The story that started it all. Check out the kids book "Milo & Me" if you have not already done so now. You can purchase it athttp://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000547618/Milo--Me.aspx The story of the bond between this special rabbit and his owner is priceless and a portion of proceeds go to Homeward Bound Canine rescue (not Heading Home) and Angel of Hope Feline rescue. It is the first in a series and with each Series a new rescue/shelter that is in need of help will be chosen to receive a portion of proceeds. Please share this story with others to help get it out there to help as many rescues as possible. Milo is no longer with us but I am hoping his life can help change the life of another animal.
All across America, the national 4-H project is helping young rabbit owners grow into responsible adults. There are currently over 6.5 million members enrolled in this youth program. Established in 1914, 4-H helps members develop skills in agriculture, horticulture, homemaking, and the arts; and then offers them the chance to show off those skills through fairs and competitions. The rabbit program is an important part of the 4-H curriculum, and if you or your child would like to be successful in raising rabbits for 4-H, here are some pointers to help you get started.
Do you need purebred rabbits to show in 4-H?
The answer to this question is yes and no. It depends on what type of classes you want to enter, as well as the regulations for your area. 4-H is managed on county-wide and state-wide levels, and each region has its own way of doing things. In general, breed competitions are usually judged by the ARBA Standard of Perfection, so to compete in these classes, you need to have a purebred rabbit recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. However, some fairs may have a mixed breed class in addition to the purebred classes. Also, you may be able to use mixed or crossbreed rabbits in meat pen (market pen) or showmanship competitions. Check with your local club leader or extension office to learn the regulations for your region. Remember though, that whether or not your area will allow mixed breed rabbits, you will probably have better success by buying purebreds.
Where to Buy Rabbits to Show in 4-H.
If you are beginning a 4-H rabbit project, the best place to buy rabbits is from a local breeder. If possible, buy bunnies from a breeder in your immediate area. That way you can develop a relationship with the breeder and he or she can be there to help if you run into problems down the road. Also, this gives you a chance to visit their farm (if they invite you over) and see how they manage their rabbitry, which can give you ideas on how to start your own project. Finally, there's a good chance that a breeder in your county is familiar with the fair you plan to show at, and will know the classes they accept. One of the best places to get in touch with local breeders is through online Rabbit Breeder Directories.
Most fairs have their own regulations when it comes to dividing rabbits for judging. It's important to know what classes they offer so you can know how to buy and breed your stock. Some fairs divide rabbit classes by fancy (small) and commercial (large) breeds. Others judge each breed separately like an ARBA sanctioned show. In fact, some fair shows are also ARBA sanctioned. Some allow mixed breed rabbits and others do not. Some fairs have "get of sire" or "get of dam" classes, where you can show a senior rabbit with its junior offspring. Almost all fairs offer market classes such asmeat pens, single fryers, and commercial fur. Most have rabbit showmanship competitions, and some have extra contests for youth participants such as judging, quiz bowl, skill-a-thon, or royalty.
Narrow down which classes you would like to enter before you purchase your stock. Then look for a respected breeder in your area that raises the type of rabbits you would like to show. Start looking for a breeder as soon as possible; don't delay even for a few weeks. Some breeders have waiting lists of customers and it might take several months before you can get stock from them. Contact them early to get on their list early, and also to make sure you don't miss the fair's deadline. Many fairs require exhibitors to have their rabbits on their own premises a couple of months before show day. That way they can be sure that the showman is responsible for the rabbit's current health and condition.
Never purchase a rabbit if you detect any red flags about the bunny or the breeder. Don't be afraid to ask the breeder questions: if they won't help you with your questions, they are not someone you want to buy from. Check the rabbit over thoroughly for health issues or disqualifications. Always, always check its teeth, toenails, and sex before agreeing to bring it home. Even well-meaning breeders can make mistakes when sexing a rabbit or looking it over for disqualifications, and you don't want to find out too late. If it's your first time buying rabbits, bring your 4-H leader or other mentor along with you to get their opinion about the bunnies.
