Common Sense & Hollands
by Terry Pierce
Raising good Hollands requires good herd management which is based on common sense It doesn't matter which is based on common sense. It doesn't matter what breed you raise, or in fact what animal you raise. When you choose to have an animal that is solely dependent upon you for it's food and shelter, then you are responsible for that animal's well being.
Some things are obvious. Use good clean water, and dust and mold free food. But did you ever think of timing and consistent care. When you realize that rabbits are nocturnal and eat at night, it makes sense to feed at approximately the same time each night. Especially during the heat of summer when feed can break down faster or become moldy and stale during the humidity of the day. During very hot weather bunnies are off feed anyway, conserving their energy during the day, becoming more active at night as it cools down.
In housing your bunnies you should be very careful that you have good ventilation and air flow. In cold weather you do not want direct drafts blowing on your bunnies. In summer you have to protect from heat stress. Since rabbits cool down through their ears, if you find a bunny panting excessively and very wet around the face, move it to a cooler spot, ice down its ears (ice cube rubbed over them), put an ice bottle in the cage or wet a piece of carpet for the bunny to lay on, keep fans moving the air, and disturb them as little as possible. This is not the time to play with the babies, either!
Consider lighting in you barn. You would not want to live day & night in a dark hole. Don't go to opposite extremes - they do not need direct sunlight on them in summer a caged animal can die if left in the hot sun, even for a short time. Cars are death traps in summer months.
Special care should be given during times of molting. Brush out that excess hair and get it out of the cages and the water dishes. Molting is a stress on the rabbit's system. Adding heat stress may just push your bunny over the edge.
Watering systems are easy, and convenient, but in the heat of summer I challenge you to be outside, very hot and very thirsty and try to quench your thirst from a dripping faucet! Common sense tells you the bunny will drink better from the crock and will also lay against it, deriving some relief from the heat.
Cleanliness is sure to be a high priority for good health. If you had 15 people using the same bathroom for a week and never flushed the commode it would get a bit rank. Likewise if you smell ammonia fumes it is past time to clean! Ammonia fumes sear the lungs, causing respiratory problems, and harm the eyes. It not only annoys you and your neighbors but is harmful.
Common Sense in Showing
When going to a show, whether it is a fair, a local show, or a national convention, it is still based on common sense and planning. Start with the people - proper rest will put you in a better mood. Proper perspective will make you a better exhibitor. That means you are focused on the important issues of life rather than the "win-at-all-cost-syndrome"! Showing is for gathering together for good hearted competition, to have a good time and learn more about rabbits in general and your breed in particular. It is for sharing and helping others out. Rabbits come and go and trophies sit on shelves and collect dust. It is the friendships made that count in the long run.
Pack as much in advance as you can. Have a list of what to take so you can check it off. Take what adds to your comfort as well as to the rabbits. If you are going to be gone long include food and water for the bunnies. A little hay is a good idea along with a bit of Neomycin - a couple of drops to a bunny with a touch of diarrhea usually stops it quickly. It doesn't hurt to have a couple of band-aids and some liquid new skin (a liquid band-aid). Some eye drops in case an eye gets irritated for both people and bunnies are often helpful. Some "Zaps It" helps to keep carrying cage odors down. Long trips in the car with bunnies can get nasty unless you plan ahead - bring extra shavings. Finally if you have a bunny that stresses when you take it anywhere, do both of you a favor and leave it home! In the long run is a trophy worth that bunny's life?
At a national show you may want to take a few added precautions. Double check to see if it is your bunny that was returned to its proper cage. Clip toenails before you go so that you cut down on the chance of a toenail being ripped off. Double check that your tattoos are readable before you leave home. Clip cages shut as some bunnies are escape artists. Monitor what your bunny is eating and drinking, catching stress signs early on is critical. Keep an eye out for one another's bunnies. And NEVER, NEVER, NEVER take a sick bunny to any show! You don't appreciate it when someone sneezes all over you or sends their germ laden child to school so your kid can get sick, so don't inflict a sick rabbit on anyone else. Make a list of who you are taking to a show and check the list when loading up to make sure you are returning home with the same bunnies.
HLRSC Official Guidebook - 5th Edition 2002