Packing for a Rabbit Show

by Jaylene Holevinski, PA

I guess everyone goes through the same thing, when they get ready to attend their first rabbit show, unless they have someone to tell them what to bring along. In my case, it was all trial and error, and I can remember not having what I needed on more than one occasion. There are things that you'll need for yourself, and your comfort and things necessary for your animals. I try and pack as lightly as possible, since everything has to be carried in; and as compact as possible, because many shows have much less than adequate floor space available for everyone's use. Personally, I put everything into a small rolling suitcase, so I can roll it anywhere and it sits up, so it takes up very little room. Among the things you take, should be:

1) Nail clippers, in case your rabbit's nails need clipping or in case one is broken, or pulled and needs to be removed. I have had this happen, and it's a messy adventure for sure.

2) Regular scissors are good to have along. One never knows what will need cutting, such as hardened stools on from bunny's coat.

3) Antibiotic ointment is good to have in case of an injury to yourself, or to your rabbit.

4) Band-Aids are good to have for the same reason, only not for the bunny.

5) Hydrogen peroxide is useful for cleaning injuries, and also to clean off a dirty white rabbit. I have used it to remove green ink from my best broken doe, after being registered.

6) Gauze is good to use with the hydrogen peroxide to apply and scrub with.

7) I always take along corn starch to dust the area you cleaned to aid in drying.

8) A small spray bottle, with water, to spray on your hands before rubbing down your rabbits coat is a must. This removes the excess dust and hair from it's coat, and gives it a nicer finish.

9) A slicker brush is a must to smooth out the rougher coats, and remove anything stuck in the fur, and excess fur during a molt.

10) I like to take along an anti-bacterial hand gel, to apply if I've handled a rabbit I think might be questionable in the health department, and to offer the judge if a rabbit is discovered on the table with a runny nose.

11) A black felt tip marker is a must, both for putting coop numbers in your rabbits' ears, at shows that require these, and to make "For Sale" signs if you need them.

12) If you have business cards, the shows are the place to pass them out.

13) Paper towels are life savers for a million different reasons. For example, a wet paper towel works well to remove previous coop numbers from the rabbit's ear when you forgot to do it before coming to the show.

13) Those metal clips, that are like clothes pins are great to have to attach signs to carriers.

14) An absolute MUST is a small umbrella in your case. You will be so happy you have that when it starts pouring rain, and the bathroom is not in the same building, and is 100 [uncovered] yards away, on a cold day. I have been there, and it's not a nice way to spend the rest of the day.

15) A small carpet square comes in very handy to groom your rabbits on, particularly at shows that don't allow grooming tables. I put two of those little metal clips on mine to allow me to attach it to the top of a carrier. This way it's not thrown off every time you open the carrier lid, and can travel that way as well.

16) A small collapsible stool has really been valuable to me. They sell them at some of the discount stores, and they are very small and easy to transport, taking up almost no room. They are great to have for the long waits, on the concrete floors that are no good to stand on for hours on end.

17) Directions to the show are important for obvious reasons. I read them from the catalog, check them on the map for accuracy and rewrite them on an index card, which I keep up on my visor. This way, I can read them, and understand my own wording, and they're easy to get to when I need them. Some directions given in the catalogs are more accurate than others, but you can mark any inconsistency on the card, and file it for next year's show.

18) An apron, smock, jacket or something of this nature, with large pockets, is great to wear at the show. You can keep your grooming tools, and comments cards in the pockets, AND when you stop somewhere on the way home, the clothes underneath don't look like you've spent the day rolling in a horse's stall.

19) I have found a handcart [dolly] to be a wonderful investment. A small one that converts to a flatbed is the best kind, since it's light weight, easy to get in and out of the car, and doesn't tip the rabbits over on their side while wheeling them in. They are available at some discount stores for a reasonable price.

20) Extra clothes are very important to have along. Whether it's cooler clothes when it can get warm, or warmer clothes for the long days at an unheated show, extra's are very important. It can be a very long day, when you get sprayed first thing in the morning, and have nothing else to put on. I always keep a pair of gloves in my case, too, for days when it's a lot colder than the weatherman predicts. An extra heavy shirt can go a long way on those days, as well.

21) Bungee cords, in a variety of sizes are necessary if you plan on stacking your carriers in the car, and on the hand cart.

22) Last, and certainly not least, is the supplies for your rabbits. I am a firm believer that a rabbit needs enough room to turn around and lay down in a carrier, if he's expected to stay in there for more than 3 or 4 hours. I'm sure there are those that don't agree, but I defy anyone to sit in the same position without being able to move at all for 8-15 hours, and still be in a decent mood when confronted. Another point that there is always controversy over, is supplying water to your rabbits during the show day. I can't imagine denying them water during the entire trip, which can be as long as 15 hours, but I still see people at shows with no water receptacles in their carriers. Even on days that aren't hot...they do need water, and if they're going to stay in condition, and stand up well to the stress, they should have water when they need it. Adding a vitamin/electrolyte powder to the water for shows, is also a good practice. This helps the ones that might be a little stressed by the show scene. Keeping hay in the carriers for them to nibble on all day, is also good. On the extra long days, or when they just need a treat, dried bread is good to take along. It doesn't require a bowl to serve it and is always appreciated.

There is one last thing, that can be a problem at 4 a.m., and that's remembering which rabbits to load. Labeling your carriers beforehand with the names and/or ear numbers of the rabbits you have entered, is very helpful at this hour. It is ALWAYS a good idea to make a copy of the entry form you made out, to use when labeling your carriers. I have also learned that it is a pretty good practice, to place them in the carriers in the order of your entry. The reason for this being, at coop number shows, where you must put the coop numbers in each animal's ear, it is much easier to do it if they are in the order that the numbers run. Your entry should be made in the order shown, and the coop numbers should also be in that same order.

Good luck at the shows, and remember, you're doing this to have a good time, so try and make it as comfortable and convenient as you possibly can for both you and your rabbits.

The Hollander - Spring Issue/April 1999