New Rabbit! I need tips and how do I pick him up?

I have just adopted my sisters rabbit. Previously he was kept in quite a small cage and was never allowed out to frolic or play. I have now set him up in our garden with a two level cage and a 25ft x 4 ft run! He is about 5 years and as I have never had a rabbit I have a few questions! 1) How do i pick him up? He…

Wow. This is one hell of a question! Firstly – THANK YOU for putting him in a bigger hutch and run. This will make him feel a lot better in general. You say he’s about 5, but not what breed of rabbit he is…if you don’t know, is he big/small, have short or long ears, patches or one colour etc??
As for the problems…

1. How to pick him up – If he’s never been allowed out before, he won’t have been handled much either I guess, so that will make him afraid of people, or at least wary of them. You need to make him feel secure with you. To begin with, just let him sniff your hand, bring him treats, a small dandelion leaf or something like that, stroke him and let him know you mean no harm. NEVER stroke him then suddenly pick him up – he won’t come near you if you do.

To pick him up, put one hand, whichever you write with, at the scruff of his neck, grabbing the loose skin just behind his head. Make sure you get a firm grip, it won’t hurt him, just make him feel like you know what you’re doing. Then take your other hand and scoop it under his bum, pick him up and hold him against your chest. Keep him firm and safe.

Please don’t pick him up by the ears, they are not strong enough! If you make him feel like you are the boss, he won’t struggle, rabbits like to feel safe. If he does start to struggle, get him into the run and let him go, as he could break his legs and back if you try to hold onto him, and give you some nasty scratches.

2. Fresh fruit and veg is good for rabbits, but in moderation. as a general rule, if you can eat it, he can eat it. A major exception is onion, as it is too acidic. Lettuce is a bad idea as it dosen’t have much nutritional value and can cause diarrhoea. The only type I feed my bunnies is romaine.

The best food for your rabbit is that which he would get in the wild – grass, clover and dandelions. Again, be careful with the dandelions as until your rabbit gets used to them they have the same effect as lettuce. Here are some foods which rabbits can eat;

Carrot (in moderation)
Carrot tops
Broccoli (leaves and stems, only small amount of head)
Lettuce (romaine only)
Fresh Greens (can be bought in the supermarket)
Kale (in moderation)
Sweetcorn (baby and in moderation)

Apple (remove stem and seeds, are poisonous)
Bananna (in moderation)
Orange (including peel, although you will need to scrub it free of pesticides)
Peach (in moderation)
Pear (in moderation)
Pineapple (very occasionally)
Grapes (remove seeds)
Tomato (some rabbits are picky about this)

Sunflower seeds – a great weakness in my rabbits! Feed sparingly though.

Wash all fruit and veg really well, and scrub if you can, as the pesticides which would be made safe when you cook them are not safe for the rabbits. All vegetables stated above should be eaten raw.

Like I said, the grass is the best, and rabbits love it, but the next best thing is dark, leafy vegetables, broccoli etc. Rabbits love fruit due to the sweetness, but it’s better to use it as an occasional treat rather than as their main diet, especially in the case of bananna and pineapple. The rabbits can refuse everything else unless they get this if it’s given too often. Make sure your rabbit has a good supply of hay, as this is essential for digestion and wearing down teeth. Timothy hay is the best if you can get it, as it dosen’t have to much calcium for the rabbit to cope with.

As for how much, it really depends on your rabbit. For an example, my Dutch rabbit gets a bowl of pellets, eats what she wants from that, and half a thick stem of broccoli with half an apple. She also has constant access to hay and grass. It depends on the weight and type of your rabbit. Add one vegetable/fruit to the diet at a time and see how he gets on. If he leaves it, make a note and don’t feed it again. Also keep and eye on his droppings. If they become really runny and don’t clear up, don’t feed him that food again either, or cut down the amount.

