Road to the county fair: Fort Lupton native competes with, breeds rabbits
Cody LeBlanc hasn’t used Twitter since the first Republican debate, but when he tweets, there is one thing he doesn’t like to use: a hashtag.
But on the back of LeBlanc’s pickup truck, one bumper sticker reads #Eatmorerabbit.
The 18-year-old started to show rabbits in 4-H when he was 9, and expanded that pet-hobby into his own business.
LeBlanc breeds four types of rabbit: white and blue Americans, Florida whites, Californians and Standard Chinchillas. The easiest are the Florida Whites, he said, but enjoys the challenges the other three breeds bring.
One of the challenges he has is breeding the Americans and Chinchillas. LeBlanc said in nine years, he’s only had four litters of the Chinchillas, and the Americans aren’t much easier.
LeBlanc normally breeds the rabbits three times a year, and expects a new litter in a couple of weeks.
LeBlanc has 42 rabbits, 18 of them will be used for meat. But there is an exact timing before the meat is too tough to consume. Those that don’t hit the table or won’t be used for breeding and showing purposes will go to Bird of Prey.
Rabbits were the only animal he showed in 4-H competitions until last year when he wanted to try something new.
“I wanted a challenge,” he said. “So I mowed a lawn for free for three pigs.”
He competed with the pigs in last year’s 4-H competition at the Weld County Fair, and it’s something he doesn’t want to do again.
He prefers rabbits.
“They’re my passion,” he said. “That and politics.”
The Fort Lupton-native will venture out of the Weld County town in August to attend the University of Denver. He is studying to be a constitutional lawyer.
LeBlanc’s connection to 4-H goes back to his mom, Mary, who competed in the Fort Lupton 4-H program as well. LeBlanc is actually the sixth generation to grow up in Fort Lupton, Colo. after his ancestors homesteaded in 1872.
But LeBlanc said he wants to live near the Fort Lupton area — it is home, after all.
And while change can be hard on humans, for rabbits, it’s harder.
“The slightest change in feed can throw them,” LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc changed the feed for his rabbits about a month ago because they were dropping weight and their fur and color was bad.
He lost some rabbits after the change, but LeBlanc said the ones that survived are starting to adjust to the change.
There are still plenty of rabbits left for those who decide to #Eatmorerabbit.
Samantha Fox is a reporter and designer for The Fence Post. She will be following Weld County 4-H participants about their preparation and competition results at the 2016 Weld County Fair. Reach Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her at @FoxonaFarm on Twitter.
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