Best Bunnies

15min

Junior Rachel Schloneger breeds rabbits for competitions.

By Henry Zhu

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Photo / Henry Zhu

How would you describe what you do?

I raise rabbits for showing competitively against others. In the competition, we try to breed our rabbits as close to a description of “perfect” we can, and the competition’s about whose rabbit is most similar to the standard of perfection for our breed as possible.

What are breeding competitions like?

It’s an all day event where breeders bring their best rabbits—the ones they consider closest to the breed standard—and a judge then determines which rabbits are best in their class and breed, which are like the type of rabbits they are. The Best of Breed within a breed then moves on to compete in Best of Show, which is the rabbit closest to its breed’s standard of perfection in the entire competition.

What does being a breeder involve?

Other than breeding, a lot of it is taking care of the rabbits on a daily basis. I have to feed all the rabbits I have right now every day and make sure they’re healthy and fit, and every weekend I have to spend two or three hours cleaning out their cages. About twice a month we have competitions, and those take up the entire Saturday.

How did you get started breeding rabbits?

My sister wanted to get a rabbit as a pet when I was in sixth grade and she was in third, and she did a lot of research and learned a lot about the different breeds and their personalities. After we both got rabbits my dad suggested we look into breeding as a way to be more involved with out pets, and after entering in our first competition we both realized it was something we really enjoyed and decided to keep doing it.

How has raising and taking care of rabbits changed you as a person?

It’s made me a more responsible person because I’ve had to take care of lives other than my own, and I’ve also had to learn to manage my time so I can do my school work and take care of the rabbits. I have also met a lot of other breeders at competitions and I’ve made a lot of new friends, which has made me a friendlier and more social person.

What were some of the initial challenges?

When we first started breeding rabbits, we didn’t really understand different breeds and classes, but we had a friend who was also a breeder and she helped guide us along at first. It was really exhausting taking care of the rabbits and especially having to clean out their cages, but after a while it just became part of our daily schedule and now it’s just another part of the day.

Is there anything you do with the rabbits other than enter them in competitions?

We mostly breed the rabbits for competitions, but we also keep a few as pets if we feel particularly attached to them. There are some rabbits we keep largely for sentimental reasons, and choosing which rabbits to let go can sometimes really hard choice. If they rabbits are not quite what we’re looking for, we might sell some of them either as pets or sometimes to other breeders for breeding.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of breeding and taking care of rabbits?

The best part of it is when I go out to feed them and all of them are so excited to see me. They’re always so excited to see me and always want me to pet and take care of each of them in particular, and it’s nice to know that there’s someone who’s always so happy to see you. My least favorite part of having rabbits is cleaning the cages because it’s nasty and always takes up an entire evening, but it’s also really hard to part with any of my rabbits when I have to sell them.

Do you see yourself as continuing to breed and take care of rabbits in the future?

At this point, I’m not really sure what I will do when I leave for college. My mom and sister are also breeders and they can take care of some of my favorite rabbits, but we’ll probably also have to let a lot of the rabbits go by selling them. I would like to continue breeding rabbits in the future, but I am not sure if I will have the time in college. I think I will eventually keep breeding and taking care of rabbits once I have the time and resources to support myself and the rabbits, but I can’t really be sure of anything yet.

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