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Category: Commercial Rabbit Production

Breeding Like Rabbits….Or NOT!

It’s late winter, and if you haven’t kept your does productive through the winter season, you may be struggling to get them in the mood and doing their jobs now.

There can be a lot of reasons for that, so let’s look at a few of them. I’m going to give you some research excerpts, but you’ll have to do at least some further research for yourselves.

Three common causes of breeding issues this time of year in the U.S. are:

  • Resource Allocation and Mobilization
  • Day Length and Light Intensity
  • Sexual Receptivity

Resource Allocation and Mobilization

Resource allocation is the term given to how rabbit does store energy for use (mobilization) during periods of high energy demand, like lactation.

  1. When properly raised doelings (those who have never encountered dietary deficiencies, have been healthy, and have been kept in sanitary conditions) have reached 80-85% of their mature size, they will enter the puberty stage of development and be not only capable of conceiving and raising a litter, but will do so without detrimental effect.

That “magic number” does vary a little bit depending on the base genetics, but in my experience it is generally true for most commercial type does with expected maturity weights of 9 to 12 pounds.

Part of that “magic number” includes stored resources. When doelings are allowed a quality, ad libitum diet through the rearing period (from wean to puberty), they will begin to store excess calories as abdominal fat, aka adipose tissue.

This particular fat is actually called perirenal fat and the thickness of it is a well studied factor in rabbit reproduction.

 The use of in vivo methods to assess the evolution of fat tissue, such as the perirenal fat thickness method (Pascual et al., 2000, 2004), allowed the description of how females manage their body reserves during reproduction. Although some works have studied the relation of body reserves around parturition and fertility (Rebollar et al., 2011; Romero et al., 2011), no works have described the direct effect of body-reserves mobilisation around partum on the fertility of rabbit females in their subsequent mating. Therefore, the main objective of this work was to describe the dynamic of fat reserves use and its effects on the fertility of primiparous rabbit females. (Savietto et al., 2016)

The does ability to allocate and mobilize resources (store energy and then use it when and how she needs it) is known to be a genetic factor that can be selected for, but it is also affected by the quality of the diet AND the size of the litter she’s rearing.

The growth of young rabbits during the 3 weeks just after birth depends mainly of the milk production from their mother (Szendrö, 2000). Milk production depends particularly of the genetic potential of the doe strain, of the feeding conditions and especially of the size of the suckled litter (Lebas, 1969; Lukefahr et al., 1981; Garcia- Dalmán et al., 2012)

The specific role of diet on not only the does health and performance, but more pointedly on the growth and performance of the litter has been studied as well, although this particular study led to more questions.

Our results suggest that the addition of fat in the doe diet increases the milk intake of kits, which in turn decreases their solid feed intake before weaning. The high milk intake before weaning was found to have a negative effect on the health of young rabbits after weaning when under the same feeding conditions, suggesting an effect on cecal microbiota maturation. Further experiments before weaning to better define dietary preference in suckling rabbits are needed. (Read T. et al., 2016.)

So, what do we do if we suspect that our does have too much internal fat stored, and how does that have anything to do with, well, anything?!

Remember, the fat we’re talking about is perirenal fat, which is located on the outer surface of the kidneys. What is located in close proximity to the kidneys? The ovaries! So, when there is excess perirenal fat, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are often partially or totally obstructed. No matter how willing the doe is to breed, if her eggs can’t get to the fallopian tubes, they can’t be fertilized and the breeding will not result in a litter.

Now, think about WHY the doe has stored that perirenal fat in the first place. It is stored as an energy source during lactation, concurrent lactation and gestation, and even for when her feeder runs dry but she needs calories. Oh, EUREKA! If she’s hungry, she’ll burn that fat!!!

If you have does who just will not breed, or who will breed but are not conceiving, put them on a diet! I have found that reducing their normal feed intake by 50% for ten to fourteen days usually does the trick. I’m a cold-hearted meanie head so I rarely give them “busy work” like hay to keep them busy when they’re hungry, but you certainly can give them rabbit safe chew sticks or horse quality hay to help alleviate their boredom (otherwise, you might find some bowls chewed on or neighbors scratched/bit by grumpy, hungry does). Just remember, the goal is to make them burn up those stored calories.

