ARBA Standards

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Feb 26, 2024
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I am working towards a breeding pair of reds and blues for new Zealand rabbits. Ultimately I would love to show them at arba and do well. Since these are meat rabbits I have been working on our growth rate, 5 lbs at 10 week. I've never shown at arba so I was wondering if it is absolutely necessary to hit that rate to do well or if confirmation is more important. Any information anyone has from actually showing at ARBA would be appreciated.
ARBA shows are not grading on rate of gain, background genetics, or what the pedigree looks like. Judging is done only on 'phenotype', what the rabbit looks like at the time of judging. Get a copy of ARBA's Standard of Perfection, which will tell you exactly what the judges are looking for in the way of weight at a given age (junior or senior), toenail color, coat color, markings, etc. Having a healthy, clean coat, well-maintained on a rabbit that sits in the proper pose goes a long way. The best way to start is to go to a show, see how it works. Take a rabbit that meets the standard, and give showing a try. Even if you don't place well, the judge's comments on your rabbit's strengths and weaknesses will be invaluable. It tells you what to look for in future generations.
Be sure your rabbit makes the weight for the class it is entered in. I’ve seen a number of judges weigh senior does and bucks, and DQ a few because they were not at the proper weight for that class. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. If your rabbit is light by even an ounce, it will likely be eliminated. Shows are a great opportunity to compare what my home scale reads to what the judges scales read. We’ve got 2 brand new seniors that are right at the minimum weight limits. They are our only competitors, so at the last 2 shows we’ve had to make sure they were heavily fed and watered the morning of the show. A single poop, without feed to replace, could drop them below the limit. Best to be over by a few ounces, but that doesn’t always happen when you want or need it to, and you just have to go with what you have a show time.

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