Care of a 4-H Rabbit Project
Once you have your rabbits home, your only job is to keep them in top condition until show day. Here are the five top rules for preparing your rabbit for fair:
1. Use the proper equipment. Only use all-wire cages. These are much less likely to cause urine stains on your rabbit than solid bottomed cages. They also keep your rabbit's environment cleaner and reduce ammonia. If you plan to breed your rabbits, make sure you have a nest box ready at least a week before your doe is due to deliver.
2. Feed a healthy and consistent diet. People will spend a long time looking at feed bag labels trying to determine the healthiest diet for their rabbits. While that is admirable, sometimes the freshness of the feed and the consistency of the nutrition are more important than the brand of pellets. Ideally, show rabbits should have a diet low in protein and fat and high in fiber. Free-choice timothy hay is an excellent addition to any rabbit's meal. Always make sure the feed is fresh; rabbits will not condition well on stale pellets. A healthy base diet is more effective at getting your rabbit in top condition than any supplements you could throw in.
3. Provide the proper environment. Proper housing doesn't stop at a well-made cage. The cage must be located in an area with excellent ventilation. The surrounding temperature should not get above 85 degrees at any time of the year, at least unless you take measures to keep your rabbit cool and hydrated in hot weather. The cage can be kept outside, but must be protected from predators and precipitation. It must be kept in a quiet area so your rabbit will not be stressed. All these factors, if the rabbit is not protected from them, can compromise your bunny's immune system. It's also very important to keep the cage clean. Not only will this help prevent disease such as coccidiosis, but it will you're your rabbit's coat from getting stained.
4. Handle your rabbit often. This step must not be neglected if you want to be successful showing rabbits in 4-H. You must train your rabbit to pose, so it will look good for the judges. Rabbits can learn to pose themselves as soon as they are touched if you work long enough with them. If you are competing in rabbit showmanship, you should get your rabbit used to the routine, so it will cooperate with you on show day. Handling your rabbit is also very important because it allows you to check its health and condition daily. That way if your rabbit has any health problems, you can catch them early on.
5. Keep good records. Some 4-H leaders or county fairs will require you to show your project record book along with your rabbit. You might even win a prize for keeping good records! Even if record keeping is not a requirement, it's an excellent management practice and will help you raise better rabbits in the end. At bare minimum, you should keep pedigrees and breeding records for every rabbit you raise. Hint: grab some rabbitry management software to make your job easier.
Beyond the Show Day
Many 4-H members are "in it to win it" - and that's fine. It makes for healthy competition. But 4-H is about much more than winning Grand Champion. Even if you start because you want to compete, you will find that you learn many skills in 4-H that will help you your whole life. So even if you don't win first prize, take time to enjoy learning how to care for animals, enjoy the friendships you build with others in your club, and enjoy being a benefit to your community as you pledge your "hands to larger service."
If you'd like more information on how to show rabbits in 4-H clubs, check out the Youth Rabbit Project Study Guide and Raising Meat Pen Rabbits Guide by Aaron Webster. Updated for 2013, this book gives expert tips about how to show your rabbit in Showmanship and compete in Breed ID and other 4-H competitions. Written by a two-time runner up for ARBA National Rabbit Queen.
Originally shared by Rabbit Breeders
The back part of a rabbit's hind foot is called the hock, and this area supports most of their weight. The hock is normally covered with a thick layer of fuzz, but sometimes this fur wears away, and the skin on the hocks break and bleed. Average rabbit owners call this condition "sore hocks."
Sore hocks can develop on any rabbit, but certain ones are more susceptible. Those would be the Rex-furred breeds (since they have short fine fur), the very large breeds (since they have more weight to bear), and excitable rabbits that stamp their feet a lot. It's is also said to be more common in rabbits that are housed in cages with wire floors. Put two of these factors together (i.e. Rex fur + wire floor) and you will need to be proactive if you want to prevent them.
Unfortunately, once sore hocks have developed, they're very hard to treat. If the fur gets worn away, it will seldom grow back. Plus, since rabbits spend so much time on their feet, the skin doesn't have much of a chance to heal. So it is best to come up with a prevention plan.
That plan doesn't have to include moving your rabbits to solid-floored cages. I don't even recommend it. The reason why most rabbits are housed on wire floors is because wire floors are best for them. Cleanest. Safest. Healthiest. In fact, I read a study from the World Rabbit Council (summarized several years ago in Domestic Rabbits magazine) that said rabbits seemed to actually prefer wire floors if given the option.
