Rabbits a hit with visitors after return to Farmfair

The 17 breeds of rabbits in attendance at the Edmonton show 
represented commercial types for meat and fancies kept as pets

EDMONTON — There was a collective sigh of pleasure among visitors to the rabbit show at Farmfair International.

With a cuteness factor to the power of 10, 180 rabbits of every colour and size were on display for the first time in a decade.

Farmfair always had a rabbit and bird show, but the event was cancelled when avian influenza struck, said Sharin Engler, who was part of the organizing committee that brought rabbits back to the show.

The Northlands organization invited them to attend K-Days last summer and agreed to bring small animals back to the farm show.

“A lot of people over the years asked where the rabbits are, so a lot of people are glad to see small animals,” she said.

“Urban farming is becoming very popular, and not everyone can keep a cow in their backyard.”

The 17 breeds of rabbits represented commercial types for meat and fancies kept at pets.

The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 48 breeds of rabbits and hosts an annual show where more than 20,000 entrants are judged. Every breed has a standard of perfection and is judged by that criteria. At the end of day, the best in show is selected.

Engler raises Mini Rex, Holland lops and Lionheads, which she sells for pet stock.

She grew up on a farm in northern Alberta and kept rabbits as a child.

“I had no idea any of this ever existed,” she said.

She saw a display during Easter at a mall and got involved again about 16 years ago.

She recommends her buyers spay or neuter their rabbits and accept responsibility for a pet that can live eight to 10 years. She also provides information on the care and loving of rabbits.

“When you come to me I can guarantee what gender it is, I can guarantee colour and can guarantee to a certain extent what kind of temperament it might have. It is like buying a puppy from a breeder,” she said.

The basic diet is an alfalfa-based pellet. Fruit and vegetables are treats.

Rabbits are considered an exotic pet, so finding a qualified veterinarian can sometimes be challenging.

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