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Bonding with bunnies

August 1, 2012

A 4-H member, at right, gets ready to show her rabbit at the Auglaize County Fair. Participants, above, talk with a judge during the rabbit show on Tuesday.

When Ryan Schwieterman’s not in school during the summer, he is studying to be as knowledgeable as he can about his 4-H project in preparation for the Auglaize County Fair.

“You have to know a lot of stuff,” the 11-year-old said Tuesday during the rabbit show at the fair.

In addition to his studies, Ryan, who was showing rabbits for the third time on Tuesday, also keeps busy taking care of his four rabbits.

“I’ve groomed them, cut their toe nails,” Ryan said.

While showing one of his rabbits, he was asked a series of questions in which he was able to easily answer because of the studying he had done.

“Where is the loin,” Ryan said of one of the questions the judge asked him.

He has also had some time to bond with his rabbits.

“Having the bunnies to play with,” Ryan said of the best part of showing rabbits.

Noah Hedrick, 11, also said he enjoys spending time with his rabbits.

“I love getting to be with the animal and getting to know them,” Noah said.

Noah, who is showing rabbits for the second time, said grooming his two rabbits kept him busy this summer.

“You have to get your hands wet and get all the mats out of their hair,” Noah said. “You also have to feed them and get all the equipment you need and even play with them.”

While showing rabbits, he stressed the importance of showing the judge the rabbit’s loin.

“You need to set up your rabbit good to show off their loin — where their meat is,” Noah said. “You have to set them up so you can show that off.”

Jordan Paul, 10, also noted a tip to showing rabbits.

“You also need to cover its eyes so it doesn’t get scared,” Jordan said.

Her first year showing rabbits, she said she was showing four rabbits on Tuesday and has spent her summer grooming them and cleaning their cages. She said she has enjoyed handling her rabbits.

“They’re so soft when you handle them and some rabbits don’t have a lot of teeth like mine,” Jordan said.

Jalyssa Zwiebel, 10, also enjoyed her first experience showing rabbits on Tuesday, showing two. To prepare for the show, Jalyssa said she has been cleaning frequently.

“I had to clean lots of cages and keep their place clean,” Jalyssa said.

In her first show, she said she focused on keeping eye contact with the judge.

“You always want to keep contact with the judge,” Jalyssa said. “You always want to be looking at them.”

She had a successful first venture, placing first in her class.

“Getting first and winning,” Jalyssa said of the best part of her experience.

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