So you want a bunny? That is the first step! Next do your research on breeds, there are 49 breeds that are recognized by ARBA. You can find them here.
You need to decide what you are interested in – they come in all different sizes and several of the breeds require special cages and care.
Maybe you want a small bunny. Examples are Dwarf Hotots, Polish, Netherland Dwarfs or even a Britannia Petite. I wouldn’t recommend Britannia Petite for a beginner or someone wanting a laid back bunny. They are like little rockets ready to go!
Maybe you want a medium size bunny like a sweet laid back Dutch or Himalayan? You have meat breeds and fancy to choose from.
Maybe you want a lop eared bunny? Did you know they come in small and large sizes? The large ones have to have very sturdy bottoms on their cages in order to hold their weights.
Maybe you want a fast moving bunny like a Tan, English spot or even a Belgium Hare – Hares have to have solid bottoms on their cages. Running breeds are also not considered cuddle bunnies and are always on the go.
Maybe you want a large bunny? Great examples of them are Giant Chinchillas, English Lops and Flemish. These are usually very gentle giants but they are too big for young children to place on the tables.
Maybe you want something you can groom daily and even use hair to make things. They also come in small to large – Breed examples are Jersey Woolies and Giant Angoras.
Maybe you want to focus and help preserve a rare breed – the list can be found at https://livestockconservancy.org/index.php/heritage/internal/conservation-priority-list#Rabbits
If you still don’t have a clue then I suggest visiting a show (shows can be found on arba.net) . Shows will give you a variety of bunnies to look over and most breeders will be more than happy to give you guidance and explain the ins and outs of their breeds. It also gives you an idea how shows are ran.
Once you get an idea on the breed you want then you need to research it! Don’t just look for all the positive things but also the negative side of that breed. That way you know what you are getting yourself into. Example – Dutch very friendly and easy breeders, Downfall is that they have to have correct markings in order to show so you have to have a place for your culls.
Rabbits are not always easy and don’t always breed like they say. Once you figure out your breed then find a breeder and talk to that breeder – ask them questions and get to really understand that breed. You also want to purchase your starter stock from a reputable breeder. If you start out with crap then you are still feeding crap and you will produce crap. Make sure you start out with Quality animals it will save you a lot of heartache in the end.
Good Luck on your rabbit adventures!
I will be happy to help in anyway that I can and help you find some amazing breeders.
Hope to see you at the show!
We locked our barn down several years ago. This was done for our animals and our protection. This explains it.
I have asked if I could repost the following and was granted permission. She says it best! The following was borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/meadowmunchers/
Why animal breeders may not invite you in anymore
You’ve probably read somewhere, maybe even from me, that a breeder that won’t let you see where animals are kept or meet your animals is a big red flag.
That breeders who won’t let you meet the animals or see where they are kept must be hiding something.
Well that’s no longer true
Why you ask?
Because there is a vendetta in the USA right now against breeders, even the really good breeders.
Anti breeder types, be they from HSUS or PETA or other animal rights groups or overzealous animal shelter workers or other similar people are making it their life’s work to get breeders animal seized and stop all breeding.
Many times this involves lying, filing false complaints or worse- setting the breeder up.
Sometimes these people even gain the breeder’s trust or work for them.
No matter how clean your animals are.
No matter how well fed and clean your animals are.
No matter how careful you are to only breed the best and most fully health tested animals
No matter how much time and money you put into them and how much money you lose.
These people are looking to get your dogs seized, to get another “horrible breeder” story in the news, to use you and your animals to get restrictive laws passed.
Breeders now must not only do their absolute best , they now must guard against those that would destroy their life’s work and the animals they love for no reason other than hate.
So the next time an animal breeder grills you with questions, or meets you in their driveway or even at the shopping center in their town, don’t hold it against them – they may just be doing all they can to keep hateful people from destroying all they love.
**Side note — ALWAYS MEET IN PUBLIC PLACE and let someone know who you are meeting. If possible take someone with you.
Contrary to popular belief – Bunnies don’t always breed like we would like them too. Especially if you are anxiously awaiting a litter. It can become very stressful and dishearten when you can’t get rabbits to breed and have babies.
I have learned a few tricks over the years that have helped me.
- Add “mother” Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – 1 Tablespoon per gallon of water. This will help does come on into cycle. We do this with all our bunnies.
- Put buck into doe cage.
- If doe isn’t mean then you can leave buck with her for a few days – I don’t care to do this because it can cause injury and you don’t know 100% if they mated or not.
- Breed on table – position doe and hold while buck mounts.
- Another trick is to swap cage with buck and doe – leave them in each other’s cages for a few days then place doe with buck.
- They say Parsley will help fertility but I have not tested that theory.
- You can also put them in a carrier and drive around town. There is something about traveling that seems to bring them in.
- Add light so that they have longer “daylight” time during those shorter days.
- Feed can also play a major role in breeding and fertility.
- Doe is considered “in” when her vulva is swollen and red. She will normally raise up on back end if you put your hands on her back.
- Does will also get very testy and grumpy when cycling.
- Don’t let virgin bucks get tore up by grumpy doe – it will make him shy and leery of breeding.
- Also make sure that buck has both set of testicles and doesn’t have spit penis.
- Another thing is to make sure that the rabbits are of appropriate age to breed depending on breed they are.
If you have any tips or questions- Please feel free to comment here. Don’t give up!