Topic: Coat Care 101
So, here we are all ready to clip our bunny. Off to the cage we go and coax the furry victim out...now what?
Consider spending a few minutes talking to and calming your rabbit. While you embark on this, sit on your low stool, and place her across your knees with her head pointing to your left if you are right handed (to your right if you are left handed). Encourage her to drop her back feet off your lap, resting on her stomach by gently (!) holding her back feet together in one hand and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g her feet down and away off your knees. Some rabbits will respond to this easily if they are feeling mellow, and some you have to encourage. But persist with this as when the rabbit's weight is off her feet, she will settle down better and lay quietly. Now take a moment to clip off whatever needs shortening around her head and ears:
Use your hands to flatten her ears and clip away.
Next, you want to roll her, on her side, so her feet rest up against your abdomen and begin shearing a narrow line from her back foot,
up her thigh, across her groin, alongside her belly and to her left front foot:
All the way to her eye at the front. This little pathway will be your guideline for the rest of the job.
Now you will attend to serious fiber removal starting at her tail:
and along her belly. Flatten the long fiber away from you, hold the scissors parallel to her skin, slide them across the base of the fiber just above the narrow line you are working from, turn them a tad up to leave a 1/4-1/2" of fiber behind, and snip. Do not try to take off too much at a time. Each lock that you snip can fall to the floor as you move along.
Work in successive rows to completely remove all fiber. I like to work in a section at a time, clearing 4x4", before I move on to the next section. It is helpful to position the rabbit so that the clipping area is on top, and you can roll your bunny to get the best position for your hands/scissors before you start. You will reposition her many times befoe you are done, and practicing patience will offer its own rewards in a calmer rabbit and an easier clip.
I work in successtion from the starting line to clear
- the left side (from tail to eye...)
- the top
- the right side
- the belly
- the genitals
- the chin/chest
When working near the belly, be aware that mature does have large nipples...at least 6 and sometimes 8. They are placed starting on the chest just above the front underarms, and continue in pairs along the belly towards the tail.
Find them before you start clipping the belly fur and clip around them carefully. If you are in hurry, just leave all belly fur long at 3/4" and you will not hurt them.
Whew! You both are ready for a break after 45-60 minutes of this work. Take it!