3. Dried food – Do you feed pellets or a mix?? If it’s a mix, he might do better if you switch him to pellets and then he won’t be so picky. If he is already on pellets, this is fine as he’ll just eat what he wants. Make sure he always has plenty, and don’t leave the same fod in the bowl for too long as it may get soggy at the bottom.

4. I gather you mean he is not capable of getting up the stairs and that you put him in the top at night?? To begin with, this can be a problem, but he’ll figure it out himself. When one of my rabbits moved from a one level to a two level hutch, he had problems too, but figured it out eventually. Try putting small amounts of treat food, bananna etc on the ramp (is it a ramp?) and that may encourage him to go up.

If this is still a problem in a couple of weeks, you might want to consider adapting his cage a bit so that he sleeps in the bottom. In the meantime, attach a bottle to his run so that he has access to water during the day, and take his food bowl down from the top.

5. To cut his nails. Hmmm. Well, you’ve already said that he kicks and scratches, so you might want the vet to do it the first few times, until he is used to you. After that…

1. Wrap the rabbit in a towel so that there is only one foot poking out. He needs to be firmly wrapped so that he cannot kick himself free.

2. Tuck him under your arm.

3. Look for the “quick” on the rabbit’s claw. This is where the nail ends and there is live tissue within the nail. The vet will show you where this is if you’re not sure. It wil be darker than the rest of the nail, but it very difficult to see on rabbits with dark nails.

4. Cut about 1/2cm in front of the quick. You can get closer as you get more confident, but it’s good to be careful to start with.

5. Repeat for each claw, then for each foot, only letting one foot stick out at a time.

6. Unwrap the rabbit and make a fuss of him. Give him a treat – nail cutting can be very traumatic for some rabbits.

Some general tips – get special rabbit clippers. These have a half-moon shape cut into them and are about £4. Rabbit claws are very tough and difficult to cut with normal nail scissors.

If you accidentally cut the quick DON’T PANIC. It will bleed, but keep calm and press a cotton bud hard on it for a minute. Keep some beside you whilst you cut his nails.

The hardest claw to cut is the inside one on the front foot, what would be a thumb on a human. Gently turn the rabbit’s foot so that you have better access to it, and watch out as the quick is often further forward on this claw.

After you have just cut his claws, the blunt ends will be very sharp. You can choose to file the ends of them but it’s hard to get the rabbit to sit still for long enough and sometimes it frightens them. Normally I don’t bother.

Anyway, sorry about the length of this question, hope it answers your questions thouroughly enough. If you know what breed he is that would help for amounts of food etc. If you have any other questions you can email me at Have fun!

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New Rabbit! I need tips and how do I pick him up?
I have just adopted my sisters rabbit. Previously he was kept in quite a small cage and was never allowed out to frolic or play. I have now set him up in our garden with a two level cage and a 25ft x 4 ft run! He is about 5 years and as I have never had a rabbit I have a few questions! 1) How do i…

Ok, he is obviously not used to being given all this attention. At first, if he is kicking bad you should try picking him up gently by his scruff ( the loose fur around the back of his neck) No this does not hurt, it is what their mothers do when they are young. Once you have him, then place him gently onto your lap, and still keeping hold of his scruff lightly to hold onto him, try stroking his head in between the ears. This usually calms them down. Then after a few minuites put him back in his hutch. Try doing this every day and hopefully he will get used to you, and after a few goes try picking him up using two hands around his middle. Watch the scratches though, they can bleed and can also get infected. Wear a long sleeved top. You just need to show him some love and care and he should get used to being held. As for his cage, he may never use the up stairs unless you have put him there, because it isn’t normal to him. Put his food and water down stairs and make sure he has lots of straw downstairs too. Don’t try to force him to use the top half, there’s no need. He is fine to eat lots of grass, it’s natural and healthy. You may want to move the run around though to give the grass a chance to grow back. Carrots and apples are ok, don’t give lettuce or cabbage as it can cause dioreahh. Try buying dry rabbitt food that is not just pellets, cos that is boring. There are plenty of different types and some have more green and orange bits in, flakes more than pellets. Make sure you change his water every day. Nails, have you got a patio or a concrete area he can have a run about on. This would be the best way because he doesn’t sound like he is going to let you clip his claws.If you have, let him have an hour a day on there and it should keep his claws short. If they are really bad now though then you might want to take him to a vet to have them clipped. They will be able to hold him down better than you. You can buy pet clippers though if you want to try it, just cat ones would be ok, but be carefull as if you cut to far they will bleed badly which can be dangerous. I wouldn’t try it on anything that’s not really tame. Hope this help. Good luck.

