There are many breeds of rabbit, with significant variations among them, and choosing one depends upon the intended use of the animal. (Rabbits are most commonly used as pets, or for meat or laboratory use.) Flemish Giants weigh in at a hefty average of 15 pounds, but the Netherland Dwarf is a modest 1 to 2 pounds. The Holland Lop, a popular breed, sits in the middle, at 4 to 5 pounds. A common belief is that the mini breeds are more aggressive, so ask experts for advice when making a decision. Buying from a reputable and knowledgeable breeder in your area is the best option. The breeder will ensure that your animal has not been exposed to any diseases and can help you select the most appropriate animal for your needs. Also, a local breeder usually can charge a lower price than a pet store.
Showing in 4-H is open to all types of youth rabbit owners, from owners who have a single pet to small breeding operators. In showmanship classes, the judge asks questions, which tests a youth's knowledge of his specific animal and rabbits in general. To score well, rabbits need regular handling so they are accustomed to the particular demands of the show ring. Higher scores go to rabbits that best exemplify their breed standards, which cover specifics ranging from body type and ear conformation to appropriate muscling and weight. Overall health is also a factor.
Youth competition is tied to the county fair season, which runs from July to September, with the Kentucky State Fair falling in August. By travelling the show circuit, youth broaden their horizons, learn responsibility and strengthen personal connections, where they make new acquaintances and reconnect with friends who share the same livestock-related hobby.
For more information, visit http://www.tksrba.com/ or http://www.arba.net/Breeds.htm, or contact the Logan Cooperative Extension Service or Emily McElfresh, Rabbit Club leader, at 755-2238.
Source: Mark Mains, Extension Specialist for 4-H Youth Development, Teen and International programs
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.