Often, these breeders are helpful towards others, and are honest, not afraid to share with you their bad times in rabbits, as well as the good ones.
How can you become a wise breeder, like the ones you admire and look up to?
- Have a means of supporting your hobby until it can support itself. Most breeders have a "day job" that provides not only for their family and themselves, but also for their rabbit hobby. I am a babysitter/nanny, and almost all the money I make pays for the rabbits. I don't have very many rabbits for sale, and when I'm not selling rabbits, I'm not making money from them.
- Care about the rabbits and the breed, not just about the money.
- Know the market for rabbits you'll need to sell. If you want your culls to be sold as loving pets, but no one in your area buys pet rabbits, you'll have a really hard time selling pets. If you want to sell rabbits for 4-H show animals, but there aren't any 4-H clubs near you, you might have a hard time selling to that market.
- Have room to keep babies until you sell them. If your goal is to sell your culls as pets, you will need to have room to keep them until they can be sold. Does can conceive a litter as young as 3 months, and this is very bad for her. Bucks and does will need to be separated typically around 12 weeks old. Bucks and does can stay with their same sex longer, but they do start to fight around 5-6 months. Each rabbit will need their own space and their own cage around 6 months.
- Study genetics. Without proper knowledge of at least the basics of genetics, you won't know which colors bred to which colors will produce unshowable colors, or genetically complicated (and hard to get rid of), colors, and this can damage a bloodline for generations. Plus genetics are easy to learn (most of the time), and it's fun to know which colors you CAN get out of a cross, instead of just guessing.
- Don't breed rabbits with genetic deformities. Deformities like mismatched nails, malocclusion, etc., can also damage a line and hide for generations, only to pop up when you least expect it and ruin the rabbit's show career.
- Breed to the Standard. Just randomly putting rabbits together and making babies and selling them is NOT wise breeding. That is foolish, creating more and more unwanted pets in the world. But when you do research, and work to improve something, to make it better then it was before, that is wise breeding. I could do an entire blog post just on this topic so I'll reign myself in and not get too carried away.
- Never stop learning, always ask questions. None of know everything. Even the wisest breeder will sometimes need help, encouragement or advice. Some breeders don't want to admit that. The breeders that do admit that, and stay humble, are the ones that we ought to go to for advice.