|| FEATURED STORY | Jann Hall: Taking Over the Rabbitry
Growing up on a dairy ranch, Jann Hall developed a real love for animals. There were five girls in her family and no boys, so all the girls had to learn how to work and take care of the animals. She was in 4-H for eight years and raised dairy cattle, beef cattle and pigs.
"Each was different, but you learned their ways," said Jann. "I wanted to be a vet, but in my days one had to transfer out of state to go vet school and our family could not afford it."
Although she never became a veterinarian, Jann has continued to be around animals, raising rabbits as a hobby for the past 36 years thanks to her youngest son, Mike.
"Mike decided that he did not like rabbits anymore and sports was the name of the game," Jann said. "He was raising Polish at the time, and I took them over and have been hooked from that time on."
Jann has 60 holes and presently raises mostly Himalayans and Silvers, but still has a few Polish.
"Rabbits are very interesting animals to raise. Each has their own personality and if you pay enough attention to each one, they come to like you as much as you like them," said Jann. "I have a black Silver buck named Omar, and when I come into the rabbitry he runs forward, wanting me to open his cage. He falls out into my arms like a dog and wants me to love and talk to him. He understands his name when called, as much as a human does."
Although she doesn't show as much as she used to, Jann still goes to more than 10 shows a year. One of her favorites is the ARBA National Convention, and she's shown at almost all of them since 1982.
"I so enjoy meeting people I have come to know and love and look forward to seeing them again each year," said Jann. "I have been blessed to have won Best of Breed, Best Opposite Sex Breed, Best Meat Pen and Best Variety at least one time or more in every breed I have raised and shown at the national convention, which were Californian, Champagne D'Argent, Himalayan, Polish and Silvers."
Jann currently serves on the historical committee for the American Polish Rabbit Club (APRC). Jann helped to recognize, with two other people, the blue variety of Polish, which passed with the APRC in 1982. She also is a director for the National Silver Club.
Jann uses Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Complete Natural AdvantEdge® rabbit feed that she gets from Friendly Feed in Fulton, California.
"Since I have used Purina® feed, I find my rabbits to be firmer in body type and have done better in showing as a whole," said Jann. "I only feed my animals Rabbit Chow™, oats and grass hay and that seems to do the trick for the breeds I raise."
Before her rabbits go on the judging table, Jann always gives them a kiss for good luck, but at the ARBA National Convention in Indianapolis, it didn't work out quite as planned.
"The Himi's were being shown, and I kissed the first one on the table and forgot that I had just put lipstick on," Jann said. "When he came up to be judged, everyone started laughing as he had the outline of lips on his forehead. The judge stated that this had to be a well loved rabbit."
Jann's rabbits also participated in the "Scary Hare™ Contest" sponsored by Purina at the Indianapolis Convention. She dressed one up as a race car driver, glasses and all.
"The rabbit never moved and wore the outfit the whole time," said Jann. "People thought it was dead, but that's just a Himi for you."
You can enter your rabbit in the 2011 "Scary Hare™ Contest" at the ARBA National Convention, which is back in Indianapolis October 29 to November 2, 2011.* Prizes will be given away for best theme dressed, look alike, biggest and scariest rabbit. Don't forget your costume!
A few months ago Jann became a foster mom to a litter of fawn Silver kits whose mother died when they were two weeks old.
"I didn't have another doe to foster them and couldn't find anyone else with one," said Jann. "I was willing to try anything to keep them alive, so I moved them into our family room in a small fish tank and started feeding them kit food made of puppy supplement milk, crushed Purina pellets and ground oatmeal out of a syringe. They started to love the mix."
When the kits were three weeks old, one of Jann's other does kindled and lost her babies, so she started to nurse them once a night, which helped, too.
With Jann and the other doe's help, the kits have managed to turn into beautiful, healthy rabbits.
"They are a little behind in size, but they are catching up with every passing day," said Jann. "Every time I go out to the rabbitry they fight to see who can hold them first and think I am their mom. Whoever gets one of these kits will have a sweet and wonderful rabbit."
The past 36 years with rabbits has been a great experience for Jann, and she tries to share that with others through the rabbits she breeds.
"I've learned a lot from the enjoyment of my rabbits, and I strive to produce the best of the breeds I raise so other people will have good stock to show and win, too."
Jann took the Purina® See the Difference 60 Day Challenge, putting Purina® Rabbit Chow™ rabbit food to the test and saving a little money by doing so. By signing up your rabbits, you'll get $3 off your purchase when you buy one bag of eligible of Purina® Rabbit Chow™ rabbit foods. Visit www.purinadifference.com to learn more and get started!
* No purchase necessary to enter. Contest starts on October 29, 2011 and ends on November 2, 2011. Visit the Purina booth at the ARBA National Convention for complete rules. Void where prohibited.
