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While we focus on our dwarf sized Mini Rex and large New Zealand rabbits, a big part of our rabbitry is educating others on the amazingness of rabbits.  This is our page about rabbit resources to help answer questions on rabbit care, breeders and shelters, and how to show a bunny.  For those outside the Rochester, Fingerlakes area, a few fellow breeders are also listed.

 

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Adoption Centers

 

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Rabbit Care/Housing

 

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Showing & Judging

 

Animal Shelters and Rescue Organizations:

-(Fairport, NY) LollypopFarm
-(Canandaigua, NY) OntarioCountyHappyTails
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(East Syracuse, NY) HunterHollow
-(Washington Mills, NY) TheRabbitResource

Fellow Rabbit Breeders:

-Minnow Lake Rabbitry (Maine) - Mini Rex in Shaded, Otters, Black, and Brokens. Contact: Facebook PM

-Family Pride Rabbitry (Canada) - Mini Rex in BEW, Self, and Shaded.  English Lops.  Contact: Facebook PM

-Hill Hoppers Rabbitry (Woodstock, VT) - Mini Rex in Sable, Seal, Castor, and Brokens.

-LMR Rabbitry Group (Schehary County Area/Sunshine Fair) - Mini Rex in TriColor, Chocolate, and Castor.

-Dees Bunny Blue Rabbitry (Binghamton Area) - Mini Rex in Selfs, Broken, and TriColor.  Flemish Giant in Black and Blue. Email: BigBunnyBlues at gmail.com

-"Rabbit Breeders US" Public Search Engine - Any breeder (responsible or not) can list here.  Great tool so long as you follow up with research on the breeder.

-"Raising Rabbits" Public Search Engine - Any breeder (responsible or not) can list here.  Great tool so long as you follow up with research on the breeder.

Rabbit Care Resources: 

(This information is from our own experiences and research and is by no means a complete guide for every rabbit.  It is meant as a starting point for rabbit care.  Always do your own cross-research and consult with an experienced veterinarian for specific situations.)

Housing

What do you feed rabbits?

Rabbits have different nutrition requirements throughout their lifetime based on age, breed, metabolism, activity level, and breeding status.  They have an amazingly specialized digestive system that, although effective, is very sensitive in some ways.  A healthy rabbit starts with their gut.   The basics remain the same for all with adjustments made based on the individual:

-Always have clean, fresh water available.

  -Bowls are easier to clean, but easily get debris and paws in them and may turn into a new toy to throw around.

  -For bowls, use a heavy stoneware dish or one that can be latched to the cage/enclosure.

    -Stoneware bowls

    -Latching crocks

  -Bottles are easier to keep full and free of debris, but harder to clean thoroughly.  Found with most pet stores and show venders.

    -Plastic Bottles

    -Glass Bottles

-Grass Hay should be free-fed or offered multiple times per day.  Rabbit have immensely specialized, and

  sensitive, digestive systems that require the long strands of grass hays to function properly.

  - Timothy Grass Hay

  - "Meadow Grass" Hay

  - Orchard Grass Hay

-Pelletized Feed is a supplement to to hay that fills in the gaps and adds enough protein, minerals, and more to the diet.  It's best to stick to the pellets without mixed candies in them, or "lucky charms feed" as we call it.  A complete feed is only complete when each bite has everything required and cannot have the sweets and treats picked out.  Our Mini Rex usually eat between 1/4-1/2 cup per night while the New Zealands are around 1/2cup per night.  We feed pellets once at night and generally feed less when more than a few pellets are left by morning, or when Body Condition gets high.  Whenever changing to a new bag or a new brand, always slowly mix in the new pellet over a week's time to get the gut used to it. 

  - Pet Rabbits have a more treat-filled diet and (usually) are not needing the extra protein or calcium that breeding animals require.  A high-quality pellet of between 12-16% protein works well for them.  We recommend Oxbow who have many quality and consistency checks with their rabbit feed, hay, treats, and toys.

  - Show Rabbits take a bit more input to keep them in exhibition shape and often have fewer treats being given out on a regular basis.  For 4-class animals, a 16% protein pellet works well.  For most 6-class and Angora rabbits, a 18% protein pellet works well.  

  - Breeding Does/Growing Kits require higher levels of calcium to maintain a steady milk supply and healthy bone growth.  Generally an 18% protein feed with supplemented Alfalfa Hay until the kits are weaned is suggested.  

  - Baby Rabbits are especially susceptible to digestive troubles when they start trying out solid food at 2-3 weeks and when they're weaned away around 6-7 weeks.  In addition to the free-fed grass hay diet with higher protein pellets, be sure to add in extra dandelion greens when available.

   

How do I know if my rabbit is fat, thin, or healthy?

