What is the best way to pick up a meat rabbit when it's necessary to move her from one pen to another? When I bought my young rabbits, I was helping load them in a cage in the back of my truck and got rather severely scratched.
Ken, I've got one buck who is a snugglebunny, I could pick him up and carry him to the run out in the garden but I don't trust him, those claws are really sharp (I think we rabbit folk all have the scars to prove it). I put him in the "bunny burrito" with a towel when I carry him, just in case. I also have a doe who does not like me much. When I move her I put her in a canvas shopping bag (kind of herd her into it and then pick it up from the straps). It is the only thing she can't escape from for short-distance transport, and I can sort of cradle her so she can feel supported (although I doubt she's scared) without me getting really hurt.
If a rabbit will let you pick them up, it should be with one hand under their bum, and one under their chest. Pull them in close, for their safety and yours. Never pick them up by the scruff, as their skin is very fragile, and will tear, leading to extreme pain and a very likely infection.
The only thing...more expensive than education is ignorance.~Ben Franklin
I've found that the key to keep them from scratching is to hug them to you like a football with their head tucked into your elbow.
I have always picked mine up by the scruff over their shoulders and never seem to cause them any discomfort or cause a problem with their skin. As soon as I get them lifted enough though I do get a second hand under their rump.
My rabbits hate hanging out in open air.
When you go to put them down, hook your fingers behind their back legs and fold their legs back into their bellies. This seems to make them feel more secure and less likely to kick out.
Even so, I try to wear long sleeves and gloves if I know I'm going to be handling them.
I put one hand under the chest, which I hold close to my chest, and the other hand under the rump. Usually they are pretty calm until they anticipate getting out down, then struggle to jump down before I get them close enough to set them in the cage.
I think the scratches are just part of raising rabbits. Pics are from yesterday, when I was moving some Californians to new cages.
"How many licks ..." - I think all of this dog's research starts with these words. Tasty tiny ad: