Top Tips from Pro ARBA Breeders

top tips from pro arba breeders

Top Tips from Pro ARBA Breeders

Following is a list of top tips compiled from this thread on the Members of ARBA – Amercian Rabbit Breeders Association Facebook Page.

Ever wish you could pick the brain of every seasoned rabbit breeder you know? What questions would you ask if you had 1 hour of uninterrupted time with them?

Threads on high-quality Facebook groups can bring you pretty close to that kind of experience!

I had the privilege of being able to read through a great thread on the Members of ARBA Facebook page…and gleaned some amazing tips from it. I collected the best for you all here. Enjoy!

> On getting started:

The very first thing I would do is go to a couple of shows and talk with the breeders that raise the breed you are interested in. Most will go out of their way to help you and answer your questions. There is nothing worse than getting into a breed just to find out you are not compatible with the other breeders.

Prior to breeding, research your breed. Get informed about breeding, housing, what a kit needs to survive and how to do it. Don’t have a litter and not how-how to successfully raise it as a breeder.

Win, lose or disqualified: if you’re not having fun at a show you’re doing something wrong. And when buying new stock think of it like buying a scratch-off lottery ticket. You might win big, might break even, or you might end up tossing it in the trash. But don’t invest more on the gamble than you can afford to lose, because it’s always a gamble, never a sure thing.

Have a plan and stick to it.

Starting off I took my brood does to a few shows to make sure I wasn’t missing a huge fault or DQ. It was sorta my insurance policy.”

Never buy a rabbit you can’t afford to eat.

Read and learn the ARBA Standard of Perfection. It’s a wealth of information.

Talk to lots of breeders and attend shows. While you are there ask for opinions from the judges before you buy anything.”

> On breeding, culling, and related tips:

top ten tips from pro arba breeders

“Buy a related pair or trio that is the best you can afford and breed your own winners.”

“Do not breed to breed. Make sure each pair is a solid match and has a good type.”

Know your breed standards inside and out. Don’t do multiple breeds until you are solid in one breed.”

Remember to do what works for you & your animals. Just because something works for “me”, does not mean that the same something will work for “you.” Take it in, then use or discard the advice/recommendation based on your needs.

Know your rabbits. This includes buying and reading the SOP. Joining your State and National clubs for their informational booklets. Watching how your lines grow and develop. Each rabbit is an individual so pay attention to them and all their differences. Some need a quiet place some like more attention. Some eat less some eat more.

Don’t give up if something doesn’t go right and don’t breed for colour, breed for type, Quality not Quantity.”

Yep, built your barn first … then paint it.

Breed a lot and cull hard.

Culling can be sold as a pet or selling to someone who has an alternative use for your culls if you don’t have an alternative use yourself. For a very established selective successful breeder, their culls can be someone else’s starter stock– as others have said, culling is simply removing from your herd. There is no possible way that every rabbit you produce can help your herd– you only keep and breed forward with what will improve your stock.

“Cull anything that is vicious and/or eats their young. life is too short to deal with mean rabbits and you don’t want that in your lineage.

get to know your crowns!

Be honest about your stock and don’t let emotions rule you. In the beginning, you may have to make exceptions to this rule if the stock you can afford or have access to doesn’t have everything you need. My rule in that case (actually in general) is to never let a fault continue for a 2nd generation. So if you must use a rabbit that easily stresses, or has a chopped HQ, cross to something that is very strong in that area, and doesn’t keep any kits with that same fault.

Don’t outcross your stock too many times. Keep your line tight.

Put rabbits in grow-out cages and let them grow. Patience.

Never let someone tell you that what stock you have is bad for your breeding program. Everyone’s opinion is different, as a youth breeder myself, who breeds one of the most complex typed breeds, (Himalayans) I am gonna tell you right now that you will love a rabbit’s type, but then someone else will hate it. It’s what YOU want in your barn, not what THEY think.

Don’t let every judge’s comment affect you. Record all of the comments and see what the common factor is (ie: shoulders, loin, hind, markings, fur, etc). Then work on bettering those areas one by one. See if the comments improve or worsen. Sometimes you have to take some judges with a grain of salt so don’t base all of your culls on one judge’s opinion. Do an overall survey of your animals and breeding and go from there.

Don’t buy because it’s cute, cheap, or buy from everyone you see under the sun. Take your time to do your research.”

The more “experienced” breeders usually do sell for more. But it is also usually worth it.”

Buying something that’s older and proven producer can be worth it. Plus some slightly older brood does breeders will let go for less as they know they are past prime production ( but ask when last litter was).”

top tops from pro arba breeders

Remember that not everyone who claims to be “the best” is the best. That even if they are winning left and right, doesn’t mean they have the best animals. Don’t let wins and legs be the reason you buy an animal from a certain breeder. Let consistency and what you need be the reason.

Culling hard will get you where you want to go with your breed faster than not culling. Only keep the best that you possibly can.

Breed the best, eat the rest.”

Don’t over pose and watch for over posing.

Breed hard…..cull harder.”

Wow. There are years and years of experience talking here.

Enjoy, and keep an eye out for Part 2.


Top Tips from Pro ARBA Breeders

2 thoughts on “Top Tips from Pro ARBA Breeders

  1. i am working hard to keep quality in my Holland stock. Today is my cull day i need to reduce by 15 for the winter. I read and reread as many articles as i can on what to look for ever arcticle is so helpful. I never want to get non criticle of my stock. Thankyou for your arcticle.

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