Kept and bred rabbits myself. If your rabbit has not be handled by humans frequently in the past, it will not like to be picked up now. That explains why it is acting so violently when picked. To answer your quetions:
1) pick it up by holding the scruf of the neck while supporting its body with the other hand.
2)&3) Not too much fresh veg or grass. A small piece of carrot and some cabbage. Too much grass gives them colic. They also like dendelion leaves.
4) it may have problems climbing and may explain why it’s not eating its pellet food. No reason to have 2 tiers. Put the food on the lower one and see what happens. Not alll rabbit foods are the same. Try another brand/pet shop and see.
5) to cut its nails, buy a nail trimmer from a good pet shop or buy a very sharp wire cutter from an electrical goods shop.
They also need to trim their teeth which keeps growing. Give it some untreated wood to chew.

Blimey… OK, go easy in picking him up – if he’s not used to it and you’re not he could get freaked out and neither of you want that! Take it easy and gently with him, giving him lots of strokes and encouraging him to trust you before going for the pick up! Perhaps you could wear a jumper the first time you pick him up so if he kicks and scratches it wont’ be on your bare skin? You need to hold him like you would a baby, supporting his back and back feet. As for how much fresh veg a day and his pellet food you are probably best to call your vet and ask for advice – or perhaps buy a book on caring for rabbits (or borrow one from the library) – carrots are seen to be a must for rabbits but mine wasn’t that bothered by them – she liked anything green best. I think lettuce is bad for them so you probably don’t want to give him that. You can cut this claws yourself but it’s quite tricky and if you cut his blood vessels is painful for him and he can get infections – although you can do it with nail clippers I would strongly advise taking him to the vets where they will do it really quickly. Perhaps do that the first time, watch carefully and then do it yourself the next time they need doing? Sounds like he’s going to have a great time with you – enjoy!

ok..well for starters you are a great perso for adopting your sisters rabbit, and allowing him to have freedom! I am sure he enjoys it! He may scratch you because he might be tickleish or feel a little bit uncomfterable with you. YOu are going to have to spend some time with him, and let him get to know who you are, so that late he will feel better with you. (try to hold him by supporting his bottom. as far as food goes, rabbits LOVE lettuce! and not to mention carrots! (the baby cut ones are the best!!!!) he will eat his pellets eventually, when he feels like it. But one thing to remember is that never giva a rabbit straw! my familys rabbits had surgery three times beacuse it tears out the linings inside thier intestines. Not feeding him straw will help keep him from harm, not to mention lots of money for surgery that will probley be fatal!! The grass is ok, as long as it is not two much… this can clog thier intestines instead of tearing them…. The cage might eventually work out….but he may have some joint problems in his feet, so he may not like to go up and down alot. Make sure his water is Very accessable!!! Put some on the bottom as well as the top. If you do not wish to be giving him baths often (may I suggest not a water bowl. Rabbits enjoy SITTING in it! Use a water bottle with a ball tip. Make sure is cage is not in the sun, or two cold…. Rabbits can be kept outside but I would reccomend to keep a close watch!!!! I hope you found this information useful… Take care and love him like a sis!!!

