Hi. I'm Rachel, now co-owner of the Backyard Bunny Barn, since going into partnership with my mom because she's taking care of the rabbits in Arizona while I'm off to college in Louisiana. Here's a little about the history of the Backyard Bunny Barn and how I got started in rabbits.
The Backyard Bunny Barn was started about 9 years ago, as a 4-H project. I started out with one black Mini Lop doe named Shadow. At the time, my parents told me you can have only one rabbit. (Little did they know what it would turn into in the years to come).
After about 6 or 8 months of having just one rabbit, I ended up having all the Lop breeds (English Lop, French Lop, American Fuzzy Lop, Mini Lop, and Holland Lop) as well as Satins (Siamese) within the next 2 years. After experimenting with these breeds, I decided then to breed Holland Lops as my main breed. But I also kept Satins (White) for my 4-H project (for meat pens), and American Fuzzy Lops to breed on a small scale.
After a couple years on those breeds, I got rid of the Satins when I started college in Arizona because I wasn't in 4-H anymore, and the Fuzzy Lops because I just didn't have time for their grooming demands anymore. Somewhere along the line in the last few years, I had also dabbled around in a couple other interesting things such as Harlequins (Japanese) and working on some Tri-colored Holland Lops. But I have also since sold off all of those, too. Now, all I have are the Hollands (and am kicking myself for selling the tri-colored Hollands just before they became much more popular - I couldn't hardly even give them away at the time).
I started going to ARBA shows in about 1991. At first, being a new breeder with only a few rabbits,like most new breeders, I didn't do very well. My dad then built me a barn that could easily hold 50 cages (not including overflow) while I was away at a summer camp. More cage space meant I could have more rabbits. So, I bought some more stock from local Arizona breeders, and began developing my herd from there. Soon, I began to notice improvement.
After a little work (ok, a lot of work), I began winning at shows, both
statewide and nationally. My biggest accomplishment would be winning
Best of Breed at the 1995 ARBA Youth National Convention in Louisville, KY,
with a rabbit I bred and raised - "BBB's Chubby Checker" #TUCK
(pictured with me below). Also, that year, I was the HLRSC (Holland Lop
Rabbit Specialty Club) top youth breeder for the year.
Since Fall of 1997, I have been showing in the Open division in partnership with my mom. My dad takes care of the bunnies while we're gone to shows. I have also still managed to do consistently well in the shows in the open division. My mom is showing my rabbits for me since I have moved to go to college, though she can't make it to all the local and national shows, so the bunnies aren't getting shown near as much right now. That will change when I get them back. At least I can get her to keep breeding them and improving them, so when I do get them back, I don't end up being 2 years behind on breeding and have to start out with a barn full of older rabbits to try to get bred. (If you don't know rabbits, the older they are (like 2 or 3 years old or more), the less likely they are to get pregnant.) I hope to be able to find a way to be with all my rabbits as soon as possible.
In the meantime, I do have a bunny living with me in my apartment. (See pictures below) His name is Buddy (my boyfriend named him). Buddy lives in a cage in the kitchen and is spoiled rotten. He demands his treats every morning and loves to have his head scratched. He also has a bunny slipper that he found in my closet that he thinks is his very own doe. He sleeps by his 'doe' at night, and gets let out to hop around in the day and 'visit' with her. Although Buddy is definitely no replacement for the 50+ rabbits I left behind with my mom, it definitely helps to have at least one bunny around.