New Buyer’s Checklist
Because a picture is worth nothing when it comes to quality rabbits.
I’m going to list some incredibly important health checks for when you find rabbits and knowing when to walk away from a sale.
❓First- why do you want rabbits?❓
Profit! Nope. There is very little profit to be made with them unless you manage to buy fantastic stock and process your own meat.
There are free rabbits everywhere and pet rabbits are sold for $10-20. It will cost roughly $20 to raise a kit from mating to sale age of 8 weeks and that doesn’t include cages or stock investment and your time.
Pleasure or a hobby? This is the absolutely best reason. We chose 3 “rare” breeds and are making it our job to bring them back to the quality animals they once were. However, even with awesome stock that I value at close to $7,000, I will only sell 3-10 rabbits a year for roughly $150 each. Personally, I refuse to sell pets bc that’s how the breeds were ruined in the first place- backyard breeders that don’t know what they are doing.
✅ Once you have a reason to start- then you will need to find the best breed to suit your needs. I always suggest quality, pedigreed rabbits from reputable breeders. ⭐️Breeders who value their reputations will often be excellent mentors⭐️. They’ll go over their animals best qualities and point out any flAws you should be mindful of as you breed and move forward.
You have your motive. And your breed. Get the biggest cages appropriate for that breed. Your animals will benefit from the space to move and lounge. Lots of airflow will keep them healthy and space to move will keep them happy.
🤔 Questions to ask the breeder:
Are they pedigreed? This is just a family tree. Some pedigree programs are free or it could be done with pen and notepad. Either way- it shows thoughtfulness and thoroughness of a breeder.
What age do you wean? Most breeders want to get the best quality for their animals. 6 weeks is a good answer. 4 weeks is the earliest and I would question why they pull that soon.
What is your cull rate???
People who say they don’t cull, can potentially be selling poor quality or DQ rabbits. I won’t sell a rabbit I wouldn’t keep myself. I terminally deal with rabbits I won’t keep so that they don’t end up in someone’s breeding program.
I’ve had litters where I would keep ALL of them and I’ve had 3 litters in a row that I’ve kept nothing. (For example, I’ve only kept 4 self colored rabbits in 2018 from 6 litters.)
And my most important question for the breeder: what do you do if one of your animals gets sick?
I would run if they say they would treat all their animals with antibiotics. If they say “it depends”, I would listen to see if they quarantine from the rest of their herd.
Personally, if it’s an injury, I cull immediately. No sense in keeping an animal in pain. If any look questionable, I quarantine. Sneezing happens but when they sneeze more than twice in a row or rub their face after a sneeze, it means something is in there that the bunny wants out. Rabbits that produce snot strings can potentially be your Typhoid Mary. All new rabbits should be quarantined for a minimum of 2 weeks. I do 4-8 weeks depending on where they came from.
When you pick your breeder/rabbits and you go to get them. Take 10 minutes and use a checklist:
1) check eyes and nose. They should be dry and clear. No fluid is acceptable unless it’s 85* and humid. They can have a damp nose but it should be clear. Hair loss from “tearing” does not happen overnight.
2) use your fingers and feel by the dewclaws. If an animal has a snotty nose, they will be rubbing their face to clean it. Any lumps of fur or clumps of stickiness can mean the animal is dealing with something. It won’t be worth bringing it home.
3) flip the animal over and check sex. Two eyes are better than one. Do it with the breeder so if you aren’t sure, you can ask.
4) is the genitalia area clear? Nothing should look swollen or red. Females ready to breed may appear blushed with blood to the area but the skin should be normal, fur should be dry and no matted poopy or soaked fur. Use your hands to pet the animal. You will feel mats in the skirt (back of legs).
**While the animal is on their back**
5) take a moment to listen. Any potential phlegm can shift and cause a pneumonia like raspiness in their breathing or sneezing when you flip them back on their feet.
6) good fur over hocks! Sore hocks is a pain to get out of your lines. It is genetic.
7) back legs should also be wide set to support their hip width and parallel to each other. Hocks that sit in a V will create “pinched” butts.
I know people might disagree with some of my point but post any additions below!
⚠️If you are using transport- as the transporter what kind of health check they do at pickup!!!!!!⚠️