Although my goal as a small rabbit breeder is to work on improving a select few colors of the Holland Lop breed, the obvious other task is to find homes for the bunnies that don't fit into my program. I have tried very hard to select good homes for these bunnies so that they are provided with excellent care and love and DON'T end up in shelters.
The majority of my customers have been wonderful, caring people who I truly have enjoyed getting to know. These are the customers who have gone out of their way to research the best cages, food, hay, supplies, etc, and effectively communicate with me regarding pick-up date and any questions they might have. Their bunnies' pictures will be posted on the New Bunny Homes page as I receive photos.
Unfortunately, things haven't gone so smoothly with one particular bunny, and it truly has put a damper on my holiday spirit and has me questioning my leniency on my sales policy. I won't go into detail, as the situation is ongoing, but it continues to cause me to wake up with a giant knot of worry in my stomach every day for over a week now. I realize that in the greater scheme, this situation is indeed trivial, but how it makes me question my ability to judge someone's character is what bothers me most. In the end, I have learned valuable lessons and will be much more strict with how future litters are sold.
To my honest, trustworthy customers who are a pleasure to deal with, I wholeheartedly thank you for the pleasant experiences and quality homes that you provide your bunnies. It is these experiences that I will try to focus upon when debating whether to continue working with these adorable Holland Lop rabbits.
For anyone curious about exactly how much money breeding rabbits generates versus evaporates (when you feed them high quality pellets/hay/greens/water and provide exercise and large cages), take a gander at an average month's profit/loss report:
109.74 - Premium Rabbit Feed/Organic Oats
44.00 - Organic Hay
4.00 - Filtered Water
5.56 - Leafy Greens
21.96 - Bedding
10.25 - Exercise Pen Construction/Repair/Replacement
20.00 - Supplies that need replaced (water bottles, foot rest mats, toys, etc...)
27.50 - Cage Repair & Replacement
243.01 - Total Average Monthly Expense
115.00 - Total Average Monthly Income
$-128.01 - TOTAL MONTHLY PROFIT (NONE!)
This is why it stings so much when a customer fails to follow through on his/her commitment to purchase a bunny. Sure, I could breed more bunnies, feed cheap hay and pellets, and then I could be profitable...but this is against my philosophy, and this isn't a business. I refuse to "dispose" of bunnies that are pet quality or don't fit with my goals, so dealing with customers is imperative for me.
I treat my bunnies with respect and love. They are my pets, and I breed them small-scale and with compassion for their well-being. I breed them to improve upon the type of specific colors for the sheer joy it brings me, for the one or two shows I attend each year, for my son who works so hard in 4H, for other 4H youth who are dedicated to their bunny projects, and for the families who adore their pet bunnies.
All I ask is that you PLEASE be courteous and considerate if you are purchasing ANY pet from a breeder, and PLEASE do not judge that a breeder is in it for the money before ascertaining the facts.
I believe it all started when I was thinking about the Holland Lop babies, and all of a sudden, I determined that I had the exact number of baby bunnies to correlate with all of the reindeer from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I couldn't let this coincidence pass without taking advantage of it with Christmas approaching.
So, I immediately took pen to paper and made a list of the scenes I wanted to capture and the props I would need. The most difficult decisions were what to use to transform the bunnies into reindeer, and who would play the part of Santa. Thankfully, I had a big box of brightly colored pipe cleaners in my craft cabinet...reindeer antlers! My thoughts for what to do about Santa settled upon either a stuffed Grinch wearing a Santa hat or transforming my white cat Paisley into that jolly 'ole elf. The latter idea won out (a live Santa would be much cooler...and the bunnies would probably just eat or hump plush Grinch anyhow), and I scavenged my fabrics for materials to sew a Santa hat and thread to embroider "Santa." The result wasn't perfect, and as you can see from the video, Paisley wasn't exactly thrilled about her new accessory, but I think it's pretty stinkin' hilarious.
With all of the scenes planned and props prepared, the next task was to assemble my cast and crew. My oldest son carefully transformed each bunny into a reindeer (don't worry, the pipe cleaners were really loose...in fact, they kept falling down), and my younger son was on potty patrol with the bunnies as they waited in the exercise pen for their turn on camera. Little Snickers seemed the obvious choice to play Rudolph, and doesn't he look just adorable with his shiny nose? (We went through about 4 noses, as they weren't very sticky and kept falling off or being nibbled off by other reindeer!)
One of the most difficult aspects was trying to keep Paisley at the North Pole (on the table). The bunnies were VERY curious about her, but she wanted NOTHING to do with them, so it took a lot of head rubs to pacify her enough to shoot a few minutes of video. It was so cute how smitten Snickers was with her - I love the dynamic between those two!
Well, that's the behind-the-scenes scoop about the filming of this cute bunny video. I hope you all enjoyed watching it.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Hook's Hollands is a small hobby rabbitry on our Ohio farm and is operated by me (Diane) with the help of my family. We have a small herd of Holland Lop rabbits and focus on raising colorful bunnies with the best type and temperament possible.
This blog serves to spotlight various bunny care topics and share a bit about my experiences raising bunnies.