Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, March 19, 2001

Waverly family raises rabbits

By Lynda Jensen

Easter egg hunters might get a little more than they bargain for if they search near the home of Dave and Donna DeLude, Waverly - they might hit up on a dozen "Easter" bunnies.

The bunnies are actually prize-inning rabbits that are bred for 4-H exhibition during the county fair.

Dave DeLude is one of the supervisors of the rabbit barn during the fair, which will feature a newly built addition this year, capable of holding 217 rabbit cages.

The DeLudes breed more than five different kinds of rabbits, including Polish, English Lop, Mini Lop, French Angora, and English Angora, the latter of which is a very unusual looking specimen that features very long locks, and looks like a rock star (see picture).

Some breeds can actually be a little vicious and unpredictable, such as the Britannia Petite, DeLude said.

Two 4-H members keep rabbits at the DeLude home - their son, Joey DeLude, 13, and neighbor Tiffany Trulson, 12, daughter of Randy and Fay.

Joey DeLude and Trulson plan to participate in a rabbit knowledge bowl this weekend for 4-H.

Joey traditionally shows Polish rabbits and takes care of four of them at home. Showing rabbits is his favorite 4-H activity, since he's done it for five years. He will also be showing a beef steer at the fair this year.

Trulson shows and cares for one rabbit, a Mini Lop, and also likes to be around the gentle critters.

The slow spring seems to be fooling the animals a bit this year, since the DeLudes lost a litter of nine Polish rabbits already, due to the cold.

Although the rabbits are enclosed in their own cages, the rabbits' behavior has been a little out of the ordinary and it was hard to tell when the mother was ready. "Usually, they pull at their hair," Joey commented.

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