Plastic resting mats (also known as EZ-Mats) are extremely popular with rabbit owners, and for good reason. They're simply hard plastic mats - made of quality, non-toxic ABS - that lay over the top of the cage floor, giving your rabbit a place to rest off the wire. They have very smooth surfaces; all the edges are carefully beveled to prevent wear on your rabbit's feet. And they are super sanitary. They have slots punched out that allow waste to fall right through into the drop pan. And if the mats ever get dirty, they're easy to wash with soap and water.
Originally shared by Rabbit Breeders
A beautiful, fluffy nest with warm bundles of healthy babies in it, it's what every breeder wants to see right? So what happens if that is not the case?
Recently myself and other breeders have had problems with getting and keeping litters. From not getting any litters, getting a beautiful nest but no babies in it and getting babies and losing them it has been a frustrating battle!
In MY battle to get litters I found that my feed may have been the culprit. Slowly I transitioned my herd over to another feed to see if it would help. Whalla! I got my first two litters and large ones at that!
I wish it had been as simple as just switching the feed. Shortly after the birth of litter number two we started losing them. I found that my female had not gotten any milk in to feed the babies. Only 2.5 weeks after the birth my other female dried up leaving 5 orphaned baby bunnies for me to step in and care for. After the third litter and the mom not having any milk supply, I gave all types of supplemental foods such as veggies and oatmeal to try and boost milk production for the first 9 days with no success. As a last ditch effort I started sprinkling a calcium supplement on her feed and Oatmeal. Within the day her milk had come in full force and the three remaining babies survived.
I started sprinkling the calcium supplement on all of the lactating moms as well as all females and babies and since have noticed a huge difference in their health, activity levels, milk production and the overall health and size of babies in the litters they are now finally having.
I decided to start adding in some whole grains and more natural items for their diet such as Fodder, veggies, plants and grasses that are safe and good for them.
With this new diet they have been doing much better and I have been able to keep weight on them more so than before.
My conclusion is that there is something lacking in the feed or an ingredient in the feed that is not doing what it used to anymore and that was what was causing so many of my issues since with this new diet I have not have the issues I had had pre-diet.
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.
3/26/14 we welcomed a litter of 12 babies from Lilly and TJ. As of this morning 9 had some milk in their bellies so we are hoping that's a good sign moms milk has come in or is coming in. Her last litter we sadly lost 9 of the ten due to her milk not coming in.
First and foremost, you should always pick a feed and stick with it. The constant change is hard on their guts. If your rabbits are doing well on something don't switch because something is cheaper. If you are going to switch, switch because it is a better feed or because you can't get the other one anymore.
Fiber is an extremely important factor. Anything below 18 is really too low. Rabbits can do fine on lower but for the larger breeds many think they do better on the higher. Fat is also important. A minimum of 2.5- 3 is better.
Protein is another extremely important piece of the nutrition puzzle. A giant breed such as the French Lop should be on an 18% protein blend. In some areas this can be hard to find in a quality feed but for their development and overall health of your giant breed rabbit.
I personally struggled with finding a feed that worked best for my rabbits. It was a nightmare for a while. My two French lops started losing weight and there was nothing I could do to fix it. They were eating fine, getting treats and exercise and still, dropping weight and deteriorating. I found out that they needed a feed with 18% protein in it and most feeds only contain 15-16%. I was feeding a feed with 15% and it just wasn't enough even with treats and fresh veggies daily. Once I started learning more about it from experienced breeders they turned a major corner and started gaining their weight back and becoming my healthy and happy rabbits they were before. Most people are unaware that not all feed is equal for each breed. Their size, activity level and portions all determine which feed to choose for your rabbit. The issue is how do you know what your breed needs? If you are buying from a breeder, they should inform you what to look for in a feed for that specific breed as well as send you a small bag of feed to help transition your new rabbit over to what ever feed you decide to put him on.
