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4-H takes applications for rabbit project

It is not uncommon for 4-H students to take care of animals, but few 4-H projects allow students to raise animal they get to keep. 

“That is what makes our rabbit project so popular,” explained Franklin County 4-H Regional Extension Agent Vanessa Roberts. “A lot of students do not like the idea of raising something like a chick to turn around and sell it, but with the rabbits, they are able to keep them.”

Alabama 4-H is now registering students ages 9-18 for the annual 4-H rabbit project.

Each student will receive a 6-week-old rabbit to raise from May to September before bringing the rabbit to the 4-H Rabbit Show for exhibition.

Registration is $25 and will include the rabbit, a record book and a project manual. Rabbits will be picked up from the North Alabama Fairgrounds in Muscle Shoals May 7.

Students will be responsible for housing, feeding, watering and cleaning up after their rabbits.

“Rabbits grow fast and cost less to raise than most other types of livestock,” Roberts said. “Raising rabbits requires little room, low overhead expense and minimal daily maintenance. Rabbits are simple to work with and fun to watch grow.”

Students who sign up are required to attend a virtual project training to learn how to care for the rabbit, have a home check-in to check up on the rabbit, attend a showmanship clinic to learn how to show the rabbit and attend the 4-H Rabbit Show.

Roberts said raising rabbits requires good equipment, proper sanitation and strategic planning, which students should take into account before deciding to sign up. 

“They will need to determine whether they have time to properly care for the rabbits,” Roberts said. “They also have to consider whether they have a safe environment for the rabbits if they have other family pets, such as cats and dogs.”

Roberts said in this process, students will learn about rabbit anatomy, different breeds of rabbits, nutrition and disease control. They will also experience what it is like to keep a record book and manage the finances associated with caring for a pet, as well as gain confidence in the process.

The final day to sign up is April 30. For more information, contact Roberts at 256-309-9576.

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