Raising to Show Rabbits!

October 21, 2011
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The first step of raising and showing rabbits is getting a bunny. When getting your first rabbit you need to learn about some different breeds. For example there are Satins, Mini Rex, Flemish giants, Californians, and around fifty other breeds. After looking at some breeds, you need to decide which is right for you. If you would like a nice, soft, small bunny you might want a mini Rex. Make sure that you also look at the the flaws of that breed if there are any. If you like the mini Rex, be prepared to clip long, sharp nails, and deal with sore hocks. Sore hocks are when there feet get sore, and bleed.

With the breed you want in mind, you need to start looking for breeders or farms that might be selling. You can find rabbits for sale at county fairs, in the newspaper, or on the American Rabbit Breeders Association website. The price of a rabbit can range from five dollars all the way up to fifty dollars, sometimes even more.

Once you have found the right rabbit and are ready to purchase, you need to get the correct supplies. You can probably get a list of supplies from the Internet, a book, or your rabbit supplier. Here is a list of things you will need. A water bottle, food, a good clean cage, a brush, a feeder, a water crock, and a carrier.

Before you bring your rabbit home (in the carrier) you need to set up your supplies and be ready. You can either hang the cage from the ceiling or put it on a stand. Then you will need to install the water bottle (full) and the feeder (with one cup of feed already in it) in the cage.

When you go to get your rabbit, ask the person who is selling you the rabbit some questions. For example, ask about the breed, if it is a boy or a girl, or if there are any health problems. Bring your rabbit home in a carrying cage. If you don’t know how to pick a rabbit up the right way, follow these steps. First grab the lose fur and fat behind the neck (this will not hurt the rabbit), next, start to lift up the rabbit and put your free hand under its behind. Put its head under your arm so that its eyes are covered. (If the rabbit can’t see, it doesn’t see any danger and usually doesn’t fight back.)

Once you bring your rabbit home put it in the cage that you have prepared. It will explore its new home and might look a little scared because it is in a new place. You don’t have to watch it 24/7, but you do need to check on it at least two times a day to make sure that it has water and feed.

Now that you have your rabbit home and are comfortable with it, you might want to name it. I have twenty-one rabbits, and I never run out of names. Here are some examples of the names of my rabbits; Cinnamon, Oreo, Brown Sugar, Rocky, Cece, Snow, Joe, Lucky, Midnight, Shadow, Black, Wizar, Bev, Sparkles, Big Red, Dark Chocolate, White, Cheyenne, Nibbles, Smackers, and January. It’s kind of hard to think of the names but just look at your rabbit and brainstorm!

Congrats! Your bunny now has its name. I am going to go over what we have already discussed. We found a bunny, bought a bunny, got the right supplies, set things up, brought the bunny home, and named it. That is a lot and there is still a lot to learn about the care and showing of rabbits. Now we are going to get deeper into the care of your bunny.

Every day you need to feed you bunny. Bunnies eat around one cup of pellets a day. Pellets are a special formulated food just for bunnies. They really like it and it gives them all the nutrients they need. Rabbits also have a sweet tooth and like bananas, jelly, lettuce, and carrots. Just because they like them and they’re good for us, doesn’t mean that there good for them. If you feed your rabbit “sweets” make sure that you feed them in moderation. You can feed them “sweets” as a reward. If they need to take medicine; like a pill; you can crush the pill and mix it with the jelly. It is really fun to watch the rabbits eat the sweets!

Another thing that you can feed your rabbit is hay, grass, or alfalfa. The older rabbits love it! Do not feed hay, grass, or alfalfa to younger rabbits, it can give them diarrhea, and they can die. You also never want to feed to much to older rabbits. No matter what you are feeding them, you need to make sure that the water bottle is full of fresh clean water to drink. Rabbits need water just like us.

It’s getting close to fair and you need to start getting ready. You have filled out everything on the form except the column labeled “tattoo.” What is a tattoo? Do they get it on their body? A tattoo is one to five letters or numbers printed in the rabbits ear. If the rabbit’s name is Fluffy; her tattoo can be “Fluff” or “Flu2y.” It can be anything you want it to be. To get your rabbit tattooed you need to find a breeder or someone that deals with rabbits. For example a vet.

When your rabbit has got its tattoo, write the tattoo on the sheet and get it in a soon as possible. Now that you are signed up for a show you need to get your show supplies. First, you need to figure out how much food you are going to need for the show. You will also need a water bottle and feeder. The show should provide you with a cage, but you will need a carrier. You may also want a brush and a long sleeve shirt or coat to wear when showing it. You will want a long sleeve shirt/coat to wear so that your rabbit doesn’t scratch you up badly. If you don’t want to get a brush something you can do is spit on your hands, rub them together, and then rub it the opposite way that the fur is going. This will take all the extra fur out with out a brush. Don’t touch your mouth with your hands because your hands will be full of fur. Put your rabbit away when your done and wash your hands.

It is the day that you go to the show. You need to put your supplies in a box or show box so that it is easy to carry. Then put your rabbit in its carrier and head to the show. When you get there, you need to sign in and put your rabbit in a cage. Next, you’ll need to do almost everything that you did when you first brought your rabbit home. If the next day is the show; you might want to look at what time it starts, read the rules, and go over what classes you’re in.

It’s show day! The morning of the show go early to the rabbit barn. When you get there, water and feed your bunny. If it is at a fair you can spend most of the day up to the show exploring. About an hour from the show you might want to start heading toward the rabbit barn. When you get there, get your bunny out and brush it so it looks nice and clean.

Start to watch the show as soon as it starts. Start to get ready to go up about two classes before you go up. Do a quick bunny check. Check the tattoo in its ear, grab it by the neck and flip it over. Feel the tummy, check the teeth, and the toes. When its your turn to go up, properly carry the bunny up. At most places you will put your bunny in a little box. While you wait for the judge keep your bunny in its box. When the judge comes to you, let him take your bunny. When he is done with your bunny he will put it back in the box. When he is done with everyone he will announce the winners. You could get a red, white, blue, a champion or reserve champion ribbon. If you win champion in the class you, will go back up to the table later and have a chance at a trophy.

When it gets to the end of the show you can do showmanship and get a chance at another trophy. I recommend doing showmanship. It is really simple. The judge asks you questions and you answer them. Then you show him how you hold and carry the bunny. Then show him how you check your bunny. After every showmen has shown, he will announce the winner in each division. There are senior, intermediate, and junior showmen.

Now that it is the end of the show, depending on where you are at, you will either go home or stay for the remainder of that event. When you do go home make sure that you take everything. Put your bunny in the carrier, your supplies in your show box. After you get home you can start preparing for next year. Maybe next year’s show you will have more than one bunny.

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