Because body weight is not necessarily a great indicator of perirenal fat thickness, you simply can’t just weigh the doe and assume she’s good. If she isn’t producing, try a diet; she will probably breed, and conceive, by the time that 14 days is up! Once she breeds, feed her to her appetite (whatever she will actually clean up each day without being frantic for the next meal).

Most of my does eat a standard six weighed ounces of pellets daily when they are not lactating, but I know that because I weigh their feed. You don’t have to weigh feed daily; just weigh a scoop full of feed, and use that for every rabbit. I use a Nutter Butter cookie cup (one of those travel things I get my kids for treats sometimes), which holds six ounces of my feed, or a generic chip dip tub that holds just under twelve ounces if I really cram the pellets in there. Nobody said you had to be all fancy or totally accurate to the last gram! LOL

Day Length and Light Intensity

So when we’ve investigated and addressed resource allocation, what’s next?

The first step should be increasing daylight hours, and maybe even light intensity, via artificial lighting. According to (Eiben et al., 2016):

Comparing 8, 10, 12, 14 or 16 h daily fluorescent lightning with 20 lux light intensity Mousa-Balabel (2011) found that 14 h lighting was optimal for doe performance. Supplemental lighting of 14 h per day with 30 lux light intensity with incandescent bulbs favored productivity when natural photoperiod was decreasing (Mattaraia et al., 2005). Quintela et al. (2001) and Theau-Clément (2007) also found better receptivity and fertility but they increased the day length from 8 to 16 h and used higher, 70 lux light intensity. Theau-Clément (2007) reported reduced weaning weight. Intermittent 12 h daily lighting with 40 lux light intensity reduced rabbit does’ feed intake (Virág et al., 2000). Others assessed the impact of lighting schedule or light colour in rabbit does by the generally used, 30-70 lux light intensity (Gerencsér et al., 2008ab; Kalaba and Abdel-Khalek, 2011). Maertens and Luzi (1995) used higher, 120 lux light
intensity with fluorescent bulbs and increased the day length from 10 to 16 h in preceding 5 days before AI. This lighting schedule resulted in reproduction similar to what they found with 16 h lighting.
According to  World Rabbit Science Association
Proceedings 11th World Rabbit Congress – June 15-18, 2016 – Qingdao – China 190 Matics et al. (2015) with 16 h daily lighting, the rabbit does preferred cages with 10-20 lux to those with 150-200 lux light intensity but the number of kits born alive was lower. Besenfelder et al. (2004) studied the effect of 46-97 lux or 210-590 lux light intensity with 16 h daily neon lighting. They observed higher sperm concentration with higher light intensity. Sperm output can be influenced by the duration and source of lighting (El Hammady and Abdel-Kareem, 2015).

In this particular study by Eiben et al., lighting consisting of warm-white neon and cold-white LED with intensity varying from 40 to 50 lux, and durations from 9 to 16 hours were studied in an effort to determine the effect of light duration and intensity on sexual receptivity in artificially inseminated does.

You don’t have to be using AI to gain some valuable information, and suggestions, from this research! In a nutshell, does are more receptive, and therefore more productive, when they get more hours of light each day. But…what is a lux?

A lux is actually a measurement of light intensity, and it is equal to 1 lumen per square meter. We don’t buy light bulbs with lux measurements on the box though, they have lumen measurements. That’s because the lux that a bulb provides is determined by the space it illuminates. A good example to kind of bring this all together is that it requires about 300 lux, in any space, to comfortably read for a prolonged period of time. That’s 6 times the maximum artificial lighting provided the does in this study, so that tells you how little of a change you can make and get results.

LED lighting and photo-stimulation have positive effects on oestrus since pregnancy and kindling rates were increased compared to the values obtained by neon lighting. With the tested LED lighting and LED “dual” photo-stimulation (increased day length and light intensity around AI), the summer production of controlled nursing rabbits can be improved. (Eiben et al., 2016)

Sexual Receptivity

Once you’ve dealt with resource allocation, and made any adjustments to daylight hours or light intensity you might need to make, what’s left?

Well, quite simply, is the doe even in the mood? Sexual receptivity can be a pretty common problem, and I am continually astonished at how many folks don’t even check for common receptivity signs before they attempt to breed a doe.

