Register

Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

A place to discuss the particular challenges and ethical issues facing the breeder of pet rabbits today.
3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 475
Joined: July 19, 2013
Location: MI, USA
United States of America Female
Thanks: 25
Thanked: 21 in 21 posts
BunnyBucks: 3,043.00

Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Thu May 14, 2015 7:10 pm


I am new to the pet market planning on raising Mini Lops for show and pet. The babies I don't keep I will give pet homes. Dont want to send any to freezer camp because my dad won't eat them and I can't handle slaughtering. So does anyone have any tips for a newbie?
Image

2 years of membership2 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 2487
Joined: February 4, 2015
Location: Beckley, WV
United States of America Female
Thanks: 1426
Thanked: 355 in 307 posts
BunnyBucks: 12,899.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Susie570 » Thu May 14, 2015 11:21 pm


As others here told me, and finally convinced me (through logic I could not argue), it is not truly practical to raise rabbits if you have no plan to properly and humanely dispose of rabbits you are unable to sell.

Rabbits produce a lot of offspring. They are known for it. You will, eventually, have rabbits you cannot sell within a reasonable amount of time. Your choices of what to do with those rabbits are limited.

Frankly, I had to come to terms with the fact that if you are unable to 'terminally cull' some of your stock, you should not get into breeding rabbits. Best of luck to you.
Mini Lops!!
If you love Lop Rabbits, come visit the Lop Rabbit forum at http://LopRabbitsUSA.com! See ya there!

Site Supporter
3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 5975
Joined: October 6, 2013
Location: northwest PA
United States of America
Thanks: 1481
Thanked: 1470 in 1226 posts
BunnyBucks: 30,715.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Zass » Thu May 14, 2015 11:54 pm


Susie worded it a bit more harshly than I would have...but I tend to agree.


There are tips that can help maximize sales, for example:
Rabbits are allowed on craigslist if sold as livestock and not pets, advertising on FB pages before a show to get exposure to breeders, breeding with holiday sales in mind, things like that.
You might even be able to sell excess bunnies off to a pet store, or if you are lucky, you may even find a snake owner or raw feeder you can trust to humanely dispatch...

The following user would like to thank Zass for this post
Sumatra

6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership6 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 6657
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 914 in 816 posts
BunnyBucks: 34,345.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby akane » Fri May 15, 2015 12:11 am


Often there are cull buyers at some shows in the area. You can try asking around. Facebook and yahoo groups are good places or emailing the person listed on the ARBA show listing and any flier for the show. They will take your unwanted rabbits to try to sell or often to dispatch and sell as pet food. It does not give them what pet owners would consider a better result but if you have no problem with your rabbits being food and just don't want to do it yourself it is a possible solution. It's still really not a good idea to rely 100% on this and pet owners to fully take all rabbits you don't want to keep. You need to breed and fill cages a bit more carefully in case you get stuck with excess rabbits for awhile.

As for selling do not sell to pet stores without the right paperwork. A usda license and inspection may be required and anything over $500 a year has to be reported on taxes. People have been utterly ruined by selling rabbits to lots of local people and then selling some out of a pet store and getting the attention of people in authority. There were a few cases of people being hit with several $100,000s of fines and taxes. If there is going to be a paper trail you have a lot more to worry about and records to keep than cash and low cost checks between individuals.

I find rather than advertising your entire rabbitry to pet owners it works best to advertise the fewest rabbits possible at a time. I guess it makes it look like they are more frequently handled pets than a large business and it gets you flagged off sites like craigslist less. The best approach I saw was naming each rabbit for sale and listing them individual with a few comments on as much personality as possible and their looks. I now put about 2-3, usually same gender, in a listing and mention something about each one rather than entire litters or groups of litters. This is much the opposite of what you want to do for selling to breeders. Breeders for show or meat want to know you have a good solid rabbitry with healthy litters available rather than the name and personality details of one rabbit. It still helps to mention if they are particularly nice and easy to handle rabbits and to comment on good aspects of color or type. Getting good photos of well posed rabbits will get you farther selling to breeders online though. Best is to get as much of your available stock as possible to rabbit shows and then not only will the people at the show see them but when someone asks for a breeder in your area someone might remember to mention you.
http://s1321.beta.photobucket.com/user/takakageri/library/
Don't wonder why people go crazy. Wonder why they don't.

