Understanding 4H and 4H/ARBA show breeders

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Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2021
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New York
Alrighty folks let’s talk about 4H and ARBA show-ers! The reason I’m writing this is I see a lot of hate towards us 4H-ers and I’d like to set that right. Now, if I receive any hate I’ll be reporting you. Understood?
Now, for your information I’m doing lots of research on this so please, give this a chance and read the links I put in here. I’m going to be fair and put in other opinions that I may not agree with. I also will not be discussing the amount of pellets you should feed your rabbit, it totally up to you to decide and do your research on.
This may take a while to read and I apologize.
Section I
What is 4H
Ok simple enough question and I’m going to explain it in my own words then give you 4H’s words.
4H is a opportunity to learn simple skills and common useful knowledge when it comes to showing animals and also is a great source of learning other skills such as cooking/baking, sewing, woodwork, etc.
Now in 4H’s words:
“4‑H provides kids with community, mentors, and learning opportunities to develop the skills they need to create positive change in their lives and communities.”
Here’s the link to 4H’s page so you can get to understand the community and what they do; 4-h.org
Section II
4H rabbit showmanship
Ok, here we go this is the longest part of this.
In 4H when you show a rabbit in showmanship (there’s two parts showmanship and show which is best of breed etc.) your required to to know how to flip a rabbit on its back and do a standard health check, pose your rabbit in its selected pose for its group (mine are in the compact group), and be able to answer the questions the judge asks you about rabbits.
What is a standard health check?
A health check is when you flip your rabbit over on its back and check its nails for breaks; it’s teeth for chips, breaks, malocclusion, etc.; then slowly and gently you pull its back and front leg (one at a time) until they are stretched all the way out this checks for breaks (if the the leg doesn’t come all the way out and the rabbit pulls away it’s either broken or was previously broken); you also check for their chest for things such as pigeon breast and GI stasis and more; also check their nose for discharge. Next your going to flip your rabbit back and check it’s eyes for moon eye, blindness, etc. Then your doing to check your rabbit ears for mites, thickness, and tares. I’m linking a YouTube video of 4H showmanship just in case I forgot anything or am wrong about something.
Video: Rabbit Showmanship
Video: 4H Showmanship Tutorial
Now I understand the concern for flipping your rabbit as they go into a trance. I’ve read up on it and yes a rabbit can go into a trance and being on their back is a fatal position to them BUT that’s why we never have them on their backs for long, although we do need to do it do a standard very important health check (a health check is one way you can find out if you need to go to the vet!) here’s a video of a very knowledgeable girl showing how to flip a rabbit and also standard precautions when flipping. Like all the videos I’ve put on this thread this is a very helpful video so please watch it! It’s only about 2 minutes long. Video: How to Flip Your Rabbit On It’s Back — Holly’s Holland’s Rabbitry
Holly does a great job of explaining why you flip a rabbit and how often to do it (which is very often). I want to let you know that when you flip a rabbit and holds its ears you do it gently and it does not hurt your rabbit. Quick note: Holly has Holland Lops which is obviously a lop eared bunny and when you hold their ears you have to be extra careful so you don’t break their crown. If your still worried about flipping your rabbit on its back read this article
Is it bad to put your rabbit on its back? — Know Your Rabbit
Trancing again is a little scary for you although it’s just your rabbit sitting really really still so it’s doesn’t attract predators. This is also why we only keep our rabbits on their back for short amounts of time and only do it when necessary. The article states that (some) vets do this for health checks and also for clipping nails (which I’ve never heard of and never done)
I start flipping and checking my babies around 4 weeks in short periods of time to get them used to health checks. I also touch their paws so their used to it for when I start trimming their nails.
Flipping is a very common thing that lots of people (even outside of 4H and showing) use.
Now to some this section up here’s a written list of what 4H-ers do to prepare and show their rabbit: ohio4h.org
Section III
Why do they use wire bottom cages?
Wire bottom cages are extremely popular for all rabbit owners, there easier to maintain and are a lot easier to find (they also tend to be spacer then a plastic bottom cage). 4H tend to own several rabbits (I don’t want to hear that we just breed for money and to get the right color, we do it because we enjoy rabbits and are working to the standard of perfection in our breed which is okay, we still care for and love our rabbits) and since their not fixed their messer and they again own several they don’t have time for litter training so the dropping pan below the wire comes in handy and is very easy to clean out.
What about sore hocks?
People who own wire bottom cages are checking their rabbits feet for sore hocks quite often and use often have what are called “foot rests” to give the rabbits feet a break. They also put the hay in the cage so they can lay and sit on it. Rabbits also are bred to have super thick padding so wire bottom is NOT cruel. Wire bottom cages users also use a special wire for the bottom of their cages which is made FOR rabbits. This is an amazing video to help you understand:
Video: Are wire bottom cages good for rabbits? YES — if your using the correct cage
Here is another AWESOME video (which is better then the last) wh explains so much:
Video: Are wire bottom cages EVIL? Sore hocks and what causes it
Please, please, please read the studies he linked they are also something else to help you understand. And please also note he said culling is NOT ALWAYS KILLING, culling can be like he said removing the rabbit from your herd (so not breeding it and most likely sending it on its way to a pet home).
Section IV
Understanding certain things 4H and ARBA breeders do.
As show-ers we want to have the best rabbit in our breed, so we want that amazing body structure, the perfect ears, the beautiful face of our breed. So we work and work on our herds building up to that standard. We put so much love in energy into our herd to get to perfection. Even though we have lots of rabbits we love all of them because they were chosen to be in our herd for a special reason. I can’t really think of many ways to explain what we do, so do some research before you judge, please.

This post by this girl is amazing and I want you all to read it and understand a little. I also know most people on this platform are very knowledgeable with their rabbit facts 🙂
Why are they charging so much?
Ok for this question please read the screenshots of the girls post again. We raise for temperament as well as looks. And you want good temperament in your rabbit right? People may say we charge more because we have pedigrees, we’ll yes we do and I don’t have to explain why. All show/4H breeders charge different amounts. And also I’ve seen just PET breeders charge $250-$300 for a single rabbit.
I most likely will be adding to this in the future (especially Section IV) as I see more questions arise.
(Sorry for any grammatical errors)

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