Engaging in 4-H rabbit shows and ARBA (American Rabbit Breeder Association) shows is a great way to develop animal cultivation skills, love for animals and a general sense of responsibility and compassion for other living things. If you like rabbits already and you’d like to take your passion to the next level by taking part in these 4-H rabbit shows, read on for great tips:
- Know which breed to choose. There are actually many guidelines for choosing a rabbit breed, but you should start with knowing how to choose the best one for your situation. There are more than 40 different kinds of rabbit breeds, and these come in four general categories: small (2-6 pounds at maturity); medium (6-9 pound at maturity); large (9-11 pounds at maturity); and giant (11 and more pounds at maturity). If you are just starting out, your best bet is to go for rabbits of the small to medium category. This is also true if you have limited rabbitry space and budget for feeding costs.
Apart from size, another factor you should consider is the rabbit’s temperament. If you’re new to raising rabbits it’s best that you choose breeds that are known to be docile and meek; these breeds include the Florida White, Mini Lop, and Netherland Dwarf. More aggressive breeds are the Britannia Petite and Tan.
- Know how to choose your rabbit. When choosing your rabbit, you should inspect them for the following factors: its age (it’s best that you choose one between 3 months to 1 year) and its over-all physical condition, particularly its fur, its teeth, its eyes (the eyes should be clear and not watery nor cloudy), its ears (should not be crusty), and its feet (should be well-padded and not bleeding).
- Give your rabbit the best care possible. It’s important that you read up on guidelines so you could know how to best care for your new pet rabbit. Read this helpful article about how to raise and care for a rabbit. You could also refer to the ARBA’s Standard of Perfection handbook so you would know what factors will be considered when your rabbit is being judged during a 4-H show.
- Groom your rabbit. If you have consistently given your rabbit the best care, it will definitely show in his appearance. However, you should also take the extra effort of grooming your rabbit to make sure that she is polished for the show. Begin by brushing your rabbit’s fur properly (keep an eye out for fleas), clean your bunny’s ears, and trim her nails.
- Attend 4-H rabbit shows. Find out whether there are rabbit shows scheduled at your area, and take the time to attend them so you would have an idea about what goes on at such events. During these shows, you may also start purchasing your rabbits and equipment; this is the best place to start buying because you’d be sure that most of what’s being sold is up-to-par with 4-H and ARBA standards.
- Have showmanship. During the show itself, you should know the proper steps to do so you could score the highest points from the judges. Some of the steps to observe include the following: carrying the rabbit properly (right hand under the rabbit’s chest and left hand under the rump); posing the rabbit (place the rabbit on the table, making sure his head faces forward to the judges); checking the eyes and ears, teeth, nose and front paws; checking the gender; checking the legs, nails, hock, tail, chest, abdomen and fur; asking the judge for questions; and returning the rabbit to the carrier. Again, the best thing is to observe for yourself actual 4-H shows so you would have a firmer grasp of the procedures.
Learning how to showcase your 4-H rabbits will definitely instill in you a sense of responsibility. If you’ve always been a fan of these furry creatures, then starting this hobby will definitely be exciting for you! Good luck!