The following user would like to thank akane for this post
Sumatra

3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 475
Joined: July 19, 2013
Location: MI, USA
United States of America Female
Thanks: 25
Thanked: 21 in 21 posts
BunnyBucks: 3,043.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Fri May 15, 2015 7:30 am


If I have absolutely no choice I can arrange to cull a rabbit. But that probably won't happen since I have other ways to sell rabbits: cull buyers, mini lops sell really good around here and also there is some people who would love live rabbits for snake food. I raised Silver Fox for meat and show and I've mever had to cull a rabbit so far so I'm hoping I don't have to. But like I said if I have no choice I could take it to my uncles or borrow something besides a pellet gun from the neighbors and get my brother to do it as a favor.
Image

The following user would like to thank The_Dutchess for this post
Susie570

2 years of membership2 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 2487
Joined: February 4, 2015
Location: Beckley, WV
United States of America Female
Thanks: 1426
Thanked: 355 in 307 posts
BunnyBucks: 12,899.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Susie570 » Fri May 15, 2015 7:46 am


Yes, sorry I didn't mean to come off as harsh. ;)

If you're willing to dispatch, or sell to cull buyers (something I will not do because I worry about how they are treated), then there shouldn't be a problem. I read your post as saying that you are not willing to dispatch or cull rabbits.

A great idea that someone here suggested, is giving culls to a local raptor rehab facility. They want rabbits brought to them dispatched and possibly frozen, but they will take everything from newborns to old rabbits and I find it to be a worthy cause for when I have to deal with that.
Mini Lops!!
If you love Lop Rabbits, come visit the Lop Rabbit forum at http://LopRabbitsUSA.com! See ya there!

2 years of membership2 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 712
Joined: November 11, 2014
Location: Northern Indiana
United States of America Female
Thanks: 236
Thanked: 138 in 119 posts
BunnyBucks: 4,311.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby WhWRabbitry » Fri May 15, 2015 8:02 am


Know how much market there is before you get too many rabbits breeding.
Might depend on the area of Michigan but I know that Michigan has A LOT of Mini Lop breeders, and some excellent ones at that. So that might make it more difficult. I know a gal I bought some of my show herd off of who lives there said because their area is so saturated with Mini Lop breeders many end up having to be sold at auctions for food. SO, as long as you are aware of that going in. If that is true in your area you might want to consider a breed that there is not as many breeders of in MI. Just my 2 cents. Best of luck to you!

3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 475
Joined: July 19, 2013
Location: MI, USA
United States of America Female
Thanks: 25
Thanked: 21 in 21 posts
BunnyBucks: 3,043.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Fri May 15, 2015 9:45 am


Thanks everyone for your input!
Susie, I didn't think you were harsh, merely honest. :)
I didn't really mean it was 100% impossible for me to dispatch, just that I myself couldn't handle it, and I really REALLY would rather not. But that it is possible if I have to.
I feel like I should explain my situation a little better as well. I used to have a lot of rabbits: Silver Fox, Silver Marten, Polish, a Mini Lop and a Jersey Wooly. But due to financial issues I have had to downsize to 4 rabbits. I have a Mini Lop buck and a Jersey Wooly buck. I was planning on getting a ML doe and a Britannia Petite doe for rabbit hopping. The reason I decided to do ML is because I already had a buck and so I only have to get a doe, because they sell good as pets around here, because it's one of my favorite breeds and because My 4-H leader can cut me a deal for a nice rabbit. I would almost rather do JWs though since I already have a buck, because its so cold during the winter, because no one else near me breeds them. But I don't want to do that because I already have trouble keeping up maintenance on my one JW buck. So that's why I decided Mini Lops. I am not planning on breeding a lot, just breeding enough so that I have juniors for shows every year. I have fallen in love with Britannia Petites and if I like my doe enough in the future if I am better off financially I may start breeding those.
So that's my situation. And since I wont be breeding often (just once or maybe twice a year) then I figured I could sell them as pets. So that's why I asked for tips, because this is my first time with pet rabbits.
I have a couple questions, actually. Do I need a sales contract? I was planning on screening my buyers a little bit and giving them some of my food to take home and a care sheet, but I didn't know if I should have a sales contract. Also, how much do you sell your pet rabbits for?
Image

2 years of membership2 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 2487
Joined: February 4, 2015
Location: Beckley, WV
United States of America Female
Thanks: 1426
Thanked: 355 in 307 posts
BunnyBucks: 12,899.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Susie570 » Fri May 15, 2015 9:57 am


The_Dutchess wrote:Do I need a sales contract? I was planning on screening my buyers a little bit and giving them some of my food to take home and a care sheet, but I didn't know if I should have a sales contract. Also, how much do you sell your pet rabbits for?