Back to top
|| RABBIT TIPS | The 4-Square Philosophy for Success
With research and suggestions from rabbit owners and breeders across the nation, Purina has identified the 4-Square Philosophy for Success to help you care for your animals the best you can. The 4-Square Philosophy focuses on better breeding, better feeding, better management, and better health—all keys to raising the best rabbits you can!
When buying a new rabbit, whether or not it's for breeding purposes, get the best quality animal you can afford. Animals from a reputable breeder will be worth the cost in the long run. Once you have the rabbits you'll be breeding, take the doe to the pen of the buck. If the doe does not accept the buck, consider it a red flag that the doe may be in poor condition or health and consult a veterinarian. When the doe is pregnant, increase feeding gradually and be sure to watch for any signs of problems. Keep a clean, dry nest after the litter is born, and any dead kits should be removed immediately.
Feeding your rabbit the right amount of nutritious food is essential to keeping a rabbit happy and healthy.
- Rabbits should be fed once a day at about the same time with the same amount of feed, and they should consume their full diet in about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Without proper feeding techniques, your rabbit could easily become overfed or underfed. The nutrient requirements of rabbits vary based on age and function.
- To confirm that each animal is properly nourished, it can be palpated over the back and hips to determine the level of fatness. This will allow you to assess whether the animal is thin, fat, or well-nourished. Then the diet can be changed as needed.
- Thin: It will be easy to feel the ribs and spinous processes (tops of the vertebral tips) on a thin rabbit. Muscling, especially over the back and in the rump area, will not be firm and full, and the hip bones may even be pointy if the rabbit is quite thin.
- Well-Nourished: A healthy rabbit in good body condition will have a layer of firm, toned muscle and a thin layer of fat over its ribs. The ribs can still be felt, but they are not sharp, nor are the spinous processes of the vertebrae. The rabbit feels like a well-toned athlete, with a strong, muscular rump.
- Fat: A fat rabbit will have ribs that are not easily palpated. It may have folds of excess fat in the abdomen around the hind legs. It will feel soft and somewhat "mushy" rather than firm and toned.
- It is important to FEEL your rabbit and become familiar with the feel of a properly conditioned rabbit. Fur (especially in breeds with long fur) can hide a lot—you really need to feel your rabbit all over, not just look at it, on a regular basis to determine not only the right body condition but if it is changing. If your rabbit appears to be gaining or losing weight, adjust the feed accordingly. Remember that some things, such as living outdoors during cold weather or nursing a litter, can greatly increase a rabbit's caloric requirements.
Better management of your rabbits means keeping up a good habitat for your animals. Do not overcrowd the rabbitry and keep it well sanitized. A good sanitation program is one of the most important things you can do to keep your rabbits healthy. An easy way to ensure a clean rabbitry is by establishing a weekly cleaning plan and sticking with it year round. Fresh feed and water should be provided every day to every rabbit, and dispose of the old feed that remains in the feeder or feed bowl. Wash each water bowl daily to decrease buildup of algae.
Rabbitries should also be well-ventilated, cool and out of direct sunlight.
The key to keeping your rabbits healthy is sanitation! But if one of your rabbits does get sick, it is important to handle the situation the best way to ensure that other animals are not infected as well. Have a quarantine area for new purchases and for your sick animals, and always feed, water, and treat the quarantined animals last. Have a veterinarian available that you can consult when needed.
Back to top
|| GET TO KNOW | Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Complete
Keep your rabbit happy and healthy with Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Complete Natural AdvantEdge® Rabbit Food. This all-natural* diet is highly palatable with all the essential nutrients for growth, maintenance and reproduction. It's the right balance of protein, fiber and critical nutrients, making it an excellent food for all types of rabbits of all ages. It's the easiest way to feed and the perfect choice for first-time rabbit owners.
As always, when changing your rabbits from one feeding program to another, make the change gradually, over a five- to seven-day period. Mix the new feed with the old, gradually increasing the amount of the new feed (it's always important to allow time for the rabbits' intestinal flora to adjust to any new feed). Continue to feed at the same time each day—evening is best. Clean the feeding dish daily so uneaten food does not become stale and moldy. And always provide plenty of clean, fresh, cool water to rabbits at all times.
- The Natural AdvantagEdge® Formula—superior, consistent, natural* nutrition FREE from all fillers, preservatives and artificial colors
- Complete, natural nutrition—no additional supplements necessary and great for rabbits of all ages
- Added lactobacillus, yeast and balanced fiber—supports digestive health with added yucca shidigera to aid in odor control
- Essential nutrients—proteins (contain amino acids, the building blocks of muscles, organs and fur), vitamin A (for reproductive efficiency and bright eyes), and calcium and phosphorus (for strong bones and excellent milk production)
- High-quality plant proteins—loaded with natural nutrients found only in plants that optimize vitality and support immune function
- Highly palatable—for proper intake and growth
- Purina® FeedGuard® Nutrition System— stringent quality standards help ensure many of the industry's highest quality ingredients available are used, provides greater nutritional consistency bag after bag and considers all key nutrients and their interactions with each other to better support overall rabbit health
*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients
Back to top