question for all of you rabbitry owners,

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Hill-Hutch

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I was wondering, what is it like being a rabbit breeder and owning a registered rabbitry?

What kind of stuff do you have to do to become a successful rabbit breeder?

How long have you been working with rabbits?


I'm 13 at the moment and i love our mini lops and i really want to become a successful mini lop, checkered giant, and English lop breeder and shower when i get older. I currently show and care for my 2 year old mini lop buck, Fuzzy, though he is ill and won't ever be able to show again.

I do showmanship and quality with him, but luckily we had a surprise litter before he fell ill and we kept 2/6 of the babies. So I will be showing one of them next year.

I really want to breed horses and rabbits when I get older, and I know I can't just jump into it, so I thought I would ask some of you more experienced bunny breeders!

Thanks!
~Sydnie, Fuzzy, and D.B.
 

HappyFarmBunnies

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At this moment I can't answer all of your questions because of time constraints, but was concerned at hearing that Fuzzy is ill. What's wrong with him that he won't be able to show ever again?
 

mistyjr

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I been in rabbits for almost 2 years in February, When i first started out with the rabbits, I just wanted anything and got tons of free rabbits with no pedigree's and that was a big mistake, So I started out with jersey woolies and she was an good doe, And then got free rabbits and then my husband found an lionhead that he just loved but he only lived for 2 days, Got killed by another rabbit, I didnt know better then. And there are breeders out there that will help you, That's what got me started in mini rex's and now in lionheads, And now I am just focus on the best rabbits and keeping them, And with my lionheads trying to get the nice heavy maned lionheads and short ears and short bodies, With the mini rex's im trying to get the nice short bodies and nice rounded, and short ears and focus on my colors.
 

Hill-Hutch

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HappyFarmBunnies: my little Fuzzy has patrella(sp?) And he is currently quarantined.

Mistyjr: my mom used to have a mini rex named Bubby! Those little lionheads are so cute! There was one at the state fair!
I'll be sure to talk to some of the other breeder's as well!
 

Blaze_Amita

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Same as the above people have mentioned, start with some good rabbits. Yes you'll have to pay more for them, but starting with good stock and then keeping the best babies is the best coarse of action.
Also find your local top breeders they'll be more then happy to help someone- at least most of them are. I started my dutch with some smaller breeders that had gotten their rabbits from the bigger breeders and that did help me save a little bit, and I left many of my dutch with a friend when I moved from NY to KY and she's got an awesome starter herd.
 

DelightfulEccentricity

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I can't answer your questions very well, since I am terribly new to the idea of showing rabbits, but I wanted to say it is awesome that you are planning ahead and really considering how to best approach your future plans. :)
 

Hill-Hutch

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Blaze: what about importing my rabbits from out of state? I don't know of any English lop or. Checkered Giant breeders in idaho.

And the whole pedigree thing, if i get my rabbits from other breeder's, how do i make pedigrees fir my baby bunnies?
 

hillrise

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Making pedigrees for your babies is pretty easy. You could buy pedigree books (ARBA has 20-page books of them, and I've seen some equipment sellers having them), which you would fill out by hand (can make quite the hand cramp if you have to do a bunch at a time). Or, you can make a template to use in a word processor. There are also rabbitry management programs that will help you keep breeding records and generate your pedigrees for you that you can print out.

As for what it's like, I can say that it's fun, but can be hard work. It kinda depends on what kind of support you have in your household. I manage the rabbits by myself, but have friends in town who can take care of them for me if I'm out of town (say, for a show). If I can't make it home on lunch to check waters and ice them during the summer, I can con a roommate into doing it for me, although they only do it grudgingly. It's always exciting to find babies in the nestbox, and hear them squeak and jump when you put your hands in there to count them (and see what colors you got). The smile on my daughter's face when she gets to hold them in the fluffy stage is priceless. At shows, it's great getting to meet new people who share the hobby, and make connections for possible future sales. I really like getting to teach people new to the hobby. It can be kind of hard when you have rabbits to sell that aren't selling as fast as you'd like (although I'll admit that's really not often a problem if you plan your breedings right).

