Located in the heart of the Sonoma Wine Country
ARBA registered rabbitries operated by Kelly Hinde, California Cottontails and Ricochet Rabbits are small rabbitries in Sonoma County, California. Kelly's story is similar to many open rabbit breeders ... rabbits became part of her life when her 9 year old son wanted to add rabbits as a 4-H project. He started with a trio of Havanas and, well rabbits being rabbits, the project grew from there!
Kelly's son raised Havana rabbits throughout his 4-H "career" growing his herd to over 50 quality animals operating as Patrick's Pride Rabbitry, winning a number of Best in Show and Grand Champion awards. At times he raised New Zealands and Champagne D'Argents; however, Havanas always were his priority. Now married and working as a custom wheelchair technician, Patrick still drops by the occasional rabbit show and gives Mom his opinion when asked.
Kelly's daughter soon caught the rabbit bug and raised Himalayans, Netherland Dwarfs and Thriantas before falling in love with an adorable Lilac junior while visiting another rabbitry. That junior buck was the start of her award winning Lilac herd. Lilac's became the staple of her rabbitry ... Dairy Aire (named for the old dairy barn we housed our rabbits in). She purchased does from the leading Lilac breeder in the country, Bob Koch, and was soon dominating the show tables. At the time Lilacs were rarely seen and she had to settle for earning grand champion legs by winning Best in Show! The feather in her cap was winning Best of Breed and Best Opposite Sex of Breed at the 2010 ARBA Convention in San Diego. Now an agriculture teacher in Colorado she is introducing her FFA students to the world of rabbits.
Well, the kids grew and aged out of the 4-H program moving onto education and careers in the agricultural industry. But, the rabbits stayed! Kelly had caught the rabbit bug. Originally she had a small herd of Jersey Wooly rabbits in the corner of the rabbit barn, showing in open while her children showed their rabbits in youth shows. However, as her children moved onto other pursuits the Woolies went and Kelly began showing and breeding the Havanas and Lilacs. In 2013, with her friend Sara, she purchased a small herd of Tan's and expanded her barn to include her first marked breed. In 2014, Kelly and Sara established their joint rabbitry, Ricochet Rabbits, to house their growing Tan herd. Sara moved onto dairy goats but the Tan's remain and now share equal space in Kelly's barn with the Lilacs.
Today, a dozen or so years later, Kelly actively shows Lilacs, Tans and Netherland Dwarfs at shows throughout Northern California and nationally. Her efforts have earned her dozens of Best of Breed wins including Best of Breed Lilac at the 2016 ARBA Convention, along with a few Reserve in Show and Best in Show wins with both Lilacs and Tans. In 2014 she was the number three breeder of Lilacs in the nation and since 2015 she is proud to be number one! She is currently one of the top ten breeders of tans in the country.
In the summer of 2019 Kelly added a few Netherland Dwarfs to a corner of her barn, working to learn more about this breed and others as she strives to become a rabbit register and, eventually, a judge.
She enjoys educating others about her breeds, especially promoting Lilacs who remain on the watch list of the American Livestock Conservancy as a rare breed. She is a 4-H Rabbit leader and actively supports youth rabbit projects.
Kelly volunteers with local rabbit clubs including California Rabbit & Cavy Shows and is the adult mentor of the Rabbits & Cavies & Youth, Oh My! ARBA youth club. She is the Secretary for the California State Rabbit & Cavy Breeders Association and an ARBA Registrar.