Every year Milo & Me teams up with local breeders to head to the local Central Square Mall for the day before Easter Carnival with some of our rabbits in the campaign against buying rabbits for basket stuffer's at Easter. With every year, more and more people come to meet the live rabbits and have their picture taken with them. This year, the turn out for the Milo & Me meet and greet was astronomical! We had people lined up well before the gates opened at 11 o'clock Saturday morning and it was supposed to end at 1 o'clock but we didn't get the gates closed again until 2:30 due to the extreme number of people who came out to visit us at the Easter Carnival! Pictured inset are from the left, Nash and Tucker, who were two of our biggest stars. They just hung out all day for pictures with the kids and did wonderfully.
Yes, I breed quality, healthy and show quality, papered rabbits. That does not make me a bad person or mean that I am over populating or causing more unwanted rabbits in the shelters. Nor am I taking homes away from a shelter rabbit. First off, we do NOT have a shelter near me, nor do most people. Second, my rabbits are loved and if they are going as pets, placed in homes that I feel are good. This does not mean a shelter rabbit is losing out on a home. Yes, adopting from a shelter is good but for those who want a giant breed rabbit, even in a city that has a shelter for rabbits, it is hard to find one. The ones that don't go to homes as pets stay in the show circuit. Other responsible breeders who are making sure they are producing HEALTHY and quality rabbits to continue on the breed will get them. If everyone only rescued, many many breeds would die out.
I raise on a variety of different surfaces. Any with white feet are on wire bottom cages with a resting mat, not one has ever gotten sore hocks in my care on the proper gauged wire for the breed, and some are on solid bottoms with litter pans. The only rabbit I have EVER had get sore hocks had never been in a wire bottomed cage in her life. At three years old she had lived her life with me in a dog Kennel and a litter pan that was always clean and she developed sore hawks. After getting her in a wire bottomed cage, she finally cleared up. She is now back in a dog kennel until she has any other issues. Wire bottomed cages are not bad like people will lead you to think either, They keep them clean and out of their own filth, they give proper ventilation and so many more pro's than con's if used correctly. Plus, no one wants to see yellow footed rabbits, it just makes them look dirty and does not look good while showing.
A breeder has to keep their animals healthy for showing and, well, breeding. You can't show, breed or sell unhealthy animals nor do you want one in your barn. A breeder, not a back yard breeder who will produce mutts and focus sales towards holidays and gifts, cares about the breed, the standards and the well being of their animals. We give the females proper spacing between litters and do not over breed them. The stereotype breeders have is thanks to those who do not care.
I may be a breeder but at my place we rescue just as many if not more animals than we sell. I educate my community on why animals do not make good gifts, refuse to sell at any holiday or as gifts and I will take any animal I have sold or re homed back if it didn't work out for them. We take in rescue rabbits, cats and wildlife and we rehab them and find them new homes or release them in the case of wildlife. I have been an active member of rescues since I was a child with nearly every animal in my care having been a rescue. Yes, even some of my prize rabbits came from bad homes/breeders. The very rabbit this site is based off of, Milo, came from a horrible place. The people thought that it was OK to carry him by his ears, he was not fed enough for his size and he was scared and mean towards people due to it. I worked with him and he turned out to be an amazing member of my family and barn. Mailey, my very first French Lop came from a farm where she over powered them and she thought if she could them then she could anyone. She is now one of the best rabbits and trusted around the smallest of kids. No more attitude issues, nothing. I have stories like this for several other rabbits in my barn now but my point is not to tell stories of how they have been miss treated but to show that an animal does not have to come from a rescue to be rescued nor are all breeders bad. In fact most breeders I know, or at least the ones who care about the breed standards and are not raising animals as a profit but to improve and carry on the breed, refuse to sell as gifts or Easter and other holidays and have similar views as myself.
As a breeder and a person who's heart is animal welfare and rescue I can tell you that BREEDERS are not the bad ones in all of this, most of it is the uneducated people who are buying from pet stores, fairs and back yard breeders who are raising no particular breed or for standards and are breeding too close together so they can have more to sell as gifts or a novelty item not knowing that a rabbit can live well into its teens not just a couple months/years. They are a long term commitment and social animals. They need interaction not just to be in a cage in a child's room to be played with when remembered about.
If you are going to rescue, I applaud you! It takes a special person to take on the baggage most rescue animals carry from previous homes. But if you are going to purchase, please do so from a responsible breeder who has quality animals and purebreds. Someone who will answer your questions and be there to help you through any hurdles you encounter in your rabbit owning journey.
Every year thousands of rabbits are purchased for Easter gifts. Heavily marketed by the pet industry, baby bunnies are promoted as basket suffers for Easter morning, as the stereo typical Easter gift. Little thought is put into their needs, care and well-being. Pet stores are geared up for Easter. Backyard breeders are also ready for it by advertising rabbits for sale for Easter gifts. These animals have not had the benefit of healthy rearing, are often ill and many of them not handled regularly to make them suitable pets. Do not add to their suffering by supporting these stores and backyard breeders by purchasing their rabbits seen only as products.
Unfortunately, many people don't take time to find out about responsible rabbit care before they buy a "cute" bunny, and don't realize they are an animal that needs interaction, love and attention as well as a responsibility that has a life span of 8-10 years (sometimes more sometimes less). The result is an overwhelming number of abandoned rabbits, overcrowded shelters, and rescues without resources to manage a huge influx of rabbits which in my area there are no shelters that will take in rabbits. The rabbits sadly will most likely end up euthanize'd. Worse yet, some bunnies are simply dumped in the wild, left to fend for themselves. These rabbits have no way to care for themselves out doors in the wild. They are not wild animals nor do they know what to do.
To help in this matter, Milo & Me teams up with other local breeders and heads to our local Easter festival at the mall in town to help educate the people in WHY we don't sell our animals for Easter. We bring our sweetest tempered buns with us to meet/have their pictures taken with the kids so they still get their Easter bunny fix and when they ask if we have any for sale we explain to them why we won't sell. IF they are serious inquiries, they will take down your information and contact you another time to ask more questions and PLAN to bring home their new pet. There are some who just do not understand the reasons however and have gotten upset. We will take the bad with the good as the good far outweighs the bad. I do not breed around holidays or special occasions to help prevent this. I breed around the show season and warmer months as that is when I need them for shows and when they do best. Those on the list who want rabbits from me have to wait until my rabbits have babies on their schedule and when it is healthy for the mother rabbit to kindle and those who are serious have not had an issue in waiting for the right rabbit as far as now which makes me very lucky as well as ensuring my rabbits are going to a good home.
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I currently Volunteer through Dark Star Wildlife Nursery wildlife rescue to aid in saving the lives of wildlife who would otherwise be left motherless or worse.