Sexual receptivity is associated with a better fertility (Theau-Clément et al., 2015); possessing a higher number of preovulatory follicles in the ovaries (Kermabon et al., 1994) and higher plasma estrogen concentrations (Rebollar et al., 1992). Also, itis associated with high prolificacy, higher ovulation intensity, fertilization rate, and higher embryo survival (Hoffman et al., 2010).

Basically, does that are receptive are MOST fertile, ovulate better, and conceive more viable embryos. It’s not rocket science folks…if your does are not receptive, you’re not gaining much by trying to force a breeding.

So what are the signs of receptivity? One of the surest ways is to check their vulvas. You really should be doing this before every single breeding attempt as part of a thorough pre-breeding exam…you do not want to breed an unhealthy doe, so those exams can save you a lot of time and money.

Another method that I personally like to use, particularly on virgin does who may just generally be nervous about handling, is the tail tap. The tail tap is super simple to perform, doesn’t require that you pick up, flip, or hold the doe at all, and I have found it to be exceptionally reliable as an indicator of receptivity.

To perform the tail tap, you’ll need to locate the base of the tail bone with the tip of your index or middle finger. The doe should be sitting comfortably. Some does will really tuck their tail when you go fiddling around back there, but I promise, you don’t have to touch anything but that tail bone. You’ll actually be way closer to their anus than their vulva if that makes you feel a little better, lol

Once you locate the base of the tail bone, tap it a few times with your finger tip and watch her tail and hindquarters. If she cocks her tail to one side but doesn’t lift, leave her alone and try again tomorrow. Most will go from tail cocking to lifting sky high within 48 hours.

If she lifts, but not very high, try her with a buck, or try the tail tap again. More often than not she will lift higher within three to twelve hours, or stop lifting altogether. Most of the time, you can decide whether to try her with the buck or give her a few hours by checking her vulva.

  • Does who are not at all receptive will have a vulva that is pale/white, and very dry looking.
  • Does who are PAST prime receptivity will have a vulva that is very swollen, and very very dark pink to purple, but not very moist looking.
  • Does that are at prime receptivity will have vulvas that are moderately swollen, very bright pink, and very moist looking.

Hopefully I’ve included reference information below for every noted study, but if you find one I missed let me know! I’m happy to edit and add it in.

Tresa

REFERENCES

Besenfelder U., Theau-Clément M., Sabbioni E., Castellini C., Renieri T., Havlicek V., Huber T., Wetscher F., Mösslacher G., Brem G. 2004. Effects of different light intensities on quality of spermatozoa in rabbits. World Rabbit Sci., 12, 227-234.

Eiben Cs., Sándor M., Sándor F., Kustos K., 2016 – Effect of photostimulation, light source and season on reproductive performance of rabbit does. Proceedings 11th World Rabbit Congress – June 15-18, 2016 – Qingdao- China,189-192.

El-Hammady H.Y., Abdel-Kareem A.A.A. 2015. Influence of photoperiod and light source on semen characteristics, physiological responses and some blood parameters of rabbit bucks. Egypt. Poult. Sci., 35, 543-555.

García-Dalmán C., González-Mariscal G., 2012. Major role of suckling stimulation for inhibition of estrous behaviors in lactating rabbits: Acute and chronic effects. . Hormones and behavior, 61, 108-113.

Gerencsér Zs., Matics Zs., Nagy I., Princz Z., Biró-Németh E., Radnai I., Szendrő Zs. 2008a. Effect of colour of light on the reproductive performance of rabbit does. In: Proc. 9th World Rabbit Congress, 2008 June, Verona, Italy, 365-369.

Gerencsér Zs., Matics Zs., Nagy I., Princz Z., Orova Z., Biró-Németh E., Radnai I., Szendrő Zs. 2008b. Effect of a light stimulation on the reproductive performance of rabbit does. In: Proc. 9th World Rabbit Congress, 2008 June, Verona, Italy, 371-374.

Hoffman K.L., Hernandez Decasa D.M., Beyer Ruız M.E., Gonzalez-Mariscal G. 2010. Scent marking by the male domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is stimulated by an object’s novelty and its specific visual or tactile characteristics. Behav. Brain Res., 207, 360-367.

Kalaba Z.M., Abdel-Khalek A.E. 2011. Reproductive performance of rabbit does and productivity of their kits in response to colour of light. Asian J. Anim. Vet. Adv., 6, 814-822.

