As of the past few years, we sold completely out of rabbits. Life is crazy and complicated, and busy. I'm at that point in my life where other things have to come first unfortunately. First, my dog show career and breeding program is quite active. Mark is going to school. We are both working full time. We have to move in the next 6 months and hope to buy a farm as amazing as the one we've had the luxury of living on. These things had to be priorities.
Where do I see 2015?
In the beginning, not much will change in the land of rabbits. I really would love to get back in again some day. The rabbit hobby is a crazy addiction and it will suck you back in as quick as it spit you out. What I do know, is that my spare time (HA!) is not that large. And because of that, if I want to get back into rabbits in the future, I have to have some good time management laid out. It needs to be an easy chore everyday. So here's what I'm thinking...
- NO pans to clean/dump. That is such a time killer, and with a busy show season most of the year on weekends, it makes it harder for me to find a large amount of time to do so. I want something easy and my dream would be the KW Cages Rabbitech system. Am I crazy for being willing to pay those high prices? Yeah, most likely. We all know they cost a fortune. But in the long run, how much does our time cost? Sure buy yourself a 9 hole stacker for $500 and you'll get at least 50% more of your value, but in reality, how much MONEY is your time worth? Mine is worth a lot to me,and spending hours upon ours every weekend scrubbing and scraping and dumping cage pans just straight sucks. I'd rather be out training my dogs, or planning some breedings for the rabbits. Or heck, maybe filling out pedigree databases like we love to forget to do!
- BUILD the barn of my dreams. Expensive? Yes. Insane crazy idea? Yes. The only way to do it right when I jump back in? Yup. Put forth the savings and planning and build my future bunny barn of my dreams so that I will have everything just where I want it. I can invision it now. I have a folder on my computer drive called "Dream Rabbitry". As it stands, I save photos I see randomly online or on Facebook there. Inspiration for the future. As noted above, Rabbitech for sure I'm thinking. Oh, and automatic waterers. Maybe J feeders too. A hose in a good spot to wash down the panels once or twice a day. Would love to be able to fit all rabbit chores in 5-10 minutes max.
- SELL stock according to their value. We all know it's almost impossible to make money raising any sort of animals, especially when you're a responsible breeder putting the best in and out of your animals, and don't breed just for the money. But realistically, I made my herd a complete money pit. I know what you're thinking. "Oh, we lose money constantly too". No, I literally always go for the best, so I tend to build my herd with shipments of rabbits from my friends across the country with high quality stock that is consistent, and so my type. I will do whatever it takes to get the quality I want. With that, comes a nice price tag. I would have no problems laying down $250 for a super fuzzy. But then I would turn around and sell it's babies for $30. Even if it was a stunning show prospect. Maybe I'm too nice. Maybe I wasn't ready to believe in my herd. I did it enough years to know when I had something special. In the future I would like to be more realistic with myself, acknowledge the value of my herd, and respect myself enough to ask what I would be willing to pay for that rabbit myself.
- KEEP my program organized. Maybe a white board. Maybe use a computer program a bit more consistently. Maybe a little yearly purse planner just for the rabbitry. Something easy and quick. And maintain better records. Be better about printing out pedigrees immediately (will be easier now that I have a better printer!). And hey, maybe get Bunny Trails software because that new program seems amazing. I'm glad since I've got out they also released a PC version.
I guess that's all of my thoughts for now. In the fall, the next ARBA Convention will be held in Portland, OR. Being from Northern California, this is an insanely close convention. Maybe I'll be ready by then. I really hope so. One thing that is for sure is that I will NOT buy any stock until I have my setup done, and a row of cages completed and ready. Over time I will expand, slowly, and surely. With some intense linebreeding I think I can start small but strong.
That's all for now. I hope you enjoy the rest of 2014 and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here's to 2015!