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Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

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Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Silver Willow » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:24 pm


What are some important questions you always ask a breeder when buying/thinking of buying a rabbit off them?

I've found a breeder who's rabbits are what my two does trace to. Before contacting her I had a hint through the recent- semi recent show results for her area (she's about 8 hours away from me), and her rabbitry name was in there fairly regularly.

I'm buying a buck off her, which I'm quite excited about. But after some really bad experiences with people being either dishonest or just selling me their rubbish, I'm also very wary. It's not cheap shipping rabbits down, and the last thing I need is another crap buck :x

She says she's getting out of (or cutting down on- can't remember) Netherland Dwarfs to focus on her JWs more. Totally understable, and I guess that means I won't just be getting her worst rabbits, right?!

I'm giving her another call later today and want to make sure I'm smart about what I buy. I'm only 17, and with bunnies AND horses I don't have a ton of money to throw at rabbits that are going to be no good! :P
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Ozarkansas » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:59 pm


I know 8 hours is a long way, but I learned the hard way. No matter how far you have to go, if you are unsure of the rabbits make sure the breeder knows that you are only coming to look. Yes, you are interested in buying, but you won't make any decisions until you see the rabbits in person. Know what you are looking for! Ask to handle rabbits, but never take a rabbit out of its cage without permission. Once given permission look the rabbits over at least twice. Remember to check teeth, nails, insides of ears and sex. Only if you are satisfied should you buy a rabbit. My biggest problem when I started was being afraid to tell a breeder "no."
This is just my experience, I am younger than you so I understand you can't spend a ton on a rabbit, especially if it's not any good :)
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Silver Willow » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:19 pm


Well that's actually part of the problem- because of the distance, I won't be able to see the rabbit before buying it. It will be sent down by a pet courier. Which is why I want to make sure I ask the right questions! It kinda sucks, but it's pretty much what everyone does in New Zealand.
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Ozarkansas » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:47 pm


That is a problem... I had to buy some Beverens unseen once, because they are a rare breed and the breeder lived like 26 hours away from me. I asked for pictures of pedigrees, so I could see weights, winnings, ect. I asked for pictures of rabbits available, and pointed out in the pictures certain traits I was/was not looking for. I stressed very hard what I was looking for, what was more important to me (size vs. fur), and I mentioned several times that I was a youth breeder who wanted good rabbits! I also said I was willing to pay more if she had better ones (not an easy thing to say when your on a budget, and you don't know someone). In reality no breeder is going to say "yes" I have ear mites in my rabbitry, I have a genetic problem with buck teeth, my rabbits are overweight, I don't cross colors correctly, my rabbits have poor fur, most of them are flat, and stuff like that. So asking questions is a tricky thing to do. I might be wrong and other people might have conflicting opinion here. But I felt like I got better rabbits when I just kept talking about what I really wanted, and telling the breeder about other rabbits I looked at and why I didn't get them. I think it helps a breeder to know that you know what you are looking for, and you will not be happy with the rabbit if it is not what you are looking for.
Also you said she is selling out/down sizing.
That could mean she has good NDs and just wants to work on her JWs, or she is having a hard time with her NDs and wants to get out of them because they are not that great :shrug:
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Silver Willow » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:48 pm


Those are all very good points, and I probably should have been more clear about what exactly I wanted in the first place. It complicates things a little when she's kinda hard to get in contact with. And while I really don't want to buy anything I'm not completely happy with, I also don't want to be a pain and pester her!

Just re-read some messages between us and she also has Mini Lops and Mini Rex, and basically has too many rabbits. So I guess that's a valid enough reason?

Her rabbits are from some of the best lines in the country, but I'm not sure how much faith to put in lines alone :?

Also, this particular rabbit was one that she wasn't sure whether or not she should sell at first. There was another, registered REW buck I could have, but I figured anything she wanted to keep must be worth my money. She's asking $60 (nz) for him.

This first photo is of his sire (who features on the NZ rabbit accociation website, FB page etc.), and the second is the buck I'm buying. That's the only photo I have of him.

