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Pick them up by the scruff or not?

Discussion in 'Behavior and Handling Techniques - Rabbits' started by TheRabbitNewbee, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. Apr 22, 2016
    TheRabbitNewbee

    TheRabbitNewbee Exploring the pasture

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    When I got my first New Zealand rabbits and when I got my Californian the breeders both said to pick them up by the scruff of the neck. Today I picked up 3 Americans and the breeder said not to pick them up by the scruff because it can cause internal bleeding and even tear the skin. Can someone set me straight?
     
  2. Apr 22, 2016
    LukeMeister

    LukeMeister Loving the herd life

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    You should never pick up a rabbit by the scruff of the neck. Just think about it, cats carry around their kittens by the scruff of the neck, but rabbits don't carry their babies, they haven't evolved with thick skin on the back of their neck to be carried around by. The skin there is very fragile and can be very painful for the rabbit to be carried around by. I don't know about causing internal bleeding, but it can cause the skin to tear.
     
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  3. Apr 23, 2016
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady True BYH Addict

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    You don't pick a rabbit up (especially a large rabbit) by the scruff; the scruff hold is more for restraint. When you scruff a rabbit, the rabbit's weight is supported by your other hand under its backside. I don't like that hold; it makes it too easy for the rabbit to struggle, meaning that there is lots of opportunity for the rabbit (and me!) to get hurt. If I am dealing with a skittish rabbit, I may use the scruff hold to lift it out of the cage, but I get my arms around it as quickly as I can, both for restraint and support.

    (Incidentally, it's not the skin on the back of the neck, it's the shoulders and upper back)
     
  4. Apr 23, 2016
    TheRabbitNewbee

    TheRabbitNewbee Exploring the pasture

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    Ok, thanks guys! That's really good to know! I guess the breeders I talked to before didn't know what they were talking about.
     
  5. May 18, 2016
    Kissofcrimson

    Kissofcrimson Exploring the pasture

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    I was always told (before I got rabbits) to hold them with one hand supporting their front feet and another underneath for support but since getting rabbits I've noticed a lot of people scruff them and I hate it. Everytime I see a rabbit scruffed I cringe and it's not just a couple people I've seen but the majority. One of the rabbits I bought actually cringes in his cage and doesn't like his back to be touched, I'm assumed because of being picked up like this.
     
  6. May 18, 2016
    DuckyLou

    DuckyLou Ridin' The Range

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    That's how I was showed to do it, it seems like they are calmer getting them out of the cage that way. I don't do it but for a split second and then cradle them in my arms immediately, maybe that's not good.... Idk... I hope it doesn't hurt them because that would make me feel really really bad.
     
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  7. May 18, 2016
    DuckyLou

    DuckyLou Ridin' The Range

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    I just read bunnyladys comment and I feel better now, that's exactly how I do it. I don't ever carry them around just hanging for sure!
     
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  8. Sep 24, 2016
    DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Loving the herd life

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    Picking up rabbits by their scruff is okay only in certain situations. If the rabbit is large, fine, but small rabbits should NEVER be picked up by the scruff. Only pick up rabbits by the scruff if the rabbit will not allow you to pick it up any other way. It will not hurt the rabbit to be picked up by the scruff, but other ways to pick up rabbits are better.
     
  9. Nov 19, 2017
    birdfreaks

    birdfreaks Just born

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    i took some vet assistant training on this...i do know there is a vet-approved method for this. HOWEVER, if you do restrain a rabbit by the scuff, you NEED to hold his bottom legs. they can't just dangle...they'll kick out and possibly break their own spines because their kicks are so powerful. there's a way to hold the bottom legs as well so they are restrained, if you have a very jittery and wiggly rabbit. i highly advise AGAINST this method, unless your have been trained in this by a professional, veterinarian, etc. even at your local vet clinic, this form of handling is usually reserved only for when the rabbit needs to be actually CARRIED, yet is not docile for whatever task at hand & needs to be restrained for it's own safety. i personally prefer the towel method or table method of restraining if at all possible, because there's less that could go wrong with unpracticed hands. if you use the scruff method, its better not to simply just wing it, for you could end up injuring the rabbit. you really need to have someone teach you this hands on, so that if you make a mistake they can correct you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2017
  10. Nov 19, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I picked up my rabbits by brushing their ears back and gathering up their ears and scruff together and lifting them up. The other hand went under their bottom to carry their weight. I placed their heads in the crook of my arm, hugging their body next to me, but be warned. If the rabbit is not accustomed to being carried like this, it will kick and can scratch your belly, so wear a jacket or heavy shirt.