4-H Rabbit Showmanship Tutorial

Hi, I’m Grant Sweeter, and I am a former alumni of the Dakota Lassies and Rangers 4-H club in Lincoln County, South Dakota and today, I will be doing my tutorial on how to do rabbit showmanship. First, you start by taking out the rabbit and posing the rabbit. You usually pose it to the side, facing the judge, and you always start off by saying your tutorial. And you always start with your tutorial saying: Hi, I’m Grant Sweeter, and I’m a member of the Dakota Lassies and Rangers 4-H club and today I will be doing rabbit showmanship, using my broken senior Doe Polish. Then you start by going into the into the showmanship itself. You always, what I always do when I work on the top is I do ears, back, fur, and tail. So I start off with the ears, and I’ll say that the right ear is free of any black spots or crustiness, which would indicate that the rabbit has ear mites and so I’ll show the ear canal towards the judge. Then I will do a quarter turn, quarter turn as the as the quarter turns help control the rabbit so that you don’t, so that you don’t lose control of the rabbit. Then I will show them the left ear and I will say that the ear number is WH71. As all rabbits should have an ear number in their left ear, and I’ll also say that the ear is free of any black spots or crustiness and showing the judge the ear canal while also putting my finger down there just say to show that I have touched the whole ear and check the whole ear. I will then go to the back, and like I said, I will work with the fur. So I will start with the fur, and I will say that the fur is free of any excess molt, which basically means that the rabbit is shedding out a coat and so then there would be hair flying all over the place, and as you can see there are no the hairs flying means she is not in a molt and she also, I would also say that she’s not missing any hair, as many different spots could be missing signaling that she would have a hair infection of some sort. Then I will look at the back, and I will feel the sides and the back looking for any abnormal bumps which would indicate maybe an abscess, which is basically just an infection that is built into a bump shape, and so as I feel the sides in the back there are no abnormal abscesses and finally I will pull on the tail and I’ll pull it left and right and that will and by returning to its normal position, it indicates that the tail is not broken. Now one of the tougher parts of showmanship for rabbits is doing the bottom part, just because you have to flip the rabbit and there’s a lot of trust that goes on between the person doing it and the rabbit itself and so a lot of practice goes into working with it. And so what I do for the smaller breeds is I will take two fingers and put them around the ears, and I’ll take my thumb and put it around the chin and I always use whichever hand your dominant with so for me it’s my right hand and so I’m going to do that and then I will bring my left hand over the top and under her butt and there I have her. And as you can see, I have a pretty solid grip in both places. Not that I’m choking her or hurting her, but solid enough that she feels that she’s not going to get away because if the rabbit feels that it can get away, it will get, it will try to get away. So an easy way to remember how to do rabbit showmanship is I always start tucking it kind of like a football and an easy way to do the bottom is to work from head to toe that way you don’t miss anything. And so I always start with the eyes, and I will say that looking at both eyes. And I will turn the rabbit towards the judge showing both eyes. They are free of any matter or crustiness that would indicate it has some matter around its eye. And it’s also free of a white covering, which would indicate that it has walleye or moon eye, which would also mean that the rabbit is blind. Then I will flip the rabbit kind of upside down, still having a good grip on her so she feels that she’s safe. I will show him the nose. I will show him that the nose is free of any nasal discharge, and at this point, I also like to show the front legs and say that there is no matted hair on the front legs, which would also indicate that the rabbit has a cold. And since there’s no discharge on the nose and no matted hair on the front legs this rabbit does not have a cold. Then I will check the teeth. To check the teeth, you simply just grab the two cheeks here. There’s kind of a T that’s built there, and I grab the edge of the T’s and pull it back, and I will kind of flip the rabbit over, but again it still feels like it’s safe. And then you can show the rabbit, and you can show the teeth saying that there are no chips or budding teeth or malocclusion which are all faults with rabbit teeth. Then for the next part, I’m gonna lay her on her back on the thing, still having good grip with my with the head here, because if her head feels loose, she will try to get away. I’m gonna use my right thumb to feel under her chin, feel if there’s any abnormal bumps or abscesses and as I can feel, there are no abnormal bumps there. Feeling her chest now, as I can feel there are no abnormal abscesses or bumps that are here. Then we go into an important part and that’s doing the legs. The legs you always start off by pushing on the pad of the front foot, exposing her claws. And then you say that the rabbit has one, two, three, four nails and a dew claw and the front leg is able to be pulled out and that means it’s not broken and the front pad is also not missing any fur which would indicate that they have sore pads which would which would just be missing hair and maybe a little dried blood on the