Successful Rabbitry

Cathie made an interesting statement to me the other day, she said she really wants our rabbitry to be very successful. I pondered that thought for a while. I began to think to myself what exactly does that mean? Who would be the judge of that question? How do we get to the “successful” stage?

I thought it would be interesting to look up the term successful rabbitry to see who claimed the term and why they were claiming to be successful. I broadened the search a little when I just typed successful rabbit. It appears that a lot of rabbitries claim success. Some claimed success because of the amount of meat they produced. Some claimed success because of the number of rabbits they bred. Others factored in show results in claiming their success.

What I began to realize is that the success of your rabbitry depends on your goals. As a result, the only one that can determine if your rabbitry is successful is YOU. So the first step towards having a successful rabbitry is to set a goal. Once you’ve set a goal, determine the steps you’ll need to get you there.

I set a goal for our website when we first created it just over a year ago. The goal was to get on the first two pages of all the search engines with the term holland lops. If you search for that term on Google, MSN, etc, you’ll see Three Little Ladies Rabbitry listed on typically the first page sometimes the second page. When I set the goal, I decided I would not spend any money to get it done, but I would research SEO (search engine optimization), and do the work necessary for that to happen. Mission accomplished, and I would personally say we were successful there. Who is the judge of that? ME. Now Tracy Lukeman of Saynora may look at my success differently. Tracy’s sight is usually the site you see first when your type in holland lops on a search. She might think that we arent very successful (I haven’t asked her so I dont really know that, just using this as an example). Would that mean then that I’m not successul? Hopefully, you won’t let the thoughts of others determine your success in this business. People can be very fickle. Use your personal goals to determine your rabbitry’s success.

There are however several common factors that all of those claiming success had. Whether you have one pet rabbit, or a 1,000 rabbit meat production farm all of these factors will have a part in your success.

1. Nutrition: Anyone who’s shown or bred rabbits for any period of time, understands how important rabbit nutrition is. You should constantly be monitoring your rabbits health, flesh condition, and intact. Honestly, rabbit nutrition is a science. Keep up to date on what is happening in the world of rabbit nutrition.

2. Disease Prevention: What steps do you take to keep your bunnies from getting ill? What do you do when one of your rabbits does get sick? Do you have a policy of quarantining new rabbits? How do you monitor their health, so that you catch illness early? Again these are important questions to ask yourself whether you just have a pet rabbit, or you have a 100 show barn. Regardless of your goal, its going to be very difficult to be successful if your rabbit is ill.

We will probably set some goals in several areas of the rabbitry. These areas might apply to you, or they might not. I won’t share with you our goal, because your goal in these areas would be different from ours anyway. Many of these goals will be dependent upon each other. When all is said and done, we’ll look back at the goals we set in each of these areas, and determine if we were successful. Should we fall a little short this year, then we’ll reassess and strive to reach them next year.

1. Financial: We will set a financial goal. Our first few years in the business we have spent alot more money than we have made. There are several reasons for that. The main reason is we started with no equipment at all. We’ve had to buy cages, crocks, water bottles, built a barn, etc, etc. To reach our breeding goal we had to do that.

2. Breeding: This year we’ll set a breeding goal. This also works with the financial goal. Its much cheaper to produce your own bunnies than to be buying someone elses. Personally we find it a little more enjoyable as well, when that kit raised in your rabbitry gets its first leg, its a great feeling!

3. Marketing: Marketing goals are difficult to measure. It can involve posting sale notices on message boards, putting ads in newspapers, increasing traffic to your website. Again this works together with your financial and breeding programs. If your rabbitry is to make money you have to breed and then sell rabbits. In order to sell rabbits, you have to do some marketing.

4.Showing: We’ll set some goals for showing. This can be one of the more difficult goals you set. Everything about showing is subjective. Yes, the ARBA, does set clear standards for every breed, but every judge sees those a little differently. Not only that but one of your rabbits could win a double show one month, then molt the next and not be showable.

So now you have an idea of what areas we’ll set those goals in. We won’t share those goals with too many other people, and in the end we’ll be the judge of our success. Hopefully you’ve set goals for your rabbitry, and by obtaining those goals, you’ll will be able to claim success at the end of the year.

Rob Usakowski
Three Little Ladies Rabbitry

© 2006, Three Little Ladies Rabbitry Blog. All rights reserved.

Rob Usakowski
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