4H and ARBA
Showing rabbits is fun for those all involved. Try and make your way to a local show before you decide to enter into one if you can. I’ll forewarn you though, it can be very boring if you have nothing to show yourself. However, with larger shows, there are lots of people to meet and you can ask questions to judges which will help to better prepare you and your family for your first show! I love county fairs! They can be the most fun to attend and who loves animals that doesn’t like to go through the Exhibition building to see all the animals? For the most part, you can find a show at any age and you can show anything from a meat rabbit to a beautiful fancy Angora rabbit!
Our kids and grandkids are all members of both the American Rabbit Breeders Association and our local 4H Club. I highly recommend both communities. Today, children don’t always get to see the beautiful side of agriculture and what God has given us. Some live in the city and do not get the opportunity to enjoy some of God’s greatest gifts. Look into these clubs and see for yourself how wonderful they are!
4H is such a fun filled club for kids. When I was growing up, I never did get to join the 4H so I didn’t learn until I became an adult that there is much more to 4H than just agriculture. Today, my our kids did join the 4H because of our rabbits and show every summer when they are out of school. We chose to do this because they have more time to care for their bunny coats since we raise a wool breed.
If you are interested in learning more about your local 4H groups, it’s real simple. Just get online and start googling your county 4H groups. Each 4H group has a a club name and will have information out there on who to contact. We even found the phone number listed online for our club leader and reached out to her. From there, we joined and I even became volunteers. Under the great leader we have, we oversee the Cloverbuds. Cloverbuds are for the children in our group that are under 8 years of age by September each year. These kiddos get to be part of the meeting and learn from the big kids. Then after the legalities of the meeting are over, we separate the 4H kids from the Cloverbuds. Kelsi and I work on projects with the Cloverbuds so they get to be a part of the group. These kids love it!
If you can’t find info on a local group in your town, check with your county. Sometimes there are areas that do not have volunteers and you may have to go to a town near-by. Regardless, it is such a wonderful experience for children. My youngest daughter Ahnika is the president of her 4H club and my grandson, Justus is an officer. He writes the monthly reports that go in the county 4H newsletter! These kids will forever remember learning, leadership, and being a big part of their clubs. They learn new thins from an early age and it teaches them so much. I am pleased to see children become involved in responsibilities rather than unsafe, out on the streets getting into trouble.
4H offers shows and programs to show rabbits. Some shows are ARBA sanctioned, some are country and/or state fairs, and some are just strictly ran by 4H clubs. In order to know the rules for 4H shows, you will need to check with the specific show rules as they can all vary. They can be very lenient on colors and patterns whereas an ARBA sanctioned show will only allow ARBA colors and patterns to be shown. It is very important to check the rules before planning on attending. Show winnings are all different. We have always won ribbons and even money. Some shows add extra gifts in the winnings. You will only receive legs (points) from ARBA sectioned shows. Check with not only your local 4H groups but also your county and state fairs to find out all of the important details on each show and what is available to enter into.
If you do not have children or children interested in 4H but love the club. Offer to help or invite the clubs out to see your farm!
Helpful links about 4H in the United States:
National 4H Headquarters in the USA:
Find your local 4H club:
What is 4H?
American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA)
The ARBA is the largest rabbit breeders club in the United States. They set the guidelines for developing rabbit breeds, responsible breeding, showing, and improving rabbits in general. They also oversee the same for Cavies (guinea pigs). ARBA is like the AKC for dogs but made for rabbits. Its an awesome association! We registered our rabbitry through the ARBA and are all annual paid members.
ARBA offers sanctioned shows all over the Untied States. You will find show locations listed on the ARBA website along with their Standard of Perfection (SOP) book that gives you all the guidelines you need in breeding for perfection. Anyone interested in breeding or showing rabbits should get acquainted with the ARBA!
I stated above that the ARBA is the AKC of the dog world. However, there is a huge difference between rabbit papers and dog papers. Rabbits are pedigreed if someone tells you they have papers. Pedigrees should state a rabbits name along with their rabbitry name. They should have color, gender, tattoo, date of birth, weight on six months or older rabbits, and show info. Show info would be any legs (points) earned at any ARBA sanctioned shows. If they have been Grand Championed or Registered, those numbers have a place on the pedigrees as ell. Registering a rabbit is not the same as registering a dog or cat with their clubs. Registering a rabbit must be done through an ARBA Registrar. For more info on this process, refer to the Registrar link off the ARBA site: chrome-extension://
The ARBA is for any age and does offer youth showmanship as well. They do have separate shows for youth but it is not mandatory that youth show in only youth programs.
Typically, the ARBA shows are more strict with their guidelines than the county fair rules. Don’t let this intimidate you though! Showing can be very fun and gives kids a lot to look forward to and something we can all be proud of them for!
For more information about the ARBA, please visit the link below.
Helpful tips to help prepare you for your first show:
Make sure you have a rabbit transport carrier. Battery operated fans are nice for hot summer days. Rabbit food, feed dishes that attach to cages and water bottles (and water) are a must. We opt for bottles rather than water dishes so not to mess up the facial furnishings on our angoras. Some buildings are quite a walk from where you need to park so it is nice to have a cart to pull your rabbit cages and supplies. Portable grooming tables come in real handy and you will see lots of exhibitors pulling out their tables. If you have access to electricity, you can bring your blower for your angoras. Grooming tools like combs, brushes and for non wool breeds, a water spray bottle. You will want to be sure your toenails are clipped ahead of time but keep clippers on you just incase. It is always a good idea to have an emergency bunny kit with necessities for situations unforseen. Some people bring a sign with their rabbitry name or business cards to display as well. Lawn chairs!!!! Don’t forget your chairs just in case! Some shows are held in barns and you bring your own seating. You may even want to bring a cooler with snacks and drinks, especially if you have kids! Be prepared as you may have to leave your bunnies overnight or multiple nights. Some people make it a weekend trip if it is a fair. Plan in advance! Lots of shows require pre-registry months in advance! It is required at ARBA shows to have your rabbitry name present on you so look up that rule and make sure you comply. We wear aprons with our logo on it.