Addressing the "pet market"

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by pasotami, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    I would like to discuss on this thread options for advertising "other than meat" rabbits and rabbit products (wool, compost, worms, anything that can come directly from the rabbits other than their meat). My dd works at a pet store that sells not only "pet" rabbits but "feeder" rabbits. I have just now obtained angoras for wool production (mainly for myself but it could grow to be more than I need) so....
    I wondered how it would be feasable to market these products other than word of mouth to your local area.
    I would like to start a list for others to reference to:
    1) Farm or personal website
    2) Local papers - I need to be more specific here.... Co-Op papers, Newspaper, Trade (Trading Post) papers..... help me out here folks
    3) Radio swap shop type free advertising
    4) Feed Store flyers

    I'm running out....
    Would it be a wise move to wholesale to petstores? What are the terms? Do they have to be vet inspected, etc?

    Let's discuss this..... and let's not forget to add the wool market.... since I use my wool, I have no idea how to sell it without it being in a finished product.
     
  2. Cloverbud

    Cloverbud Well-Known Member

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    I see "raw" wool sold on eBay.
     

  3. orphy

    orphy Well-Known Member

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    The best thing I have done is put my name on the breeders list of NRBA, now when people search the state for breeders my name comes up. It has bought me several sales and ones that are returning to buy more. I also have angoras and this was a way to reach the wool people. I am able to sell my extra males and rabbits that are not for show. I have even gotten people to buy pets this way. I also have been experimenting with a page on my space. Not sure how that will do. I try to list my rabbitry on anywhere that allows this. My friend and I will sell pets at easter and plan on supplying each rabbit with a bag of food and instructions. The last line will say If for any reason you cannot keep your rabbit please do not just let it loose, it cannot take care of itself. Call me and I will gladly take the rabbit back and care for it. Although there is no refund. Hopefully this will keep the bunnies out of the parks. I also have given a rabbit to a child to start a 4H project. I recieved several sales off of that but that was several years ago. It may still work . Just some of my ideas
     
  4. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    I put ads up at the feed store when I have litters, its worked for me. I also am one of the people that a large pet shop used to buy their pet rabbits from, worked well until they didn't want mini-rex anymore and only wanted lionheads. I've found it difficult to get many petshops to buy from me, as they often have breeders they've bought from for years and won't take on anyone new, even though I've got small purebreds and their buying mixed breed larger rabbits. Pointed that out to some, they weren't too happy with me. I sell at shows of course, and belong to a number of Yahoo groups, some are classifieds, some for rare breeds. I checked out Ebay for raw wool, as I just acquired a Satin Angora, and yes some folks do sell on there. I also have taken some rabbits to a livestock auction in the past when I was just overwhelmed with buns, but consider that a last resort, it was kinda icky, except for the guy who had Royal Palm turkeys, they were cool!! Strangely Flemish are easy to sell and desirable, and you don't see a lot for sale. We also have a sale paper here called 'Papershop', I've considered advertising in that, it has a wide audience, and there's rabbits in it fairly often. There's also Philly.com, you can advertise on there for free, but my friend did without results. I don't sell manure, I use it all, so thats out. A friend of mine sells sometimes at a flea market, so thats always a possibility.
     
  5. Carrie C

    Carrie C Well-Known Member

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    http://www.localharvest.org
    They are a good place for fiber and other things.
    My feedstore will buy rabbits. The pet shops around here are more picky, they usually work through wholesalers. I'm not sure on the specifics of either, I sell direct.
    There's a free classified newspaper around here called The Little Nickel. You pay to run an add and people pick up a copy for free. Pretty cheap to place an add, too.
    Websites are good. The Rabbit and Cavy Breeder Directory is a good place to list your site. I'm not sure of the address. Search for the name and it should come up. The LocalHarvest is another good one.
    Signs at feed stores are good. Leave your name at the counter, too, and get to know the employees. Tell them about your operation. They are good word-of-mouth advertisers.
    Good luck!
    ~Carrie C.
     
  6. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    The thing is with selling pet rabbits - how do you actually make a profit with it? The Tractor Supply and the local feed mills both begged me to produce bunnies for them at Easter. But they only want to pay $5. How can one buy cages, breeding stock, rabbit feed, feed the brood does/buck year round, and raise up bunnies to weaning age, and then only get $5 for them????