The pet transport is collecting him in 6 days, which is why I'm kinda panicking and second guessing myself XD

__________ Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:42 pm __________

Also, he doesn't have papers. Arrgh!! I can't make up my mind... am I being unwise in buying him or not?!?

__________ Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:48 pm __________

Forgot to attatch the photos.
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Ozarkansas » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:40 am


I completely understand about not wanting to pester people who are hard to get in contact with in the first place.
I have never raised Netherland Dwarfs before, so I wouldn't exactly know what to look for. But he looks pretty good to me. Possibly a bit long in body. But I am just comparing him to my Standard of Perfection pictures. I have seen pedigreed NDs that look a lot worse though. Really a Netherland Dwarf person should give their opinion.
I don't mean to sound ignorant, but I have no idea how rabbit registration works in NZ?
If he were registered with the American Rabbit Breeders Association, he would have been gone over by a licensed registrar. And is most likely a good one.
However to register most animals in the US you just send in the paperwork. So it doesn't really matter how the animal looks, as long as you fill out the paperwork...

__________ Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:40 pm __________

Just though I'd let you know where I live Netherland Dwarfs normally go for $40-$60 (US) depending on quality. There is someone trying to charge $100 (US) for Blue Eyed Whites though :shock:
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Silver Willow » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:42 pm


Thanks for your help @Ozarkansas- I really appreciate it :)

I'm not actually sure how registering works here. I might look into that! We're under the British Rabbit Council (or something like that), so I'm guessing you just send in some paper work. The buck I'm buying isn't actually registered (as far as I know), but the other buck I had a choice between is.

That's expensive! Crazy how some people will ask an arm and a lag for an animal that's 'pretty' or 'rare'. You see that allot in horses too, which is kinda sad. Because allot of the time they look like train wrecks conformationally. :x

On that note, is there anyone here experienced in NDs who would tell me what you think? As far as I can tell, the sire (first photo) is long in the shoulder and a little long in the back. And I can't tell anything about the other buck at that angle, other then he has a good ear set??
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Ozarkansas » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:34 pm


You should definitely look into registration :)
It is crazy how the same breeder will charge $100 for BEWs, $20 for Vienna marked, and $40 for black otter! And none of the rabbits will even be posed in the pictures!! :?
You could ask for another picture of the buck you are considering. I'm kinda shy about asking for more pictures after a breeder gives a few to me, but I learned to just do it :oops:
And yes, if there is anyone here who raises Netherland Dwarfs, what do you think?
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#9  Unread postby SableSteel » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:11 pm


Netherland dwarfs are more expensive than that around me, at least if you want to show. most of the ones I bought were about $150 each, that was for shadeds and champagnes. Not show shoppers, but not bad for their colors. A couple of them from top breeders didn't even have full pedigrees, I purchased them for their type. Low end show quality is about $75, pets about $30+ (for actual netherland dwarfs, not craigslist "dwarfs"). $100 isn't bad for a show quality BEW. At nationals last year, two dwarfs in auction went into four digits, and most were $200+. They're expensive because they're hard to breed and competitive, one of the most expensive breeds of rabbit (them, flemish, petites, hares and angoras are the pricey ones).

For ARBA standards, this rabbit would have a lot of problems. But not as many in BRC standards. Its hard to tell at this angle though. We can't see much except the width of his head and his ears. He looks to have good jaws and good ear from this. Maybe ask for other pictures? And figure out why half his nose is wet? According to some online calculator, $60 nzd is $44 usd and for that price I'd buy it from what I can see.

Edit: most the ND judging guides online are based on ARBA standards. ARBA dwarfs have more emphasis placed on a high head mount. Not saying it's completely different, but you definitely see different profiles of ARBA dwarfs vs BRC dwarfs. from what I can see of that buck; by ARBA standards he lacks bone and width between the eyes. that's enough to make it a cull in my barn. by BRC standards; well, he has good width to the head overall, good shoulders, good length the ears though they could use more fur/thickness. Good width the shoulders. I'd check his weight if I were judging him he looks on the large side. Could you use bright color, esp. on the chest but at least he's not mealy. Not too bad overall. for that price at least. though im not too good at judging with BRC standards so you might want to get a second opinion
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Silver Willow » Sun Sep 10, 2017 5:57 pm


Thanks @SableSteel! Yes, it can get quite confusing when most of the resources online are for those under ARBA standards.