To be successful, make sure you get quality stock. All of my breeding stock are from out of state, and I don't think it's an issue to import stock into Idaho, although I've been hearing rumors about laws for Washington (not sure if it applies to stock leaving the state, but I know they want a law pertaining to stock coming INto the state).

As for not knowing of any breeders in the area, that could easily change in just a few years. 10 years ago, there were almost no Flemish Giants in this area, but more and more, I'm hearing about people around who do. I know there are some who have English Lops and Checkered Giants around Chehalis, WA (between Vancouver, WA and Seattle). When it gets closer to the time that you want to get your stock, check breeder listings on the breed club sites, attend shows, and look up the names of breeders that are winning big shows. I've found that a lot of the top breeders don't have websites, but are active as judges or show secretaries, so you can get their email or phone numbers from those listings.

Other things that will keep you successful is to keep meticulous records--know exactly who was bred when, born when, with what colors and how the kits have turned out. EVALUATE EVERY ANIMAL! Know your standards and what colors are most compatible. You should also cull (not use in your breeding program, and probably not sell as a breeder) any rabbit that isn't AT LEAST as good quality as whatever stock you already have.

It also helps to attend as many shows as you can. Being in Idaho, that may mean 5+ hour drives to some shows. For right now, I know there are shows every fall in Rupert, Idaho and Ontario, OR. There are other shows at different times of the year in Boise and up by Couer D'Alene, but more than likely, to earn enough legs, you'll have to go to Tri-Cities, WA and La Grande, OR. I know one breeder in Eastern Idaho that drives all the way to Albany, OR (western OR) because the shows are bigger.
 

HappyFarmBunnies

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I probably only have three pieces of solid advice for you, if I can distill everything I've learned in the last few years.

1. Start out with the best possible stock you can get your hands on. This may mean waiting for awhile, getting on waiting lists for the top breeders, and saving up--but I promise you, it will save you SO MUCH time and effort and money along the way if you just start with the best possible stock you can get your hands on and go from there. Don't waste your time with sub-par rabbits unless you have a really, really good reason (as in, you've chosen an obscure color to work on, for example.)

2. As others have said, keep meticulous records, no matter what. Buy a program like Evans or Kintraks or just do it the old fashioned way with pen and paper. Not only will it keep you organized and sane, but will win you respect with buyers and other breeders as well.

3. The most important thing I can tell you is...GROW A THICK SKIN! I can tell you right now that not all breeders are happy and sunshine. Some have been successful and have bloated heads and egos because of it. Others look down on teenagers getting into the hobby because they're not "responsible." I have had so many wonderful experiences with breeders all over the country, but I have also had a handful or two of sour, demeaning experiences that really made me feel bad. Some people WILL judge you for being young, or clueless, or not professional, or whatever other label they decide to stick on you. I was totally clueless when I first started out with Mini Rexes and I had a lot of people judge me for that. Granted, it was partly my fault because at first I didn't bother to get educated, but instead of encouraging me to join the hobby and pointing me in the right direction of WHERE I could educate myself, they just refused to sell me rabbits or talked badly about me to other people, etc. Even now after a few years and LOTS of experience and education and constant learning under my belt, I still get disrespect from some other breeders sometimes. I'm just starting to get into Holland Lops with my first trio and I decided to focus on the tri's and harlequins, and I had a breeder straight up tell me that I was wasting my time by working with those colors and that if I was a serious breeder, I would only work with torts and broken torts and nothing else. She refused to sell me anything because I wasn't a "serious" breeder. So my lesson to you is, blow those people off (don't be rude or mean obviously, just ignore them) and find those that are supportive of you, but don't let it knock you down too hard.

Good luck!
 

BlueCamasRabbitry

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1. It's fun, but it definitely has it challenges! It's hard work managing a herd of rabbits - and I have help from my sister, and it's still hard - so make sure it's something you are truly really interested in. It can get boring fast having to feed and care for 10 to 20 rabbits on a daily basis, and there will be frustrations and times when you feel like you just want to give up. The best cure for that is to just clear your head and go cuddle with a bunny and remember why you LOVE doing what you do.

