Last night's 4-H meeting was fairly brief, at least the official portion of the meeting was. The mostly new officers were running the show. Lydia was the only holdover from last year, continuing to serve as secretary. Without a show to plan for, there wasn't much to discuss. And since the president forgot about asking members to report on how their rabbits had fared at shows over the past month, the meeting was closed pretty quickly.
The unofficial portion consisted of the youth practicing showmanship and clerking while parents visited. I stopped our leader, Karen, as I needed to get some additional 4-H membership forms for Charlotte and Lydia to join the sheep 4-H group.
Karen expressed surprise at the news that Charlotte and Lydia are expanding into sheep. I smiled and told her that the girls had made enough money that they wanted to expand their operation. Kared laughed, and then she realized I was being completely truthful.
"Are you serious? Nobody makes money in rabbits!" She was absolutely floored when I told her Lydia had made over $700 on her last litter (true, it took her six months to sell the last doe, but all the others were sold by about four months of age).
No one should ever start breeding any rabbits with the sole purpose of making money. It could turn out to be a huge disappointment. French angoras in particular take some time and some extra effort (not much more, but some), and all bunnies just want to be loved. But I feel it is important as well for youth to learn that earning money involves some work. After all, we can't all be government workers (notice I did not say, "work for the government"). And why not get involved with animals/livestock/pets that have a practical purpose--actually many practical purposes? In addition, unlike many of the other market livestock raised for 4-H where the buyers pay inflated prices for the butchered animal, no one is over-paying here. This is the real business world. And they are running it, for better or for worse.
Now if I could only get them to blog a little more about it.
UPDATE: My husband and the girls' dad would like it noted that the girls did not pay for the bunny barn and that they do not pay the power bill to run the swamp cooler in the bunny barn in the summer. However, I have heard him say all our married life that the cost of running the swamp cooler 24x7 for the entire house was minimal, so I don't think that running it in the bunny barn is all that much. And since we already had the carport that was converted into the bunny barn and only had to buy the hardware and the siding, I don't think that cost all that much, either.