Conditioning Rabbits for Show

Conditioning 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. 

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Conditioning Rabbits for Show:
The Big Picture

We're about to share with you an excellent rabbit conditioning formula used by Mr. Dennis Roloff, a formidable competitor in Rex Rabbit circles. 

He kindly shared it with  (We did tell him we planned to tell the world about it.)

Mr. Roloff manages to win a lot! 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?

Black Silver Martin rabbit with well-conditioned fur and flesh and a very glossy coatLook 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. 

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 fat.
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.

Rabbit Condition Enhancers: BOSS, Whole Oats (#ad)

Your rabbits are housed in a clean and well-ventilated environment.

  • 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. 
Spalding Labs - Bye Bye Odor

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.)

Two broken french lops being judged against each other

Conditioning Rabbits for Show:
Feed Supplementation for extra Sheen

Effective 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 the freezer.

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 conditioning formula in the freezer, or don’t make too much at once.

You need not be continually conditioning rabbits for show. Once the show's over, leave the conditioning Formula in the freezer and put the rabbits back on their regular rations.

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.


Conditioning Rabbits for Show Part II

Troubleshooting problems with conditioning rabbits for show.

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