6 Things I Want You To Know

6 things i want you to know

6 Things I Want You To Know …from my years of raising rabbits

Do you wonder what you should do – besides getting cages, food, and hay – as a beginner rabbit breeder? Wonder what other people do?

Today I’m sharing a few of the things I did when I was starting out with rabbits way back in late 2007!

Let’s jump right in: 

1 – Try multiple breeds

Why? So you know what one you really, really like.

Over my years of raising rabbits I have owned New Zealand, Netherland Dwarf, Dwarf Hotots, Polish,  crosses, and Holland Lops. I would have never known that Holland Lops are my favourite breed if I had not experimented with other breeds as well.

What I would NOT do is try them all at once…that would be too overwhelming. Holland Lops were always there. The other breeds came and went.

Most of all, don’t feel stuck with one breed you don’t like. Branch out, try something new!

2 – Start out with okay stock 

6 Things I Want You To Know

“Okay,” you’re thinking, “Uh, why?”

A couple of reasons.

One, it’s cheaper to learn on a less expensive rabbit than on a $$$ rabbit. The deaths won’t be as hard to take, the mistakes a little less painful.

Two, you can really see improvement from generation to generation. I found that this was HUGE for me! I could really see the difference in head type for my Hollands from dam to daughter. For someone starting with a breed, it is very satisfying to see that. It is harder to see improvement if you’re starting out with excellent stock and improvements are little details.

Three, you learn your breed’s standard and type really, really well.

3 – Find one very experienced, knowledgeable breeder, who is willing to teach

I was blessed to have an older, very experienced rabbit breeder within 30 minutes of me who was willing to teach me, answer my questions, and guide me. She’s still a huge help 11 years later!

It is so important to have someone close by who can give you a helping hand, answer questions, and be there in a crisis. That person can never be replaced with online communities – even though those are great as well!

4 – Don’t listen to everyone’s advise

I learned the hard way: I won’t listen to every. single. breeder. out there. I won’t believe every. single. website, blog, or Facebook group post.

It can really delay your rabbitry’s potential, stock potential, and personal potential. Just because someone doesn’t like something doesn’t mean you should too.

Just because someone doesn’t like your stock doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. They are your rabbits and your goals.

But, as I have learned, learning to take constructive criticism humbly goes a long way. The trick is figuring out what is constructive criticism and what is not. It’s hard to learn but totally worth it.

6 things I want you to know

5 – Be okay with culling

This is probably the hardest thing to learn as a new breeder.

Culling doesn’t always mean to put down. It can mean selling as a pet or as a 4H rabbit.

If you can’t put a rabbit down, find a cull buyer in your area. It’s not a weakness to not be able to. It shows how deeply you care for your animals.

6 – Know your goals and your breed standard

Having a list of goals is huge when starting out! They completely depend on your breed. For instance, a New Zealand White breeder may have weight gain goals while a French Lop breeder may have a goal of how many shows they want to attend in a year.

Goals guide you and your rabbitry.

If I was starting out again, I would study my breed’s standard. I would search for the top breeders and study their rabbits. What makes them win? What do people say about their rabbits?

I would attend more shows, see breeders in action, and handle my potential breeds. This way I can see if I really like that breed…or not.

I hope this helps you in your rabbitry journey! You’re not in it alone 🙂

Don’t forget to share this with your rabbit friends.



6 Things I Want You To Know

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