herded him into the carrier and put him back. Stress free.
    Question: Is this just avoiding the situation? He is only 3 months, is this ok to build trust and then try carrying him later?

    Second: He is an angora. He has lots of hair. He doesn't want to be picked up nor does he want to sit still for very long to be groomed. He has some mats on his belly that need some TLC. What do I do?

    Sorry for writing a novel. I love this bunny and want him to be happy and safe.

    Benjamin Bunny
    [​IMG]
     
  2. EHook518

    EHook518 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2012
    Denver, CO
    Any angora owners out there that can help?
     
  3. Fly 2006

    Fly 2006 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2012
    Hampshire England
    He is gorgeous! I would say that the carrier is a good idea, it gets him to and from his hutch with no stress, you can gain his trust by sitting with him when he is out and letting him come to you, find some nice treats and when he is more settled you can pick him up and put him on your knee and stroke him, he should start to enjoy this and learn to trust you, hold him firmly and with confidence, support his bottom so he feels safe when you pick him up but do not squeeze! As far as grooming his tummy is concerned, he should relax when laid on his back, take your time and get him used to it gradually, obviously he is going to need to accept being groomed as he has a lovely long thick coat, good luck and lovely to know your bunny is going to be so well looked after, a friendly bunny is a lovely friend, I used to have one but it took a while to gain his trust but when I did he loved his cuddles X Oh and have him castrated if needed, it made my bunny much nicer in several ways!
     
  4. EHook518

    EHook518 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2012
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    Thank you so much! I am looking into getting him neutered. I have slowed down and let him play and get used to me. He loves hopping into the carrier to go play. He is doing great with his litter box training too.
    Deep breath, everything will be ok!
     
  5. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2011
    Super adorable rabbit! What a cutie. <3

    With rabbits, I have personally found that handling them often leads to a strong bond, while being more hands off does not. They remind me a bit of horses. Handling and working with them them a lot and not letting them dictate the situation will actually deepen their attachment to you and wont leave you with a pushy animal who calls the shots. You do have to know to securely and safely hold a rabbit if using this method. Also, I have started working with my rabbits early on learning to dangle their legs and stay calm, and have found a certain position has worked with mine to get them to still feel safe and supported. I have found it to be valuable in leading to a rabbit that won't scratch people when held and won't injure itself by kicking like mad if a person doesn't have the best grip on them. If a rabbit nips, I put on a thick coat and let it bite away until ot realizes biting isn't going to be a way of communication that works. I do not allow biting and kicking to equate to being put down, fed, or whatever else the rabbit wants. I have not found this to destroy the trust bond in rabbits as some sites (cough...house rabbit society) claim, but rather have found it to merely teach a rabbit what is and is not acceptable behavior. I have met many a nippy, standoffish, skittery, bossy rabbit, but have not owned one by using these methods. The very bossy and unhandable rabbits had owners that did not handle their rabbits, and who were afraid of their nips. Some of the skittery rabbits simply were not held at all when young (seems to be kind of a window when this should be done to get rabbits used to people), or seemed to come from genetic lines where calmness was not bred for.

    For my english angora, first training was learning to sit still when being brushed. Using treats makes it a pleasurable experience, and lead to a rabbit who enjoyed being groomed. Start with a minute of stillness, and reward. Three the next day, five the next, etc. With my English lops, their job is honestly to be cuddly. I free feed hay but not pellets, so they regard pellets as more of a treat item. When they are new to the home, I make sure to feed them their pellets on the bed, and stroke them while they eat. Hand feeding especially seems to help to build trust. The bed becomes a safe and happy place for them. As a result, we have not had cage aggression from our Elops (even when they are aggressive to the cats), and we have Elops who jump up on the bed by themselves and will flop over and cuddle for hours. My buck has some chronic health problems, and the first thing he does when feeling sick is to climb up on the bed and wedge himself between my husband and I. He also will only flop (sign of trust) in our arms or near us on the bed, never in his cage, when alone on the bed, or when playing on the floor. He seems to regard being with us as a safe and preferable location. Our current young doe runs after us and begs to be picked up, and grooms and cuddles with us. I feel we would have much less people oriented rabbits who still nipped, bit, and scratched if we had let them be more hands off. That is all just personal experience though.

    When returning them to their cage, I give them some token pellets or a treat. They soon learn that going back in the cage is an okay thing after all. If eager to go back to their cage, I always make sure they are calm the entire time they are being put down, if you let them down when they are struggling, they quickly learn that struggling means being placed on the ground. If you wait until they are calm, they quickly learn that not struggling is what will get them released into their cage. In the case of your rabbit, he has already learned that the carrier means play. I initially never let my rabbits hop out of their cage on their own. They learn that me picking them up and out of their cage means that they get to go play. This helps associate being picked up with good things. When they are playing and I need to grab them, I don't care if I have to crawl under the bed after them...they quickly learn that running isn't going to get them anywhere. They will be swiftly and firmly picked up. None of my rabbits try to run when I go to grab them, though it is something they all do at first. Again, this has not appeared to damage the trust bond in any way.

    Oh, we have also started training early for getting them used to having their paws played with (for nail trimming), their mouths looked at (dental cheeks and force feeding/med giving for ill rabbits), and showering and hair-drying (trust me...helps when you have a sick rabbit with loose stools so you can get them clean and dry without stressing them out).

    Ps:
    http://countingchickns.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/ccbagr2.jpg
    http://countingchickns.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/ccbagr4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
  6. EHook518

    EHook518 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2012
    Denver, CO
    Punk-a-doodle, thank you for your advice. I have been using treats during grooming time and it is really helping (except when it was cold outside he was too frisky!). Until I feel really comfortable with him I am still going to use the carrier to move him. He is happy and I am happy! I bought a cage to keep inside (it gets a bit chilly here in CO) for him to hang out with the family and for when he will be in the classroom. He has an outdoor pen to run around in and that is also where I groom him. I hope to be able to let him hop around the house once he settles in to being inside (his breeder let him free in her house). He is also doing great with the litter training. I am going to have him neutered since he will be in the classroom. He is such a sweet bunny, I feel a lot better after reading these posts. Thank you!!
     
  7. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha, I love how frisky animals get in the cold! Great to hear everything is going well, and you are going to be getting some beautiful fiber off that gorgeous boy.
     

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