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Topic: angora rabbit help?  (Read 2078 times)
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catpants
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« on: April 03, 2008 11:17:09 AM »

i rescued a french angora rabbit last fall and i could use some tips from anyone who has or has had an angora rabbit.  i'm having a difficult time getting him to sit still for brushing and plucking, and he refuses to let me near his belly so he's getting some mats down there.  he also refuses to let me clip his nails so he's a pretty frightening beast at times!  Cheesy

will he be less feisty as he gets older (and neutered)?  he's only about six months old right now.

also, did you blend or dye your rabbit's fur before spinning?  what did you blend it with and what was the ratio?  what kind of dyes are best to use on angora?  any other advice on prepping/spinning angora?

thanks in advance Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008 03:56:10 AM »

Wow, I so know your pain. Sometimes bunnies are not too keen on being touched on the tummy and the whole nail thing. Working with him a little every day is a good thing to start with. I have discovered that if you sit on the floor indian-style and CAREFULLY turn the bunny over while cradling him in the crook of your legs for support makes them not so squirmy. Maybe a towel will also help (as in lay towel over your leg and cover the hole made by your leg thing). Tuck ears under too, like straight back as they grow. Do that by petting his ears that direction and not tugging them.And carefull of those one inch front teeth. He may make some funny noises while that way but he will feel more secure while his body is supported by your leg. You may have to continue to pet his head while GENTLEY brushing his tummy. Do it only little bits at a time. Also make sure his rear end stays clean. If his hair matts up around his tail, you must VERY carefully get it un matted and wash his hair ( also a bit of a challenge) around the area. Poop and other icky stuff will build up and give him real bad sores otherwise. As for grooming, I used a cat small slicker made from plastic not metal (wayyy to harsh for his skin) and brushed my buns hair with. I collected that hair in a bag. I blended mine with realll soft wool but you can do what you know. Again I groom with the bunny on my lap while sitting on the floor, never the chair in case he jumps and falls and because they feel secure when your legs are stable. Hope they things help. Please message me if you need more help. If I don't know I will look up the answer for you. Grin
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laminathegreat
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008 12:17:18 PM »

I totally agree with that you've been been given. Tough everyday and just be slow and patient. I had a bunny who would go to pieces if you put your hands in his cage when we got him but came around to being one of my favourite cuddlers!

I am very much against plucking rabbits, though. You can get the hair just as easy and just as fast using a pair of scissors. I'd be happy to share my own opinions and things I've seen. I also don't want to start a fight or get in trouble so if you are interested in listening, let me know!

I was always told you NEEDED to mix angora and merino was the mix in of choice. But really 1) you don't HAVE to mix it and 2) you can mix it with ANYTHING!! I saw an angora alpaca mix, and it was LOVELY! You can spin from hand fulls of fluff. I generally carded mine. If you use it on it's own, though, be aware it is FULL of little fly-aways that get EVERYWHERE. It dyes like any other animal fiber, you can eve use koolaid on it! It can spin up really thin and fine. I also foudn that it does need a little extra twist to hold together but it fluffs right up and gets a gorgeous halo.
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yarnanna
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008 10:40:16 AM »

Hi, I had a Satin Angora named Cinder"ella" she was beautiful, and sweet but very shy. She was Smoke colored. What i would do if I had to trim nails was wrap her in a towel with just her head sticking out then i would maneuver her until a foot stuck out and trim that foot, going around until all were trimmed. then I would put her away with a treat. I got her from a 4-H child at fair, I would try to do things in steps with her. I would leave her in her cage to brush her a little at a time. Every spring I would shave her, to get rid of her mats on her butt. My mom owns a dog grooming shop and I would bring her in on a morning where no other dogs were there. nice and quiet. We would only do the worst parts usually her butt. I also would trim her butt mats with scissors in layers until I reached a stage where I could brush it out or use my fingers and she could groom it out of her hair herself. A friend of mine who showed rabbits and whose children showed meat pens told me that one tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds would help with the sheen on the rabbits coat, thus making it easier to groom. You could invest in a grooming table which is a small table waist high with a rim around it but I always had the most luck with a bag of baby carrots in a quiet room, I used small scissors that fit on the palm of my hand and a small plastic bristled brush like you use on your hair. Rabbit hair is so much finer than even cashmere. that is why you need to blend it. Keep in mind rabbits are gentle souls and you will be fine.

enjoy your new friend!
K
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008 12:56:14 PM »

aw, Angoras can be little buggers!  My English Angora is really mellow (he'll sit in my lap without fidgeting for up to two hours as I cut his hair).  He HATES having his belly or nails done though, so I have to nab one nail at a time- sometimes one or two a day.  I bought a gently brush for his belly, and will comb it while my husband rubs the bunny's forehead.  Maybe you can find someone to help with the belly part?

Best of luck!
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008 01:54:28 PM »

My German Angora pair were wonderful when I got them at 2 yo.

They would sit quietly in my lap while I spun right off their back.

Found out I was allergic to Angora though and had to sell them.

I can still handle our meat rabbits without any allergic reaction.  Go figure?

You've been given great advice!
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catpants
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008 05:21:07 PM »

I totally agree with that you've been been given. Tough everyday and just be slow and patient. I had a bunny who would go to pieces if you put your hands in his cage when we got him but came around to being one of my favourite cuddlers!

I am very much against plucking rabbits, though. You can get the hair just as easy and just as fast using a pair of scissors. I'd be happy to share my own opinions and things I've seen. I also don't want to start a fight or get in trouble so if you are interested in listening, let me know!

