Tips and Tricks For Showing Rabbits
You have seen your first beautiful show quality domestic rabbit at either a show or through a friend and you are smitten with them. You can’t wait to go and buy your own and start breeding them. Your eyes and mind are full of such good intentions and grandiose schemes, but STOP THERE.
I have so many people emailing me and sending me pictures of rabbits asking if they are good show quality etc. But a picture can only show you so much. It is better to see them in person and get hands on experience. There are so many different types of domestic rabbits and the place to find them is at rabbit shows so the first thing you need to do is GO to rabbit shows – find a club near you by scrolling through my Rabbit Clubs page, visit their sites and find out when the shows are on – and look at all the different types, talk to the breeders and ask them all the pros and cons of owning and caring for them to make sure that this is the breed for you. When you have done that then decide if you are going to specialise in one particular type or colour or you may decide on a couple of different breeds, but it is always better to start off with just one until you find your feet and learn all you can about them by attending other shows with other clubs etc. I started off with Mini Lops before branching out into Mini Cashmeres and Netherland Dwarfs. I specialised in Orange and shaded colours along with the butterfly pattern. To learn about good quality starter Mini Lop stock, click here (buyer beware article), or click here to read about butterfly versus broken coat.
Whilst at the shows try to learn some of the rabbit jargon. Click here to read about it.
So now that you have decided on what type of rabbit to breed, before you go out and purchase your starter stock you will have to organise housing for them. The size of your cages depends on the size of the type of rabbits you want to breed. Netherland Dwarfs only need a relatively small cage when compared to say a larger New Zealand White or Smoke Pearl. See my page on housing.
Look to the future when thinking of housing. You will have people coming to you to see your stock and or buy babies from you so think of how you are going to house your rabbits in the area you have available to you. Cages of a uniform type and size to suit your rabbits needs look much better than a yard or shed full of mismatched size and type of hutch and makes you look more professional too. At the rabbit patch we made and perfected our own breeders’ cages which quite a few breeders still have in their sheds. They look good and are good quality which last for years, not months like some (rabbits love to chew and they have removable boards on the front of the cage where the rabbits chew most often) and come it two, three or four tiers. Check them out on our Housing page.
Now that you have researched your rabbits thoroughly and have decided on the type you want and have got their housing ready for them it is now time to buy your starter stock. This normally consists of rabbits from one line of breeding, two unrelated females and an unrelated male. I started with two Sealpoint females and a REW male which came from Sealpoint lines.
Do make sure to either keep tabs on or keep your babies until maturity so you know how your lines develop. This way you will know that what you are doing is improving the quality and type of the rabbits you are breeding. I hope that this article has been helpful to you.