pad indicating that it’s just has sore pads just has sore pads. Doing the same thing to the front to the other leg, front leg, you’ll do one, two, three, four nails and a dew claw. All ten nails are the same color, and while that may sound like something simple, it actually is worth a point on the thing and so saying that the rabbit has all its same color nails is important because, if it didn’t, that would be a disqualification. Again, we can pull out this leg, and it will return to normal position indicating it’s not broken. There’s no hair missing on the front pads indicating, it again it does not have sore pads. And like we talked earlier, there’s no matted fur on the front of the rabbit, which would indicate that the rabbit has either the sniffles or been stressed out or has a cold. Now working with the back legs, the back legs only have four nails. It does not have the dewclaw like the front legs. So pushing again on the toes it’ll show one, two, three, four nails and one, two, three, four nails all of which are the same color, which is white. The back of feet do not are not missing hair or have dry blood, which again indicates that the back feet do not have sore hocks, which again is something that goes hand in hand with these sore pads. A tougher part of this is showing the back legs aren’t broken and so the way to do that is to get him to is to get her to kind of simulate like she’s hopping and so you just extend the back legs like that and that’ll indicate that the rabbit’s legs are not broken, that means she can hop correctly. Going down towards her bottom here, we will check her sex. So with a female, it’s as simple as showing the vent and saying that she has a vent indicating she is a female. With a male, it’s a little different though. With a male, you have to say that he has a penis indicating he is a male. But you also have to show the testicles too, as that is another point when using a male. Finally, with this you would feel the tail and again you can turn it and as you can see it returns to normal position, indicating that the tail is not broken and you can feel the bone inside the tail and if there is a bump in the bone, that would also indicate that the tail could be broken. And so as I feel the bone there is no bumps there as well. And so then you return the rabbit to its normal position and then you reset it like that, you repose it and then you say, “That concludes my rabbit showmanship are there any questions?” Then the judge will usually ask questions referring to your breed first, usually a breed because every different showmanship participant has a different breed, you know. So they’ll ask you a question too about your breed, and then they usually ask for older 4-H members it gets tougher questions. They ask about diseases to all breeds or or just random rabbit facts like how many teeth do they have which, surprisingly, is 28 and so for seniors, it’s a lot tougher. For younger kids, it’s a lot easier. You know, like what do you feed your rabbit, how much protein percentage is in your rabbit’s food and stuff like that. And then to finish off rabbit showmanship, you have to properly put it back in the cage and have the proper holding back into the cage, which I had to do to begin showmanship as well as both of them are counted as points. And one more thing to talk about is the attire, and so you are required to wear long sleeves. Really anything works, as long as it’s a long sleeve. Every rabbit showmanship that I’ve had to do is either FFA or 4-H, and so they provide a shirt. So I’ve used my long sleeve under my FFA or 4-H shirt and then you can I like to go with a white dress shirt underneath because it looks I think a little more professional. So I just did showmanship with my Polish rabbit which is a four class rabbit being the four class rabbits are smaller rabbits such as Mini Racks, Polish, Netherland, and Dwarf. But now I’m going to get out a sixth class rabbit to show how to flip a six class rabbit as the showmanship is the same. It’s just a flipping is tougher because the six class rabbits are bigger rabbits and so for class rabbits are their name for class rabbits because they have four classes senior buck, senior doe, junior buck and junior doe. Six class rabbits are named six class rabbits because they have two more classes than four class rabbits? so they still have senior buck and senior doe along with junior buck, and junior doe but in between is the Intermediate age which is six to eight months so you can hear some breeders will call it six eight but it’s referred to in the 4-h book as intermediate and so an intermediate rabbit is just that where the New zealand or the Californian or whatever breed of six class rabbit you have it puts on the pounds because it has to gain a lot of weight to get to the its senior class weight, and so for the rabbit. I’m bringing out It’s about eight pounds, but it’s still growing as it’ll actually get to about nine, nine and a half pounds when it’s done. So here’s a Red Six Eight buck, which is what they would call it, but again red intermediate buck known as the same thing in 4H We call it intermediate, and like I said he is near full weight. He probably has another pound and a half or two go or so, and so that’s why the six class rabbits have that is to gain the weight and so the toughest part about Showmanship with a bigger rabbit it’s easier to hold because there’s more rabbit to hold but it’s hard to get it to flip over, because of that and so again the easiest way to do it is to use the ears that this thing has it’s got big ears and So by putting your finger in between the ears so by putting your finger By putting a finger