Care and Management of Rabbits/Chapter 22
SELLING BREEDING STOCK
Plan No. III.
Four hutches, two above, two below. Size, 3 x 6 feet.
Prize-Winning New Zealand Red Buck.
Valued at $50.00.
SELLING BREEDING STOCK
Without doubt the best income to be obtained from the rabbit business is in the sale of breeding stock. The breeding stock generally is divided into three classes: (1) Fancy show stock; (2) pedigreed and registered breeders, and (3) utility stock.
The first two classes are closely allied in price and quality, the better animals being registered and pedigreed stock also, but of such quality as to make them worthy of a better price than ordinary Standard bred stock. The utility breeders are generally not subject to registration, having some minor defect, but possessing strong constitutional vigor and size sufficient to make them excellent breeders for meat stock.
The most frequent question that people ask me is, "Where can I sell my rabbits?" Some have commenced to breed the rabbits before giving thought to this matter and it does not occur to them until they are desperately in need of more room. Others, and they are to be blessed, are agitated by the problem long before they commence to build the first hutch.
One should have a market in mind before commencing the production of anything, else production will be a pure waste.
There are a number of ways in which to sell breeding stock. Generally, it will be possible to sell all that you care to in your own community. I have found that about all people need to know is that you have some rabbits. Before long visitors will drop in to look at them and they will want to buy some. This is especially true if your back lot is close to a main traveled street where your hutches can be seen.
If you can put up a neat sign stating that visitors are welcome to visit your rabbitry so that it can easily be seen from the street, you will be surprised at the number of people who will come in to look at the rabbits. These visits will invariably lead to sales, if you are enough of a salesman to grasp the opportunities presented.
Then the children in the neighborhood will soon find out that you have bunnies in the back yard and they will spend considerable time looking them over. That is not all. They will tell other people and these people will tell still other people. All of which is good advertising.
Where you wish to get your stock before all of the people in your community, there is no better advertising medium than the classified columns of your daily or weekly papers. A small ad of two or three lines in the Pet Stock column will bring you inquiries and visitors that will soon turn themselves into sales and customers.
Where you have sufficient surplus stock to warrant a small ad in the rabbit journals and pet stock magazines, it will surely dispose of your stock. I have found that there is a tremendous demand, especially for breeding age stock, and this demand has been constantly increasing during the past few years. The advertiser, if he has anything like the right kind of stock, will invariably turn away orders.
Where you have registered stock or the better show stock one of the best means of advertising the value of your stock is to enter them in the rabbit shows and poultry shows where they have a rabbit department.
People see your stock, have a chance to compare it with that of others, and to admire it. If you are fortunate enough to win prizes, so much the better. That is strong advertising in itself and can be made use of in your advertising literature later.
In selling breeding stock, be fair and square. We have already referred to the dishonest tactics of many dealers and hucksters, who merely buy up rabbits from here, there and everywhere, and sell them out again at a good profit. Too often these gentlemen are willing to stretch the truth a point or two in order to make a sale. They have worked a great injury to the industry by their ability to "gather in the suckers" and have disgusted many budding fanciers with the whole rabbit business.
Be fair and square as the very cornerstone of your business policy. Do not exaggerate the value of your stock or demand as much money for it as what some breeder with high-class stock is demanding. It is better business policy to underestimate the worth of your stock and undervalue it than to ask too much. There is no advertisement better than a well-pleased customer, and giving him full value for his money and a little more is cheapest in the long run. It builds trade for you.
Do not sell stock that you would hate to have the other fellow palm off on you. Do not, under any consideration, ship diseased stock. This is a crime worse than horse stealing. Practise the golden rule in your business dealings, because the rabbit industry has black eyes enough. And if the customer is not pleased, promptly refund his money.
Many people will expect you to ship stock C. O. D, so that they can have a chance to see it before paying out their money. While this sort of an arrangement is probably all right if the customer is honest, it is better not to deal with these people. My own experience in several kinds of mail order business shows that there is a vast percentage of people who order on this basis who are not honest. By that I mean that they will seize any sort of an excuse to return the goods without paying for it. Perhaps they have gotten "cold feet" and don't want the goods now, or are short of money, or have gotten over the desire to buy. The result is that the breeder is out express charges both ways and has stock seriously off feed and weight because of the long delay on the road.
Insist on cash before the stock is shipped, but guarantee satisfaction, then live up to it. In this way the honest-to-goodness customer will be protected and you will have protection yourself. There is no use trying to please the fellow who wants all of the protection on his side and who isn't fair enough to give a rap as to how you are protected. These people are generally the trouble makers and curiosity seekers, anyway, and have no value to you or anyone else as customers.
It is not a wise plan to sell stock less than five months of age for breeding purposes. The reason for this is that no man can tell what the breeding value of an animal is going to be under that age. If you sell them too young they may turn out to be scrubs and that will hurt your reputation. If you happen to sell a prize winner for little or nothing, that hurts you.
Stock should not be shipped in the heat of summer. The express messengers are not as careful of live stock shipments as they should be, and it is not at all out of the ordinary to have a whole shipment smothered in the summer. The best time to ship stock is in the Spring and Fall. Winter shipments can also be carried on successfully, provided you are careful to fix the shipping crates so that the animals will not be exposed to draughts or the cold too much. This will cause them to catch cold and will lead to the "snuffles."
And this is something that one should take into consideration in shipping the rabbits. In the heated cars and freight stations it is generally hot, stuffy or warm. They are then taken out in the cold air and subjected to a severe change in temperature, all of which is very apt to cause colds. If you have to make shipments in the winter, do all that you can to make it cozy and warm in the crates for the stock. Use muslin across the top and openings to prevent draughts.
Use good-sized crates. Old orange boxes make an excellent shipping crate for a pair. If only one rabbit is to be shipped, one of the compartments of the orange box may be sawed off. But be sure that the floor is solid and does not have any cracks in it so that the rabbits can stick their feet through and get them broken. It is best to have everything so that they cannot get any part of their bodies out of the crate in transit.