Thanks for the additional information. It sounds like you have your feet on the ground :)

You do not NEED a sales contract, that's entirely up to you, but many of us have found it to be a good idea. I give my new owners a 'Care Sheet', which also serves as a sales contract and includes information such as my guarantee (no guarantee) and my return policy (I will accept the return of any unwanted rabbit, for free). I only state that rabbits are sold as healthy when they leave my premises and give specific instructions for feeding, what type of feed they are used to eating, how to mix up ACV water, and other general information.

I have been charging $20-$30 for mixed breed pet rabbits, 'gentle and handled from birth'. I start taking deposits (half down) at 6 wks of age, they can leave my facility no earlier than 8 wks. I will hold a rabbit (with deposit) for up to one week after their 8 wk anniversary, after that I charge $1/day boarding fee. No refunds on deposits. I include about a week's worth of starter pellets and a plastic grocery bag of hay. I've also started giving out a toy and the rabbit's salt chunk with each rabbit.
Mini Lops!!
If you love Lop Rabbits, come visit the Lop Rabbit forum at http://LopRabbitsUSA.com! See ya there!

The following user would like to thank Susie570 for this post
Sumatra

Site Supporter
3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 5975
Joined: October 6, 2013
Location: northwest PA
United States of America
Thanks: 1481
Thanked: 1470 in 1226 posts
BunnyBucks: 30,715.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Zass » Fri May 15, 2015 1:00 pm


I'd rather dispatch my own any day than send them to auction, as those are the only places I know of where workers have been known lift rabbits by their EARS.

And, I like SNAKES too much to be an accessory to offering one a live rabbit!

I've seen pics of what happened to a snake after someone tried live feeding a mature satin doe.
I'll just quote her:
"The snake's face looked like hamburger"
:x

I think, there are safer animals for snakes who require moving prey.

Posts: 21
Joined: June 8, 2016
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
New Zealand Female
Thanks: 2
Thanked: 0 in 0 post
BunnyBucks: 145.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Cookie & Co. » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:46 am


I totally disagree with people suggesting killing. I'm not sure what your pet market is like, but where I live I successfully sell all my mini lops to the pet market BEFORE I breed them, for about $100-150. So I look at the parents and their pedigrees and decide what colours they will produce, then I post a form for people to fill out on my website that asks for the gender and colour they would like. Next I ask each person to transfer the full amount into my bank account, and I breed my rabbits. If I didn't end up with a colour or gender that someone wanted, the I refund their money. If I did breed the colour and gender that they wanted then I wait until they are 8 weeks old and send them off to their forever home. I wait until I get at least 10 requests before I breed, never before.
If you don't have the interest I do then talk to some pet shops to see if they'll take them, or if one or two doesn't sell then just keep lowering the price.
If it looks like you'll have to kill a rabbit, then don't breed as often. Simple as that.

4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 901
Joined: November 12, 2012
Location: Glenville, West Virginia
United States of America Female
Thanks: 19
Thanked: 174 in 150 posts
BunnyBucks: 4,682.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Prisma » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:43 pm


Cookie & Co. wrote:I totally disagree with people suggesting killing. I'm not sure what your pet market is like, but where I live I successfully sell all my mini lops to the pet market BEFORE I breed them, for about $100-150. So I look at the parents and their pedigrees and decide what colours they will produce, then I post a form for people to fill out on my website that asks for the gender and colour they would like. Next I ask each person to transfer the full amount into my bank account, and I breed my rabbits. If I didn't end up with a colour or gender that someone wanted, the I refund their money. If I did breed the colour and gender that they wanted then I wait until they are 8 weeks old and send them off to their forever home. I wait until I get at least 10 requests before I breed, never before.
If you don't have the interest I do then talk to some pet shops to see if they'll take them, or if one or two doesn't sell then just keep lowering the price.
If it looks like you'll have to kill a rabbit, then don't breed as often. Simple as that.