    I can see selling excess, non-show quality bunnies for this reason, but not as a first business. Maybe I'm missing something here. :shrug:

    As far as selling angora fiber - I go to a couple of fiber festivals each year, and usually sell out of angora yarns. I also sell a fair amount of bags of fiber. Probably the easiest way is to sell in bulk for blending with wool. If you just have a small amount, I'd advertize it on some of the fiber lists on Yahoogroups. Just make sure you understand the difference between prime wool and seconds so you get top dollar for the prime, and repreat customers. :)

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  7. Terry W

    Terry W Duchess of Cynicism

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    i bought my new buck from the new local pet shop-- that had quite accidently gotten into selling rabbits. The owner discounted the price of the buck to me, and I will be selling back any babies that come along, at a price that she can sell them low enough t more than encourage peole to buy animals from her. I also have an agreement with the owner to provide feeder mice for her inventory and customers that need them. This shop buys it's dogs and cats from local breeders, rather than the huge interstate mill businesses-- I am really pleased with how healthy the animals look. Her grand daughter comes to work with her every day-- so anything that can be held, gets held!!! i do have some other buyers lined up for mice and rabbits-- but they are to be used as feeders for wildlife rehabbers. A friend whose family had a huge setup to supply some pet store chains indicated that an operation of that size really opens up the supplier to a lot of scrutiny at unannounced times, by inspectors that just don't understand animal behaviour-- one inspector even turned the family in for violating child labor laws-- which by the way, do not apply to family members, especially the ones that WANT to be there!!!

    As far as advertising your wool-- try spinners groups-- that is what the local alpaca people are doing--usually what is happening there, someone alpaca learns how to spin in a class, using their own fiber, then the classmates want some to try!!!
     
  8. pasotami

    pasotami Hangin out at the barn!

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    Great, we are getting a better list. This evening I will re-read everyones post and see if I can compile the list at the top for easier reference. Everyone post was filled with great suggestions. Maybe if this list gets great enough it can be stickied at the top.
     
  9. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    There's an entry on my blog about advertising rabbits: www.verdantrabbitry.blogspot.com. If you sell pet rabbits wholesale (to a broker or pet shop) you do have to be USDA licensed and inspected if you sell more than $500 worth of rabbits annually. The federal Animal Welfare Act regulates wholesale pet breeders, BTW.

    Basically, you fall through the regulatory cracks if you sell pets directly to the end customer. (The PAWS bill was going to change that, but it got shot down, luckily.)

    More later... :D This is going to be an interesting thread.
     
  10. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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  11. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    HOW do you learn which is prime and which is seconds? I'm out here all alone in the boondocks and dont have anyone to ask.

    Joy

     
  12. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The way we learned was from standing at the judging tables when our breeds were up and listening to everything that they said. They all have differing opinions on the minor things but you will get a very good idea of what specifically you are looking for. If that is something you do not have access to I would at least get the Standard Book and then do internet searches for pictures of the breeds you are interested in. We can typically pick out a good prospect but do not make our final cuts until they are about 3-4 months old.
    Melissa
     
  13. Carrie C

    Carrie C Well-Known Member

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    Midkiffsjoy- you mean angora wool, right? Prime is long, seconds are short, like when you cut over an area twice.
    That's how a spinner explained it to me. I don't raise angora rabbits so I'm not sure, this will at least bump your question up.
    ~Carrie C.
     
  14. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    Thank you Carrie. That was sweet of you!
     
  15. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh DUH! I didn't read the question right...feel rather dumb now..sorry :shrug:
     
  16. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Joy, I did not see your question of me 'til now. Carrie pretty much answered it. There is a not a "rule" or a standard, but in general:
    Prime is the clean, non-matted or webbed wool that comes from the back and shoulders of the rabbit. It should be at least 3 inches long.
    Seconds are the shorter parts from the dewlap, belly, and lower haunches of the bun. Some people also include webbed or dirty wool in this class.
    I personally would put second cuts, dirty, webbed, and mats in a third class. (I throw it away, but other people do sell it, so there is a market for it)
    Webbed is when the fiber is starting to stick together, usually when the coat is shedding and has a dead feel to it.

    For selling: Be sure to label the prime wool as either plucked or clipped. Some people get a premium for plucking the wool, and then laying it out so the fibers all run the same way, with tissue paper between the layers. They get paper boxes or plastic boxes and package it that way, with printed labels. You can charge $6-10 per ounce for this presentation.
    I just weigh out 3 oz and put it in a gallon ziplock baggie with a card inside telling price, weight, clipped or pluck, color and breed. I charge $4 per ounce.
    I store the angora for my own use in those plastic shoeboxes you can get at Walmart. They make nice storage containers for the finished yarn, too.

    On the topic of yarn, I sell mine for 25 cents a plyed yard. So a typical, 1oz, 10-12wpi skein contains abour 45 yards and costs $11.00. I can complete one of these skeins while watching a DVD in the evening. :)

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com