I help out the kids in Southern California, Northern California and Arizona with their Meat Pens all the time. Each fair / show has a little different rules on what the kids need to be doing. Some fairs don't care and let the kids just show up the day of fair with whatever. Others are just like yours. I even have one group where they have to show up about a month ahead of time and they get a tattoo in the right ear with a special fair tattoo for that fair... that means the kids have to settle in on a trio a month ahead of time... not the best solution, but it makes everyone play on an even playing field. That pretty much guarantees ownership a month in advance. OH. they also have to bring the mom of the trio with them when they get their fair tattoo in the right ear.

Probably the best solution I do with my kids I help is lease a quality proven Doe that I breed for them. They take possession of the bred doe a week or so after I breed them. Some people are really good at "palpitating" the Doe to verify that they are PG. I haven't done that before with any success and a little afraid to do it, chancing I might hurt the babies. So, I do pretty good on making sure I get bred Does to the kids. Probably closer to 90% PG rates. Then if I'm close enough to where they live, I come and help pick out what I think is the best three for their meat pen.

I also will sometimes breed a couple of Does in my barn at the same time we breed for the kids as backup. It also provides a place to foster if necessary, again if they are close enough to me. Its a bummer if a kid shows that much interest and the breeding doesn't work or the mom has the babies on the wire or fails to be successful with having babies that survive. If necessary, I can trade out an unsuccessful mom with a mom who had babies. The Californians seem to be pretty good about moving around after having babies and still taking care of their young... at least it has worked for me.

Then I get the Does back after fair with any of the unused babies they don't enter as their meat pen. And, if they don't win and have to go to auction, I get the meat pen back as well. I do this because my bunnies are really nice show rabbits and wouldn't want them to just go off as pets or have them not taken care of by just anyone. If the kids show interest and want to keep bunnies for the next year cycle of breeding and raising their own bunnies the next year or even maybe show in ARBA shows, then I work with them to get a trio or pair or maybe just keep a quality Doe. The trio they use for their meat pen might be three Bucks or three Does or probably all from the same litter, making them brothers and sisters... not the best for breeding purposes. So, again, if they want to continue, I help them pick out the best trio for future breeding.

I usually charge the kids $25 for leasing the bunnies. Again, I get mom and unused babies back after the project is over and sometimes the actual meat pen bunnies back as well. I used to give the bred moms to the kids, but found that the commitment wasn't as strong as if they actually have an investment in the project. My kids I help do very well in their fairs and many come away with Grand Champion or Reserve Grand Champion and make as much as $2500 in auction... but usually around $300 - $500. Of course some fairs are terminal fairs (all bunnies go to processing) or the bunnies bought in auction are kept by the person who bought them in auction. That is OK, because they are usually then going into their breeding program. If that is the case I'll even provide the pedigrees for their use. I definitely don't make a lot of money doing this, maybe break even, but I sure have populated the Southern California area and even the State of California with a lot more Californian rabbits than were here 5 years ago when I got back into raising rabbits. If more breeders would take this approach, and I know a lot of breeders do help out the youth, we would have a lot more interest in our hobby.

That is my 2 cents worth of input and would happy to help with additional dialog from anyone who would like to comment.

 

Below are some e-mails and pictures of recent 4Her's who have utilized some of my stock to secure places in their local County Fairs and shows. This is only a short list of some of the results I have received from kids I have helped.

Here's Jessie at the Parade of Champions last Saturday at County Fair. Her final count of awards is:

Senior Reserve Grand Champion Rabbit Showmanship (She uses her mini lop for this part.)
Senior Reserve Grand Champion Round Robin Showmanship (they have to show a rabbit, cavy and chicken - handle them, show them and answer questions about them)
Senior Grand Champion Cavy (guinea pig) Showmanship
Grand Champion Cavy
Grand Champion Market Rabbit (Californian)
Grand Champion Meat Pen (set of 3 rabbits) (Californians)
Reserve Grand Champion Rabbit (Californian)
Senior Grand Champion Reptile Showmanship
Grand Champion Snake

We also had 2 rabbits at home that I didn't want to have to run home during the day to ice and take care of so we entered them in the open division (these others are all 4-H). One was a Californian Buck and the other was a Californian Doe. The buck won grand champion and the doe won reserve grand champion.