With a rocky start to their life, my Lucky seven litter beat the odds and pulled through with an amazing mom/foster mom. For reasons we are unsure of, the moms milk dried up when they hit three weeks old. Losing two of the seven babies from internal damage caused by mom. Friday morning the remaining five babies (The Fab Five) were all listless and weak. Due to the horrible odds baby bunnies face when bottle fed I was not sure they would pull through. They can over eat and actually cause themselves internal issues if you let them over eat so I started with many small feedings throughout the day Friday to get them hydrated and full again. Slowly I started fazing out feedings and increasing the amount they got in them. By Monday night, they no longer needed my to feed them through the night (THANK GOODNESS). as of today, Tuesday, they will be on two feedings a day and by Friday, I hope to have them on their usual one feeding per day of milk like their mother would give to encourage them to start eating more solids and develop their digestive system. Rabbits are a very hands-off mother to begin with only feeding the babies twice daily for the first couple of weeks then moving to only once daily when they are old enough to come out of the nest box and nibble solids. They do not need to be spoiled and should not be treated like most other baby animals for this reason. Over feeding is the number one cause of death in hand raised baby bunnies. I fed many small feedings until they were going to the bathroom regularly and then started cutting back slowly due to the poor nature of their health. Even new born baby bunnies should not be fed more than 2 times a day (unless difficult circumstances such as the one my babies faced arise) then they should only be small feedings not full feedings to prevent over expansion of their tummy. My babies are not out of the woods yet at 3.5 weeks old and day 4 of bottle feeding, but with each day their odds increase greatly.
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.
The Lucky Litter is three weeks old today <3 Sadly we lost another one of the babies yesterday but everyone else is looking great and they are getting nosey and exploring more and more now :) Couldn't have asked for better personalities in this bunch. So So So happy with them all. It is going to be very hard to part with these little ones for sure! But the fact that they have good homes lined up for them makes it all the better. They love the cat, the cat does not feel the same about them. They love to climb on me and they all love to snuggle in when they g
If you own a pregnant doe (a female rabbit), you will need to know how to take care of her before, during, and after her pregnancy. It's important to be aware of what is needed to ensure both her health and the safe delivery of her kits (babies).
Medium to large size rabbits are sexually mature at 4 to 4.5 months, while giant breeds are ready at 6 to 9 months. If your female rabbit is at this stage of maturity and you have reason to suspect that she has been breeding, then check for pregnancy as follows. A pregnancy can be detected between 10 to 14 days after mating, with 12 days being optimal; between these days, the fetuses will start to grow rapidly, causing them to be detectable by touch, and they will feel like the size of grapes. Be gentle when feeling for them! Be aware that false pregnancy is common in rabbits, so even if you find all the signs, you are probably best checking in with your vet as well. These are some of the other signs that your rabbit is pregnant:
It is possible that a doe with a smaller litter, four kits or less, will have a slightly longer pregnancy than a doe with a litter that is larger than four. The main concern is to know the start of the pregnancy (you may need your vet's help), as the time of birthing should not go beyond 32 days, in which case your doe needs to see the vet promptly. Without inducing labor after day 32, a litter of dead kits is likely by day 34.
Your doe will need special changes to her diet to ensure that she is getting adequate nutrition; a doe with nutritional deficiencies may abort or reabsorb the fetuses. Due to her carrying more weight, she will need extra nutrition to her eating habits. Provide her with high quality food along with fresh, clean unlimited amounts of water.
A nest box is where she will give birth and take care of her young. The nest box is essential because kits are born naked, blind, and deaf and have no ability to regulate their own temperature until day 7. Nest boxes can be purchased from pet stores, and should at least 4 inches (10cm) wider and longer than the doe. The nest box should be provided to your doe 26 days into her gestation period.
With a pregnant rabbit, the following problems can arise:
Some things to be aware of when your doe is giving birth include:
Make sure they are healthy, breathing and drinking their mother's milk. A litter can contain up to a dozen kits. Once born, the dam will nurse them, but not continuously. Provide her with continuous fresh water as it's vital for a nursing rabbit.
Kits will nurse at least until about 4 to 5 weeks, at which point they are weaned by the doe slowing down her milk production. Keep an eye on the doe's general health and the manner in which she interacts with her kits. If there is any aggressive behavior, remove the babies right away. Some things to bear in mind with new kits:
It is best to wait 35 to 42 days after the birth of the initial litter to rebreed her, to give her time to recuperate and care for her current litter.
most of this information was found at
http://www.wikihow.com How to Take Care of a Pregnant Rabbit.