If you're breeding for more than pets, not terminal culling is not going to happen. People can say want but a list of 20 can go to 0 quick. I'm guessing you've also never had a bad pet experience, one of these and quick kill for eating or feeding is way more humane than pets. There is nothing wrong with terminal culling.

Sales policy on what will do is good idea. Care sheet, or mini booklet in my case, also good. Starter food, hay, and pedigree also goes with. You have yo be ok with the notion that some time there is going to be problems and they may not be well cared for or what you offer in help is ignored and the rabbit suffers. Screening doesn't guarantee good homes.
Rabbitry is changing in 2016.

Glenville, West Virginia

User avatar
Posts: 212
Joined: May 2, 2016
Location: California, US
United States of America
Thanks: 74
Thanked: 35 in 32 posts
BunnyBucks: 1,071.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Nymphadora » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:00 pm


I know a lot of people who would be very wary of putting down that much money on a bunny that isn't even born yet. Even with a personal guarantee from the breeder to get their money back if it's "no dice", many folks I know would find the offer a little too iffy. Especially if they didn't know the breeder very well. I'm sure it's worked for you, Cookie & Co., but I don't think everyone can expect such favorable circumstances.

I think only breeding once the last bunny (from the previous litter) sells might be the best way to ensure that you're not overrun with unsold pet bunnies. If your business begins booming, you can increase breedings to meet demand. But if you have a few kits left over that haven't found a home, holding off on the breeding will ensure you have time and resources to place them. Even if you end up with 2 months between litters, you can use this time to build up excitement for the upcoming litter, instead of scrambling to try and find homes for the last few bunnies in the grow-out pens. Just my 2 cents :)

Site Supporter
3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 5975
Joined: October 6, 2013
Location: northwest PA
United States of America
Thanks: 1481
Thanked: 1470 in 1226 posts
BunnyBucks: 30,715.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Zass » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:24 pm


Cookie in Co, isn't located in the US. I believe their country is a bit different when it comes to pets.
Perhaps she hasn't ever seen the kind of bad pet experiences we have?

if one or two doesn't sell then just keep lowering the price.

That could be tricky in an agricultural area, where there already are many people selling rabbits at $10 each.

I had to learn the hard way to set my price, and stick with it, since lowering the price too far attracted the very WORST buyers. A few of my babies neglected to death was all it took to teach me that selling them cheaply was not "saving" them from a horrible fate, it was setting them up for it.

It turns out, a quick painless kill is a lot kinder than a slow death to starvation or dehydration.
Those people had me convinced they were experienced rabbit owners too. :cry:

I don't feel like explaining it all right now Cookie, but, there are also many people here who firmly believe that euthanasia can also be a much a kinder fate then selling to a US pet store.

If I didn't end up with a colour or gender that someone wanted, the I refund their money.


This wouldn't really work out in most parts of the US.
I feel, it's probably due to how much poverty and illegal drug use we have, but I think people would take advantage of a system like that at every opportunity, breeding(or claiming to breed imaginary animals,) taking lots of money, and then disappearing.

User avatar
Posts: 212
Joined: May 2, 2016
Location: California, US
United States of America
Thanks: 74
Thanked: 35 in 32 posts
BunnyBucks: 1,071.00

Re: Tips for a Newcomer to the Pet Market?

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Nymphadora » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:11 pm


@Zass, thank you for explaining what I was trying to communicate more clearly :oops:

I've had a number of experiences with irresponsible pet owners in the past, as well as shady people on Craigslist (which I know is mostly a US thing, but I'm sure there are comparable sites). As nice as it would be to be able to ask for money in advance of the litter, in my area that just wouldn't happen. Then again, in my current neck of the woods, people think a 20 gallon aquarium for 2 juvenile fantail goldfish is ridiculously large. :roll:

If the_Duchess is not wanting to terminally cull rabbits, either, though, I still think breeding more rarely is the best option. I really like the idea of giving out care pamphlets and some of their accustomed food/treats/toys, too. The fewer drastic changes in environment the better, right?

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest