Profit from Rabbits
Exhibitors profit!! This has got to be some kind of
a joke, right?
Let's see, I buy a show-quality pair of breedable
rabbits. (Serious breeders usually buy only show-quality
rabbits because it wouldn't benefit their overall breeding
program to bring in animals with major disqualifications
(DQs) or faults.) Let's use Holland Lops because that's
what I raise. They run anywhere from $50 to over $250
each. A nice middle-ground figure would be, say $125
each for a total outlay of $250. Not many breeders
sell breeding-age rabbits, so let's just say that these
guys are three months old. Holland Lops are usually
considered breedable at about six months.
To keep my new show-quality rabbits, I have to provide
safe, clean, comfortable caging. A typical cage from
a rabbit equipment dealer would run about, oh, $30.
That's the whole cage, made with baby-saver wire, a
feeder, and a water bottle. I need two cages, one for
each rabbit. So, $250 plus $60 --that's $310 just for
rabbits and cages. Now let's buy feed. In my area,
Missouri, the average price of a bag of good quality
feed (50-lb bag) is roughly $8. For ease in figuring
this, let's just say that the two Hollands eat a bag
of feed a month. (I know, they don't!) So I have to
feed them for three months before I can even begin
to think about breeding them. So, $310 plus three times
eight is ...$334. All in the red! No profit!
Say I choose to show my rabbits because I can't breed
them yet. The closest show to me is 50 miles away.
Approximately one tank of gas in my van is about $13.
When I get there, I pay entry fees of $2.50 a rabbit.
Okay, I'm up to $334 plus $13, which is $347. Add another
$5 and that brings us to $352. While at the show, I
get thirsty. So I get a soda or something. Add another
$1. At lunch time, I get hungry. Add another $2. We're
up to $355! Let's say my both my rabbits win their
What do I win? A ribbon, trophy, or rosette. No money.
Two rabbits...um, divide $355 by two, which is $177.50
for a little piece of colored ribbon or a plastic trophy.
Wouldn't you say those are rather expensive ribbons
or pieces plastic? Okay, one of my two rabbits wins
Best of Breed (BOB). The national club sanctioned this
show, so I win a payback. Maybe $25. I spent $355 to
win back $25. Geez!!! To heck with the profit there,
where's the common sense in it?
Say I show my rabbits five times in three months.
Every time one or the other takes BOB and wins the
$25 payback. (Seldom if ever does it happen that any
rabbit wins BOB five times in a row!) Wow! That's $125!
Hey, maybe I'm getting my initial investment in these
rabbits back! Whoops, five shows at $13 for gas, $1
for a drink, $2 for food for me, $5 in entry fees--that's
$105 to win $125. Plus the initial cost of the rabbits
and their cages and their feed! Which comes to a grand
total of....let's see, mumble mumble, that's $439 to
win $125! I'm still in the hole $314!
Do I really need to go on? To recoup that $314 investment,
I would have to get 31 bunnies from that doe and sell
them at $10 each. But in the meantime, that doe is
going to continue eating, as is the buck, and when
the kits come along, the feed almost doubles. In an
average litter of four Holland kits, you might--notice
I said might!--have one that is show quality. That
one you could sell for show stock and/or brood stock.
And to sell it for a decent price, you have to have
a reputation that you can only get by showing and showing
and showing and winning and winning and winning! And
nobody wins at every show they attend!
I honestly wish someone would show me where the profit
is in raising show rabbits! Of all the show people
I know across this nation and from other countries,
I have yet to meet anyone who supports his or her rabbitry
from showing rabbits. Talk about your labors of love!