You are set! You know you want to buy rabbits. But what now?
How do you know if you are buying the right ones or if you are paying a fair price?
I want to help you educate yourself about rabbits so when you are going to make the purchase you can spot something that might seem a little sketchy. Or maybe the rabbit is just not right for your rabbitry goals.
It’s easy to get excited to bring home a new animal but then end up with buyers remorse the next day.
Know Your Goals For The Animal AND Your Rabbitry
There are two aspects to this. When you are ready to buy rabbits you need to know your goals for the animal you plan to purchase and how does it fit into your goals of the rabbitry overall.
I would love to bring home a few different breeds to play around with. But that would take space and feed from my goals in the rabbitry with the french lops.
When it comes to your herd as a whole. What part of your rabbits are you trying to improve on? Is it size, fur, color, bone, overall body type?
I am going to take a side road here and talk about a pet peeve I have. NEVER sacrifice the overall quality of the animal for one good part of the rabbit. Here is what I mean. For my breed, the skull and head shape is very important. If I was trying to improve on the head of my herd I would not buy a rabbit if it had a poor topline (the way the spine lines up) no matter how nice the head is.
If you are just getting started then what qualities are important to you. AND what would cause you to say no if the animal does not meet your standards? Get those “boundaries” out in your mind.
Be Able To Spot Irregularities
If you are familiar with the breed you will also be able to spot an animal that might be a mixed breed. Or just know when something is not quite up to par even if it not the fault of the seller.
A perfect example in the rabbit world is people will mistake a rabbit being registered with simply having a pedigree. For dogs that is the case if they have a pedigree, they have been registered (in most cases).
Know The Expected Temperament
Talk to a few breeders and ask what is “normal” for that breed. Some are a little more grouchy or jumpy than others but you don’t want to work with a rabbit from you know where no matter what the breed is. Even if it is a meat rabbit 12 weeks can seem like an eternity if it is trying to take your arm off every time you try to feed it.
Every animal/breed was meant to do something. There are many aspects that are affected by the genetic makeup of the rabbit. Both good and bad.
Purebreds are not important to everyone and that’s ok. But for me, I like to know what is normal for a specific breed and what is bad behavior. This will also help you know where the animal is coming from and how you can correct the issues.
Health Of The Rabbits
Know how to tell if the rabbit is healthy or if other animals on the property also look healthy even if they are not rabbits. When visiting another person’s farm just keep your eyes open. Is there more animal wast then there should be in the pens or cages? (I give people a little leeway with rabbits because that stuff clings to the bottom of the cages.
Animals are naturally messy so there is going to be some waste and keep in mind that if the weather has been overly wet there will be more mud and potentially messier pens.
If you get a bad feeling before you buy the livestock it might be wise to keep looking. It is a disappointment to drive to a seller only to leave empty-handed. But you have to decide if it is worth the risk to bring home a sick animal.
Know What Is A Good Price And Physical Value
I want you to do a little research to figure out what is too high of a price for the animal you are looking to buy. In the same instance, I want you to look into the lowest price. You can find good deals where people are being honest but there are also those who think their animal is worth more then it is.
Saint Barnard dogs are a perfect example of this.
Try to keep your search to the area around you. I know in the rabbit world the location has a big effect on the price. Further west you are going to pay a high price for almost any breed. Here in the eastern half of the country rabbits are not so scarce.
Whether your goal is to just buy a pet, 4-H animal, or to show in breed competitions. Look into the body type for that breed. This is one of the top factors in pricing for an animal. Know what is poor quality and what is top-notch. This will take some time to learn and one day it will just click. When you study a breed long enough you will be able to see the parts that could be tweaked.
Do they have a pedigree or registration papers? Some people will word this by saying “they have papers” this could mean a lot of things. Some people think because an animal has a pedigree they are registered. For some species, they can have a pedigree but not be registered like I mentioned earlier about rabbits.
Can The Rabbit Still Produce?
It is not likely that you will find someone willing to sell a proven rabbit that is still on the young side. With rabbits, there is this small window of where they are still young enough to keep producing but not as old as the hills and past producing.
I know there are some amazing animals that would still produce some great babies even after their prime. So if you are looking to get a few really nice babies out of them with the idea that they will retire soon. The give it a try if you have the budget. Just make sure that you are able to get some value to offset what you are paying for them.
As harsh as that sounds to have a sustainable rabbitry you have to think of it as a business. If you let your heart make all of the decisions you will be in over your paycheck.