Conditioning Rabbits for Show 2:
This is one glossy, nicely conditioned Tan Rabbit!
Rabbits for Show Part II: Troubleshoot, solve problems with conditioning show
rabbits, and delay a rabbit molt till after the rabbit show, if possible.
The following factors could limit the rabbit’s
ability to get into show condition.
- --An illness, infestation or a
subclinical disease can drain away conditioning, or prevent
conditioning in the first place. See Rabbit Diseases.
- --Genetics can play a big part in a lack of condition. For example, sometimes you can do your best to condition your rabbit but the pin bones (hips) will still protrude. The rabbit does not have the genetic directions to put enough meat over those bones.
Or, perhaps the shoulders are weak, long or narrow. The rabbit may have a genetic flaw in type, or a genetic predisposition to not achieve top conditioning. When the rabbit ‘should’ be conditioned, but isn’t, you might have a genetic problem. Unfortunately, the solution is to CULL the rabbit, because he can’t give you any more than he already is
Additionally, take a long hard look at every rabbit in your show herd and cull vigorously, keeping only the best rabbits that have both excellent show quality type and the ability to achieve prime conditioning.
If you’re serious about winning and improving your chosen breed, you can’t be feeling sorry for your favorite animals. If necessary, go and purchase a few excellent replacement animals from a reputable breeder (or two) in order to improve your rabbits’ genetic foundation. You’ll find new favorites, and it’ll be all the more sweet when they WIN.
- --Hot weather can drain
conditioning. So can wide temperature fluctuations, which are very
hard on a rabbit’s condition. They can’t
decide whether to keep their coats or to blow them to smithereens. One minute they’re cold, and the next minute
they’re hot. A hot rabbit languishes in
the cage all day without hardly moving.
It is very likely to not drink enough because they don’t want to make
the effort and overheat even more.
Along with other cooling measures, ice cubes in the water
can help. They cool the water making it more palatable to the rabbit and even
helping the rabbit cool down a little. With less dehydration, its flesh
condition will stay firmer.
- --A molt blows the coat and the
conditioning. Molting is natural and when it starts, there’s nothing
you can do, that I know of! Cut back on
the feed before a show to help retain your rabbit’s prime condition. Careful
management of calories may be able to prevent or delay a premature molt.
Feed plenty of hay to your prime rabbit along with
restricted pellets and a tablespoon of Roloff’s Top
Secret Formula each day.
Don't start giving high-energy conditioning formulas too
soon before the show. Most breeders start conditioning rabbits for show about
3-4 weeks before showing their rabbits.
- --Consider cage size if your rabbit is at
the lower end of weight, or is not firm enough in flesh. We have not conducted any studies, but we
feel a rabbit may be able to achieve firmer muscle tone and muscle size in a
cage that offers room for 'calisthenics.'
Once, we saved two Rex bucks out of the same litter.
Because of cage availability, one of these bucks went into a 24 x 30 cage, and
the other went into a 16x30 cage. Both rabbits made their ideal weight, however
the buck in the smaller cage took longer to do it.
If you're having trouble conditioning a rabbit for show, try
putting the animal in a larger cage and let us know if that helps.
Conditioning rabbits for shows does not require a lot of equipment...
...just good animal husbandry practices, good feed, good health management, and good grooming.
Go To Conditioning Rabbits for Show Part I