Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Helping New Breeders

There were some posts on a Yahoo! rabbit group I'm on by other breeders who were asking questions and the answers to them weren't given in a very helpful manner. So, I thought I would address the issue of helping new or younger breeders.

Everyone has to start somewhere in everything, even rabbits. When I first started with the rabbits a little over 8 years ago, I asked *tons* of questions. Some that were probably pretty basic, I'm sure. But, I didn't know, I had to learn. I was young (in age) & very new to rabbits in general, let alone breeding & showing them! If it wasn't for all the helpful breeders on the message board I was on years ago and the other breeders who mentored me, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Those of us who have been breeeding, raising & showing rabbits longer need to remember to be careful in our response to new breeder. And we need to be helpful & kind to them. Being quick or short with them won't help in the long run. A lot of people have different views and opinions on things, even when it comes to breeding & raising rabbits. There's some things that are of course out-right wacky, some things which are neither here nor there, and some things which are agreed on across the board.

There's a lot of new rabbit breeders who come onto the scene frequently. Having patience & being easy on them with their questions (even if it may be a "stupid question"), is the only way to help them become a more reputable breeder. And of course, there really is no "stupid question," because everyone has to start somewhere. 

There are numerous breeders I've helped get started over the years. I've had countless calls or emails from them and always have been glad to help & answer their questions. Some questions as simple as anything, but eventually the questions lead into bigger areas, like genetics. I've helped several breeders learn genetics more. At times it can be easy to laugh at some of the statements made about genetics (particularly on various message boards or groups), because they are just down-right wrong & there's no logical way for them to work. But, I have to remember, there are tons of people who could care less about genetics and know nothing about them. Or, those who are still learning genetics & don't quite understand how they work yet. Because, I was once there and knew nothing about genetics! I'm just using genetics as one example.

Then you have other topics, such as things you may give to help a rabbit with fertility or the way people cull. Both of those, especially the later, can be very controversial subjects when the questions are asked. But, not everyone knows the answers to those questions. And there really is no right or wrong on those issues. There's preferences or maybe better ways to do something, but nothing outright wrong.

With the fertility issue, some people may think there is not much to do but wait. And some may think that the common "remedies" given to rabbits for fertility are worthless. Let's take Apple Cider Vinegar as an example. Some people think it's the best thing ever and some think it's a bunch of fables. So, the person should be given both sides, in a helpful, kind way and they can decide for themselves what they want.

I recently heard someone saying that because there are no medical studies to back up the use of Apple Cider Vinegar that it's basically worthless (paraphrasing what was said). But, to be so dogmatic about it *not* working, just because of that, is kind of unnecessary. I am one who will gladly take anecdotal advice over medical studies. I've been involved in the medical research world for several years now and know how often studies can be altered. While, I completely agree that they are helpful many times and not always altered, just because a study hasn't been done on something, doesn't make it worthless.

I have seen Apple Cider Vinegar work numerous times for me to help does become more receptive. I've seen it work within 24 hours very often. I've also seen the same with Vitamin E in both bucks & does. Is that proven by medical research? I don't have a clue, but I've seen it work. While, some may not agree that it works and don't feel it's worth it to try it, that's totally fine. But, just because someone may have been breeding rabbits for longer & has never seen this work, shouldn't put us on a high-seat to say anything else is wrong.

Or, how about the common antibiotic that is used in rabbits for upper respiratory infections: LA-200 or Oxytetracycline. I was recently talking to a rabbit veterinarian and he said he didn't understand why it was the "drug of choice" by rabbit breeders because it really doesn't get absorbed or used well in the gut. So, in other words, is pretty much useless if you're trying to save a rabbit with a URI. Did he come off with that statement in a derogatory type of way? No, he was very helpful & sharing about it. And instead shared the names & dosages of the drugs that actually do work good for URI's.

So, with all that said, if anybody ever needs any help or has questions, feel free to call or email :)!



Joan McClure said...

Thanks, Qadoshyah!