Reynald Valdeabella is both an accountant and a certified bunny lover. Perhaps he was taken in by their soft fur and fluffy tails, or it was because he was born in the Year of the Rabbit, but one thing’s for sure, Valdeabella loves his cute little jumpers.
As an OFW in Singapore for seven years, Valdeabella didn’t have much time to focus on anything but work. He had a chance to come back to the Philippines for a break in 2020, but then Covid-19 forced the country into community quarantine. Reynald could no longer go back to Singapore, but fortunately, his company continued to employ him and allowed him to work from home in the Philippines.
Now that he had more time, Valdeabella took the initiative to fulfill a dream. “It’s been a life-long dream to retire early on a farm and just enjoy provincial life. I thought to myself, this dream will never materialize if I don’t make a move. I was always leaning into raising rabbits cos (sic) I was born in the Year of the Rabbit. So it just perfectly fits my personality,” he said.
Tender Rabbit Care
Valdeabella started building a mini-rabbit farm next to his home in Negros Occidental. He started raising and breeding rabbits to be sold as pets, although he also cares for meat-type rabbits as well. The pride of his farm are his Dwarf Hotot, Mini Rex and Flemish Giant rabbits.
He uses Tik Tok to document his growth as a rabbit farmer and to share the charm and cuteness of his animals. From his videos alone, anyone could see that Valdeabella takes great care of his bunnies. “I make sure I have enough grass/hay and clean water to provide [for] them as they need something to constantly chew [on],” he said. He makes sure to provide rabbit feed only at night to avoid them being dependent on it. He also has first aid kits prepared in case of diarrhea, heatstroke, sore hocks or other unexpected illnesses.
“I schedule a weekly clean up of cages to avoid bacteria manifestation and, of course, [to] maintain cleanliness,” said Valdeabella.
Since his rabbit farm is located in his backyard, Valdeabella says his business is open anytime. Anyone interested in his rabbits can simply inquire through his Facebook page and he conducts business with the client from there. His rabbits go for P300 – P3000 depending on the breed and quality. Pets go for P700 upwards, while meat-type breeds are at least P350 per rabbit.
He can deliver the rabbits to his clients as long as they are within his area. However, he prefers for his customers to visit his farm in-person. “I prefer clients to visit my backyard farm so that they see how the bunnies are taken care of, plus I get to give a quick run through on how to properly care for them,” he said. Most of his clients are first time owners, so it was important to give them the right info and guidance on the proper care for the rabbits. “I do occasional after-sales checking to ensure that the rabbits are well taken care of.”
As a rabbit farmer and breeder, Valdeabella wants his fellow rabbit lovers to be responsible pet-owners and to give them the best care possible. On the other hand, as also a seller of rabbit meat, he supports the industry as long as it is done humanely.
Valdeabella has a lot of ambitions centered around rabbits. He’s hoping to open a coffee shop with rabbits roaming freely. And although he is happy with his mini rabbit farm, he wants to move to a bigger space and to own most, if not all, breeds. He said, “[I’m] manifesting [to be] the first giant rabbit farm in the Philippines!”
“Taking care of my bunnies everyday creates a deep connection and attachment to them,” Valdeabella said. As a breeder, Valdeabella said that the hardest challenge is that some of them don’t survive. “It makes me sad and [it’s] hard to move on. Though one thing I learned is that death is inevitable to both humans and animals.”
Not only is he a certified bunny lover, but his love extends to other animals, too. Valdeabella wants to expand his farm into caring and raising animals such as sheep, pigs, chicken and ducks, and to build a haven for rescued stray dogs.