Good afternoon! So far, all of the babies are surviving and thriving. The Greenhouse is a balmy 83F, though I have a fan going in there (extra ventilation!) and it’s only about 8 degrees warmer than outside. All of the rabbits have shade and plenty of water, and no one is doing too bad as far as looking uncomfortable.
S0 in a turn of events, we had a rabbit show about 30 minutes from here. After some emailing back and forth with the very nice organizer, I decided that even though I didn’t feel ready – I would bring a rabbit or two so I could get an expert opinion on them. I’m certain there are multiple schools of thought on showing rabbits and the backyard (meat) breeder, and I won’t pretend that I’ve spoken with many folks at all about it. The concept, if you’ve been exposed to any showing/judging of any critter – is that each breed has its own “Standard of Perfection”. Does a backyard breeder with purebreds need to concern themselves with attaining this Standard of Perfection if all they are doing is using the bunnies for their own table? But here is my take, and why I’m now more seriously considering getting into showing. (For the record, 3 months ago when I started I had ZERO interest.)
1. The New Zealand is a meat rabbit, and its standard of perfection encompasses that. (Unless I happen upon some weird trait which makes it look like a bodybuilder.) Better understanding what traits to select for will ultimately help your own herd produce more meat.
2. Selling rabbits can be an excellent way to diminish the $ cost of raising rabbits. If you are selling, purebred bunnies with parents that have judged well will often sell better.
3. If you do transition into any sort of selling breeder, being known for quality stock in your breed (even on a small scale) will help immensely with word of mouth and more customers.
4. It’s fun! Plus it appears that rabbit shows can be a nice way to hock your other wares. (There were people selling jelly at the one I went to! Means I may be bringing pickles along to my next one..)
Now that’s out of the way, I took two rabbits in. I went in initially with the plan of having a judge look at them, and at the least tell me if there were any “faults”. (I really don’t want to breed faults through my herd, unless again – I stumble across a fault that is unusually beneficial for meat production.) They didn’t have ear tattoos (I need ink yet), and the entry fee was all of $3 a rabbit. To me, that was worth the information I would get. Long and short, rabbit people are wonderful and helpful – and not long after I got there I had an explanation of what to do, how to do it, and my two buns had new ear tattoos. I took my buck, as well as the doe I intend to keep from the older litter.
The buck placed 3rd in his class (Senior white new zealand buck) – out of 3 rabbits. Hah. He has a fault which the judge called a “Crease”. Basically, his body doesn’t start soon enough after his head. His daughter (The other one I took) was too young to actually show as a junior. (She’s almost 3lbs, she needs to be 4.5lbs). That’s okay though – I got what I came for – the judge took a look at her too. He said she is a very nice doe, and extremely promising. So – long and short – I’ll take her in again to the next show I attend, whenever that will be!
And now, for the pictures…
Waiting for our turn! The “pet taxi” is a cleaned-up garage sale buy (Score!) – and the itty bitty one on top is my little doe in my cockatiel carrier. Hey, it works!
I took this photo due to the giant mound of fur that is a rabbit (being held by the guy on the table.) There are some very interesting looking rabbits.
This was the New Zealand judge. They divide it up into “Open” and “Youth” shows. The show I went to did both, this was the youth group going first. (Blacks, reds, whites)
Panorama shot! I guess I wasn’t surprised at how many people were there, but at the same time – I guess there are quite a few rabbit folks out there. 🙂
A shot of one of the new kits.
And finally – the litter on a fairly warm day. The sun isn’t on them all the time, just when I move the tarp so I can take a picture. (By the night, they’ll be back in a pile!)