1) Firstly approach him slowly and if possible from the same level. If you tower over him he will feel threatened, he is prey animal afterall.
Wear a long sleave top, Scoop one hand under his bottom and then put one hand under his chest so his legs are supported. Try also carrying him with him on balanced on your forearm with the other harm supporting in place so he doesn’t fall. If he frightened then you could cover his eyes (making sure you don’t damage them) so he feels safer.
Never cover his nose rabbits are obligate nose breathers and even occlusion for a short period of time can cause respiratory arrest.

Rabbits have fragile spines and if they are allowed to kick out then the propulsion of the hind legs can cause vertebral disclocation, thats why its important to support them.
Never under any circumstance pick him up by the ears this is not to recommmended
2) Feed him mainly on green leaves (not lettuce these have to high a moisture content and can cause diarrhoea) ie cabbage, dandelion leaves (only clean ones) carrots apples etc and hay. You can add a pellet diet in to assist with the fibre. Also check the fibre content, to little fibre can cause diarrhoea. The leaves help with the cutting teeth and the hay allows the bunny to constantly grind his teeth in a up/down side to side motion.
The grass he eats is great unless it contains chemical fertilizers. Ensure he doesn’t become overweight otherwise he wont be able to clean his bottom.
Rabbits have strange digestion – the gut is constantly moving so they eat/graze constantly like a cow. If this gut stops for whatever reason this is called gut stasis and require immediate veterinary attention. Rabbits also digests their food twice to ensure the get the best of nutrients out of their diet, they eat the first faes that comes out usually straight from the anus (caecotroph’s). The second process produces hard faeces a bit like a black pea.

3) Allow him to go up and down as freely as he likes. Ensure his ramp is not to steep and also that is not slippy or with a long drop should he fall. If he is still hesitant to use the ramp it may be safer to give in a single tier hutch. But he may not want to go back up so just see how you go with that.

4) Don’t attempt to clip his nails unless you’re confident to do so, wait until you are confident with handling him and he’s had time to get used to you, wrap him snuggly in a blanket and then slowly turn him on his back, do this sat on the floor with him on your knee’s or get somebody else to sit with him whilst you clip. Use a good pair of nail clipper, make sure they are sharp so they don’t tug at the nail. If the nails are black shave the tips of, if you can visualise the quick (the blood vessel in the nail) Cut just below that. It may be worth having a haemostatic pencil to hand just in case of emergencies.
Alternatively, take him to the vets to be clipped/check over, (my vets clip rabbit nails for £5.00 and they get a general check also).
If need any further email, iam always happy to help.

Good Luck!!

1) pick him up by the stomach and legs for support NEVER pick him up by the ears 2) give him any fresh fruits and vegetables but dont give him rhubarb or tomato leaves or stems 9 the tomato itself is okay 3) yes but try holding him because he learn that you care for him and then try to feed pellet food to him by hand 4) its his choice to go up or down dont force him or hit him 5) ask your vet for a special type of nailcutter for rabbits.

to get the rabbit used to you if you touch him on the top of his head this has a carming effect on them and he will stay carm, To pick him up is pretty much the same as a small dog hold him under his tummy with you arm, if he feels sucure he will be fine, but this may take time just get him used to being touched first.give him fresh veg every day things like carrots or broccili, saled. but he must have dried food every day to.please dont cut his nails yourself take him to the vet some vets dont charge for this but if you do it you could cut them to short and this could cause him great pain good luck and enjoy him

have a look at this site…they show you a video of how to care for a rabbit….its quite interesting.
Good luck
The rspca also do a care sheet on how to look after rabbits which you can download and print off

have just read some of the answers DO NOT FEED YOUR RABBIT LETTUCE…IT WILL KILL IT!!!