I was always told you NEEDED to mix angora and merino was the mix in of choice. But really 1) you don't HAVE to mix it and 2) you can mix it with ANYTHING!! I saw an angora alpaca mix, and it was LOVELY! You can spin from hand fulls of fluff. I generally carded mine. If you use it on it's own, though, be aware it is FULL of little fly-aways that get EVERYWHERE. It dyes like any other animal fiber, you can eve use koolaid on it! It can spin up really thin and fine. I also foudn that it does need a little extra twist to hold together but it fluffs right up and gets a gorgeous halo.

i really would like to hear why you are against plucking rabbits; i've only ever heard reasons why plucking is better, so i'd like to hear another point of view!  and i think everyone else will be content just to hear it and not argue Smiley

also, how often do you all brush your angoras?  i've heard two different opinions: one says brush a little every day (rationale: it keeps mats from forming, saves time in the long run, rabbit doesn't have to stay still for long, etc), one says brush for a long time once a week (rationale: every time you groom your rabbit, he'll groom himself afterward to get your human smell off him. this will lead to over-grooming and potentially woolblock).
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feralfeminine
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2008 08:41:10 AM »

i really would like to hear why you are against plucking rabbits; i've only ever heard reasons why plucking is better, so i'd like to hear another point of view!  and i think everyone else will be content just to hear it and not argue Smiley

Me too! My rabbits all liked being plucked, except for their bellies. They usually just laid down and closed their eyes and enjoying the plucking/grooming. Except for my one grumpy bun.

I have heard that German/Giant Angoras cannot be plucked, as their wool doesn't 'release'/shed like the other angora breeds, so they have to be sheared instead.
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laminathegreat
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2008 06:52:11 AM »

Ok, this is based all on my own personal experience and is my own opinion.
If you pluck your rabbits, well, that's your choice. Me I choose (chose, I guess. Don't have the bunnies any more) to clip. I had purchased a couple of rabbits that had been plucked and so I've seen some long term plucking issues too....

The biggest 'argument' for pro plucking is that you are just getting the hair that is falling out and it all molts so you are doing a full job of hair removal. Here are my arguments against that:
Just getting the hair that falls out:  People shed hair too. I have really long hair and when it sheds, you can really tell.  Tongue When I brush or run my hands through it, I do pull out those hairs that are falling out, like when your brush or pet the bunny. I've had my little kids get a handful of hair and yes, pull out the loose hairs, but pull out a couple live ones as well. Ouch. Not that they were being mean, it's just that since the hairs were not attached to their heads, they didn't know when they were pulling out the live or the dead stuff.
It all molts: Dogs and cats molt. Their hair reaches a certain length, and then falls out and re grows back to that length. People don't molt, our hair keeps growing and growing. Sheep used to molt but have been bread so that they don't any more and we have to shave them. Angora rabbits don't molt fully. Yes they do loose fair amounts, but it's not a full molt. I met a rabbit who lived in a PLUSH hutch- it was air conditioned and the rabbits had drip water systems, yah, PLUSH. Anyway, the owner had one angora she never shaved. Mostly curiosity, mostly because she could, and it was a great show rabbit. This rabbit hadn't been clipped in a number of years and had 6-8 inches on it's coat. 8 INCHES OF ANGORA HAIR!! WHOO!! Oh yes it was a glorious fuzz ball. But it never fully molted and lost all it's hair- it was all there.
Total hair removal: Ok look at a bunny. There is hair on their faces, butts, legs and sides. I had a rabbit that had been plucked and it never had it's face or leg fur trimmed.
Long term plucking: If you wax your legs, eventually the hair gets thinner. The same applies to a bunny. Our previously plucked bunny DID have thinner hair on her back and it did regrow after we started clipping her.

And I'm not sure if I've made a point or just chattered, but it's really hard to type while chasing a baby and a toddler around.......  Grin
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feralfeminine
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2008 07:40:58 AM »

Thanks for sharing, Lamina, that's really interesting! Definitely something to think about (8 inches!!). I think it's different depending on the breed? My experience has only been with French angoras/french angora crosses (I don't currently have any bunnies). I read a bunch of info about them online before I got them, and everything I read said that the french angoras molt every three  to four months. My bunnies were pretty on the dot, every three months they'd all of a sudden start shedding fur like mad - there'd be fluff everywhere, and strings of "yarn"/dreadlocks trailing from their butts, and if I didn't start plucking them right away they'd matt up almost instantly. Also, when I'd pluck them, you could see their new coat of fur growing in underneath the old one. Sometimes they'd already have a half-inch or more of new fuzz. My understanding was always that even though the french angoras molted every three months, they couldn't actually remove the old coat themselves. When we got our first bunnies (two older half-sisters), one of them hadn't been plucked in months, and her entire old coat of fur had felted itself around her body. She had two inches of new fur underneath the old felted coat. Our bunnies were sort of mutts, though - the lady who gave them to us also used to breed rabbits, so I know they had some other angora breeds in their family tree, but they were mostly french angora. I ended up with a full french angora later on, and he didn't seem to molt as obviously.

I've heard of people grooming their rabbits constantly and just saving the fluff that brushed out, but our bunnies were definitely not like that. If we groomed when they weren't molting, it was fine, but when they were their fur would just come right out even with gentle brushing. Plus since they already had a new coat growing in, I'm not sure what would have happened if we didn't pluck them? I'm pretty sure that all the angora breeds/individual bunnies differ - like I said, I've read that you cannot pluck german angoras at all because they don't molt, so you'd have to shear/constantly groom them. I'm not sure about english or satin angoras at all.

This is really good to know, though, in case I ever end up with a bunny that doesn't molt like my other bunnies did.
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