Rabbitry Management – Keep Track of Your Rabbits

How do you keep track of it all?

Several people have asked me, “How do you keep track of it all?” Since I have well over 100 rabbits in my barn, that’s a very good question. The truth is, it takes several systems to keep track of everything. We all know to write down kindling dates and that sort of thing (www.thenaturetrail.com/Breeding). And I use my magnet system to tag cages in the barn The Nature Trail’s Magnet System).

But this morning, I was going over a file in my word processor simply titled, “A list of rabbits.” So I thought I would share with you what my list is and what I use it for.

It really is a list of rabbits in my barn. Rabbits are added to the list once they are about 3 to 4 months old and showing some sort of promise as a show rabbit or breeding stock. There are eight sections to the list, starting with Solid Senior Bucks. The categories are the same as the Holland Lop show classes (www.thenaturetrail.com/showing).

One column numbers the rabbits in each class.

There are three columns: one column numbers the rabbits in each class. Right now I have 5 solid senior bucks, 24 solid senior does, 5 solid junior bucks, 5 solid junior does, 5 broken senior bucks (5 seems to be my number right now!), 14 broken senior does, 1 broken junior buck, and 3 broken junior does. (The balance of the 100+ rabbits in my barn are 4 months old or younger, or haven’t been evaluated and added to the list yet).

black holland lop doe

The second column is for the rabbit’s name.

In the second column, I write the rabbit’s name, BBF’s Yankee Doodle Dandy, for example. Rabbits that show competitively have an asterisk by their names. Dandy has one of course, as do 22 other rabbits right now. Some of the juniors may earn their asterisks later.

Does who have produced live litters are printed in bold. I aim at keeping 12 solid senior does and 12 broken senior does in my breeding program. But I don’t have to count a doe until she’s producing. I want 24 producing does in my barn.

The third column notes which rabbits need registered.

In the third column I note which rabbits need to be registered and which need to have their grand champion certificates (or Best In Show certificates) applied for.

I also note rabbits that I plan to sell, perhaps after their next litter or when I feel they have started producing well enough to be sold as a proven doe. Because I have marked my producing does and my show does, I can see how well I am keeping within my 12-does-per-senior-class rule of thumb.

For juniors, I list the date they turn senior. The primary reason is to make sure that I do not show a young senior as a junior. I think that is very important. If you show a senior as a junior, you are stealing from the junior in second place. And you push the 6th place rabbits out of points range. I always want to be aware of when to promote my juniors to the senior list.

There are other miscellaneous notations I may make: “on loan,” “find nice retirement home,” etc. The system is flexible and I can use it many ways.

I print out the list and place it in the front of my pedigree book for easy reference. I review the list two or three times per month to see where I am, especially when I’m preparing entries for shows.

Once I have collected about 15 rabbits that need to be registered, I invite my registrar to my barn and he registers them there. That’s a great bonus because I can register pregnant rabbits and rabbits with litters without having to take them to a show. If you are unfamiliar with registering rabbits, check out www.thenaturetrail.com/granding.

It’s a simple system, but it’s often the simple things that work best. I’m off to the barn and hope to write about bunnies later today.