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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
The first thing you need to do in order to get ready to register your rabbit is to be a current member of ARBA – You can sign up at www.arba.net
Once you are member then you will be given an ARBA number which you will use for registration.
Two more really import MUST HAVES are…
- Rabbit must be at least six months of age and must meet all senior requirements for their breed to be eligible for registration.
- Rabbit must have a COMPELETE three generation pedigree. *Imported animals are not allowed on the pedigree unless name and/or ear number is listed, along with variety, and weight of said animal. The word “import” alone is not acceptable. *Each animal listed on the pedigree must show complete name and/or ear number of animal, variety, and weight. **English lops must also have ear lengths. If registered, include the registration number – any animals after the registration number doesn’t have to be filled out. Each listed animal in the pedigree must be of the same breed as the one being registered.
If your good so far then you must find a licensed Registrar. They can be found at most shows and on the ARBA site.
Present your current ARBA membership Card. Individual names must be listed. Rabbit can not be registered under a company, rabbitry, family name, etc. If the rabbit is owned by and adult and co-owned by a youth, it can ONLY be shown in open shows.
Have a copy of your three generation pedigree to hand to Registrar.
Present your rabbit seeking registration to the Registrar. The Registrar will then examine and weigh the rabbit to verify it meets the standard for the breed. The pedigree will be reviewed. If everything is in order, the Registrar will proceed with registration.
Registrar will have the owner completer the pedigree portion of the application. Owner MUST proof the entire completed application. Sign only if correct.
Registration Insignia is then tattooed in the right ear of the rabbit. It is an R with a circle around it.
Sign and date registration applications and hand back to the Registrar. You will then receive a pink copy of registration application. Registrar will collect payment at that time which is $6.
Registrar will submit the application to ARBA office for processing. The registration application is submitted within 25 days from date registered. You can track your application from the time it’s received to the time it is mailed by going to ARBA and checking under “Check Registration Status”.
Application is processed and issued a Registration Certificate showing the registration number assigned to the animal by the Registrar on the day of registration.
A registration file is maintained in the ARBA office on the rabbit.
Have you ever heard someone say excitedly that their rabbit got a Leg?
HMMMM – I thought they had four ! You would be right, they do have four limbs. So what is a Leg?
An official certificate issued by a Show Secretary through ARBA sanctioned shows, designating a certain win. 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. To qualify for a leg there are a couple things that must meet the guidelines.
- Minimum of 3 exhibitors
- Minimum of 5 rabbits
- ARBA sanctioned show
- Must be judged by ARBA licensed Rabbit Judge
Sounds easy right? Not necessarily – If you have 20 rabbits and only 2 exhibitors then no Leg will is awarded. If you have 4 exhibitors and 4 rabbits then no leg can be received. This can be extremely difficult to get on rabbit breeds that are rare or just not as popular as others.
So what do I do with a Leg? Once you get 3 Legs with one being received as a Senior and if rabbit is registered then you can send in for a Grand Champion certificate. A rabbit can only receive one Grand Champion certificate but they can win numerous Legs.
This all helps prove the quality of your rabbits and makes them more valuable. There is also a pride in receiving special awards that rabbits you bred and raise receive.
You don’t have to have a pedigree on your rabbit in order to win a Leg.
You do have to have a pedigree on a rabbit in order to get a Grand Champion certificate and get it registered.
Good Luck and Happy Showing!