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What to take with you to an ARBA Convention
Planning on attending the ARBA Convention ?
Before you make out the entry form go over those rabbits with a VERY critical eye, is the type good, is the color correct? Look for white spots, foreign color spots light nails etc. Is the condition good with a nice smooth well fleshed body? Double check the sex unless you want to join the elite group of Mini Rex breeders who have won the "Golden Turkey award" Some of the past winners: Monna Berryhill, Mike Avesing, Bobby Walker.... and a few others.
If the show is something that you plan to fly to make reservations early and make double /triple sure that the airline will accept your rabbits. Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before flight time because if it is over booked those who check in first will get their rabbits on if you are the last one to check in and there is no more room for the rabbits they will have to go on another flight or not at all. Each year it becomes increasingly difficult to fly with pets and animals, Airlines merge with ones that do not accept any animals and each time we loose another making the limited cargo space that much more limited. Investigate alternative methods for shipping your rabbits. Driving with another breeder or two using a large van or trailer equipped with automatic watering and good air circulation may take a day or two longer but may be the only way you can get there.
Remember to pack your ARBA membership card , the entry confirmation, and what ever else was mailed to you in the envelope from the ARBA Convention show committee.
Here is a list of things you may want to pack: Remember to put your name on equipment and supplies in case they are borrowed and left on the other side of the showroom. That empty scratch coop on the middle row makes a good place to store small things.
If you are flying to the Convention try to pack light, use one of the large plastic dog crates to put your carriers in. I have found the little extra space in the crate allows me to pack the rabbits supplies and the trophies won without having to pay extra for them because I was over the luggage limit. Pack all loose items in clear plastic bags or boxes, this will make Airport imspections easier if they can see what you have packed. Be prepared for an indepth search so don't pack anything that you will regret strangers finding. Shop for a used crate, many people who move across country are forced to buy one for pets and have no need for them afterward. You can use spray paint to add some color to the outside thus making your crates easy to spot in the baggage area.
Grooming supplies: The hanging wire grooming trays pack easily and work well in crowded isles. Your regular cleaning aids for your white rabbit who has decided the potty corner is the perfect place to sleep.
"C" rings, locks, cable ties clips what ever you think will keep doors closed. Many of the coops are old and bent and rabbits are very good at finding ways to open doors. If you are concerned about "accidental" removal of your rabbits remember to put "C" rings around the top opening of the coops too. Nothing is fool proof but when it takes too long or is too much trouble to get the rabbit out the chances of theft are reduced. Remember to place the "lock" at an angle so that it cannot be slip up to the top of the door, it serves little use if the door can still be opened most of the way. Coloring a portion of cable ties or "C" with a colored marker could alert you to tampering.
Wire Cutters to remove the Clips, etc. from the doors each day so you can feed and water. Remember all clips and locks must be removed on the day of judging unless you want your entries to stay in their coops and not be judged. Please remove the clips from other parts of the cooping before you leave so the show committee can take down the cooping with out damage.
Staple Gun with 1/2" staples. If you are concerned about the "escape" of your rabbit from its coop you will need to staple the coop to the wooden floor. While it should be done for all levels it is especially important on top row coops. Rabbits bounding around their coops can and DO push the coops off the flooring and escape easily. Every morning is "rabbit roundup" as people try to capture the previous nights escapees. If your doe does escape plan on a litter in 31 days. If your rabbit is missing, check the area between coops, the floors the breed chair or the show committee. It may have gotten out or it may have been removed by the show committee. If your rabbit is is still missing check for coops that do not have feed/water cups sometimes loose rabbits are placed in empty coops.
Watering can or jug. You will save valuable time and avoid frustration if you have your own. Label BOLDLY with you name. At least two days supply of feed to make the transition easier for your animals. Slop bucket to put cage waste and dirty water in for easy transport to the waste carts. A 2 gallon "mud" bucket is perfect if you have room for it.
Feed: You should bring enough for both the travel days and at least a two days supply for when you get there. It is best to mix your feed with the Convention supply even if the same brand, because there are slight differences between mill sites.
2003 Convention was example for bringing an amply supply from home: Purinia feeds were not delivered to the Convention until Sunday or Monday, forcing many who arrived on Friday to feed other feed brands until Purinia managed to get feed to the convention. If you feed suppliments bring a supply with you. The fewer changes to the rabbit's diet the better.
Shavings/bedding/wire floors. While bedding is supplied it frequently is not what we want or it runs out. There are always feed/supply stores located relatively close to the show site. Check the yellow pages of the phone directory for the one closest to the show room. Many people like to use raise wire floors in their coops, these can be either purchased or you can make them yourself. Be on the lookout for moldy hay and shavings if you see mold plan on buying some of your own or cage risers.
Cage scraper to clean the cages. It can be a cheap paint scraper, dust pan something you can afford to lose or throw away. By cleaning your coops frequently and removing the waste from the building you will be helping keep the odor down. Believe me it may not seem like it but every little bit helps.
Cage decorations, If the show rules permit bring something creative and colorful to attach to your coops so you can find your White rabbit that is cooped in the middle of 150 other White rabbits. Each Variety is cooped together so you will have to hunt for your rabbits each time. Remember to make sure that what ever you use is nontoxic, Rabbits (Mini Rex in particular) are very good at finding a way to pull your beautiful creations into the coop. Other tags that can be useful: Owner will feed, For Sale tags etc.
