Get Involved With State 4-H Rabbit Judging Back »

Article by Andrea Paulson with contributions from Megan Nielson, former 4-H Youth Livestock Field Specialist.


Many events are keeping fairgoers busy throughout the South Dakota State Fair. One event, the State 4-H Rabbit Judging Contest, is an excellent opportunity for 4-H members to showcase their knowledge of rabbit evaluation. The 4-H Rabbit Judging Contest is scheduled to occur at the 2013 South Dakota State Fair on Saturday, August 31st from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Taking place outside the 4-H Rabbit Barn, the rabbit judging contest tests youth on their ability to assess live rabbits.

During the contest, 4-H members are required to evaluate and rank rabbits within a class during a set amount of time. Some important factors to consider when placing a class of rabbits are permanent disqualifications such as blindness, discolored coats and crooked or deformed bones. These qualities would automatically move an animal to the bottom of the class. Temporary disqualifications to consider when placing rabbits would include any health problems or obvious attempts of trimming.

Having a general knowledge base of the different breeds of rabbits is advisable. Rabbits that are crossbred, or do not display full breed characteristics may be moved to the bottom of a judging class. It is also important to consider if the rabbit will be used for breeding or meat production. When judging a class of meat type rabbits always consider the condition, uniformity, and qualifications of an animal.

Becoming familiar with the different parts of a rabbit and knowing proper terminology is an important part of the rabbit project and allows youth to make more educated decisions when selecting rabbits for future projects. All 4-H members are eligible to compete in the State 4-H Rabbit Judging Contest. However, all contestants must be selected to compete on their respective county team by their youth program advisor. A beginner, junior and senior age divisions are available to compete in. If you have any questions or want more information, please contact your local 4-H Program Advisor or refer the 2013 South Dakota State Fair 4-H Division Handbook.

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