2. Start out with the best rabbits you can get your hands on, and try and breed only the best. Work to improve your breed -learn all about that breed, and other breeds of rabbits as well. I suggest joining a rabbit 4-H group. You'll learn lots of stuff about rabbits, caring for them, and breeding, etc. It's an experience you will NEVER regret! I was a 4-Her for 5 years and now I'm helping out with my other 4-H club. I wish I had joined at an earlier age because I had so much fun and learned a TON of stuff.

3. I've been breeding for almost 6 years. It seems like way more, and I love doing it. It can be frustrating at times, and sometimes I just want to sell out completely, but the joys of raising and showing rabbits definitely outweight the frustrations/stressors - which is mainly trying to rehome rabbits!

Emily
 

Hill-Hutch

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I do know record keeping is a huge part of any breeding career and I've already taken into consideration how i will keep my records.

I've talked to my older sister who is 15 and she said she would help me feed rabbits, clean cages and watch the other buns while I'm away.

I also forgot to mention that I am in a 4-H club, my aunts a vet and the lady we got our Mini Lops from is her friend.

I'm very excited about breeding rabbits and I'll most definitely be doing more breed research and looking up breeders and such!

Thanks for all the help guys!
If you'd like to talk to me more about rabbit breeding/showing, please just send me a message!

~Syd and Fuzzy
 

woahlookitsme

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I was wondering, what is it like being a rabbit breeder and owning a registered rabbitry?
I love having rabbits and seeing how happy people are with the rabbits i sell and breed. I also love being recognized by judges and getting their opinions after the show on how i could improve my tans or what i should look for in a girlfriend or boyfriend for the rabbit they are looking at. Unfortunately my rabbitry is not registered only because i had to buy stamps. The form is filled out and waiting though lol

What kind of stuff do you have to do to become a successful rabbit breeder?
Its up to you if you want to start out with the best possible stock. I started out with a pair. They definitely were not as good as my rabbits now but I bred them and showed them. I learned what the comments meant and learned the standard for tans. I researched, talk to breeders, sold my original pair and their 3 babies as pets, and purchased better rabbits. I loved personally learning from my experience and talking to other breeders and wouldn't have changed a thing. I liked the challenge but it is up to you.

How long have you been working with rabbits?
I started with californians in FFA my senior year of highschool so i have been working with them for 4-5 years now.
 

CCWelch

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My biggest words of advise...become book smart on everything rabbit raising related. Most of the best information is in the books from the 70's and 80's when rabbits were raised as more than pets and show animals. Some of those books tell you how to deal with just about any situation you get up against. That is what I did when I was your age and I was raising and showing English Spots and French Lops. Today I raise English Spots, French Lops, New Zealands, Satins, mini lops and I have 1 Checkered Giant. As a rabbitry we have 27 rabbits 7 are bucks the rest are does, 5 are Jr does. At the most this past spring and summer we were up to over 40 head at 1 time.

Rabbits do not take care of themselves, they need food, water and cleaned up after. Even though mine are on self feeders I still water manually 2x or more per day. I just learned the hard way you cannot trust does on self feeders, 2 of my better breeders got themselves overweight and will not breed. Constant vigilance is key if you want to breed as well as good records.

This is my second time around raising rabbits, my first time was my 4-H Years so about 8 years there then I went back into it about this time last year. I am amazed at how much has changed in those years, coccidiosis was almost never heard of and neither was Paturella(Snuffles) all the books warned you about it but no one ever had it.

My Rabbitry is ARBA # D849 Welch Rabbitry
 

canadagirl

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Things I recommending doing to get started are

Join ARBA. Get the books Raising Better Rabbits and Cavies and the Standards of Perfection book right away. Study the breeds you want to buy and make SURE you are getting exactly what you want. Dont let someone sell you something that isn't show quality if you want to show.

I also recommend one of Bob Bennets books. Either the old version called 'Raising Rabbits the Modern Way' Or now its called "Stories guide to raising rabbits' You may want to skip over the meat rabbit parts....but the rest of the info is excellent. Right now I raise my rabbits almost exactly the way Bob Bennet suggests and I am doing so awesome with my rabbits I felt brave enough to recently import a trio of Belgian Hares.

