I got a very interesting call today. One that is worth writing of. I can’t remember the name of the caller though (sorry, I am pretty bad with names sometimes). It started out pretty weird because the caller asked, “Is this Tru-Luv Rabbitry?”. Picking up a call like that somewhere outside of where the bunnies are tickles me a little. I always ask at the back of my head, “Hmm, can I say yes to this question?” – LOL!
Not really in the mood for bunny business today, I gave a pretty reluctant, YES and asked how I could be of help. She wanted a female rabbit from me. Before I write on, I would like to assure the caller (if she is reading this) that I am not trying to embarrass her or anything of that sort but this could serve as a very good example of how inquiries are handled.
She said that I was recommended by many reputable breeders and has bought a buck from another breeder. Then I asked her what was her objective for breeding. She said she wanted her family to have a huge Holland Lop family. To be honest I was pretty furious mentally for that answer given. My mind was literally saying, “Didn’t we just read about Pet Ethics the day before yesterday?”. Then I could hear a small voice saying, “Not everyone reads your blog, you moron! You think you’re super star now?”. LOL!
I took a deep breath and I asked, “Have you been to my blog and read some of the postings that I have written because I am pretty sure you are not aware of what I do and how I work with my rabbits”. I almost ended the conversation asking her to just visit my blog and read, read, read and read more!
I felt that would be a little arrogant so I asked her another question, “Do you know that I neuter pets before sending them to pet homes and I also have a no breeding agreement?”
She then asked, “You mean the rabbits are spayed or castrated before their owners get to keep them? Why? Is there a way that I can have an intact doe?”
And that started off my long winding “lecture” on the phone. I told her I get a lot of inquiries like hers and her reason for breeding is just like any other that I have heard and what I dread most. I then asked her a very simple question, “Do you know what is the breed standard for Holland Lop?”
She said yes and have learned of “Champ Breed”. In my heart, I was like “What The HELL?”. I then told her that there is no such term called Champ Breed. I allowed her to finish her explanation and she told me that she has gone to the breeder’s farm to pick out her buck and was taught many things about the Holland Lop. The breeder apparently gave her a little guide book to go with the buck she bought. She was pretty confident and told me that she could recognize between a good/nice rabbit and set them apart from the mix bred. She uses the term “Pure BRED” pretty well.
As far as the breed standard is concerned, she could only tell me that a Holland Lop is judged by its leg muscles and short and broad ears. I told her that was far from the truth.
I then asked her if the breeder (a pretty famous one) that she got her buck from ever gave her a PEDIGREE. She said no, just a little guidebook. I then explained to her that a pedigree is a birth cert with a 4 generation ancestry listing. To a good breeder, the guidebook is good thrash material and the pedigree is utmost important. Through the pedigree we know what line or lines the rabbit in question comes from. And through that little document, we are able to determine how we should move forward breeding it if it is WORTHY of a SHOW QUALITY material.
Let’s stop a moment and think about it. Which is more of a business tactic – to neuter pets or just selling bucks? What about issuance of pedigree? If the rabbits sold are from imported stocks, they must come with 4 generations pedigree. But breeders overseas also practice the non-issuance of pedigrees to PET QUALITIES. Therefore, this lady has bought a pet quality rabbit which is a NO NO for me to be used as a breeding animal. Irresponsible breeders can also use PET QUALITY as a reason or excuse for their MIX BREDs and that is the norm here in Malaysia. For me, No PEDIGREE, NOT PUREBRED! I issue pedigrees for all my animals and because the pets are neutered, there isn’t any issue of giving new owners a copy of the pedigree. At least I am honest to let my “customers” know the ancestry to the rabbits that they own and be proud of them.
I further told her that I would appreciate if someone coming to me knows the basics really well before putting 2 rabbits together to breed. Firstly, a breeder must know his/her line very well and what other lines do they mix well with. Putting a male and female or a buck and doe together is EXTREMELY easy but what they produce do not necessarily make life easy for us.
Secondly, a breeder must know what faults do their rabbits have and how to go about fixing these faults using another rabbit that is complimentary to the one in question.
Ask anyone what quality of rabbits do they prefer and 100% would say SHOW QUALITY. So what happens to the PET QUALITY? Any answer would be correct but the one that I hate most is ABANDONMENT.
It is very challenging to breed Holland Lops but it is not uncommon for them to produce up to 6 in a litter. The question is, do we want 100% pet quality in the litter or at least have 40% of show quality? Even with 40% winning chance, there could still be 60% of abandonment. Either way, check mate aren’t we? In my opinion, we work towards 100% non-abandonment!
So, my suggestion is. We must start off working with good quality so that the PETS would not quite be PET QUALITY. Do you get what I mean? Therefore, you will sometimes see me selling what seemed to be SHOW QUALITY as NEUTERED PETS not because I do not know how to evaluate my Hollands but I strongly believe in a good home for my rabbits. That is definitely not a business tactic for repeat sales!
I then told her that I take breeding as an advanced topic. I also told her as breeders, we must work to improve and not staying at the PET level because we all know what happens to PETS at the end of the day.
I really do hope that I wasn’t being rude and she sounded appreciative of my pointers. I told her and I want to tell everyone reading my blog that I welcome all inquiries. Anyone can feel free to approach me through email for advice and I will try my level best to help all cases. I am willing to guide everyone through.
What made me wrote this is again not to slander or embarrass the caller but I found her applaud-able because I like her attitude. I like the fact that she is very WILLING to share and learn at the same time. I am not claiming that I know everything but I have a vision for a better pet industry for all. We may not get that anywhere near in our lifetime but I really do hope that our younger generations would be able to enjoy healthy and beautiful animals as pets.
So do I end up selling anything? NO! Is that business? NO! Do I even have repeat sales? NO!
Will others be willing to accept my approach to breeding? HOPEFULLY
Did I get the message of RESPONSIBLE BREEDING across to the caller? HOPEFULLY
Did I get another person to understand my objectives and cause? YES, and that is all that MATTERS!