Barn Etiquette – Visiting a Rabbitry

 by Laurie Stroupe

[Editor’s note:  As you will see, this article describes a positive experience Laurie had with a visitor to her rabbit barn, naming some practices that every breeder will appreciate.   However, if you are a prospective rabbit buyer,  please do not feel offended if breeders do not allow visitors into their barn.  These days more and more breeders operate “closed barns” and do not allow strangers into their rabbitry.  This is both for sanitation and security reasons, and because breeders are feeling threatened by animal rights activists who pose as prospective buyers.]

rabbits in cages in a rabbitry barnI had a visitor to my barn on Saturday. It was a very good visit, in part because she followed very good rabbitry etiquette. Let’s see exactly what I mean by that.

First, she made an appointment. Dropping by is a no-no. Furthermore, she made an appointment when both of us would have time to look at a number of rabbits. She had considered the option of coming by on the way to a show, but, even though that would have saved her hours of driving, it would have meant rushing the visit.

She was on time. Being stuck at home waiting for people who do not show is no fun. If you are going to be more than 15 minutes late, you should stop and call. I realize that when you are traveling hours and hours to my barn, schedules can get off. But it is considerate to keep me informed.

Even though the visit lasted for several hours, she did not waste my time. She had asked questions ahead of time about the rabbits available. And she had a pretty good idea of what she was looking for. After you arrive in the rabbitry is not the time to begin thinking about what you are looking for. Of course, you can refine your ideas by what you see there.

She stuck to the topic of rabbits. Certainly a small of amount of polite conversation is just fine. But most breeders I know have full lives and do not have time for long discussions about politics, family situations, problems at work and so forth.

She did not bring problems into my barn. I do not allow my family to bring problems into my barn and I would not appreciate others doing it. My hobby is my time out from the realities of life. It is my happy place.

She did not bring other rabbits into my barn. In fact, she abstained from holding other rabbits just before coming here. If you are making a stop at another rabbitry, that’s fine. Just ask for some hand sanitizer to be on the safe side.

She did not smoke in or near my barn.

She talked with her children about rabbitry behavior before they arrived. Children should be coached not to touch rabbits without permission, not to wander around the rabbitry, not to run or make sudden movements, and to keep their voices down.

She brought someone to watch the children. The 3 1/2 hour trip zoomed by for us, but it is a lot longer for children. She brought her babysitter with her, but a spouse, sibling, or friend is also a good idea.

She conducted a thorough pre-purchase evaluation of the rabbits she bought. Both buyer and seller have responsibilities to help make a sale a positive experience. By Red satin doe chillin' in the cageevaluating the rabbit while she was still in the rabbitry, she was shouldering her part of the responsibility and was able to ask questions on the spot while they could be answered and any concerns resolved before the rabbit left the rabbitry.  Visit this page for more information on a pre-purchase examination.

She brought an acceptable form of payment. After spending hours of the breeder’s time is not the moment to ask if an out-of-state check is acceptable.

She brought carriers for her rabbits. Although I can generally scrounge up a box for a pet rabbit, I cannot box up four rabbits for a long trip home.

She took everything with her when she left. Be sure not to leave transitional feed, pedigrees, literature, or personal belongings behind when you leave.

She had nice things to say about my bunnies. Now this last step is absolutely required if you want to come back to my barn. Just kidding. But I don’t know a breeder in the world who doesn’t like to hear nice things about their rabbits. After all, producing better and better bunnies is why we do what we do.

Next Article: Buying a rabbit in an auction

Rabbit Shopping at auctions and raffles