Rab­bit duo beat Perth to the punch

Geraldton Guardian - - Front Page - Picture: Anita Kirk­bright

Ger­ald­ton’s Em­mett Atkin­son and his mum Re­becca wowed judges at this year’s Perth Royal Show, tak­ing home a string of awards for their prize-win­ning rab­bits. Among other ac­co­lades, Em­mett beat the adults to claim the best-of-breed cat­e­gory for his Nether­land Dwarf called Joanne.

A 12-year-old Ger­ald­ton boy is prov­ing him­self a force to be reck­oned with in the rab­bit breed­ing scene, af­ter he claimed a range of awards this year’s Perth Royal Show.

It’s not the first time Em­mett Atkin­son has tasted suc­cess, hav­ing also won awards at the 2013 and 2015 Perth royal shows, as well as other events.

Em­mett, who at­tends Year 7 at Na­gle Catholic Col­lege, said he was most proud of win­ning the best of breed cat­e­gory for his Nether­land Dwarf called Joanne — a cat­e­gory in which he com­peted against adults.

He said the judges chose the win­ners ac­cord­ing to strict stan­dards orig­i­nally set by the Bri­tish Rab­bit Coun­cil.

“They’re look­ing for the body to be about two ten­nis balls in size, and the head to be about one ball in size,” Em­mett ex­plained.

“The ears should be about 2.5cm and they are look­ing for clean, white feet and a strong pat­tern.”

Em­mett also took out the awards for best ju­nior un­der-17, best owner-breeder un­der-17, and best pet for his male rab­bit Zus.

Em­mett’s mother Re­becca said her son worked hard ev­ery day to care for his rab­bits and keep them in prime shape.

“They need to be fed and given wa­ter ev­ery morn­ing and af­ter­noon, but the clean­ing of the cages is prob­a­bly the big­gest job,” Ms Atkin­son said. “He also has to train them ev­ery day be­cause when they sit on the ta­ble to be judged they’ve got to be per­fectly still.”

Em­mett and his mum said they fed the bun­nies a mix of rab­bit pel­lets and goats’ muesli, which adds shine to their coat.

“We feed them oats and hay too, which they love. It also wears their teeth down and stops them from get­ting an upset tummy,” Ms Atkin­son said.

Em­mett said one of his favourites was Joanne’s fa­ther, Mouse, a vet­eran who won at the 2015 Perth Royal Show.

“I also like Amy, she’s a minia­ture lop with a but­ter­fly pat­tern and she’s al­most 11 now,” he said.

Em­mett started breed­ing rab­bits aged six when he caught his mother’s con­ta­gious love of the an­i­mals.

Ms Atkin­son also did well at this year’s royal show, tak­ing home the best of breed award for her minia­ture lop, Al­le­an­dro.

Em­mett said be­cause of his fas­ci­na­tion with rab­bits he was con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer as a vet – or if that doesn’t work out, per­haps an as­tronomer.

Em­mett and Re­becca said they were plan­ning to com­pete at the Aus­tralian Na­tion­als next May.

Em­mett Atkin­son with friends.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.