in between the ears and kind of holding on to the ears You get good control of his head because again like I showed with the smaller rabbit having good control this head is important Because again if it feels like it wants to run and can run it will try to. So sticking my finger in between its ears I’m going to pull on the I’m gonna pull more on the ears self control of its head and That’s how it’s done. So just kind of making sure you have good control of the ears and that guys slipping away from me, Good control the ears and the head is essential to when you’re doing this, so you can tuck him up like the football and have your other hand to use it as well. So it’s easier once you get it flipped and tucked because he’s a little bigger, and you’ll fit in your arm better. But it is it is tough to get the big rabbit to flip over. And so, Working with your rabbit is an essential part to showmanship you need to work with it flipping over and over the two rabbits I have used today we get out weekly sometimes even more than weekly And when we’re especially when we’re getting towards shows and fairs We practice to get them out and be able to flip him over and that’s why today when I flipped them over, they they flipped like they should they sat there and they were calm because they’re used to being flipped over and they’re used to having done to what they do on the bottom and The showmanship is exactly like the way the judge judges him when he judges them. He does the same thing he checks the top like I do he flips it over checks the teeth, the nose, the feet and so that is why the rabbits definitely need to be worked with so that when the judge gets it it doesn’t squirrel around in the judges hands and now the judge can’t even judge it properly because it won’t sit for him and So working with your rabbit is almost just as important as knowing how to do everything else, Because if your rabbit doesn’t want to do the showmanship you’re not going to be able to properly do this showmanship. Getting your rabbit ready for show. It does not, is also Getting it ready by working with it and having it ready to pose But there’s also a few things you need to do, you need to clip the toenails and clipping them to a good length It’s important to make sure that they’re not sharp because if a rabbit does try to get away if it’s got sharp claws it will Cut up a judge which always means that there’s going to be a stoppage because the judge has to has to get a bandage or something like that so making sure that the claws are, the nails are cut down and not sharp is a very important part. Another thing is we talked earlier with the other rabbit about how when you’re on the back you feel the fur and how there’s no hair flying, meaning it’s not in an excess molt and That is important to notice so when we have a rabbit show, we will two weeks before Get the rabbits out that we’re bringing and look at them to make sure that they’re not in a molt. And if they are we’re going to make sure that we work with that rabbit, As much as we can over the next two weeks before the show to try to get the mold out and a good way to do that is to just Simply run your hands through the hair work out all that dead hair. It’s kind of a messy job as the hair it kind of just goes flying around but it’s essential if you want that rabbit to be ready to go and and Especially for like achievement days. Which are a lot in August and late July It’s hot that time of year And so the rabbit knows it and the rabbit can get stressed out and that can lead to it molting and so it’s always important a two or three weeks before to get that rabbit out and make sure it’s not molting if it molds the day off that’s just bad luck. But there’s always something you can do if it if you find it early enough, and so that’s what we try to do is find it early enough and Sometimes if you wet your hands and run your hands to it. It’ll all come on your hands and so then you get all the fur out of it and so if it happens the day of that’s really all you can do is just get your hands wet a little bit and run your hand, and that’ll pull as much of the dead fur out as you can and Hopefully, it’ll be ready and you get and you can bring it to the state fair. Which is a little better But again a tough thing there too is both of them as the rabbits been there for a few days now It has to show it can lead to a mold so keeping a close eye on it can help it. But keeping food in front of it, keeping water in front of it, keeping it cool with a fan or ice Bottle which is basically just a water bottle with ice in it, you know. Keeping them relaxed and stress-free will help them to not molt and to avoid stuff like and to avoid molting before a rabbit show or fair which it can be tough during the fairs. For more rabbit Iiformation or information on showmanship go to iGrow org. music

9 thoughts on “4-H Rabbit Showmanship Tutorial

  1. I raise Pedigree American Chinchillas, what would make their offspring 4-H quality? Could their offspring be sold as 4-H compatible?

  2. Can I still show my rabbit in the fair with a missing dew claw?

    Back a week ago, my rabbit had gotten her one of her dew claws stuck on the rug in my room and it ended up coming right off.

  3. No! you should not grab onto it's ears because it's bad for the bones in it! SSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I AM IN 4H IMA NEW TO IT ITS NY FIRST YEAR my mom won grand champion her FIRST YEAR tomorrow is showmanship please wish me luck

  5. I am in 4H it is my first year I am watching this because I am going to round Robin because I Qualified in goats and dog

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