Tag Archives: kits

Setting Prices for Stock Sales

wendy's origami

wendy’s origami

If you’re anything like me, talking money can sometimes be uncomfortable. Especially if you’re not used to buying and selling.

 

When we purchased our initial stock, I was pretty determined not to spend more than $20 per rabbit. When I started researching the animals we were interested in, I realized that I would have to make some significant compromises in my expectations if I wanted a $20 rabbit – and even then, it was going to be hard to accomplish. Over time, I changed my philosophy, upped my budget, and found a sweet spot between what I am willing to pay for a purebred, pedigreed rabbit and what compromises I will make in quality in order to stay in my budget.

 

Obviously people have different budgets for their rabbit life, so  how do you come up with the prices for your own rabbits when it comes time to sell them?

 

There are probably a million different ways, but we connected with another breeder in our area who raised the same breed(s) and we discussed our pricing structure together. We ended up deciding on the same prices, which meant that we could refer people to one another for rabbits if they wanted gene pool diversity without having additional money conversations and we knew also that we could back each other up in our pricing and discussions of the value of the rabbits. This worked well for us as we both raised rare breeds.

 

Though we agreed for our area, we are not lock step with other breeders in the country for these breeds. For example, currently we sell our Cinnamons for $55/rabbit with discounts for multiples or 4H members. However, one awesome breeder in the midwest sells for $25/rabbit; another a few states away charges $125/rabbit. With a range like that, how do you know if you’ve got the right price on your rabbits?! How do you know you’re getting a good deal as a buyer?

 

Take some time to consider what you are selling.

  • Are your rabbits purebred? Pedigreed?
  • Are your rabbits being used for food, fur, or fancy?
  • If you show, how do your rabbits perform? Do they win top honors for the breed?
  • If you are working with meat animals what is your average litter size and mortality rate? What is the growth rate of your kits to 10 weeks? What is your dress out percentage?
  • If you are selling as pets, who is your market? A pet store? Craig’s List? Your mom’s best friend?

If you are a buyer, consider what you’re looking for?

  • What is your goal for your rabbitry? Food, fur, or fancy?
  • How important is it to you to have a pedigreed rabbit?
  • How important is your genetic diversity at this point? (At some point it might be worth importing a rabbit from another region of the country to widen your gene pool – that can be expensive.)
  • Are you hoping to sell rabbits yourself (if that’s the case, I’d strongly encourage you to start with pedigreed stock)?
  • Have you talked to breeders about who they’d recommend for purchasing your rabbits?

 

Once you have identified your goals it will become easier to determine your pricing structure. Investigate the websites of other people with your breed. Get on your breed’s facebook or yahoo chat groups and ask other breeders about their prices. Check out the ARBA results for your breed at the national convention and ask the winners what they charge. Cruise by your local feed store and price their rabbits.

 

All of these pieces of information will help you as you set up your own pricing. I will caution you, however – do not expect to make money on rabbits! I’m grateful those months that the rabbits sales cover the feed costs, which is only about half the time right now! Also realize that not every rabbit surviving to adolescence is worthy of being sold as a show rabbit and if you sell ugly rabbits for show or a sickly rabbit at any time your reputation will begin to precede you and you’ll find your sales will dry up.

 

We have a sales policy on our page that we worked on to protect us as the seller, as well as lay out clear expectations for the buyer. We often do our best to go above and beyond to make sure people are happy with their purchase. We are so pleased when we have repeat buyers! Our goal as a rabbitry is to be around for the long haul, which means that we have become more and more selective for what rabbits leave our rabbitry bearing our name. In our minds it’s a major accomplishment to send a rabbit out to another location and discover it’s regularly Best of Breed or a fair Grand Reserve. That’s good stuff!

 

Obviously, no one is breeding the perfect rabbit and everyone has to work on their own lines in order to know what their rabbits are actually worth. Once a rabbit leaves our rabbitry we have no control over how it is cared for or how it performs. That being said, we are doing our best to continually improve our rabbitry and the animals leaving – the search for perfection is quite fun!

When Your Rabbit Won’t Use a Nestbox

We stuffed the rabbit cages full of hay (like this) and let the mama build a nest.

We stuffed the rabbit cages full of hay (like this) and let the mama build a nest.

We’ve been busy this week at Mad Hatter Rabbits! Lots of new babies to first-time mamas.

 

Though we’ve had some great success stories, it hasn’t been without its stress. In particular I had two first-time mamas who were absolutely determined to build their nests outside of the nest box.

 

I sanitized the boxes in case they smelled like another rabbit and turned my mamas off, lined them with fresh hay, had a serious sit down talk with the rabbits and explained that in this weather, with temperatures dipping down into the teens at night, having babies outside the box simply won’t do. They’ll freeze!

 

My mamas didn’t care. They did not want to build their nest in the box.

 

Short of setting up a 24 hour watch outside their cage I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I consulted my Facebook group experts and decided to stuff the entire cages full of hay. This resulted in a big ‘ol mess but also a layer about 4 inches thick that the were able to us as burrows.

 

In my financial mind, an entire 3 string bale of hay is less than the price of one of those baby rabbits if we sold it. The mess is not fun to clean up in any way, but at least I’d have a little window of opportunity to catch the babies before they froze.

 

Mama rabbits were pleased as punch at the addition in their cages! They built their nests and I began my 45-minute interval check ups. (Switched to 20-minutes once I saw the mamas pulling hair.)

 

The first babies were born after midnight. The last doe delivered at 2 a.m.

 

Of course.

 

I do love my coffee for a reason!

 

Once they were born I plucked those little ones up and tucked them with their mama’s fur up into their nestboxes and brought them inside.

 

(Bringing the nestboxes inside is a controversial move. Some breeders say the shock between inside temperature and outside temperature is not safe for the babies. We’ve left babies outside and we’ve brought them back and forth. Can’t say which method we prefer yet.)

 

The next morning I took the nestboxes out to their mamas for feeding. The ones who had their babies in the nestboxes to begin with hopped right inside and fed those babies. The mamas who were determined to have their babies outside the nestbox… stayed outside.

 

Hungry babies.

 

Repeat at dusk.

 

I was beginning to get worried and wondered if I needed to foster the kits from the litters with mamas who wouldn’t feed. Since mama rabbits only feed once or twice a day and it can take as long as a day for their milk to come in, I knew we had sometime to play with… but not too much time. By 36 hours post-birth those babies needed a meal or a foster mom.

 

This morning I took the nestboxes outside again. And the same situation unfolded. Suddenly, a lightbulb went off…

 

If Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed.

 

I scooped those  babies out of the nestbox and put them in the holes their mamas delivered them in, in the hay outside the nestbox.

 

Mama rabbits immediately headed over to the babies and nursed and cleaned them! One of the does even covered them up and pulled more hair. After the mamas finished, scooped the babies up, put them in the nestboxes which are now acting as an RV, and carried them inside.

 

I feel quite brilliant right now. It only took me two days to figure it out!

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