Last Saturday twelve youth and their parents gathered at Anita Davis’ barn. The topic of discussion? Rabbits. Anita serves as the Harvey County 4-H Rabbit project leader. Some of the attendees have been rabbit owners for years, while others are just getting started. As a leader, Anita volunteers her time to share her knowledge and passion for raising rabbits with 4-H members.
The rabbit project is a great example of a 4-H project that is ideal for both rural and urban youth, as well as all age groups. Rabbits are a good beginning project because they adapt to many different environments, require a small investment, and teach responsibility.
This project is offered as a part of the Harvey County 4-H program, which has no membership fees. However, members are responsible for the purchase of animals, feed, health care, housing, equipment and show fees. Youth ages seven to eighteen are able to enroll in this project.
At monthly meetings, Anita teaches youth about rabbits with the help of a research based curriculum. In the beginning levels of the project, members will learn the parts of the rabbit, identify main rabbit breeds, proper feeding and watering practices and about grooming and showing rabbits. As youth continue with the project, topics will include how to make a nest box, how to care for a newborn rabbit, how to balance a ration, and learn more about breeding, genetics, culling and determining pregnancy.
While Anita is the volunteer leader of this project, parents are the member’s first line of support. Parents can help members learn how to feed, care for, and groom rabbits for showing. The Harvey County K-State Research and Extension office will assist with acquiring the appropriate manuals, while other project resources may be found at www.kansas4h.org under Project List/Kansas 4-H Curriculum Guide.
Rabbit project members have many opportunities to participate in local project meetings, judging contests, clinics, skill-a-thons, tours, presentation contests, field trips, and local and state shows. Several county and state recognitions are possible achievements for members.
If your family has considered adding a fluffy friend to the household, the Harvey County 4-H program could help your child take responsibility and learn more about the animal! Along with the rabbit project, many other animal-related projects are offered to all youth in Harvey County through the 4-H program.
K-State Research and Extension, Harvey County
Courthouse, PO Box 583, Newton, KS 67114-0583