Purina® Rabbit Nutrition E—Newsletter

FEATURED STORY | Richard Shipe: Purina® Rabbit Ambassador

While some rabbit owners try out a few breeds before finding the one for them, Rick Shipe has always had New Zealands. He started out in 1971 with one New Zealand White doe after reading about going to a rabbit show, and it has been a hobby ever since.

Rick has been married to his wife, Karen, for 27 years, and his two daughters, Jaimie and Kacy, both grew up raising and showing rabbits. The whole family was involved with 4-H for many years, although both daughters are now in college and don't currently own rabbits. Jaimie is studying agriculture education and food science and Kacy is studying small and large animal science. Rick and Karen live in a rural area of Berks County, Pennsylvania. The nearest town, Oley, Pennsylvania, is in the National Historic Registry.

"We truly love the area we call home," said Rick.

Rick raises show quality New Zealand Whites exclusively. He has seven breeding does, five breeding bucks and holding cages for 36 other rabbits. He shows his New Zealands at many local shows in Pennsylvania and also travels throughout the eastern two-thirds of the country to the National New Zealand show in the spring and the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) convention in the fall. He has won numerous awards including a Best Opposite Sex New Zealand at a National New Zealand show. Additionally, he raises rabbits for breeding stock that he sells to backyard rabbit breeders.

Rick has been involved with the American Federation of New Zealand Rabbit Breeders Association for many years. He is a life member, Hall of Fame member, and served as the director for eight years, president for two years and the secretary/treasurer for 10 years. He is a director of the Keystone State New Zealand Rabbit Breeders and President of the Berks County Rabbit Breeders.

Rick has been feeding Purina Mills products for more than 15 years and feeds all of his rabbits Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Natural AdvantEdge® Show formula.

"I feel this feed gives me the best performance in growth and overall condition, plus excellent fur condition on my rabbits," Rick said. "It is a consistent formula and has quality ingredients each and every time I bring feed home."

Rick's favorite thing about raising rabbits is seeing the improvements he has made by breeding a pair together and producing excellent show stock. Being out and around the rabbits is also a source of relaxation for Rick since the rabbits are usually quiet and don't make much noise.

Not only is Rick a Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Food customer, but he is also an official Purina Rabbit Ambassador. As an Ambassador he attends training sessions at the Purina Farm in Gray Summit, Missouri, promotes Purina feed to other breeders at shows, does Purina dealer events and educates 4-H and other local clubs. He became an Ambassador seven years ago and is very proud to be a part of the Purina family. He also works part-time at his local Purina dealership.

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RABBIT TIPS | Basic Rabbit First Aid Kit

You never know when your rabbit might have some of type of minor accident. Having a first aid kit on hand will make providing care to your rabbit easier and faster. Listed below are items that Purina recommends for a basic first aid kit.

Item Purpose
Safety Glasses Protection
Face Mask Protection
Rubber Gloves Protection
Rubbing Alcohol Sterilization of instruments or surface skin (do not apply to wounds)
Hydrogen Peroxide Cuts and open wounds
Gauze Cuts and open wounds
Wound Antiseptic Cuts and open wounds
Bandages Cuts and open wounds
Triple Antibiotic Ointment Cuts and open wounds
Medical Tape Wounds
Surgical Blade Lancing (use only when directed by your veterinarian)
Anti-bacterial cloths Sanitation for hands
Nail Clippers Trim nails
Wire Cutters Trim teeth
Spray Bottles Apply liquids
Cotton Balls Apply liquids
Tweezers Removal of small objects
Feline hairball remedy products Ear mites or hair ball
Papaya Tablets Hairball
Q-Tips Swab ears or nose
Instant Cold Packs Overheating
Digital Thermometer Check temperature

A first aid kit is not a replacement for a trained professional. It is always a good idea to post emergency numbers inside your first aid kit for your primary and secondary veterinarians, poison control and the closest 24-hour emergency animal clinic.

Be sure to check the contents of your first aid kit regularly, throw away any out-of-date materials and restock as needed.

Only use a scalpel or surgical blade when directed by your veterinarian. Using it incorrectly could cause more harm to your rabbit.

Normal Body Temperature: 101.5-103°F
Heart Rate (pulse): 130-325 beats per minute
Respiratory Rate: 32-60 breaths per minute

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GET TO KNOW | Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Natural AdvantEdge® Show Food

Purina® Rabbit Chow™ Natural AdvantEdge® Show food is completely balanced and specially formulated to help produce shiny fur, successful growth and optimal reproduction. This blue ribbon winning food contains added vegetable oils for superior fur quality and is designed for enthusiasts who raise and show rabbits and want the winning edge.

  • The Natural AdvantEdge®—superior, consistent, natural* nutrition FREE from all fillers, preservatives and artificial colors
  • Formulated for excellent fur quality—vitamin A and essential fatty acids for healthy skin & lustrous fur
  • Corn free diet—created especially for the unique needs of rabbits
  • Complete, natural nutrition—no additional supplements necessary and great for rabbits of all ages
  • Helps create winners—formulated to help give you the winning edge on the show table
  • High-quality plant proteins—loaded with natural nutrients found only in plants that optimize vitality and support immune function
  • Added lactobacillus, yeast and balanced fiber—support digestive health with added yucca shidigera to aid in odor control
  • Proprietary amino acid profile—building blocks of life from protein for optimal muscle and tone
  • 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
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.

*with added vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients

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