PermaLink The wabbit show09/08/2008 05:01 PM
Sam enjoyed his first big wabbit show, and now he has a girlfriend!

Sam is a big brat, as I've noted here before.

This past weekend, we took him to his first wabbit show, a large fall show put on by the regional Flemish Giant breeder association. He was fairly annoyed at having to ride in the car, since the last few car rides have involved him being transported to the vet or the groomer to have his fur trimmed and cleaned perilously close to his precious wabbit-balls. So, we weren't sure how he'd react when we pulled up to the place where the show was held, a large rural farm that had been owned for years by a family involved in the Flemish breeding community for a long time. It's a nice layout, with a large former milking barn turned into space for hundreds of show rabbits, complete with judging tables and everything. It was late, and we hauled the Big Brat out of the back of the car and found an enclosure to put him into.

In order to keep the rabbits straight, each one, in addition to the ear tattoo the breeder is required to place before he can be shown (his says, "SAM"), had to have their cage number marked on the inside of the other ear with a Magic Marker. He was indignant when I scrawled "165" in his ear, but before he could get too upset, he looked around him and noticed that his cage was surrounded by cages containing... big does! Lots of big sandy does. More big wabbits than he has ever seen in his life!

It was like, "whoa, you didn't say there were going to be girls here!"

His demeanor improved immediately.

After leaving him some greens, pellets and water, we went over to our hotel and slept. In the morning, we came back over for the first round of judging. Sam had dumped his food dish overnight, but all in all seemed happy to see us, without gushing. I mean, he had to look cool for the ladies, after all. Most of the other color classes were judged, and finally they got around to the sandy bucks. I was already over at the house assisting in cooking the hot dogs for the group lunch, and missed his actual appearance, but Nora reported, "well, he kicked the judge."

When they judge buck rabbits, the first thing they do is flip them over to make sure their genitalia is intact and all is what it should be. Sam, of course, was not pleased at the idea of some old guy in a white lab coat checking his wabbit-balls, so apparently he kicked him. No harm, and the judge gave us some useful comments about Sam. He liked his big-mulish head and coloration, but felt he was undersized (which he is, being only ten months old and competing against other, much older rabbits). He placed sixth out of eight.

That afternoon the rest of the judging took place, and selections were made, and then we ducked back to the hotel for a few minutes before coming back over to the farm for a dinner and party in the evening. Nora had been talking to a breeder, Wayne Bechdel of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, about a young doe of his who had placed decently in that day's judging. I went over and had a look at her, or the rabbit we thought was her, and figured we ought to think about it overnight. I hadn't actually figured on coming home with another rabbit, but Nora seemed really interested, so we went back to the hotel and thought about it and slept.

On Sunday morning, the youth show took up a good part of the morning, and then the open competition resumed. This time, the judges reversed roles and judged the colors they hadn't judged the day before. Nora talked to Wayne and found that the rabbit we thought we wanted (who had placed first on Saturday) he had already promised to someone else and had gotten confused, but showed us another doe from the same litter (i.e., a sister of the first one) who had placed third on Saturday, and we agreed to get her.

It didn't start well, because the first time I picked the new wabbit up, she clawed holes in my new rabbit shirt and bit my shoulder hard. Wabbits like how I taste, I guess.

Anyway, Wayne still wanted to show our new rabbit in the sandy competition, and we went over and watched. Our new rabbit was set aside early, and I wasn't sure if that was because she was good or bad, but later the judge put her back on the table, said all sorts of nice things about her, and placed her first in class! He also said she just barely missed being best of variety, being edged out by an older and enormous doe. We were delighted.

I leaned over to Sam, whose cage faced the judging table, and said, "see, fat boy, your new girlfriend just kicked your ass!"

He was put off.

Anyway, we put her in the now-empty enclosure next to Sam (who ignored her) and watched the rest of the judging and the awards. She seemed curious enough, but Sam basically slept the rest of the early afternoon. We loaded him into his carrier and put him in the back of the Volkswagen, then put her in a carrier and put her on the back seat, and started home.

Aside of chewing on my shoulder, she seems like a nice enough wabbit, and she's very strong. When we got home, we set up a cage for her on the upper porch, out of the sun most of the day, gave her a bunch of hay and food and bedding, and left her to settle in. We have to keep them apart until we're actually ready for kits and until she's properly old enough to have them... she's just now six months old and it seems like we shouldn't breed them until she's more like eight or nine months, which means late November or December, and thus kits right around Lotusphere time (argh). However, then we'd have some 12-week-old juniors to take to the spring show and see how the match made in hell has turned out.

I am just hoping his kids aren't big brats like Sam. I'm not sure how you select for that.

Wabbits are taking over the house.

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