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Raising rabbits can be complicated enough without having to try to figure out what all the crazy phrases and terms mean. If you've ever been to an active rabbitry or a rabbit show, you may have heard all sorts of words and terms thrown around that didn't make any sense. Here's a breakdown to help simplify things:
ARBA: American Rabbit Breeder's Association. Buck: A male rabbit (typically a senior or "adult" rabbit). Doe: A female rabbit (typically a senior or "adult" rabbit). Junior Buck: A young male rabbit. Junior Doe: A young female rabbit. Kit: A baby rabbit. Sire: Father of a rabbit (Grandsire, Great-Grandsire, etc). Dam: Mother of a rabbit (Granddam, Great-Granddam, etc). Litter: A group of baby rabbits. Kindle: When a doe gives birth. Nestbox: A box given to the doe in which she builds her nest and has her litter. Foster: To give kits from one doe to another to raise. Senior: A rabbit who has reached the senior age (for many breeds that is six or eight months old). Junior: A rabbit who is under the senior age. Hole: A cage or hutch. Lift: When a doe is receptive to breeding she lays down on her belly and lifts her hindquarters, thereby presenting herself to the buck. Fall/Fall-Off: When a buck ejaculates, he usually falls off the side of the doe. Palpate: To feel the doe's abdomen for babies. Pedigreed: A rabbit who has a written, recorded record of at least three generations of ancestors. Pedigreed rabbits should have a tattoo in their left ear which matches the ear number on its pedigree. Pedigree: A paper record of a rabbit's ancestry written by the breeder. Should include name and ear number, weight, and color, plus any other available information such as show winnings, registration/grand champion numbers, etc. Rabbitry: A place where rabbits are kept and/or raised. Registered: A purebred, fully pedigreed rabbit who has passed the inspection of an ARBA Registrar can receive a registration certificate and number from ARBA. A registered rabbit should have a number in its right ear. Shelf/Shelving Kits: To shelf kits means you remove the kits from the mother and keep them in a safe place, and take the kits to the mother to nurse. Some breeders leave the kits in their nestboxes and some use other 'storage' methods. Reasons to shelf kits include poor mothers, cold or inclement weather, and predator issues.
Butchering Phrases and Terms
Dispatch/Kill: To humanely kill a rabbit. Process/Harvest: To skin and/or gut a rabbit. Skin/Skinning: To remove the skin of a rabbit. Butcher: To prepare a rabbit carcass for preserving or cooking. Debone: To remove the bones from a rabbit carcass. Quarter: To cut a rabbit carcass into pieces. Tan: To cure the skin of a rabbit using natural methods (ie brain tanning). Taw: To cure the skin of a rabbit using chemical methods (ie alum or battery acid).
Color and Pattern Phrases and Terms
Variety: Color and/or pattern of the rabbit. Solid: A rabbit that has does not have white pattern or spotting. Broken: A rabbit that has a white pattern or spotting. Self: A rabbit that has the same color on each hair shaft going all the way to the skin (ie blue, chocolate, black). Agouti: A rabbit that has bands and ticking along each hair shaft (ie chestnut, chinchilla). Shaded: A rabbit that has darker points on the nose, ears, tail and other parts of the body (ie tort, californian). Charlie: Named after Charlie Chapman for his famous mustache, a rabbit with two broken-pattern (En) genes, which causes it to have less than 10% color. False Charlie: A charlie-patterned rabbit which has less than 10% color but who does not carry two broken-pattern genes (ie one parent is a solid). REW: Ruby-eyed white, an all-white rabbit with a pink cast to the eyes. In some breeds that do not have BEWs, REWs are simply called White. BEW: Blue-eyed white, an all-white rabbit with blue eyes.
Show Phrases and Terms
Leg: An official certificate issued by a show
secretary designating a certain win. In all cases, a leg will only be
issued if there are at least 5 rabbits competing for that particular
win with at least 3 breeders of those rabbits. A 'Leg' may be
awarded for First Place in a class, BOB, BOS, BOV, BOSV, or BIS. A rabbit can only get one Leg per show. BOB/Best of Breed: The rabbit judged to be the best rabbit of that breed in that class. BOS/BOSB/Best Opposite Sex of Breed: The rabbit judged to be the best opposite sex of the BOB rabbit in that class. If a doe wins BOB, then the BOSB will be a buck, and vice versus. BOV/Best of Variety: The rabbit judged to be the best rabbit of its variety in that class. Variety usually means color or pattern. BOSV/Best Opposite Sex of Variety: The rabbit judged to be the best opposite sex rabbit of the BOV rabbit in that class. Variety usually means color or pattern. If a bucks wins BOV, then the BOSV will be a doe. BIS/Best in Show: The rabbit judged to be the best rabbit in the entire rabbit show. Many breeds compete for this award. RIS/Reserve in Show: The rabbit judged to be the second best rabbit in the entire rabbit show. This is an optional award. Grand Champion: A rabbit who has won at least three 'Leg' papers (under at least 2 different ARBA judges, and with at least one win as an intermediate or senior) is registered, may obtain a Grand Champion Certificate with a Grand Champion number from ARBA. DQ: Disqualification.