Feed and Water containers. Just pack them in your carriers with the rabbits. Frequently the containers provided are cheap plastic deli containers, which last about 30 seconds with a normal Mini Rex or they are cans with razor sharp edges and you end up with several cut fingers before you learn how to handle them. Better to have sturdy water containers so your rabbits have a steady ample supply of water. Remember to label them well with something bold and permanent. While there are a number of cute little lock on cups remember to buy larger ones for water at least 8 ounces preferably 16 ounces or more for large breeds. Or you can bring water bottles, just remember to bring sturdy springs or ample cable ties to hold them to the coops.
Medications: While we do not recommend medicating in general it is helpful to have some Neomycin Sulfate liquid ( Bisol) on hand for those animals whose digestive systems react violently with the changes. This along with "pedialyte" can save the life of a sick rabbit. You can find small quantities of Neomycin Sulfate at most pet shops sold as "Dri-Tail" in the small pet section.
"Gator-aid" or some similar sports additive for the water. This is two fold. 1 It helps keep the rabbit drinking chlorinated city when they are used to non-city water. 2. The anti stress electrolytes help in maintaining condition. 3. The color can help you locate your water bottles if that is what you use.
Miscellaneous: Duct Tape a near necessity, scissors or box cutters, "Sharpie" felt tip pens, ball-point pen and paper. It is amazing what you will find that you need or have use for. Cardboard to slip between the coops, raging hormones and the close proximity of other young bucks can turn the most loving buck into a raging monster. By blocking the view of the other bucks it helps to calm them and keep them cleaner. Should your "little boy" become one of those raging monsters.... when you get him home put him someplace where he cannot see other rabbits especially other bucks and go slow with him allow him time to settle down and allow his hormones to return to a manageable level, do not beat him it will only make him more defensive. Most will settle down in a few weeks and return to normal sane buck activities. Those that become nasty and continue to try to remove your hand from your body.... well you may not want to use him for breeding.
A small "First-Aid " kit for humans and rabbits can include Band-Aids,
neosporin ointment, styptic pencil or "quick-Stop" powder ( for bleeding nails and cuts), aspirin/tylenol, gauze, toenail nippers, baby wipes, a small bottle of peroxide, etc. "quick-stop" powder can be found in the dog grooming section of a good pet shop. Super glue can be used for ear cuts if done as soon as the cut happens.
Comfortable slip proof shoes, and comfortable clothing are a must, you will walk miles each day. A lint roller for quick touch ups when you don't have time to change befor going to dinner or meetings.
Watch you will find it much easier to make those meetings, and raffle drawings if you have a time piece set to the local time with you.
Bottled water for yourself or the rabbits........ beats the over priced sodas and is handy for clean ups just before judging.
Business cards, so people can contact you after the show. There are a number of easy to use print at home products available now, so you don't have to order a thousand when you will only need a few. Head out to your favorite business supply store to check them out they really are easy to use. When you do decide to make some cards up remember to put a permanent Email address ( such as Hotmail or Yahoo) and your web URL on them. That way should you change internet providers people can still get in contact with you. Print up a couple sheets of address labels too, those will be handy when you purchase raffle tickets.. By printing your own you can put your name addres or and breed booth so they can locate you when you win!
Rabbit's Pedigrees If you are planning on registering, selling or breeding any of the animals that you have entered you will need this information to pass on. Always double check to be sure that they are fully filled out, including weights, varieties and ear numbers. Remember to check to make sure they are correct.
Travel Tips: If you already have a supply of the plastic cups that just hang on the carries but find that your Mini Rex pull them off there is no need to go out and buy the expensive alternatives. We just drilled a small hole in the center of the middle "clip" once the cup is mounted a simple little screw with a loop on the end is inserted and tightened. The rabbit cannot pull the cup off now. The little screws can be found in any general hardware or building supply warehouse store... eye screws.
Traveling overnight can make for some pretty smelly carriers. We like to clean the pans regularly but dumping out shavings can be messy, especially when in the motel parking lot. Solution... "Depends" or equilivent flat sheets they are 23"x36" and much less than the puppy piddle pads. Plastic backed they lay across the bottom of the tray, absorb a lot and can be easily folded up and discarded into a plastic trash bag. Newspaper can be used but as it gets wet it tends to rip at the critical points spilling the mess everywhere.
Remember those fancy "coat sprays" sold at some shows are a BIG NO NO, they are an artificial enhancement (FAKING) and could end up getting you and your entire entry disqualified. Rex coats are better left alone and NOT over groomed.
Before you pack up your rabbits to leave go over them one more time, are they clean, are they healthy are they free of DQ's ? 2004 I saw two youth animals that were so thin and so malnurished I could not believe that anyone would have wasted $11 each to have entered them. Animals can and do go off feed the day after you mail the entry if that is the case and they have their bones showing the best thing to do is just leave them home. The empty coop is a good place to store your stuff.
I know a lot of people like to take their pedigree books to shows and Conventions, it is nice to have that information handy but what will happen should you lose it ? You may want to take photo copies of registrations and reference pedigrees and leave the originals at home, taking only the originals for animals that are going to be sold. Over the years I know of several pedigree books lost and never found when they were left on top of the van, on the top of coops, and sitting on tables around the show room. Some of those people lost all of their records and they did not have those records in a computer data base. Just something to think about.
One more thing ... bring your sense of humor this can be a fun time if you allow it to be. Remember it is just another rabbit show not a confirmation that the winners are the best ..... they are just the best in the judge's opinion that day. Same goes for the losers.
This has become a popular list so if there is anything that you think should be added just Email me
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