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Rabbits passion of local FFA member
rabbit pic1
Turlock High FFA member Kayla Hilvers is raising funds to attend the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. in October. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN/ The Journal

Kayla Hilvers is a young FFA member who has been making big waves on the national rabbit breeding scene. Kayla is currently ranked first in the state and 12th in the nation for breeding Californians, a large meat breed of rabbit. This is no small feat for a 15 year-old who only started working with rabbits four years ago. 

“I’ve learned a lot about rabbits since I started four years ago. A lot of other students are getting into them now too,” Kayla said.

Kayla’s mom, Becky Turner-Hilvers, said that Kayla’s achievements at the county fair and in open show competitions has inspired other students in her FFA chapter to start looking more seriously at rabbits. Kayla has worked with other students to teach them rabbit care, breeding and showmanship.

“All of the students Kayla has worked with have all done really well,” Turner-Hilvers said.

Kayla recently was awarded the Star Chapter Farmer award, and a $500 scholarship to attend the National FFA Convention in Indianpolis, Ind. in October, by Turlock High School FFA. The award is for outstanding second year members in the production of agriculture. She is also FFA level 2 high point, which is awarded for students’ participation in FFA and related events.  

Kayla is looking forward to furthering her rabbit breeding and showmanship expertise with a trip to the National FFA Convention. She is trying to raise about $2,000 for the trip.

Kayla said that she now has over 50 rabbits, and counting, and many of her does are due to give birth this week. Her focus right now is raising a three-rabbit meat pen to sell at the Stanislaus County Fair. She is trying to put weight on the young rabbits so that they will each weigh between 3 and 5 pounds by fair time. She even moved the meat pen inside so she could monitor the young rabbits and make sure they didn’t get too warm.

“I’m trying to find a buyer for the meat pen right now. Hopefully that will raise some money,” Kayla said.

Kayla’s main focus for college is to attend UC Davis to become a large animal veterinarian. That will take a lot of scholarship money, Turner-Hilvers said, but she believes Kayla can do it.

“I’ve been really proud of what she’s done,” Turner-Hilvers said.

Kayla set up a bank account at US Bank on East Olive for contributions towards her trip to Indianapolis this fall. The account number is 253455491386. She is also looking for a buyer for her meat pen, which will be auctioned at the Stanislaus County Fair on July 15 at 8 a.m. Any interested buyers can e-mail Hilvers at

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.