2016 Rabbit Workshop

Raising Rabbits Workshop Great Success!

Raising Rabbits
How to raise Heritage rabbits for meat and market


Download Flyer (.pdf)

Saturday, July 23 2016

The Old National Guard Armory
New Agricultural Aggregation Center
800 Virginia Avenue, Huntington, WV 25704

Join The Heritage Breeds-Heirloom Seeds Network, West Virginia Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture, and The Livestock Conservancy, for a workshop to help educate military service veterans and beginning/intermediate rabbit producers in raising meat rabbits for food and market. All farmers are welcome to attend.

Learn how to:

  • Select rabbits for dependable production
  • Build safe and affordable rabbit housing
  • Determine proper nutrition and care
  • Plan and budget for your rabbit business


  • Humane dispatching
  • Meat processing and carcass evaluation
  • Hide tanning
  • Fiber-spinning

Live Heritage rabbit display - hands-on!

Members of HB-HSN have also volunteered to mentor participants as they establish their own rabbit raising endeavors.


Pre-registration is required.

Registration $45 per person
Includes lunch

Veterans if you are seeking state reeducation funds to apply for this course please contact Mike Lyons at the WV Department of Veterans Assistance office at 304-558-3661.

Service animals only please!





8:00 am – Check-in

9:00 - 9:15 am - Why heritage rabbits  - Kendy Sawyer

9:15 - 10:00 am - Veterans to Agriculture program - Jim McCormick

10:00 - 10:30 am  -  Basic Rabbit Care  - Kate Adkins

10:30 -10:40 am  -  Networking Break

10:40 -11:25 am -  Rabbit Nutrition and Health - Marcela St. Onge

11:25 - 11:55 am - Rabbit Housing - Andrea Chandler

12:00 - 1:00 pm  - Lunch featuring heritage rabbit cuisine prepared by Steve Martin’s  Culinary Arts students from Cabell Midland High School in Huntington.

1:00 - 1:30 pm - Rabbit Production and Record Keeping - Melissa Casey

1:30 - 2:15 pm - Rabbit Marketing and Economics - Deb Clemens

2:15 - 3:00 pm - Breakout
Rabbit Harvesting, Session 1
Tanning Hides, Session 1

3:00-3:45 pm - Breakouts
Rabbit Harvesting, Session 2
Tanning Hides, Session 2

3:45 - 4:00 pm -  Q & A Session

*draft program - check back often for updates




Coming east or west from I-64, take exit 6 to merge onto US-52 W toward West Huntington/Ironton, OH. Go about 0.89 of a mile in right lane, then merge onto Adams Ave/US-60 E towards West Huntington. Continue in the left lane of Adams Ave. Go through to the second traffic light, and turn left onto 11th Street W at The Church of the Nazarene. Go straight two blocks on 11th St. (through one traffic light), turn right onto Virginia Avenue at the Post Office. Go three blocks on Virginia Avenue, the Old National Guard Armory/New Aggregation Center is a red brick building on the left. Parking is to the east of the building.


Kate Adkins owns and operates Peace of Eden Farm with her husband, BJ. She has been actively stewarding heritage breeds and farming non-chemically with heirloom seed for about 8 years. She raises a variety of heritage species, including American Chinchilla Rabbits. In 2015, Kate started the Heritage Breed-Heirloom Seeds Network of central Appalachia with the goal of uniting other like-minded stewards for support and to help mentor the next generations of stewards. Kate is also active in the Farm to School program and is a registered vendor with her local county BOE.

Melissa Casey, CG American Chinchillas raises American Chinchilla rabbits for meat and show. Melissa lives in Russell KY and is a single mother of a 13 year old girl. Melissa also raises a heirloom garden each year. She is a certified microprocessor and cans a lot of the things that she grows and raises. Melissa will be speaking about rabbit production and record keeping.

Andrea Chandler is a US Navy veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She currently farms sheep, rabbits, and vegetables on a very busy and productive 2.5 acres in the Virginia Piedmont. Her farming philosophy embraces holistic practices of soil health and animal behavior to produce food and fiber good for body and soul.

Deb Clemens, co-owner (with husband Don) of Mountain Top Farms. Raising rabbits for the restaurant industry, Deb and Don raise the American Chinchilla, along with Standard Satins, Champagne D'Argents and New Zealands. Deb will speak about marketing rabbit meat to a restaurant market. Mountain Top Farms is home to Mountain Top Fibers, a luxury yarn business headed up by Frankie, an angora goat, and employing Deb (affectionately known as the haywench) and a team of angora rabbits who work for the angora goats. Deb will touch on the fiber industry and bring along a giant angora rabbit as a fiber ambassador.

James McCormick is director of West Virginia Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture, a US Army veteran and WV native.

Kendy Sawyer is a free-range volunteer for The Livestock Conservancy’s  programs and an advocate for simpler, saner farming. She raises Milking Devon and Kerry cattle for milk, beef and oxen at HineSite Farm with her husband Bob Hines, a retired Marine living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Marcela St Onge, owns and operates Ridgeline Rabbits in Oakdale TN. She breeds and shows heritage Silver Fox and American Chinchilla rabbits. Stemming from her background in chemistry and her lifelong interest in horticulture, she has also developed a line of rabbit tonics for common ailments and concerns (Wicked Good Bunny Tonics). Marcela will be speaking about feeding rabbits, nutritional needs, and health concerns.

Dan Mills is a veteran of the US Air Force. He lives with his wife Karen in Wayne, WV, and is the father of two sons, Josh and Kyle. He is a hobby taxidermist, and is an avid hunter and fisherman. Dan will teach how to tan rabbit hides at the workshop.


Heritage Breeds – Heirloom Seeds Network is Appalachian growers of old-fashioned plants and animals dedicated to promoting self-sustaining farming and providing education, mentoring and access to historical animals and plants. HB-HSN believes that to secure the future of farming, we must train the next generation.

West Virginia Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture (WVVWA) program assists veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves in the transition from battlefield to home through education and business opportunities. The Raising Rabbits Workshop is the first livestock program presented as part of the WVVWA program.

The Livestock Conservancy is the leading organization in the United States working to protect over 150 breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction. The Livestock Conservancy works with farmers, chefs, historians, consumers, and others around the nation to protect genetic diversity in agriculture. Just like there are heirloom seeds that need saving, the Conservancy works to protect heritage breeds – for the security of our agricultural system.

Why be a sponsor?

  • to be part of the story of how Heritage Breed Rabbits become an economically viable small-farm crop in West Virginia.
  • to help a Veteran feel part of a community through farming.
  • to promote teaching of bio-diversity and bio-security, good record-keeping, breeding strategies and animal evaluation.
  • to help end poverty, registration fees are low to encourage low-income persons to register without embarrassment.
  • all of our speakers are volunteers, most are travelling from out of state and it would be good to help with their expenses.

If you are interested in being a sponsor please contact Kendy Sawyer: ksawyer.2009@gmail.com.

Download Sponsorship Flyer (.pdf)


Holiday Inn- Civic Arena 304-523-8880

Pullman Plaza Hotel. 304-525-1001

Comfort Suites (South Point, OH, across from K- mart plaza) 740-894-1700

Hampton Inn 304-523-8001

Ramada Limited. 304-523-4242

Super 8 Huntington. 304-525-1410

Beech fork campground. 304-528-5794

FoxFire KOA. 304-743-5622