Raising rabbits may not sound like the most typical of activities for a 15-year-old, but for Jacob Deck, it's a pastime that has won him first place in the Georgia National State Fair, thanks to Phoebe, the Flemish Giant rabbit.
Last month, Phoebe and her trainer were awarded the title of overall winner/first place steel gray doe Flemish Giant rabbit in the state fair's competition.
For the Gordon Lee High School student and Future Farmer of America member, the honor was a surprise, since he had only gotten Phoebe two weeks prior to the fair, said his father, Trey Deck.
"It's very unusual for a rabbit at its first show to win state," Trey Deck said. "It's like the Super Bowl of rabbits. This is the first Flemish Giant that the GLHS FFA has ever had. And Jacob is the first boy to show rabbits ever at Gordon Lee."
"There were rabbits there from over 25 states," Jacob added. "The show judges look at her coat and size and watch how she poses. They liked how her shoulders were held up."
Jacob Deck's interest in showing rabbits was sparked this semester in teacher Becky Forrester's class, when she asked him to consider showing rabbits for FFA. Since he had just seen a demonstration with a professional rabbit shower — the owner of Phoebe's father and twin sister, Porshia — Jacob said he was immediately interested.
Phoebe, who is 8 months old, came from a rabbit farm in LaFayette, he said. She weighs 12 pounds and will grow to be 16 to 18 pounds over the next few months.
He plans to bring Phoebe to compete in the Walker County Agricultural State Fair this weekend. Jacob said he plans to continue showing Phoebe in shows for at least two years, then breed her.
In the meantime, Phoebe likes to hop around the house and investigate the territory, he said, adding that she likes to play with her toy ball. He said she's playful and also chews on bottles and flips her water bowl over.