How to Raise Rabbits for Show. Find Tons of show rabbit information and resources that will help you raise rabbits for show.
Thousands of people across the country and World participate in raising rabbits for show. Interested in getting started raising rabbits? If so continue reading to learn more about raising and breeding show rabbits…
Is it profitable to raise rabbits for show?
Since pedigreed bunnies often have a higher price tag, some people think that raising and selling show rabbits is a more lucrative enterprise than raising them for pets or meat. True, the nation’s top breeders can easily sell their bunnies for hundreds of dollars each, but it takes years and years of dedication to reach that point. Even if you start with top-dollar breeding stock, you need to produce several generations and develop your own line before you will be consistently successful on the show table. This involves taking the time to learn how to evaluate rabbits according to the Standard of Perfection, as the judges do. It involves producing hundreds of bunnies in order to select the few that are of higher quality than the parents. It involves time and money spent on traveling to shows around your state, and often around the country. The truth is that there are so many extra costs involved in raising show rabbits and building a reputation, that if you really want to turn a profit, you’re more likely to succeed by raising bunnies for pets or meat.
A few people do sell show rabbits on a small scale and turn a profit; these usually have a steady market, such as the local 4-H community. If you can develop a relationship with local 4-H clubs by supplying their members with bunnies for the county fair, you may possibly find this a profitable undertaking.
Why should you keep show rabbits?
But money isn’t everything. Raising rabbits for show can be an extremely rewarding hobby, even if it does more harm than good to your bank account. The quest for a perfect show bunny gives you a chance to build partnerships within your family, and friendships outside of it through in the local rabbit community. The responsibility of keeping rabbits offers children the opportunity to develop skills of responsibility and decision-making, and the contests provided by 4-H clubs and the ARBA gives them the incentive to keep going. Plus, if you have a competitive spirit, you may enjoy traveling to shows and seeing how your juniors compare to those of your peers.
How do you get started raising show rabbits?
If you would like to successfully raise show rabbits, you’ll need some basic equipment, and of course, some great starter stock. In terms of supplies, you should start with about fifteen or twenty “holes,” that is, cages in which to house your animals. Improving your bloodline involves making a large number of crosses, and you will probably not excel very quickly if you only have eight or ten cages to work with. On the other hand, if you start with more than thirty or forty holes, you can quickly become overwhelmed. Those cages fill up quickly, and you don’t want to be faced down the line with feeding twenty-plus extra rabbits that don’t meet up to the quality of your current breeding stock.
Cages must be located in a well-ventilated area that is totally safe from predators, including raccoons, weasels, and the neighbor’s dog. A barn with proper air flow is great; a garage is not so great. Show bunnies can be raised in a traditional hutch, but you must keep them entirely out of the sun and rain, as the elements will quickly spoil their coats. Other equipment you will need includes a waste disposal system, a feeding and watering system (using feeders, crocks, bottles, and/or automatic watering nozzles), and nesting boxes for your does with litters. Depending on the type of rabbit you raise, you may need special grooming tools, or resting mats if your breed has thinly-furred feet. Optional items that you will probably pick up along the way include an ARBA Standard of Perfection, a scale, and a record management program. Oh, and if you want to sell rabbits, don’t forget a website.
The Secret of Raising Rabbits Success
Raising rabbits for show may sound simple, but once you begin, you might be amazed at how much there is to learn. Such an undertaking demands a lot of time and thought and energy. There will be highlights – like when your home bred takes Best of Breed for the first time, or when your favorite doe kindles a litter of six healthy kits – and there will be dark days in the adventure. It’s no fun when your hopeful junior comes down with snuffles, or when litter after litter doesn’t turn out the way you expected. But success is there to be had for virtually anyone who possesses one quality: endurance. Even when you’re discouraged, stick with it. Realistically, it usually takes two to three years to learn the ropes and begin producing bunnies of the quality that you’re looking for. Many people quit or switch breeds (sometimes multiple times) before they reach that point. But once you start to experience success, you’ll know it, and it will feel oh-so worth what you put into it.