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Sunday, September 2, 2007

How soon to show

I've had people ask me, "When should I start showing my rabbits?".

Well, that depends. There is no shame in showing a rabbit you bought from someone else! Especially if that rabbit is not granded out. In fact, every rabbit I sell, I sell knowing that I could potentially compete against it in the future, and that's fine!

In my opinion, you really start getting a feel for the breed when you show a rabbit. Get out your entry, check him over, maybe even write down anything you don't feel is "right" about him- like slipped crown, lacking a little in HQ, etc. Then, listen carefully as the judge goes over him. Were you right? Did you miss something big? Have other breeders go over the rabbit too.

I had some friends start out in mini rex. I was so excited for them! They bought 5 to go with the 2 they had from a different breeder. I would always ask "when are you going to show? Are you coming to the next show?" And I always got a no for an answer. They'd repeat back to me "oh the breeder said this one needs more depth, and her ears are longer...", but I noticed after time the list of the faults of the rabbits got smaller and smaller- they were forgetting what the breeder had said! Because they didn't study the standard and hadn't seen it put in to action on the top MR in our area, they didn't know what to look for! They had to rely solely on their memories of what the breeder said, and their memories got worse over time.

Now, this is to say I don't think you should jump in to showing at all! If lots of activity going on is liable to confuse you, go to a show just as a spectator! Meet a few people, try to make a few friends, and know what to expect before you show. Keep in mind though, NO ONE is going to think bad of you if you show a rabbit that doesn't have 3 generations of your prefixes behind it! Promise :).

Showing prior to breeding also helps you out on the breeding aspect. By knowing the complete faults of your rabbits, you can set up a more complete breeding plan to fix those faults. Also, if you buy a "lemon" from someone, or get a bad rabbit from the raffle (even though you may think it's cute), where it places can help you determine it's usefulness to your program- BEFORE you raise 6 of it's spawn to weaning age and plop them on the table :).

As always, this is just my humble opinion, but I think there is no better way to learn than to jump right in and show your rabbit! :)

Keep's Rabbitry

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