Build First Paint Later

I am going to make this short and sweet and to the point.

Would you paint your house before you build it and make sure that the foundation was solid?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

So why on earth would you worry about the markings on a rabbit first? I see so many that become so focused on having a perfectly marked animal that they forget about the body type. Your rabbit isn’t going to win with perfect markings and a crappy body and you aren’t doing the breed justice.

You need to take the time to work on the body type before you worry about the markings. Just like you wouldn’t paint and decorate a house that was on a shaky foundation. You also wouldn’t build a house on sand. You want to make sure you build on a strong steady foundation.

Once you get your foundation built and where it needs to be then you can start painting. Depending on the breed, you still want to avoid certain things even if you have an awesome body because they will pass it onto their offspring.

For example – Dutch with moon eyes/spots on eye/blue eyes will pass on to their offspring. Don’t be afraid to cull and cull hard. You have to be very critical when it comes to what makes the cut. Give your bunnies about 12 weeks and up before you really decide.

Take your bunnies to show and listen to all comments from judges. Make sure to listen to several judges and not just one. They all have their own opinions but it will give you an general idea. Also scope out seasoned breeders, most will be happy to discuss their breeds with you and give you some pointers.

Another thing to really watch for is BARN BLINDNESS. You may be overlooking a key aspect because you have become “blind” to it. Learn to ask for help and advice and learn to take it all into consideration. Don’t keep a rabbit just because it’s momma was your favorite.

As a breeder, you may also end up in the wrong direction, don’t be afraid to cull and step back and start over again. This is a difficult decision but sometimes it is what you have to do in order to breed correctness. This is also where keeping good accurate records will help you.

A true breeder will not only promote their breed but will also continue to strive to create better quality animals.

Best of luck to you and your bunnies!

Show Terms

Class – 1. A group of rabbits that fall into the same gender, pattern and age group. 2. Age group of the rabbit. Either Junior, Intermediate or Senior

BOB – Best of Breed – Rabbits are judged by breed and the best one determined by judge is BOB.

BOS – Best Opposite Sex – After judge determines the BOB rabbit then judge determines the best of the opposite sex of the BOB rabbit. For example, if a buck wins BOB, then the judge will choose the best doe for the BOS.

BOV – Best Of Variety – The rabbit judged best of its variety. “Variety” is the same as “color” in most breeds. Some breeds only come in one color, and BOV does not apply. “Variety” can mean something else in some breeds, so research your breed.

BOSV – Best Opposite Sex of Variety – Rabbit is judged and the best rabbit of the opposite sex of the BOV rabbit.

BOG – Best Of Group – In some breeds, varieties are lumped together, and shown in groups (Jersey Wooly), or first shown in individual varieties, then the best of each group is chosen (Netherland Dwarf).

BOSG – Best Opposite Sex of Group – Judged the best rabbit of the opposite sex of the BOG rabbit. Best 4-Class – Judged the best rabbit of all the breeds that have four showroom classes. The four classes being: Senior buck, senior doe, junior buck, and junior doe. This is an optional award. Best 6-Class – Judged the best rabbit of all the breeds that have six showroom classes. The six classes being: Senior buck, senior doe, intermediate (also called 6-8) buck, intermediate (also called 6-8) doe, junior buck, and junior doe. Some of these breeds also have a pre-junior class, which is not counted. This is an optional award. BIS – Best In Show – Judged as the best rabbit in the rabbit show. BIS may be chosen by comparing all the BOB winners, or a Best 4-Class and a Best 6-Class may be chosen first, and the BIS chosen from these two winners. Another method, is to designate several groups, with several breeds in each group, choose a Best of each Group, then choose BIS from the group winners. Usually, only very large shows use this method. All shows are required to choose a BIS.

RIS – Reserve In Show – Judged the second best rabbit in the show. This is an optional award. If a Best 4-Class and a Best 6-Class are chosen first, the RIS is the one not chosen for BIS.

