Conditioning Rabbits for Show
Rabbits for Show: Your show rabbits have a chance of winning with top body and
fur condition. Here’s how to condition show rabbits including wool and Rex.
A poorly conditioned rabbit will
always place lower in the class than a well-conditioned one. This is because condition is a part of the
standard of perfection against which each breed is judged.
Between 5 to 10 points out of 100, depending on breed, are
allocated to condition. If your rabbit is out of flesh condition, you can be
sure that its fur is affected as well.
Rabbits for Show:
The Big Picture
We're about to share with you a top secret rabbit conditioning formula used by Mr. Dennis Roloff, a formidable competitor in Standard Rex circles.
He kindly shared it with Raising-Rabbits.com. (We did tell him we planned to tell the world about it.)
Mr. Roloff manages to win incessantly! But a 'magic' formula is not all you need to win big. Mr. Roloff's formula works for him, first because his rabbits are well conditioned, but second, because he ensures that all the other factors are present as well.
Are the following factors true of your show rabbits?
Look at the shine and the excellent body condition of this black silver martin show rabbit.
Your rabbits are show-quality.
The rabbits compare favorably to their Standards of Perfection. Plus, as conditioning and mothering capabilities are somewhat heritable, you can breed and select for these less tangible traits that will make your rabbits winners, just as you breed for correct type.
Your rabbits are healthy.
- Check for pinworms
- Check for loose stools or other disease, such as coccidiosis or abscesses.
- Check for fur mites and ear mites (these are disqualifications)
- Check for white snot. Don’t show a rabbit that has EVER shown any chronic runny nose. Even if it’s been a while since you last saw or heard any sneezing, the stress of leaving familiar surroundings and traveling to the show may precipitate a relapse. Putting sick rabbits on the show table is a waste of your money and a danger to every other rabbit. Any white snot or evidence of it, such as matting on the front paws, are disqualifications. Mats mean snuffles - cull the animal.
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Your rabbits are clean.
- No urine or fecal stains in the fur
- Well groomed with no loose fur or mats
- Toenails clipped, so they cannot snag on the wire
and rip out, or lay a bloody laceration across the judge's hand or arm. A missing toenail is a disqualification if the judge cannot find evidence of it, even if it is still
present but ripped to the skin and not grown out yet.
Your rabbits are well-nourished but not
The well-conditioned rabbit is neither too thin nor
too fat or flabby. It has firm muscle tone and flesh. Enhance
conditioning on a daily basis by:
- Give all the fresh clean water the
rabbit can drink
- Feed a fresh, 16 - 17% balanced feed, milled
not more than 2 months prior.
- Free-feed growing juniors but limit the rations of
your senior (adult) rabbits. If there’s feed in the feeder the next day, cut
back on the pellets. If the rabbit dives desperately at the feed like a
drowning swimmer clawing for survival, then maybe it needs a bit more feed...!
- Provide grass hay every day or very frequently
in order to prevent fur blockage
- 2 weeks to a month before the show, increase the
feed slightly or add a top dressing to the rabbit’s rations. See Formula for
Rabbit Fur Conditioning below. This formula is great for wool as well.
- Once your rabbit has achieved prime condition and
coat, cut back slightly on the amount of feed you give the rabbit, without
starving the animal. This will maximize the length of time that he stays in
condition and his coat stays prime.
Your rabbits are housed in a clean and
- The common rabbit diseases are related
to sanitation. Your rabbit is most likely to stay healthy in a clean cage.
- Excellent ventilation helps keep ammonia odors at
a minimum. This is very important to overall rabbit health.
Ammonia from rabbit waste can burn the lungs and precipitate the development of pasteurellosis. If you
can smell the ammonia, it's too strong.
If your rabbits have to continually heal their lungs, they will be less likely to achieve top conditioning.
Consider using Bye Bye Odor. It doesn't just cover smells,
it eliminates them using a biological, completely non-toxic formula.
Developing and maintaining the rabbit's flesh condition is within the breeder’s reach.
If you give the rabbit what its body requires
nutritionally, assuming that it’s healthy and genetically sound, its body will
naturally condition itself.
(Below: Two very nice broken french lops are being judged against each other.)
Conditioning Rabbits for Show:
Supplementation for extra SHEEN
Top Secret Formula for
Conditioning Rabbits for Show
- 1 cup black oil sunflower seeds with hulls (BOSS)
- 1 cup Doc’s Enhancer
- 1 cup crimped barley
- 1 cup wheat germ
Mix together with 1/3 cup wheat germ oil.
Store leftovers in
Triple the Recipe:
If you like, you can triple the recipe by mixing 3 cups of
each of the 4 ingredients. Then mix it all together with 1/2 cup of wheat germ
oil. If not too wet, add another 1/2 cup
of wheat germ oil. (Don’t get wheat germ that is cut with other oils - you’ll
get best results when using genuine 100% wheat germ oil.)
Give a tablespoon per rabbit per day; keep the extra Top Secret Formula in the freezer, or don’t make too much at
You need not be continually conditioning rabbits
for show. Once the show's over, leave the Top Secret
Formula in the freezer and put the rabbits back on their regular
If you don't they'll get fat, and out of condition.
This page offers valuable
guidance on keeping your rabbit in peak health, even if you don’t show your rabbits and aren’t
conditioning your rabbits for show.
Rabbits for Show Part II
Troubleshooting problems with conditioning rabbits