Question 1) How do you hold a rabbit up in a correct way?
Large Rabbits

* STEP 1: Kneel beside your rabbit and place one hand under his chest, between his forelegs. Do not hold his legs; if you do, his legs may break if he struggles and tries to get away.
* STEP 2: Slide your other hand gently over your rabbit’s back toward his rump, then scoop your hand under his rump.
* STEP 3: Lift your rabbit off the floor and pull him against your chest, so he is lying almost horizontally in front of you.
* STEP 4: Cradle him against your chest, feet down. Position your arm under his head and against his chest, so that his forelegs hang downward between your arm and your chest. Use the arm that lifted your rabbit’s chest; that area of his body is lighter, and you can more easily slide your arm around him while you’re still supporting his rump.
* STEP 5: Sit on the floor or on a sofa, especially if you’re just learning how to lift and hold your rabbit. That way, if he jumps out of your arms, he won’t fall very far.
* STEP 6: Hold your rabbit firmly, but don’t squeeze him or you may break some of his bones.
* STEP 7: Use your free hand to gently pet his head and ears and to rub his cheeks. Most rabbits like to have their cheeks rubbed after they get to know and trust you. It’s the way they show affection to each other, so it tells them that you care about them.
* STEP 8: Practice this technique daily until both you and your rabbit are comfortable with it. This will help your rabbit become accustomed to being handled, which will make vet visits and nail trimming easier and less traumatic for both of you.

Tips & Warnings

* This method works best with a calm rabbit who isn’t going to bolt.

Small Rabbits

* STEP 1: Kneel on the floor facing your rabbit.
* STEP 2: Place one hand on either side of his body, with your fingertips pointing toward and cupping his rump. Make sure your thumbs are facing the ceiling and the outside edges of your hands are grazing the floor.
* STEP 3: Hold your rabbit firmly. Lift him up toward you and against your chest, so he is lying almost horizontally in front of you.
* STEP 4: Follow steps 4 through 8 above.

— From Source 1, also see source 2

Question 2) How much food should you give him?

*Unlimited grass hay

*1/4 to 1/2 cup of pellets per 6 pounds (2.7 kg) of body weight

*2+ cups of chopped vegetables

*About 1 ounce (28g) of fruits per 6 pounds (2.7kg) of body weight

–From Source 2

3) This is what you have to do.

I) Buy different varieties of pellet food.

II) Test a brand every week.

III) The type of pellet the rabbit most ate is the one your rabbit likes. However, do not do this method for a long-term.

4) After ensuring that most rabbits can go up on your cage, you should put a little food below. If it eats the food, its probably hungry. After eating the food, if it is not going up, I suppose it is because it is not used the new environment. Let it get used to it, bit by bit.

# Gather your supplies – trimmers, towel, cotton swabs and something to treat the nails if accidentally cut too short.
# Get your helper to hold the rabbit gently but firmly. Wrapping the bunny in a towel will help keep them calm and restrained.
# Trim only the tip of the nail. It is far better to trim just a bit frequently than try to trim off a lot once the nails get too long. See the link to nail trim information below for help on where to cut.
# Place the clippers on the nail where the cut is to be made. If you can, apply gentle pressure and if the rabbit flinches move a bit toward the tip of the nail. Make the cut in a firm, swift motion to avoid crushing the nail.
5. If a nail is accidentally cut too short, wipe away blood with a cotton swab and quickly place a pinch of a product such as Kwik Stop (or cornstarch or flour) on the end of the nail and pack it gently.
6. Repeat for all the nails. Take a break between feet if your rabbit is struggling or the procedure is taking a while. This is especially important if you are using a towel for restraint to prevent overheating.
7. Quickly recheck all the nails to make sure they are not bleeding before leaving the rabbit alone.


1. Always restrain the rabbit correctly, supporting and restraining the hind end well. If the rabbit kicks strongly it can cause itself serious injury.
2. Cutting a nail too short is scary but it is common so do not feel bad if it happens and don’t panic. Make sure the bleeding stops before leaving the rabbit unattended, though.
3. If you are worried, consult a vet or groomer for a demonstration of how to do nail trims. Practice will make it much easier.

What You Need:

* Clippers
* Towel
* Cotton Swabs
* Kwik Stop or cornstarch
— Source 3

Thank you for reading my answer! ^^
-Zhi Kang

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