GG and Anke came over for a lesson on how to work together to take off an angora's coat with kindness and care. They both did FABULOUSLY! In less than an hour and a half, Anke was trimmed and happy.
The key to stress free clipping is a relaxed rabbit, which means a relaxed handler. And here are a few pointers I'll pass along:
1. If you have the ears, you have the rabbit. Dr. White, who has been a rabbit judge since I was a child, has always impressed this upon his 4-H kids at shows, and he is right. So, if things get wiggly, go for the ear clamp. You can position a rabbit so his/her ears are always under them when you need to flip bunny over for a belly trim. This keeps their head stationary and they cannot wiggle much, making working with scissors much safer.
2. If you get the weight off their feet and onto their belly/sides/back, they will give up and relax quicker. Anytime bunny startles and gets back into a sitting position, start all over again coaxing them to drop their feet off your lap. GG got real good at this as the clipping progressed, and you see her holding a fully relaxed Anke above.
3. Pick a line from tail to head, and scissor a narrow path to begin from, then rotate the rabbit as you shear off a parallel line of fiber away from you. This allows you to see the skin and cut just above it (more pictures to follow when I get a bunny to hold still long enough).
4. If you line the floor with plastic, you can let the fiber fall as you clip and sort it later. This allows you to fully focus on neat and careful clipping.
5. After you clip bunny, trim toenails, check teeth and treat for fur mites with the medication of your choice. Feed ONLY HAY for 24 hours to allow loose fiber to be groomed off and safely disposed of in bunny's intestines. As soon as you see droppings of a good and generous size under the cage, you can start back with regular feeding.
More pictures coming tomorrow if the three I clip today will cooperate :)