My rabbitry is registered. Its called Skull Creek Bunny Ranch. I have had rabbits pretty much since 1992, but its just been in the last two years that I got really serious. I havent shown my rabbits yet, but I plan on trying it out ASAP.
 

Blaze_Amita

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Hill-Hutch wrote:
Blaze: what about importing my rabbits from out of state? I don't know of any English lop or. Checkered Giant breeders in idaho.

And the whole pedigree thing, if i get my rabbits from other breeder's, how do i make pedigrees fir my baby bunnies?



Bringing them in from out of state shouldn't be too hard. Find a bunny transport, there's always a bunch coming or going around convention. Alot of my shows are in Ohio, as there isn't much in the way of rabbits in Kentucky(lots of Lion heads and Holland Lops) but you'll find some out of state breeders at any shows you go to, especially if it's a larger show.

My Best Friend, and sister rabbitry are still in NY, we used to live on the opposite sides of town and we'd raise rabbits together, well I moved so we make the trek several times a year to see each other and of coarse bring rabbits to swap. it helps both our herds and gives us new bloodlines to work with. Yes the trip isa pain especially hauling rabbits with you(alot of hotel's don't really appreciate them apparently!) and food and water and changeover food too but we both find it very rewarding.
 

BlueGiants

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Sydnie, Sorry to hear your Buck has Pasturella.With care and medication it can be controlled. :)

My first piece of advice is pickone breed you really love to start with. Don't try to do 2,3 or 4 different breeds to start. Look for a local Rabbit breeder that can advise you and is willing to act as a mentor. You got good advice here... start with the very best rabbits you can afford. Make sure they are fully pedigreed.

Don't think you're going to make a lot of money from your rabbits. It is totally a labor of love.

Do LOTS of reading, be willing to learn from others. You may get conflicting opinions on how to do certain things. Take it all in and find what works for you and your rabbits. As with any animal, they are all individuals and what works for some, won't work with others.

One of the most important things you need as a "good breeder" is a good reputation. And that has to be earned. As you get established, be willing to help others. Be willing to learn from others. Always keep your rabbits the very best you can. Always put clean, healthy, well handled rabbits on the table in front of a judge. Always sell clean, healthy, well socialized rabbits to other people. "Be there" for your new owners... (and for the sake of the rabbit). Offer advice, support and concern. Be willing to take a rabbit back if it isn't working out.

I've been keeping rabbits for over 40 years. Breeding and showing for over 14 years. And I'm still learning...


 

mistyjr

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:yeahthat: I agree'd! Very nice job... I been in only in rabbits for 1 1/2years and I love it and enjoy it, And love meeting new people and learning about the rabbits, I am still learning, But it takes time, And read up on alot of find info, I still do with my breeds. But also you will find bad breeders/people, bullies but also you will find good people/breeders!
 

TCRabbitry

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I am confused.... What do you mean by what is it like to have a registered rabbitry and all that??

It isn't much different than what you have now... It's an area that you have dedicated to just your rabbits....

It's a hobby... It's something you do in your spare time... Usually... LOL Although, for some shows, I will make an exception and take extra time off work to go....

I have been raising and showing rabbits for 17 years now. It's a constant job... It's not like all of a sudden, you win, and then your done... You are always working at improving something.... Learning, realizing what your herd is lacking, and working towards achieving that....

Raising rabbits really is a labor of love... Why else would you walk out into the freezing cold to feed and water, or check on those litters?? Why else would you get covered in rabbit poo twice a week while you clean their cages?? Why else would you labor unfreezing water, or making sure they are cool enough in the winter and summer???

I personally find it hard to really do any breed justice by working on numerous breeds at once... Unless you really have the room for it... Most of us, don't have that kind of space...

I have 29 cages, and that is just barely enough for my one breed....

Showing can be great too.... The biggest thing to remember is that you go for fun, to spend time who enjoy their rabbits as much as you do.... Wether you win or not, it's a learning experience, and you got to spend the day with bunny people. :)
 
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