Body Condition should be evaluated every day before feeding treats and supplements.  This is a scale of how much muscle/fat is over the bones.  An animal who is in perfect balance is considered a "3" and will feel solid and have good muscling and only a small amount of fat over the shoulders, elbows and belly.  "2" is a lean one and is needing a few more pellets and greens.  "1" is emaciated and in emergency need of dandelions, more pellets, and a trip to a veterinarian if weight does not increase.  Going the other direction, "4" has some extra squish over the back, elbows, and can be a little jiggly when lifted.  Cut back on pellets and treats a little and ensure Grass hay is available free-feed until back to a "3".  "5" is dangerously obese, showing a ballooned potbelly of fat and large deposits over the rest of the body.  Lack of cleaning around the vent or other areas requiring bending, as well as soft stool or diarrhea may also be noted.  Immediately cut back to almost completely hay with just a small amount of pellets and greens.  If weight does not reduce from this, check with your vet.

-Treats are highly useful and highly enjoyed!  Take consideration to the type of treat for how often and how much to give.  An easy way to think of it is treats being comparable to candy.  A child doesn't function well with five snickers bars and a cake a day, nor does a bunny with their versions.

  - Frequent or almost free-feed treats include most herbs (Thyme, Parsley, Oregano, Dill, Basil, etc.), Clovers, and Kale(per conversations with our vet and CornellUni, this one portion of the brassica family does not pose the mineral content consideration as others).

  - Semi-limited are higher in mineral, water, or fat content but not super high:  These would be brassica family plants (cabbage, broccoli, brusselsprouts), spinach, lettuces (excluding iceberg types), sunflower seeds, green beans, carrot/radish/beet tops...

  - Infrequent treats or training only are higher in sugars, waters, and/or fats: fruits, carrot oranges, seed cakes, yogurt treats, iceberg lettuce...

 

Do rabbits need to chew things?

Yes!  Rabbit teeth continuously grow throughout life and require regular wearing down to stay the right length.  While pellets and hay do some wear, offering harder items not only helps to keep those teeth nice and healthy but also adds some great enrichment opportunities for the bunny!

-Chew Toys help maintain healthy teeth and are just plain fun for the rabbits.  Having them available also can reduce chewing on less wanted items.  Rabbit teeth continue growing throughout their lifetime and, while the hay and pellets do help, wood based toys are far more efficient.

  - Fresh pruned stick and twigs from rabbit safe trees: Apple and Red Dogwood are our favourites as they grow super fast and are safe fresh.

  - Chunks of non-treated, dried wood.

  - Get creative!  Drill some holes through sticks and small chunks of wood, then thread wire through and hang it as a replaceable chew toy.  Or make homemade woven grapevines and dry them into fun shapes to throw around.

Do rabbits need brushing or grooming?

Most rabbits, when in a clean, healthy and happy environment, will groom themselves.  However, all bunnies shed and sometimes they can use some extra help.  In our experience, the simplest answer is often the best: hands are our grooming tool of choice.  Regular petting removes much of the loose fur and gentle plucking can pull the tufts of fur from the occasional heavy shedding.  For the times extra is needed, these tools can also be of use:

- Grooming Block (lightly removes top layer of loose fluff)

- "Furminator" Brush (When carefully used, can get out undercoat and clean up your carpet after the fur storm)

- Wire brush (Use carefully to prevent skin injury, can work well to loosen small mats or brush out wool-furred buns)

- (Rex coats only) low-quality, barely sticky lint roller (The slight stick picks up just the loose hairs on a rex-furred animal.  Do not use on normal)

Can rabbits be bathed?

Baths are a last resort for super dirty bunnies.  Especially with rex-coated animals, aim to keep their environment clean enough to avoid needing water washes.  When required, use pet-safe shampoo and warm water.  Prevent water/soap from going into their ears, eyes, or nose.  Once done, dry thoroughly in a warm area to prevent hypothermia or getting ill.

Rabbit Shows & Exhibiting:

Upcoming Shows can be found on the ARBA site (national) or the NY Breeders site (NY State only).  

The next shows we plan to attend:

  • July 23, 2024 (Tuesday) - Ontario County Fair, Rabbit/Horse Barn - Canandaigua, NY

  • August 24, 2024 - New York State Fair, Rabbit/Poultry Building - Syracuse, NY

  • Sept 21, 2024 - Genesee County Fairgrounds - Batavia, NY

  • Oct 5&6, 2024 - Grandfinals at the NYS Fairgrounds Progress Building - Syracuse, NY

Rabbit shows are a place where breeders gather to have their rabbits judged against one another, compare breeding progress between herds, and catch up with friends.  Rabbits who don't make the cut for show/breeding and would be better as pets, or who would better suit another breeder's herd genetics, are offered for sale here as well.  These fun events are free and open to the public to visit and most exhibitors love talking about their animals between classes!  Basic show etiquette requires respect and consideration for others, be that resisting the temptation to touch others' rabbits, understanding that exhibitors may sprint off at a moment's notice when their class is called, or showing support for the winners.  Rabbit breeding is not something done for profits; it is done for a love of rabbits and the pride in every improving generation, a characteristic easily seen in the rabbit community! 