Kermabon A.Y., Belair L., Theau-Clément M., Salesse R., Djiane J. 1994. Effect of anoestrus and bromocryptine treatment on the expression of prolactin and LH receptors in the rabbit ovary during lactation. J. Reprod. Fert., 102, 131-138.

Lebas F., 1969. Alimentation lactée et croissance pondérale du Lapin avant sevrage. Ann. Zootech., 18, 197-208.

Lukefahr S.D., Hohenboken W., Cheeke P.R., Patton N.M., 1981. Milk production and litter growth traits in straightbred and crossbred rabbits. Journal of Applied Rabbit Research, 4, 35-40.

Maertens L., Luzi F. 1995. Effect of diluent and storage time of rabbit semen on the fertility of does reared under two different lighting schedules. World Rabbit Sci., 3, 27-34.

Maertens L., Lebas F., Szendrö Zs. 2006. Rabbit milk: a review of quantity, quality and non-dietary affecting factors. World Rabbit Sci., 14, 205-230.

Matics Zs., Gerencsér Zs., Radnai I., Kasza R., Szendrő Zs. 2015. Effect of different light intensities on reproductive performance, nursing behaviour and preference of rabbit does. In: Proc. 19th International symposium on housing and diseases of rabbits, fur providing animals and pet animals, 2015 May, Celle, Germany, 83-89.
Mattaraia V.G.M., Bianospino E., Fernandes S., Vasconcelos J.L.M., Moura A.S.A.M.T. 2005. Reproductive responses of rabbit does to a supplemental lighting program. Livest. Prod. Sci., 94, 179-187.

Mousa-Balabel T.M. 2011. Using light and melatonin in the management of New Zealand White rabbits. Open Vet. J., 1, 1-6.

Pascual J.J., Castella F., Cervera C., Blas E., Fernández-Carmona J. 2000. The use of ultrasound measurement of perirenal fat thickness to estimate changes in body condition of young female rabbits. Anim. Sci., 70: 435-442.

Pascual J.J., Cervera C., Blas E., Fernández-Carmona J. 2003. High-energy diets for reproductive rabbit does: effect of energy source. Nutrition Abstracts and Reviews, Series B: Livestock Feeds and Feeding, 73, 27-39.

Pascual J.J., Blanco J., Piquer O., Quevedo F., Cervera C. 2004. Ultrasound measurements of perirenal fat thickness to estimate the body condition of reproducing rabbit does in different physiological states. World Rabbit Sci., 12: 7-21.
Quintela L., Peña A., Barrio M., Vega M.D., Diaz R., Maseda F., Garcia P. 2001. Reproductive performance of multiparous rabbit lactating does: effect of lighting programs and PMSG use. Reprod. Nutr. Dev., 41, 247-257.

Read T., Combes S., Gidenne T., Destombes N., Balmisse E., Aymard P.,Labatut D., Bébin K., Fortun Lamothe L., 2016 – Effect of energy level in doe diet on intake and performances of young rabbits before and after weaning. Proceedings 11th World Rabbit Congress – June 15-18, 2016 – Qingdao – China, 439-442 +Poster.

Rebollar P.G., Ubilla E., Alvariño J.M.R., Illera J.C., Silván G. 1992. Influencia del nivel de receptividad sexual sobre el estradiol plasmático y la respuesta ovulatoria durante el postparto en la coneja. Revista Española de Fisiología, 48, 13-18.

Rebollar P.G., Pereda N., Schwarz B.F., Millán P., Lorenzo P.L., Nicodemus, N. 2011. Effect of feed restriction or feeding high-fibre diet during the rearing period on body composition, serum parameters and productive performance of rabbit does. Anim. Feed Sci. Tech., 163: 67-76.

