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Preparation & Big Events

October 27, 2011


Today we’re preparing for departure to Indianapolis, Indiana for the American Rabbit Breeders Association national show and convention. Although we’ve been doing laundry, cleaning carriers, getting ready to go with small advance tasks all week there is always a rush and today is rush day.

This week has also brought the lows sometimes associated with any type of animals. Our early foundation doe, Star City, was injured in her cage and the sad decision to put her down was made. She can’t navigate well enough and if she could have any quality of life we’d made adjustments and let her just hang out retired, but sadly that’s not the case. So as six of her offspring prepare to depart for the biggest show in the USA she’s put down. It’s the distasteful, sucky part of things. Our little program owes her a great deal – and it is up to her two daughters and four sons to take over her legacy now.

The ARBA National is a rotating show – that is, it’s held in a different place every year. This year is Indianapolis, next year is Wichita Kansas, and the year after that looks to be Harrisburg PA (the only bid being presented). There are officially 22,799 rabbits entered in open and youth competition, plus cavies (guinea pigs) of just over 500 and nearly 1000 more that will be making presentations for new breeds and varieties. This draws people from all over the US – some left earlier this week from the west coast, others will fly in and others, like us, are packing to drive.

At the same time we’re doing this another group is doing the same – the Indianapolis fairgrounds is also host at the same time to the American Poultry Show Crossroads, which will be the first poultry show we’ll see beyond a county or state fair. Excited? Yes we are!

It’s also the opportunity to catch up with friends, sell some, buy some, take part in meetings that make decisions for the year ahead and the future of our respective breeds, have a lot of fun and see how our rabbits stack up against the best. For the rare breeds this is a chance to get in deep competition we normally don’t have, as exhibitors are scattered.

The Giant Chinchilla entries show over 90 open and 11 youth rabbits entered. We’re looking forward to the trip, a little sad that Dio will be going to a new home following convention but knowing he’ll have a great home. Dio is a very nice son of Star City, and this was arranged some time ago. I’m hoping to be able to be able to find a nice doe and breed before leaving Indy.

There will be some additions and sales. Six of the red laying hens will be delivered to their new home in Kentucky on the way up tomorrow. Connor has three Silver Fox does that will be coming home with us, and I’ve bought a pair of chinchilla Satins and a pair of Dark Cornish chickens. These will add a little more depth to the program, as we’ll be able to cross the dark cornish rooster on some of the reds for cornish cross meat birds, as well as have a really nice pair to hopefully hatch some eggs from and establish a flock of them.

With the rarer breeds and varieties it’s difficult to add new blood when breeders are so far apart, so extra effort is made to buy wisely. I’d like to find an Ancona cockerel as well, and we’ll be looking at buying some ‘meat pen’ rabbits as well, with 33 entries to choose from.

If you’re near Indianapolis through the weekend stop by and see the activities. Rabbit judging starts Sunday.

And, thanks to a friend who was willing to pick up for me, we’ll have over a dozen more spaces for these new additions. I found a great deal on a lot of them on Craigslist and, thanks to social media and friends, am able to add these!

It’s a busy time but a time of growth too. Connor will be working to find others in need of cages cleaned or rabbits fed, earning his way $1 at a time to some new additions for his herd, as he’ll need a Silver Fox buck to go with those nice does!

We’ll be trying to update from the road, and will be shooting some video clips and I’m going to try really hard to learn to text post on Twitter and Facebook! Learning is good! 🙂

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