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Many breeders use feed supplements to help improve condition of rabbit's flesh and coat. Some examples are Showbloom, Doc's Rabbit Enhancer, Calf Manna, and black oil sunflower seeds. With Showbloom and Doc's Rabbit Enhancer, follow feeding instructions carefully. With calf manna and sunflower seeds, you may have to experiment a bit to see how much is right. I usually start with a small handful. Too much of a supplement can cause opposite effect of what you want, making rabbit fat, flabby, or put it into a moult (shedding coat out). If you supplement, be sure to cut back slightly amount of feed you provide. Also, when your rabbit gets into prime condition, cut back supplements and feed a little as rabbit burns less energy while in prime.
ENTERING A SHOW
Your rabbits are in good condition, and you are ready to enter your first show. Contact show secretary to get a catalog. When you get it, be sure to read rule carefully, and make sure to watch deadline for entries. Fill out entry form completely. Ear number is number and/or letter combination that is tattooed in your rabbit's left ear. If there is no tattoo, you will need to get it tattooed. Some breeders will tattoo for you, and most registrars at shows will tattoo for a small fee. Breed is type of rabbit, such as Netherland Dwarf or Rex. Variety is colour of your rabbit. Be sure to check your Standard of Perfection for variety classes as some breeds (such as all lops, all angora, and Jersey Woolies) are shown by colour groups rather than by individual colour. Sex is gender of your rabbit. A buck is a male, a doe is a female. Class is your rabbit's age. Most breeds are shown as either a senior (6 months or over) or a junior (under 6 months). The large breeds are shown as a senior (8 months or over), intermediate (6 to 8 months), or a junior (under 6 months). Be sure to check your Standard of Perfection to see what classes are offered in your breed. Fur is where you can enter your rabbit in either breed or commercial normal (if your breed has normal "Flyback" fur) fur class. Your rabbit has to be entered in a regular class to compete in fur, where it will be judged solely on quality and condition of its fur.
Most shows are pre-entry, meaning you have to send in your entry before show. A few are day of show entry, where you arrive early and enter at show. If it is a pre-entry, be sure to send entry off before deadline is past or your entry will probably be rejected.
Get to show a little early to allow yourself time to set up, check in, and see what table your breed is being judged at. After setting up and checking tables, groom your rabbits. Then you can wander around show room to talk to breeders, look at other rabbits, etc. Be careful to check your breed's table often to see when your rabbit is up to be shown. Most of time someone will announce what class is being called up, but it cannot always be heard. Classes will not be rejudged if you miss them, so get your rabbits up to table on time!
When your rabbit's class is called, take your rabbit to table. You will see several small cages called holding coops. In front of these will be comment cards with rabbits' information. Find card that has your rabbit's ear tattoo number on it and place your rabbit in corresponding holding coop. Then, to make it easier for other exhibitors, flip card over.
Don't talk while judge is giving comments on any rabbit because even if it isn't your rabbit, rabbit's owner may want to hear comments. Pay close attention to judge's comments as they will help you learn. When table held puts comment card on top of your rabbit's holding coop, that means it is done being shown. Take it back to your set up. If it won Best of Variety (BOV), Best Opposite of Variety (BOSV), Best of Group (BOG), or Best Opposite of Group (BOSG) it will need to come back later to compete for Best of Breed (BOB) and Best Opposite of Breed (BOSB). Be sure to watch for when they call up winners to compete for BOB and BOSB as you don't want to miss your chance at winning!
If your rabbit wins Best of Breed, it will later compete for Best in Show (BIS) and Reserve in Show (RIS). The table for Best In Show judging will be announced after a winner in each breed is chosen. If you are competing for BIS and RIS, take your rabbit to BIS table when it is time. Place it in any of holding coops at that table, then move out of judging area. Then wait for judge(s) to judge rabbits and announce winners.
If you win anything, be sure to find awards table to see if you get any awards. Bring your comment card with you, and show it to awards secretary.
Finally, show is over. Clean up all your mess, pack up your equipment, and load up your rabbit(s). You've survived your first show, and before you know it you will have a bad case of rabbit show fever!
It is highly recommended that you join American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). This will provide you with invalluable information, as well as allow you to register and grand champion your rabbits. Go to ARBA website at http://www.arba.net for a membership form, or you can pick them up at most shows (check commercial booths or ask registrars for one).
Breeder and exhibitor of show rabbits for 11 years, member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association, and fan of all animals.