How to Compete in a Rabbit (or cavy) Show

  - Enter the show.  Visit the ARBA or local site lists for upcoming shows and look through their Show Catalogues, published around a month before each show.  Entries are usually due 1-2 weeks before the show date.  Details on the show as well as instructions for entries will be found in the catalogue.  Pre-entries are cheaper, offered as either email, snail mail, or an online entry site.  Day-of-show-entries or last minute changes are more expensive and must be done prior to the show beginning.  Multiple shows are often done on the same day/location, called "Double" or "Triple" shows.  Rabbits can be entered in individual shows (only show A, or both shows A & B for example).  "OPEN" is for all exhibitors, whereas "YOUTH" is for 5-18 year olds only and Must have the rabbits brought to the table by a Youth.  Many Youth show under Open simply for the greater competition, but the option is there.

  - Prep your rabbits. 

    - The week before, clip all nails so the rough edges have time to dull.  Double check all entered rabbits for correct ear numbers, sexes, age classes, and any disqualifying characteristics.  Shows give a little lee-way to entry changes when done enough ahead. 

    - The night before do a health check on all show animals to make sure anyone who is not in good condition is left home.  This includes sore hocks, emaciation, parasites, or discharge from eyes/nose for a few.  Brush out any shedding rabbits so minimal is needing done at the show (and less fur is flying around the showroom).

    - Set up your carriers and all supplies needed. The safest travel carrier should be just big enough for the rabbit to stand on fours and lay down (think of it like a car seat).  A list can be helpful to avoid forgetting any items, such as chairs, snacks, transition feed for any sold rabbits, etc. 

  - Travel to the show. There is a "showroom open" time, a "check in" time and "show start" time.  Always plan your travel to arrive between the showroom opening and check in.  If no opening time is given, 1hr before check-in is usually safe to assume.  Check-in can be done at the Registration Table, where entries are paid for by cash or cheque.  Set up your carriers within the room, being mindful of sharing space and keeping walkways clear.  If you raise a larger numbered breed, look for others of the same breed to set up near as often the judging tables will be set close to them.

  - Show time! Often starting at 9 or 10a.m., the show superintendent will announce the beginning of judging.  Keep a close eye (and ear) on your breed's tables so as soon as your breed is called you can be ready to go when your animal's class comes up.  Slow exhibitors will be disqualified after three calls (and holds up the show unfairly), so pay attention and stay close.  Rabbits are divided into breed, then variety, then class, then sex.  Breeds with a lot of varieties (ex: Mini Rex, Netherland Dwarf, Lops) will also have "groups" to make Best of Breed easier to judge and give more chances at GC Legs. 

Rabbit Hopping Sport

 

Yes, it is indeed a sport!  Imagine rabbit-scale horse jumps, or mini-sized canine agility courses.  This team activity is a great way to bond with your bunny, get some exercise, and have fun all at the same time.  This incredible sport was officially recognized with the newly founded American Hopping Association for Rabbits and Cavies(AHARC) in 2013 and popularity has continued to increase.  Not sure if you have a future champion?  Here are some tips and resources for getting into this great pasttime.

1. Getting a hopping bunny is the first step.  Any rabbit has the potential to be a hopping bunny, but there are some who are more suited than others.  Look for a confident, outgoing, energetic personality when choosing your bun.  If they can't sit still, they'll be easier to coax over that first training jump.  Smaller breeds (under 8lbs) tend to handle higher jumps more safely while large breeds can still compete at lower heights.

2. Find a harness.  You'll want an H-Style harness with a latch on both the belly and the neck loops.  This is required to compete, and just plain safer for the animal.  Lupine brand harnesses for cats work great and offer a lifetime chew guarantee.  The small version is good for MiniRex-sizes and the large can fit a small Flemish Giant.

3. Start training with your own hops at home.  These can be as simple as a couple straight sticks loosely stacked into a couple empty milk jugs, or competition style wood ones.  Make your own or purchase pre-made from places like AdventureBunnyHopping.  Lay out one bar on the ground, ideally with barriers to each side, and gently encourage or entice the bunny over.  Once they're comfortable hopping over the floor bar, add another an inch up.  Contiue practicing with those then add more height and/or more jumps as you go.  Frequent and short sessions are the best!  Once doing multiple jumps, only allow hopping in one direction, lest they learn to turn around half-way through.

4.  Never force a bunny to hop; this is something the rabbit should enjoy!  No pushing with feet, no dragging, no scaring.  To encourage hopping, try treats on the other side or pick them up and re-set their position to start again.  Remember, not all rabbits want to be athletes and have their strengths in other areas.

4. Compete!  Competitions are mostly volunteer-run.  Join the hopping community boards to see when upcoming events are planned, or check Rabbit Show Catalogues for mentions of at-show competitions.

-(Jumps, Supplies and info) AdventureBunnyHopping&Agility

-(Official USA Hopping Club) AmericanHoppingAssociation

- (Safe, Secure, and Chew Guaranteed H-Style Harnesses) LupinePetProducts

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