Romero C., Nicodemus N., Martínez de Morentín C.G., García A.I., De Blas C. 2011. Effect of grinding size of barley and dehydrated alfalfa on performance and body composition of does during their early reproductive cycles. Livest. Sci., 140: 55-61.
Savietto, D., Marono, S., Martínez, I., Martínez-Paredes, E., Ródenas, L., Cervera, C., & Pascual, J. (2016). Patterns of body condition use and its impact on fertility. World Rabbit Science, 24(1), 39-45.
Szendrö Zs. 2000 . The nutritional status of foetuses and suckling rabbits and its effects on their subsequent productivity: a review (Main paper) – 7th World Rabbit Congress, 4-7 July 2000 – Valencia , Spain Volume B, 375-393.
Theau-Clément M. 2007. Preparation of the rabbit doe to insemination: a review. World Rabbit Sci., 15, 61-68.
Theau-Clément M., Tircazes A., Saleil G., Monniaux D., Bodin L., Brun, J.M. 2015. Preliminary study of the individual variability of the sexual receptivity of rabbit does. World Rabbit Sci., 23, 163-169.
Virág Gy., Papp Z., Rafai P., Jakab L., Kenessey Á. 2000. Effect of an intermittent lighting schedule on doe and suckling rabbit performance. World Rabbit Sci., 8 , 477-481.

I’m Not Gonna, And YOU Can’t Make Me!

I’m paraphrasing of course, but I have had variations of that statement slung at me with all the might angry fingers tapping on a screen or pounding on a keyboard can muster recently, and I think it deserves some addressing.

Folks, change is hard for some. I get that. But change is also inevitable. The information we have today will be antiquated at some point, but that doesn’t make it LESS valid today.

In 1906, 118 years ago, we had to pass a FEDERAL LAW banning formaldehyde from our food supply, and just a few years prior to that one of the premier food safety experts and advocates of the time, John Newell Hurty, actually advocated for it’s inclusion in fresh milk as a preservative.

It only took him three short years to realize his error, and in 1901 he referenced formaldehyde as one of the root causes of over 400 Indiana infant and child deaths. It didn’t take him long after that to hail the 1850’s discovery of pasteurization as the better, safer option to chemical preservatives.

When we know better, we DO better….even if sometimes we resist or don’t understand the options we have.

For those rabbit owners who don’t take their rabbits anywhere, and never go places that large numbers of rabbits and rabbit owners are known to be, the liklihood that you will encounter a communicable disease are probably pretty slim.

The biosecurity measures you need to employ are absolutely going to be very different from mine, but that doesn’t mean everyone can do just what you do and enjoy that same slim probability of encountering communicable diseases.

Likewise, to suggest that “just because” RHDV2 has not been confirmed outside of the single property case in Medina, OH we can all “relax,” is highly presumptive, and in my opinion, terribly irresponsible.

The fact is, we STILL don’t know where the virus came from. And we certainly cannot assume it never left that Medina, OH property.

Until we know how it got to Ohio, we have to assume that it is still here and active in the United States. If we maintain our vigilance, employ strict biosecurity, and stop moving rabbits around the country, we can limit whatever impact it may have.

If I’m wrong, what have we lost?

Who The Hell Are You?!

In the past two weeks, I have received that question via email and social media at least 200 times in various forms, lol

I get it, folks. I’ve rattled some cages and pissed some people off. I’ve said things in ways that get people riled up, but you know what else that does? It makes people think.

So, let me get it out of the way and answer that question!

Most people who are asking that question are really asking “Do you have any authority to tell me what to do?”

I am Tresa Morris. I may as well be Jane Doe though, because I am a “nobody” when it comes to letters after my name or professional affiliations, or anything that the majority of people look for to tell them someone is an authority figure of some sort.

I’m just like you, and you, and yes you too. I am an every day, ordinary person. I am a Wife, Mother, Grandmother, business owner, entrepreneur, tax paying, flag waving, citizen of the United States of America.

And just like you, I have a skillset, a knowledge bank, and experience that makes me slightly unique. I also have a passion for finding and sharing information just because it exists and needs to be shared.

Here, via this website, I happen to focus that exclusively on rabbits.

So the answer is, I don’t have any authority over you. But, I’m also not trying to tell you what to do. I’m offering you information, and opinion, based on my unique skillset and experience.

I have been actively involved in the commercial production of food animals for over thirty years, primarily hog production.

I have been raising rabbits as food animals off and on since 1999, and have been a commercial producer of rabbits since 2015.

To say that biosecurity has been a big thing in my life is an understatement, but to say that I have seen whole industries threatened by preventable disease outbreaks would be accurate.

For example, the PEDv (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus) killed about 8 million pigs in 2013, resulting in almost a $2 BILLION dollar loss to the U.S. swine industry and resulted in your pork prices skyrocketing.

