What to look for when purchasing your foundation/breeding
You will need to decide which breed you would like
and searching the internet for more information, looking
at books and pictures can help as to giving you an
idea of the wide range of breeds available. Once you
have an idea of the breed(s) you are interested in,
it's a good idea to get out and about at some shows
and actually see the rabbit in the flesh. Get a feel
for the breed, looking at the rabbits in a show is
a good indication of type and size and can help you
decide. You might also see a breed that you've never
seen before such as a Rare Variety and this may be
something to consider too. Visiting breeders of your
chosen breed, looking around their studs, handling
their rabbits and talking to the breeder will give
you a good idea of the temperament, space and care
the breed requires. Many breeders will happily show
you around their stud without any obligation to buy
When you are sure which breed you would like and are
ready to purchase your first rabbits, you should go
for the best available stock that you can find and
invest in two good proven does and a proven buck from
related lines. This will give you a good start. Or
you can purchase a young doe, proven doe and buck
combination. This is known as purchasing a 'trio'
and is the conventional and most recommended way of
doing things. From these three foundation rabbits
you will be able to start your line and then bring
in outcrosses as needed.
Beware of where you buy your foundation stock! Just
because a breeder is a member of the British Rabbit
Council, this doesn't mean they are breeding for show,
producing show quality stock or selling good foundation
stock! The BRC is made up of many members, both pet
and exhibition that advertise in the BRC Year Book.
A good place to look is in the Fur & Feather magazine
or ask other breeders/exhibitors for their recommendations.
Join the National or Regional Specialist Club for
your chosen breed and not only will the year book
have breeder's adverts but the Secretary will often
be only too helpful in pointing you in the right direction.
Your Local club or District Advisor can help here
too. When you find a breeder, ask questions and find
out what their breeding objectives are? Do they show,
if not, why? Have they sold rabbits for show, if so,
how well have these rabbits done? There are many good
questions to ask, but recommendations are a very good
and reliable guide to a breeder's reputation. Don't
be afraid to ask around, most breeders would not be
offended if they have nothing to hide and you will
get a feel for general opinions and constructive advice
as to their stock and reputation. Even if they no
longer show for whatever reason, they will still have
that experience and be breeding towards the Standard
of the breed.
Also beware of buying stock from shows. They may
look good in the sale pen, but you will need more
information than looks alone before buying the rabbit.
If there is something that you really want to buy,
ask around for who bred the rabbit, talk to other
breeders and source their opinions on the rabbit.
Talk to the breeder and get more background, why it's
for sale and will it be any good for what you want
it for. Examine it thoroughly when possible. You will
not know where this rabbit has come from, will not
have seen the parents and relatives or the conditions
they are kept in. You could maybe exchange numbers
with the breeder and visit their stud, they may be
willing to take a deposit on the rabbit for you to
collect it at a later date or have other more suitable
stock for sale at home. But of course they may not,
so think carefully. Be sure of what you are buying
and get all the information you can before you part
with your money. It's much better to actually visit
a stud when you are starting out and purchase stock
from your chosen stud after you have viewed the rabbits
and talked to the breeder.
If you are lucky, you may find someone local to you
who will be willing to not only supply you with good
foundation (solid & proven line bred stock with
which you can continue with) stock, but may be able
to help you with choosing your matings, going through
litters with you and helping you to look for the qualities
you want in your litters and what to keep to continue
breeding with, all with the sound knowledge and experience
of knowing their line. They may also be willing to
take you along to shows with them, introduce you to
people and help with questions and support. A good
breeder is invaluable in the first few months, even
years of your breeding and can be the start of a very
If a local breeder can't help you with stock, they
can still be invaluable and offer a friendly face
at shows, they may also be willing to come along with
you to help you choose your foundation stock and show
you what to look for and how to examine the rabbits
before purchase. Also helping you with litters and
matings in future.
Also remember there is good stock and better stock.
A breeder will never be able to sell you their best,
because of course, this is what all their hard work
has gone into producing and would defeat the purpose
of it all! You can't expect to be producing winner's
overnight; it takes some hard work and dedication.
They will however be able to supply you with good
quality stock to work with and normally stock that
is related to their best lines at reasonable prices.
You may even be offered to mate a doe to a suitable
buck of your choice, either included in the price
(as previously agreed) or for a small additional stud
fee. You may also be able to return to the breeder
later on for an additional stud mating rather than
buying in another outcross from an unrelated line
or having to purchase another buck. These are all
options that are open to you and can be discussed
with the breeder. Some breeders may be reluctant to
allow their bucks to be used by a doe of unknown origin
that may unwittingly bring something into their stud
and to their rabbits, so you should be aware of this.
Most of all, don't rush things! No matter how eager
you are to get your rabbits and get started, rushing
out and buying the first rabbits you see can be waste
of time and money, along with heartache down the line.
Everyone makes mistakes and it is what helps us to
learn, but if you take your time, source a good breeder
and don't rush into buying then these mistakes will
hopefully be minimal and you can get on with enjoying
your rabbits and hobby to the fullest.
You also don't have to start off with a shed full
of rabbits. A trio for each line or colour would be
sufficient and then you can keep some hutches spare
for what you breed from them.