Runner-up BIS – Same as RIS. Termonology may be different in different areas of the country. In a 4-H or Non-ARBA Sanctioned Show: Champion – Judged the best rabbit in a certain “group” of rabbits, as designated by the show committee. Rabbits may be grouped by breed, or some other criteria, such as “fancy” and “commercial”, “all other breeds”, “grade”, “meat pen”, “single fryer”, etc. Reserve Champion – Judged the best of the opposite sex of the Champion rabbit. For instance, if a doe wins Champion, then the judge will choose the best buck for the Reserve Champion. Except, in meat pen or single fryer, Reserve Champion is the second place pen or rabbit, regardless of sex. Grand Champion – Judged as the best rabbit in the show, or a certain part of the show. This award is chosen by comparing all of the Champion rabbits. Meat pens and single fryers are usually divided from “breeding” classes, so two or more Grand Champions may be awarded in a show. Reserve Grand Champion – Judged as the best of the opposite sex of the Grand Champion rabbit. Except, in meat pen or single fryer, Reserve Grand Champion is the second place pen or rabbit, regardless of sex. The above terms are common all across the US. But be aware that in 4-H and non-ARBA sanctioned shows, the show sponsor is free to make rules, and award placements as they see fit, so there could be variations.

ARBA Terms:

ARBA – The initials of the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc., which promotes rabbits in the United States and foreign countries, provides for licensing of judges and registrars, and publishes a book of standards (The Standard of Perfection) which describes the desired characteristics for each recognized breed.

Grand Champion – A rabbit who has won at least three “Leg” papers (under at least 2 different ARBA judges, and with at least one win as an intermediate or senior), is registered, and has obtained a Grand Champion Certificate, with a Grand Champion number, from ARBA.

Pedigreed – A rabbit who has a written record of at least three generations of ancestors. This information should include name and/or ear number, weight and color, plus any other information available, such as winnings, registration numbers, and Grand Champion numbers. A pedigree form is made out by the breeder of the rabbit. A pedigreed rabbit is usually a purebred, but not necessarily. A pedigeed rabbit usually has a tattoo in its left ear, which corresponds to the ear number on its pedigree paper.

Registered – A rabbit who is purebred, fully pedigreed, has passed the inspection of an ARBA Registrar, and has received a Registration Certificate and number from ARBA. A registered rabbit should have a number or circled “R” tattooed in its right ear.

Leg – An official certificate issued by a Show Secretary, designating a certain win. In all cases, a leg will only be issued if there are at least 5 rabbits competing for that particular win, with at least 3 breeders of those rabbits. A “Leg” may be awarded for First Place in a class, BOB, BOS, BOV, BOSV, BOG, BOSG, or BIS. A rabbit can only get one Leg per show.

Working on Project – help me out?

?I am working on a new project and need some really good pictures of the following breeds.? If you can add some fun facts about the breed then that would be great!

If I choose to use your rabbit pictures, you will get a laminated card with your rabbit on it along with your name, Rabbitry and bunny information.

Please send all quality pictures and information to amandagoodwin2011@gmail.com with header being the breed of your rabbit. Pictures need to be free of clutter in the background and good clear quality. By sending picture to email you are agreeing to give me rights to use them. If you don’t see your breed then that means we already have required information.

Thank you for your interest!

American

American Sable

Angora, French

Angora, Giant

Angora, Satin

Argente Brun

Bevern

Blanc de Hotot

Britannia Petite

Champagne D’ Argent

Checkered Giant

Chinchilla, American

Chinchilla, Giant

Chinchilla, Standard

Cinnamon

Dwarf Hotot

English Spot

Florida White

Holland Lop

Lionhead

Lop, English

Lop, Mini

Mini Rex

Mini Satin

New Zealand

Palomino

Polish

Rex

Satin

Silver

Silver Fox

Silver Marten

Thrianta

Tattooing rabbits with pen

Tattooing rabbits is a must for those showing or keeping records on their rabbits. Some use a clamp, but we personally prefer to use a tattoo pen. There is a learning curve on the pen but as I suggest to all those getting started is to practice on your culls. It also takes patience and a steady hand.

The first step is to know what tattoo you want to use on particular rabbit, everyone has their own methods. It may be a date, rabbit name, or a tracking method that you use.

