By Laurie Stroupe
I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) who though that “Best Display” was awarded to the person who decorated their coops at ARBA Convention the best. (In fact though, “Best Display” goes to the person who earns the highest number of regular points–that is, not including BOB or BOS points). I have to admit that “Best Display” did not make sense to me either.
Now it is true that folks do put decorative doodads on their coops, but they are not vying for an award or even attention. They are just trying to avoid walking up and down and up and down aisles and aisles of bunnies, looking for theirs.
Rabbits are cooped according to class.
Occasionally, at national-level shows, rabbits from one exhibitor are cooped together. I really love that. But more often, rabbits are cooped according to class. Solid senior bucks are cooped with solid senior bucks. So your feeding schedule for your bunnies sounds something like a Chinese menu: one from column A, two from column B, one from column C and so forth. Of course it’s row instead of column, but you can tell that it would be easy to spend half of your time looking up and down, high and low, for the few, several, or many bunnies that you bring to show and sell.
That’s where the doodads come in. By attaching something special to your coops, you can glance over the coops and find yours in a hurry. You should be a little creative, though. A common object may be used by several exhibitors.
Make sure that the object protrudes away from the cage so that you can see it from down the aisle. You won’t save as much time if you still have to stand in front of the coops to see your special something. Also, make sure that it is mounted so that your rabbit (or the neighbor rabbits) cannot nibble your decoration. I used standoff brackets that are meant to hold automatic water lines away from the cage. They are made just for keeping items out of bunny’s reach and are perfect for the job.
Make sure that it is non-toxic and not dangerous.
The aisles can be tight and items may be shoved out of their original positions, so make sure that it won’t hurt a bunny to take a taste.
Use items that all look alike so that you do not have to remember what you are looking for. Having to remember 3 pumpkins, 4 reflectors, and 2 artificial flowers is a lot harder than just looking for 9 miniature straw hats.
I truly hope that ARBA Convention starts cooping by exhibitor rather than class and that you will not ever need this advice. But just in case, it’s better to be prepared.