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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.

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