This is what we use for tattooing – It is designed by KBTatts. There are several different types on the market – just find what works best for you.
If you are planning to show rabbit then tattoo will need to be in their left ear. The right ear is reserved for registration tattoo which a registrar would have to do on a qualifying rabbit.

We have discovered that if you use this spray and let it sit for about 3 minutes before tattooing then it makes everything so much easier.

Once the ear has been sprayed with numbing spray and has had time to sit then wipe it gently with a paper towel. Then we wrap bunny up in a tattoo sleeve like the one below.

Tattoo allows bunny to stay still so that you can place tattoo in ear.

Once you have your bunny’s ear numb and he is wrapped up tight like a burrito then you dip the tip of your needle into ink well and start writing tattoo. Some will use a marker or pen of some sorts to write tattoo in ear first then trace with a pen. I prefer to freehand it. I also like to sit at a table with bunny on table so I have more control. It helps to place a finger behind the ear while you are tattooing to help with pressure. Once tattoo is done then I wipe it out with paper towel. Now you have a permanent tattoo in your rabbits ear.

Remember to practice! Good luck!

Breeding Time and Babies

When can I breed my rabbits?

So you are ready to breed your rabbits! There are several factors that go into determining if they are old enough to breed. The first is based on their breed and development. Generally, smaller breeds up to 8 pounds can be bred at 5 to 6 months old. These would include but not limited to Dutch, Netherland Dwarfs, Dwarf Hotots, etc. Examples of medium size breeds would be New Zealands, Californians, etc and can be bred around 6.5 to 7 months old. Your large breeds like Flemish Giants, Giant Chinchillas, etc should be bred around 8 to 9 months old. Please remember this is a general rule and you must learn your bred; example – English Lops don’t need to be bred until 10 lbs and 10 months old. Growth is more important than age, you can stunt a doe’s growth if bred to early.

You always want to take the doe to the buck’s cage unless table breeding. Does can get cage aggressive and injury your buck.

If doe refuses to bred then try again the next day. There are also some great tips here. Once you see the buck fall off ( I will work on video to help explain this), this means a successful mating. The buck will mount the doe and if he ejaculates into her then he will fall to the side. All matings will vary – some will scream, some will grunt, and some just get stiff looking.

You will hear all kinds of methods, tips, and tricks. Keep great records so that you know what works best for you. Some say to only allow the buck to breed same doe twice. Some will tell you to breed buck to a couple does at a time. I will say that every time the buck breeds then it decreases size of litters. Also remember that bucks do go sterile in excessive heat especially in the summer , this is nature’s birth control. If you want babies during the heat then make sure you have a cool barn.

Once you have your doe bred, then on day 18 try test breeding or palpate her. If she refuses buck, starts whining and attempts to escape then that is a good indication that she is bred. Palpating is an art that takes lots of practice and basically means that you are feeling for babies. They will feel like small marbles.

You need to put in a nest box on about day 25 after the doe has been bred. Kits are normally born between 28 to 32 days. Some does will go longer than others. This is another reason to keep great records. Nest boxes are generally made of wood or metal but breeders have been known to use other items including cardboard boxes. You want to make sure you provide some sort of filler. I personally use hay, some use wool, shavings, shredded newspaper, etc – don’t use cedar shavings (it is too strong for them).

Once the kits are born then check the nest and remove all the dead ones. The general rule is don’t expect the doe’s first litter to make it. I am NOT saying that first time litter won’t live, I am just saying that don’t be devastated if it happens. She is a first timer. Check the nest daily and pull out any dead ones that may be in there. You don’t want them making a mess of the box.

Handling the kits from birth will not cause doe to abandoned them. You probably won’t see her nurse the babies. Babies nurse about twice a day. As long as the baby is plump, clean, and sleek then it is being fed.To make sure that the doe is producing adequate milk you can help by giving full feed, oats, and calf manna.

Getting ready for a show

Getting ready for a show It seems like it is always a huge undertaking getting ready for a show. You are always worrying that you will forget something and you probably will but you will learn what works best for you. I highly suggest making a list and keeping it close so you can add to it.