Jessie got all of her Californian rabbits from Rob Fender of Julian, California. He breeds these amazing rabbits, and helps 4-H kids who want to compete with meat rabbits. Thanks Rob!

Nancy

 
  Dallas is a young lady who lives up in Lancaster area.
 
  Baylees pride and joy jounior doe...
 
 

Rob,

First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Sydney Bailey and my daughter is Austyn Bailey. Austyn is one of the 4H members you sold a rabbit to, via Nancy Head. Nancy came over and picked up rabbits for our club and Jimi Hammond.

Thank you for the nice quality of rabbits that we received. Our club had the Grand and reserve champions at this year’s Mohave County Fair. Nancy's daughter Jessica took grand and my daughter Austyn took reserve. I have attached some photos for you. I hope you enjoy them. I am very interested in purchasing a rabbit for next year’s fair. Our fair dates are Sept 16, 17, 18, & 19th 2010. So please if you can, pencil us in for a rabbit. 

Austyn was able to send her rabbit through auction and it sold for $800.00, all of which is going into her college fund. The company who purchased the rabbit donated it back to her so we still have "Bella Bunny" BB for short with us as our pet. I am noting her ear tag so maybe you can provide some information as to her breeding. Jimi Hammond's buck is still in town and I am thinking of trying to breed BB for a fryer pen for fair. (This will be exciting for me, as I am new to rabbits) I want to make sure that we are able to breed with Jimi's buck without the worry of inbreeding. BB's ear tag is EKD1.

I appreciate the quality of rabbits that you provided to our club and community, and look forward to purchasing a rabbit for next year. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me either email:  XXXXXXXXXXX  XXXXXXXXXXX this is my cell and the easiest to reach me on.

I look forward to hearing from you, and again THANK YOU!

 
 
Another pix for your website.. Reserve Grand Champion Meat Pen, Kern Co. Fair Sept. 2011,, Alison Votaw
Hopes Haven Mini Lops
Carol and Alison Votaw
www.hopeshavenminilops.com
 
   
 

 

SUMMER MADNESS

Below is the Bracket for the eight Senior Bucks you will be judging and moving forward in the winner's bracket or to the loser's bracket. On day one, you will be judging the four groups / pairs below (scroll down to the four pairs), picking the better of each pair. From all the votes received on day one, we will move the winners to the winner's bracket and the losers to the loser's bracket. You will be invited back on day two to to then pick the new winners. Each day we will update the Bracket and start a new round of judging. By day five (or maybe six), we will have our winner. We will post the results each day. What you will do is use a ten point must system. You will give the winner of each group / pair 10 point and the loser some value less than 10 points. Let's say the winner is twice as nice as the loser, then the winner gets 10 points and the loser gets 5 points. Send your results to ... rfender@sdccd.edu. Your judging, voting, or e-mail will not be shared with anyone else. All results will be e-mailed back to the participants with a "blind copy".

DAY FOUR / FINAL FOUR

Select either BC1 or SD3 as the winner. Give the winner 10 points and then give the loser some value less than 10 points. Let's say the winner is twice as nice as the loser... the winner gets 10 points and the loser gets 5 points. The loser can get anywhere from 0 (zero) to 9 points.

Depending on who wins, we might have just one day left... or we can have two days, or just maybe three days.

Select either Z3 or 3A1TF as the winner. Give the winner 10 points and then give the loser some value less than 10 points. Let's say the winner is twice as nice as the loser... the winner gets 10 points and the loser gets 5 points. The loser can get anywhere from 0 (zero) to 9 points.
 
All you lookie-lews... join in and have your openion count. Don't let others pick your winner. We are still looking for someone to come forward with your group of rabbits and we'll organize an online Summer Madness bracket just for you. Get a group of your friends and take a few pictures of your personal breed and watch them move into the final four and crown the champion. There are lots of people who are participating and I think they are having a good time watching their picks either win or lose.
 
 
 
 
 
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