The French Lop Rabbit Breed is a native of France developed in the 19th century by Mr. Cordonnier, a book binder. In 1853, Mr. Cordonnier started by breeding English Lops with some of the larger French breeds of the era, the Normand (also known as the Picard) and the Rouennais which is now extinct. This breed was originally developed as a meat producer not a show rabbit. Though it existed in France for many years, the French Lop was not recognized and given a standard until March 25, 1922.
It is thought that the French Lop was imported to American sometime during the early part of the 20th century because it was one of the first breeds recognized by the National Pet Stock Association (now known as the ARBA). The early standards were much the same as the English Lop, but with shorter ears.
Though shorter in body length, the French Lop has a shape similar to the Flemish Giant. When sitting erect, the ears of this breed should hang at least 1 1/2 inches below the jaw line. The ideal coat length for this rabbit is 1 1/4 inches with colors and markings conforming to the Lop Color Guide:
• The Agouti group in chestnut, chinchilla, lynx, or opal coloring
• The Broken group which is white combined with black and golden orange, white with lavender blue and golden fawn, white with chocolate and golden orange, or white with lilac and golden fawn
• The Self Shaded group, which consists of frosted pearl, sable, sable point, seal, smoke pearl, or tortoise (in blue, black, chocolate, or lilac)
• The Ticked group, which includes the silver / silver fox (in black, blue, brown or fawn), steel (black, silver, gold, chocolate, smoke pearl, blue, or lilac tipped steel)
• The Wide Band group, which includes the colors cream, fawn, orange, or red
Senior Bucks 8 months and older should weigh 10 1/2 pounds or more. Senior Does should weigh 11 pounds or more. Intermediate Bucks 6 to 8 months old should not be over 11 1/2 pounds and Intermediate Does should not be over 12 pounds. Junior Bucks and Does under 6 months old have a minimum weight of 5 1/4 pounds and maximum weight of 10 1/2 pounds.
Information found at http://www.examiner.com/
Proper nutrition is needed for good health & a long life for your rabbit. Rabbits need hay, a good high fiber pellet (free of nuts/seeds/dyed bits), fresh vegetables, and clean water. If your rabbit is allowed to go without food for too long, a serious condition called enteritis can occur. This is a shutdown of the intestinal tract caused by lack of food to digest.
Your rabbit should have a generous amount of hay available at all times. It’s nutritious and a vital source of fiber. You can make a big hay “nest” in the liter box and they’ll be a happy camper. This will also help potty train and minimize hay mess. Don’t worry – they won’t eat anything soiled. Commonly found hays are timothy, oat, oat/barley, and alfalfa. Alfalfa is good for growing buns up to one year of age, but is too high in calcium and fats for adults. You can often find fresher and cheaper hay at a feed and tack store that carries it by the bale. Ask if they sell it by the flake or in bags which are a good-sized part of a bale. Keep it cool and dry in a trash can or storage container stored where it won’t get wet or moldy. Never feed moldy hay to a rabbit, it can make them sick and/or cause death.
Avoid fiesta blend pellets containing corn/nuts/seeds/etc. These are similar to us eating nothing but junk foods. They lack the proper nutrients needed by your rabbit and over the years can cause serious health problems resulting in obesity, compromised organ function, and cause a shortened lifespan. (Be aware that some pet foods contain a preservative called ethoxyquin, (or BHT) which is a known cancer-causing agent.) A good pellet has a minimum fiber content of 25% and a maximum protein content of 14% (this is for the average sized pet rabbit, French Lops and the other Giant breeds require an 18% protein). Pellets should be fed in limited measured amounts daily, varying by the weight of your rabbit, it’s breed, or health issues (This is also for the average rabbit breeds, French Lops are free fed unless weight issues arise). Oxbow Brand makes an excellent pellet with formulas specialized by age. (Bunny Basics T for adults and Bunny Basics 15/23 for juveniles.) Two other widely used formulas are Purina Lab Rabbit and American Pet Diner. (APD also has 2 pellets: timothy and alfalfa). Brown’s brand is also an okay brand. I myself recommend the Purina 18% feed for the rabbits I sell locally.