And to also say that biosecurity and research, in all it’s manifestations, played a vital role in stopping PEDv’s devastation here would be accurate.

The swine industry has the resources to respond decisively, both in literal, physical action, but also via continuing research, as they have.

OUR industry, the rabbit industry as a whole, does NOT.

We are group of owners and caretakers with widely varied interests and purposes for owning rabbits, and we cannot seem to get our shit together and work as a team.

That needs to change!

The pet and hobby sectors of our industry have active representation, but the commercial industry does not. That does not negate the commercial industries input folks!

We may be a relatively small number in the head-count of people who own rabbits, but we own and care for the majority of rabbits in this country.

Most commercial producers either do not want to bring attention to what they do, or feel as if what they have to offer will be ignored. That’s fine; for them.

I, on the other hand, am not afraid of a little backlash. I am not “politically correct,” I do not cater to the sensitivities of folks who can’t imagine rabbit on their plate, and I am not afraid to challenge people to think for themselves.

I am willing to be a voice that rises above those saying “No, hush…be quiet.” “Don’t make waves.” “It’s not a good time.” “You’re going to make people mad!”

It is an unfortunate truth that controversy brings people to the conversation. None of what I have to say is meant to bring controversy, but if it does, good!

While people are responding to what I have to say, they are thinking. Hopefully, they are also researching, learning, and pointing out any inaccuracies they find!

So that’s who I am. Who the hell are you?

Biosecurity

Since the September 2018 confirmation of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Type 2 (RHDV2) in Medina, OH biosecurity has been a hot topic of discussion.

At this point, much good information has been shared about biosecurity, but there is still a large portion of rabbit owners who either don’t believe they have anything to worry about, or think that biosecurity ONLY pertains to threats like RHDV2.

That is just not true!

Biosecurity is, by definition:

There are numerous “biological agents” that affect rabbits, and biosecurity is always our first line of defense against them. RHDV2 is just the newest (and rarest) one we are aware of here in the United States.

Three specific, very common, pathogens that every rabbitry, but particularly rabbitries that breed, should be well informed about and practice good biosecurity for are:

Pasturella ( P multocida being a rabbitries primary concern)

Bordetella (namely Bordetella bronchiseptica)

Clostridium (primarily Clostridium spiriforme)

It’s time the rabbit industry starts making noise about the absolute need for biosecurity, what exactly biosecurity is, and how every single rabbit owner or handler in the US can do their part!

I’m willing to start ringing my cowbell on this topic….are you?!

If you are, feel free to leave a comment but please…share this post far and wide first.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be publishing co-authored posts from other rabbitry owners across the country who are willing to not only tell you what biosecurity looks like for their rabbitry, but SHOW you as well.

Are you in?!

Drama Llamas Will Hunt You Forever

I received some screen shots today from someone who thought I should know that someone was using my photos on Facebook, as well as talking about me and my rabbitry in a derogatory manner. My first thought was “Ooooh, REALLY?! What’s crawled up Annette’s ass this time?!”

 

I really just had to giggle. This woman is probably my biggest non-fan, and I could not be less concerned, lol

 

Here’s the short version of the backstory….

 

In February 2016 (yes, two and a half years ago), I bought a black otter Satin buck from her after lengthy conversations about what I wanted (a Satin buck for my pelt line) and what I didn’t want (a show rabbit). She INSISTED she ONLY sold show quality rabbits, so…whatever. If it was shiny and reasonably priced, I was good. I literally just needed a Satin buck with decent fur to breed some dang does who was at or past puberty, and not a total trainwreck conformation wise.

 

At 15 weeks and 3 days old, this rabbit weighed 3.09. THREE pounds, nine ounces. I had literally just paid $10.00 a pound for a freakin rabbit I knew immediately I would be eating.

 

A week later, I posted this on my personal Facebook page, and surprise! My kids 4-H Club leader commented and PM’d me.

I should have known IMMEDIATELY she was stirring the pot. I purposefully did not name the breeder, even though my post privacy was set to friends and the breeder was NEVER on my friend list. I knew though that the breeder and Hillary were friends. So, I checked the private message.

 

 

I assumed that would be the end of it. Assuming was my biggest mistake.

