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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 classes. Whoopee!

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!



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