Never introduce veggies before the age of 6 months. A daily serving of fresh veggies rounds out bunny’s nutritional needs. Always rinse produce before feeding, even if it’s organic. Start slowly, one small serving of one veggie at a time, adding more over a period of weeks. This will not only lessen the chances of loose stools from the introduction of fresh food to the diet, but will also tell you what your rabbit prefers and what might upset his tummy. Current guidelines suggest three different veggies per day, alternating combinations weekly to ensure a good coverage of vitamins. Carrots and fruits have higher sugar levels in them so feed sparingly (one carrot, a slice or two of banana/apple/etc.). Your local Farmer’s Market is a great source for rabbit veggies not just human. It’s fresh picked so it lasts longer, and it’s usually a fraction of grocery store prices. Apple seeds are poisonous to rabbits so always make sure you never give them the entire core. No Iceberg lettuce or any other light leaf lettuce, potato or potato peels, rhubarb, beans, corn or anything spoiled. Rabbits can not expel gas so anything that could give a human gas is off limits to rabbits. A good feeding rule is: if you wouldn't eat it, don’t feed it to your rabbit!
Always clean, always cool, always available. Use a heavy un-tippable crock or a water bottle – or both if you decide. Never allow your bun to drink water with algae in it. Check the sipper bottle each time you refill it to make sure it’s delivering. Also make sure to disinfect and wash bottles and dishes regularly.
Banana, Mango, Pineapple, Peach, Apple, Cherries, Kiwi, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Berries, Orange and other citrus and Papaya. avoid giving them seeds or pits as most are not good for rabbits. Pineapple, mango, and papaya all contain a natural enzyme called Papain which helps to break down andprevent hairballs. Remember, ALL FRUITS SHOULD BE GIVEN IN MODERATION.
Most treat foods sold for rabbits are largely sugars and fats and should be avoided. Yogurt drops, seed/nut bars, corncobs, wafer snacks etc. are garbage foods (rabbits should not be given lactose). Stick to dried fruits with none of the extra sugar or sulfites. Carefresh has a dried apple treat. Brown’s has a crunchy alfalfa heart-shaped biscuit. Remember, moderation is the key for any snack food.
For every show I bring a minimum of 9 rabbits. You usually can't just have rabbits and NOT groom them before a show if you want to impress the judges, SO, The week before usually consists of packing supplies-feed for the trip, water, treats, grooming items and so on- grooming them, getting carriers filled with fresh bedding, food containers installed for each as well as a water dish as you think of it all. THEN you usually get up very early or leave very late to get to the show on time the next morning so you get everything packed in the car and then at the last minute load the rabbits in their carriers and into the car and if all goes to plan you are on the road shortly after, usually it does not.
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.
2 Years ago today, My very first French Lop baby was born. Max tragically passed away at only 6 months old to a back injury he sustained while doing his usual jumps in the kennel. This little man sparked my love of the breed even more than his mom and dad had. He is still missed dearly and always will be. There will never be another quite like him but he lives on in his brother Charly and his nieces and nephews.
The National FFA Organization gives young men and women a chance to develop their skills in agriculture while earning high school credit. Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization also offers leadership opportunities and competitions at local, state, and national levels. One of the projects you can earn FFA credit for is rabbit raising.
What is the difference between FFA and 4-H?4-H and FFA are very similar programs; the primary difference between them is simply that FFA is sponsored by a high school and 4-H is not. (4-H is governed by the national cooperative extension, often in partnership with state universities.) Not all high schools offer FFA (it's mostly available in rural and agricultural communities), whereas almost all counties in the United States offer a 4-H club of some type. Unlike FFA, 4-H is not restricted to agriculture, but also offers a variety of projects including homemaking, crafts, community service, and performing arts. 4-H may offer more shows throughout the year, or more contests such as rabbit showmanship. Therefore, there are many more members in 4-H than in FFA. But although involvement in 4-H can look good on scholarship and college applications, it won't actually earn you school credit like FFA will. The good news is that you can be a member in both FFA and 4-H at the same time, and many FFA students are also 4-H members.
What type of rabbits do you need to show in FFA?This totally depends on your project focus. If you intend to show your rabbits, you will probably need purebred stock. But if your goal is to provide food for your family and exhibit your success through your project record book, mixed breed rabbits might do well enough. The nice thing about FFA is that it is very structured, so you will have a teacher to answer your questions and make sure you start off right.