Would you pay that plus the extra $50 to send him down though?

I think I'd be fine if I knew exactly what I was getting. Which is why I'm just going around in circles at the moment, so thanks for being patient and helping. It makes a big difference- especially when I've never actually been to a show, and am pretty much just going off what I read. Makes things interesting at times :P

I might ask her for a few more photos and see if I can find out how much he weighs. I feel a bit silly asking these things just 5 days before he gets sent down here. But I'd rather that then have some unpleasant surprise when/if I get him.

So according to BRC standards, you don't think his sire is long in the shoulder?

I have a doe who is quite big (1.4 kgs I think), but comes from a fantastic breeder and is from the same lines as the buck (her sire is from the same rabbitry as the buck). She is very solid and has really thick, well furred ears, so maybe they'd be a good match?

__________ Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:57 am __________

I have her a quick call yesterday and found out he was born last spring, making him about a year old. I didn't end up asking for more photos or anything because she was busy right then and it should have been the first thing I asked for when I contacted her. So I'll just have to wait and see what he's like this Saturday!

She also said he might be registered. So she's going to message me with his date of birth and confirm whether or not he is actually registered. Exciting! I'll post lots of photos when he gets here :)
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#11  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:39 pm


I'm going to chime in here because I have a friend that sells beautiful show quality tri rex, often by courier.

A. Your breeder should send you multiple pictures of the rabbit you are considering from multiple angles. POSED properly for the breed. They should also send more if you have specific angles you would like to look at.

B. The breeder should be able to express to you both the good and bad points of the rabbit you are looking to buy.

C. The breeder should be asking about the rabbits you are looking to pair with this animal. To help you to understand if this rabbit will help your breeding program.

D. See about getting older breeding stock.... often times breeders have older breeding stock that has out-produced itself.... but that are still too good to just cull for soup.... THESE are the animals I would be looking for!!!! They are not going to get you legs, but they will help you to breed your own leg winning rabbits!!

Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and request lots of photos.... If you are paying $$ to have these animals shipped.... keep in mind that you will likely "eat" 50-80% of the animals you have shipped. It is common to NOT get what you want by shipping. (do give decent animals a try, but cull the crap and keep that breeders name for when they are offering again so you don't buy for them again)
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#12  Unread postby ladysown » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:33 pm


is that a wet nose I see in that picture of the rabbit you are looking at?
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Silver Willow » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:58 am


Thanks for your replies @SarniaTricia and @ladysown!

I think I'm learning the hard way with transporting rabbits. Next time I have something sent down, I'll definitely be making absolutely sure the breeder knows exactly what I'm after! I thought I'd made myself clear to them when I told them me and my sister have a small rabbitry, and that I was after a stud buck to start us off (Re start, really).

I guess it's finding a balance between trusting the persons integrity and also asking the right stuff. Sigh.

ladysown wrote:is that a wet nose I see in that picture of the rabbit you are looking at?


Appears to be. I wasn't too concerned when I first saw it because my Nethies occasionally get a bit of a wet nose if they get stressed or something. And if it was Pasteurella there would be white snot, wouldn't there?
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#14  Unread postby TeaTimeBunnies » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:14 pm


The white snot wouldn't necessarily be shown in the picture. From what u have learned you often see it flying out their nose or around the hutch. Either way though you should definitely put this buck in a STRICT quarentein for at least a month to be sure he isn't ill. Especially since his nose looks wet in the picture. It's better to lose one rabbit than your whole herd.
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Re: Questions to Ask when Buying Rabbits

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Ozarkansas » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:13 pm


Definitely quarantine, but don't freak out especially if it isn't wet when you get him. If you take a rabbit out of it's cage right after it drinks water, it's nose may be wet. Or if the picture was taken while it is hot out his nose could be wet from heat as well. I'm not saying you shouldn't be careful, but you don't have to automatically cull because a nose is wet in a picture :)
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