 

Annette was suddenly in every rabbit related group I was in, arguing with every single thing I said. Finally, I extended this olive branch:

 

She replied with lots of blabbering about how I needed to grow him and his kits out fooorrreeeevvvvveeerrrr and how so-and-so had bought five of his siblings, and so-and-so had another one, and….what-the-hell-ever-lady-just-stoppit LOL

 

I accepted then and there that this particular dog was never going to die and just let it go. What else was I supposed to do? Continue acknowledging her ignorance and giving her the attention she so craves? Nah. Not my style.

 

Oh, what about that rabbit? We ate him and every kit he sired. He barely made 7 pounds at seven months old and he was taking up cage space I quickly filled with a much better Satin.

 

Anyway, today I get these, which were apparently posted in the named group five months ago…

 

The thing that I find most funny is that she had every opportunity to argue her point directly with ME, right in the group where she took those screen shots and stole my picture! While she was busy on that particular thread bragging about her rabbits instead of actually giving a “how and why” answer, I answered the guys question with as much detail as I could.

 

But, of course she didn’t. Because in THAT group alone she’s ripped off enough people with her “great” stock that doesn’t grow, breed, or dress out worth a dang that nobody would listen to her prathering long.

 

So, she hotfooted her petty right over to a SHOW group ran by the second most non-fan of mine, the infamous Bob Donnell (that’s a story for another time…I’m a teeny bit busier than the average satellite TV technician LOL) !

So, here’s the deal folks. My best advice for dealing with the cray-cray.

 

Don’t. Don’t argue with them, don’t waste your time, data, and intelligence on proving them liars or letting them make fools of themselves over and over again, don’t bother validating their insecurities.

 

You cannot make them feel less threatened by you.

 

They won’t leave YOU alone, but pay them no mind. Just keep raising commercial rabbits that do what commercial rabbits are supposed to do.

 

(ps, it’s perfectly healthy to get a good belly laugh every time they accidentally like a post or picture of yours though…I DO!!!)

This Isn’t Just A Hobby, Don’t Treat It Like One!

Let’s face it…finding true, production herd rabbitries is hard these days, and it’s even harder to find commercial rabbitry owners who can, or will, mentor you. We are just a different breed of rabbit professionals, and pet or show industry practices are just too impractical, or too downright silly, to be applicable to our businesses.

When you start participating in the online rabbit community, and really you almost have to these days if you are going to participate in as many market areas as possible (and you really SHOULD do that), you quickly find that there are an enormous number of people who consider themselves rabbit experts, and portray themselves as such.

They tout their double-digit years of rabbit ownership as proof, cannot back up a single bit of their “advice” with any sort of industry or scientific research, and they do NOT take kindly to being questioned or corrected. If you challenge their authority, they will dissolve into fits of rage and name-calling immaturity so fast your head will spin LOL

Sadly, those are the people who speak longest, loudest, and most often. Those are the people you will see being called upon again and again to answer questions, and thereby continue their reign of misinformation and hobbyist righteousness. It is just SO difficult to find production herd owners who have the time, and the desire, to share the ins and outs of our trade and when you do, more often than not you will find the pet/show/hobbyists having absolute fits over the advice given and totally distracting from the information being shared with you.

If you are SERIOUS about starting (or expanding into) a commercial rabbitry, you cannot treat it like a hobby. You have to take a very clinical, black and white approach to everything to do with your business, and make NO mistake, you MUST treat it like a business. There is no room in true commercial rabbit production for soft hearts, touchy-feely emotional attachments, anthropomorphism, or pet/show/hobby type husbandry practices. You will burn out, go broke, and run as far and fast as you can from rabbits in a very short amount of time. Those of us currently in the industry don’t want that!

There is currently an absolutely enormous demand for rabbits, and that demand is increasing faster than we can expand our herds to meet it. If WE (U.S. based producers) can’t get closer to meeting the demand, we’ll simply lose it as buyers look elsewhere (outside of the U.S.).

In the very near future, I will be offering several integrated venues for folks just like you to find the information you’re looking for. The bonus? Every person who is breeding rabbits can benefit from the information, regardless of scale or end-use. Information will be tailored to rabbits produced for human consumption and the feeder markets, as well as breeding stock for those purposes. Topics will range from housing, to feeding, to production genetics and record keeping.

I’m excited to get this ball rolling, and start sharing the information with ya’ll!

Tresa

www.000webhost.com