If you are raising rabbits for a meat pen project, breeds with "commercial" type work best. These aren't the largest rabbits that exist, but rather the breeds that mature at 10 to 12 pounds, have a quick rate of growth, and a medium-light bone structure. The Californian and New Zealand breeds are most popular, but other food choices include the American Chinchilla, Champagne d'Argent, and Satin.
If you want "fancy" rabbits for show, popular breeds include Dutch, Mini Rex, Holland Lop, and Polish. The size rabbit cage you should purchase will depend on the size of the rabbit breed that you choose. Your FFA rabbits should probably have pedigrees.
How many rabbits do you need to show in FFA?Your FFA rabbit project can be large or small; it depends on what your goals are and what your program leader requires. The important thing is that you keep your herd to a size you can manage. If you are trying to produce meat for your family, use the following numbers to help you decide how many does you should purchase:
One female rabbit of a Commercial breed can have about six litters per year and stay in good shape. Each litter will produce six to ten kits on average. Considering that not all kits survive, you can still expect to get at least six fryers out of each litter if your doe is a decent producer, more if she's a good one. Each kit needs ten weeks to grow to market size of five pounds. A five-pound fryer will dress out at about 55%, or around 2.5 pounds of meat. That means one litter of six kits will produce 15 pounds of meat in ten weeks. A litter of ten kits will produce 25 pounds of meat. If a doe has an average of 8 kits per litter and 6 kits per year, you're looking at about 120 pounds of meat per doe per year. Of course, it might take a little while for you to learn the ropes before your does produce as well as you want them to.
How many cages do you need to raise rabbits in FFA?Again, this depends on the scope of your project. But whether you are raising rabbits for "fancy" shows or for meat, you can usually achieve your goals with about 25 cages, or "holes." If you are raising rabbits for meat, you should have one buck for every eight to ten breeding does. (If you have ten or fewer does total, you may want two breeding bucks for genetic diversity, and as security in case something happens to one of them.) For every doe in production you should have three or four grow out cages for her litters, since you will want to grow some to fryer weight and others to maturity to use as replacement stock.
If you are raising rabbits for showing in FFA, you can be successful with 25 holes without being overwhelmed. It can be difficult for one person to care for more than 25 or 30 cages by themselves.
What equipment do you need to raise rabbits in FFA?First off, the cages. You should have use all-wire cages when raising rabbits for FFA. These are not only healthier for rabbits than solid-bottomed cages, but they are much easier to care for. In addition, a professional study was presented to the World Rabbit Science Association that shows rabbits prefer wire to solid-bottomed cages! You should use cages that can stack on top of one another, such as the Supreme Rabbit Homes, or use cage shelving units to preserve space.
Tip: If you prefer to build your own rabbit cages for FFA, you can buy welded wire, J-clips, and other supplies at PremiumRabbits.com
Next, the feeders. Metal J-feeders are typically preferred by FFA students, but others use crocks for food as well. Water bottles are also popular. One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need is a nest box. Each doe needs her own nest box to keep her kits safe. You can buy wood, wire, or metal nest boxes, but many people prefer metal nesting boxes that have removable wood floors. These are easy to sanitize between litters and won't harbor urine and bacteria like all-wood boxes will. They are less clunky and therefore easier to manage than all wood boxes. Steel rabbit nest boxes last for a very long time - the metal box will probably never wear out, and it's quick and easy to replace the wooden floor.
The National FFA organization is a youth leadership organization that strives to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.
FFA functions within the three-circle model of agricultural education as a student leadership organization that complements a student's classroom/laboratory instruction and supervised agricultural experience program. FFA members can compete in Career Development Events (CDE) that cover job skills in everything from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams.
Students are supervised by education teachers in cooperation with parents, employers and other adults who assist individuals in the development and achievement of educational and career goals.
FFA is represented at several different levels across the nation; FFA administration may change from state to state. The basic levels are the national level, serving all of the United States of America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; the state level, serving an individual state association; and the chapter level, serving a school or set of schools in an area. By definition, there can be three types of chapters at the secondary level, they are middle for middle school, junior for ninth grade and senior which can be either tenth through twelfth or ninth through twelfth depending on the school. Other levels include districts, subdistricts, sections, regions, areas, federations, etc.
