Annual rabbit and cavy workshop set for April 1 in Muscatine
by Margaret Hurlbert
March 15, 2023

MUSCATINE, Iowa–In 1994 in Tipton, a group of young people who showed rabbits both at state fairs and in other shows realized they had valuable information to share with other kids, especially those in 4-H and FFA. After seeing that many of the students who showed their animals felt nervous and unsure of what to do at shows, they put together an event where they taught others about rabbit showing.

Over the past 29 years, the program has grown and come to Muscatine, with regional experts who belong to the American Rabbit Breeders Association coming together to provide some of the best education about rabbits and cavies (i.e. guinea pigs) as well as an opportunity for children who want to or currently show in 4-H and FFA to practice their skills and get the equipment they need to properly care for their animals. This year, the free, drop in workshop will take place at the Muscatine Agricultural Learning Center (3200 Lucas Street in Muscatine) April 1 from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

For those just starting to show rabbits, the workshop will give them the chance to learn about different rabbit breeds and their defining characteristics. Organizers will bring as many of the 51 different recognized breeds as they can. Additionally, they will help participants determine their own rabbits’ breeds and weights, which can help them enter them in the correct classes at fairs to prevent disqualifications.

Children participating in a previous rabbit and cavy workshop at the Muscatine Agricultural Learning Center. Photo courtesy Lynne Rechterman.

Because show rabbits and cavies require identification, attendees can have their rabbits’ ears tattooed and their cavies’ ears tagged. Rabbits that have previous tattoos can also have them touched up. Any youths who needs a safe way to transport their animals to and from shows or to house them safely can work with Bill Wolfe, and equipment vendor from Des Moines, to build a suitably sized carrier or cage. Wolfe requests that anyone who would like to purchase and build a carrier or cage contact him by emailing him or calling him at 515-556-5123 so that he can bring the right amount of kits in the appropriate sizes.

Since practice makes perfect, any of the children who attend may take part in a practice rabbit and cavy show. Anyone who comes who does not yet have a rabbit or cavy may borrow one of the presenters’ animals for the day to give showing a try. Mike Avessing, a local rabbit expert and an American Rabbit Breeders of America past president, will judge the entries, allowing participants to understand how judging works and to get constructive feedback that they can use to improve their showing before they go to fairs in the summer. “They can come not knowing anything and leave kind of an expert, having show a rabbit,” said Lynne Rechterman, one of the workshop’s organizers.

Attendees can also come away with many useful supplies for their animals, including free giveaways from Fred’s Feed in West Liberty and Blue Grass Feed and Seed. Organizers will have some rabbits and cavies for sale, allowing those ready to start showing to bring home excellent show animals.


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