First off, you want to make sure that your rabbit is free of DQs. *Check teeth and make sure they are not messed up. *Nails need clipped, double check the nail color and make sure they have all nails. *Check coat for molting and discoloration or spots. *Double check and make sure the sex fairy didn’t visit and change them on you – Trust me it happens more times then I care for it. You also want to make sure that the bucks don’t have pimples or split penis. *Check ears and make sure that the tattoo can be seen clearly and rabbit is free of mites. *Make sure to weigh them and that they make the correct weight for their class.

Once you have the list of rabbits then you need to send in your entries for show. Double check everything when it goes in, again when they send confirmation and again at the show. One mistake will cost you an entry fee. It is your responsibility to make sure that EVERYTHING is correct. Ok – now on to the list of what to take. *You will want to take a chair. We usually take a barstool too since some of the classes are so long, the barstool allows us to sit near judging table without taking up any more space then we would standing there. My daughter also takes a pillow and blanket with her. I make sure I take tennis shoes and not my boots – a lot of standing * A grooming table/stand, if you don’t have one then you can lay a piece of carpet over the cages and use it as one. *We also always take nail clippers and tattoo pen because you just never know. *You will also want pen and paper so you can keep up with rabbit placement, judge comments, etc. *Labeling pens whether they are nice cage tags like in our store or just a piece of duct tape with black marker on it: it will make it so much easier at show time instead of digging through and checking ear numbers. *Since we take kids to the show with us we always have simple snacks and an ice chest of drinks. Most shows will have a concession stand. *Water and feed bowls for the rabbits and we also bring our own water because it is what they are used too. *Carriers must have a leak proof tray in order to be allowed into showroom. You can put puppy pads, shavings, etc in the bottom to help hold down the smell.

NOTE**** PLEASE CLEANUP AFTER YOURSELF AT THE SHOWS – THEY ARE RUN BY VOLUNTEERS AND VENUES ARE ALSO HARD TO COME BY AND WE NEVER WANT TO LEAVE A MESS. Thanks!

A few other things that we take are sale rabbits, our sign, our pedigree book, and something for the donation table that they have set up at the shows. We also make sure that we purchase tickets for raffles. This is what helps the shows continue to thrive. I would rather help a local show then only be able to drive to a couple a year because they are hours away.

If it is your first show then don’t stress, there are ALWAYS some very helpful people that will be more than happy to guide you around and help you out.

Once at show, you will need to check rabbits in. This is where you DOUBLE check your entries and make sure that everything is correct. Once you have taken care of that then you find a place to set up and then you wait for the FUN to begin!

I imagine that I left a few things and it seems like every time we go we think of something else or we see an awesome idea at the show that will work for us. Most shows also have vendor there so you can pick up items you need for home and show while there. If you have any tips please feel free to leave in the comment section.

No Easter Bunnies here!

“Every year, rabbits are purchased for Easter and then dumped as soon as the ‘cute factor’ takes a backseat to the reality of all that’s required to care for them properly,” “Some are just dumped outside, where they can’t survive and will die from stress, starvation, dehydration, or attacks by predators. Just because rabbits “live” in the wild does NOT mean that domestic rabbits can. They will die a miserable death. PLEASE DON’T DUMP THEM. Others are abandoned at overburdened animal shelters or bounced around from one home to another, where their needs are often misunderstood — so they often end up being sentenced to solitary confinement in a cage and virtually forgotten.

Unfortunately, every year not long after the Easter holiday, shelters are faced with families who adopt a bunny for some springtime fun, only to return the animal later after the season is over. Rabbits can make great pets, but they are not temporary gifts.

Rabbits are social and smart, they crave affection and activity. Most breeds live to be 8 to 12 years old, some even longer. If you are thinking of welcoming a rabbit into your home this Easter, make sure you and your family are ready for this commitment. I get a lot of calls every year with people in a panic because they don’t know what to do. Please make sure that you have proper cage, feed, toys, etc BEFORE you bring an innocent rabbit home.

If your child is begging for an Easter bunny then please buy them a cute stuffed one that doesn’t need fed, water, or groomed and won’t care if it’s tossed in the corner in a few weeks when the new wears off.

With all that being said — If you do want to get a pet bunny then I will be more than to discuss it and help guide you in the right direction AFTER the Easter holiday.