Originally created to serve high school students, the FFA has recently moved into middle schools where membership may begin as early as age 12, allowing members to become active earlier and stay active for longer. Each chapter is chartered as part of the state association and national organization. Collegiate chapters exist as well.
Most states hold FFA conventions at least once annually, where members gather to compete, be recognized for awards, attend leadership workshops, debate organizational issues in a delegate process, and more. Nationally, the National FFA Convention & Expo is held once a year in the fall, and was originally held in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1928–1998. The convention moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1999 before moving again in 2006 to Indianapolis, Indiana. The 86th National FFA Convention & Expo will take place once again in Louisville, Kentucky in October 2013.
As the FFA is a member-led organization intended to serve youth around the Nation, it elects officers from its own diverse membership to certain levels of the FFA. At the Chapter level, and many other levels, officers elected are usually:
The most recognizable symbol of the organization is the blue corduroy FFA jacket that is worn by current FFA members. The back of the jacket features a large FFA emblem just underneath the name of each FFA member's state. The name of the local FFA chapter, district, region or area is embroidered below the emblem. The front of the FFA jacket features a smaller FFA emblem on the left chest and the FFA member's name, office and year on the right chest. FFA members are required to wear the FFA jacket as part of official dress while participating in all official organization activities.
Originally created to be worn by the Fredericktown Band of the Fredericktown FFA Chapter by Dr. Gus Lintner, the FFA Jacket was adopted in 1933.
The color of the jacket’s corduroy has ranged from shades of blue to shades of purple through the years. In 2004, the National FFA Organization worked with a supplier in North Carolina to set a new standard for the blue corduroy by using samples from archived FFA jackets. The jacket's color standardization was accompanied by a restoration of the embroidered FFA emblems and fit corrections led byClemson University's Apparel Research Center. The improved FFA jacket, produced in both Van Wert, Ohio and South Vietnam, was first made available in August 2005. Currently, all lettering, embroidery and finishing of FFA jackets is completed by Universal Lettering Company in Van Wert, Ohio.
FFA members are required to wear official FFA dress while participating in official organization activities. For females, official dress consists of a black skirt (black slacks may be appropriate for traveling and outdoor activities), a white collared blouse, an official FFA blue scarf, black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe, black nylon hosiery, and an official FFA jacket zipped to the top. Male official dress includes black dress pants, a white dress shirt, an official FFA tie, black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe, black socks and an official FFA jacket zipped to the top.
FFA members earn metal pins that signify achievement within the organization. These pins can be placed on the front of the FFA jacket, though official guidelines say no more than three pins may be worn at one time. The pins are placed beneath the FFA member's name on the right chest and can recognize the highest office, highest award, and highest organizational degree. Two exceptions exist within pin placement guidelines. When an FFA member earns a State FFA Degree or American FFA Degree, the award keys should be worn above the name on right chest or attached to the FFA jacket with a standard key chain.
As an organization, the FFA has many traditions and trademarks identifying it as an agricultural education organization:
The FFA Motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.
The FFA Mission: The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
The Official FFA Colors: National Blue and Corn Gold (worn on the Official FFA jackets).
The FFA creed was written by Erwin Milton "E.M." Tiffany of Wisconsin and adopted at the 3rd National FFA Convention. It was revised at the 38th and 63rd National FFA Conventions by the assembled delegate body. It is recited by new members to the organization to reflect their growing belief in agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA Creed also must be memorized and recited to earn the Greenhand Degree.
I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.
I believe that to live and work on a good farm or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny.
I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturalists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.
I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so-for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.
I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.
FFA Career Development Event, or CDE's, are contests that members compete in to test their skills learned through agricultural education instruction. They vary at the different levels of the FFA, and some are competed in only at certain levels and certain states, districts, areas or federations.
At the National level, there are 23 CDE's:
To be an active member in the National FFA Organization, a member must have an Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. The projects involve hands-on application of concepts and principles learned in the agricultural education classroom, with guidelines for the SAE projects governed by the state FFA delegation. SAE programs are grouped into four different areas:
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