Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Biggles!

Our first English angora, Mr. Biggles, turns one year old today.  And, yes, there is a video honoring our spunky little guy. (Note: Please adjust your volume if you do not like raucous music....because Mr. Biggles does!)

Mr. Biggles - Our Anarcho Punk Bunny
(video music by Against Me! Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious)
On our way home
E sporting the Biggles shirt

Ha! Pouting when put
 back from playtime

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fall/Winter Preparations

Everyone has their little list of rabbit winter prep chores.  Here are mine along with a couple long term plans.
  • Pressure wash the cages and cage accessories.  Hoping to enlist DH and his new pressure washer for this one.   
  • Finish construction on the BunnyShip Galactica (the new rabbit pen).  Here are a pic of the gutter assembly.  The final model will be sheet metal (galvanized)...I think.  A coroplast sheet substitutes just fine right now.  It did reveal the need for stabilizers underneath the sheet, though.  
The leaf guard is inverted to collect manure for easy disposal in the garden.
  • Prep the nursery for Little Sun's litter.  Hopefully the mating took.  I chose not to palpate.  She is running around with mouthfuls of hay, so the signs look good. 
  • Fight the fur mite monster. One of the bucks has fur mites, a common problem with wool breeds. Ivermectin given orally has had minimal effect on the little devils.  I took him to the vet (trying to score some Revolution), but nothing showed up on the scrapings.  Our vet is really wonderful.  He enjoys seeing the bunnies and tries to save us money, too. Since our boy is not in misery and is otherwise healthy, our plan was to give Ivermectin for a bit longer, then come back for Revolution if that doesn't work.  Dr. Wright feels like he is at the tail end of this anyhow. His skin is clear and he is not itchy...just a few pesky flakes and webby spots.   Since the Ivermectin has not worked as quickly as I'd like, I am trying the diatomaceous earth as well (food grade, of course), being careful to keep his cute little face dust free. 
  • Make new carriers for next year's shows.  This will probably be a winter project.  The carriers in the size I like are about $40 each, so we will try our hand making a few.  
  • Some type of cooling unit for the buns.  This is in preparation for next spring/summer. It is so ridiculously hot here.  At times, it is quite difficult to show my rabbits in heat like this.  All the shows I've been to in Texas have been outdoor shows. This is OK when the weather is cool, but show season shortens when it warms up. However, bunny health does come first and I am not above leaving a show if they do not look happy. I do hate leaving, though. Perhaps I should get other types of rabbits more suitable for the environment I live in?  Heavens, no.  Adapt and invent to accomodate my rabbits? Yes. Absolutely. I LIKE English Angoras and I am pretty sure my rabbits like me, too.  My rabbits enjoy climate controlled living anyhow so it makes sense to keep their climate controlled whenever possible.   

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Am Thankful...

I am thankful for many things.  I have a great life with an amazing family...each person priceless in their own way.
We're all wonderfully unorganized for a photo op during
DH's "Respect the Beard" birthday party this month.
Mom sneakily offers to take the pic so she doesn't have
to be seen with a "beard" on.  I'm on to you, Mom!

I am at peace with my little part of the world. Since this is my rabbit blog, I thought that I might focus on what I am thankful for in bunny land.
  • I am thankful for the people I have met.  Rabbit folks are kind and helpful.  The friends I have made in this hobby always seem to have time for my questions and are patient with me as I learn.  I will probably continue to pester you with my silly ideas.      
  • I am thankful that I have such sweet rabbits.  Each and every one is special.  
All of these rabbit obsessions can be traced
 back to Mr. Biggles.  
  • I am thankful for bloggers and web site authors.  Without you, I would still be fumbling around in the dark.  I am grateful that you take the time to share your experiences...even if you often feel like you are talking to yourself.  
  • I am thankful for online groups and those who moderate them.  Your reponses are relevant, timely, and peer-reviewed...all key to good information sources.     
  • Most of all, I am thankful that my family understands (although they may not always agree with) my obsessive ways.  Come on guys! I am like this with everything....not just rabbits. I love you all.  


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Texas Licensed Breeder Advisory Committee (Dogs and Cats)

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
The older I get, the more I realize that napping during civics class was probably a bad idea.  My Mom is super involved in the political scene in her hometown. She works hard to make a difference. Kudos to her  because I would describe myself as mildly interested and awfully disillusioned, at best. I WANT to be involved and have a voice.  I keep thinking... if advisory committee meetings were held outdoors in some public garden with each board member wielding a trowel and a pair of knee pads, I would probably go. I would definitely feel more productive.

 The eight Licensed Breeder Advisory Committee 
members are composed of individuals from a 
wide range of interests.
Since committee meeting/garden time is not likely to  happen, I do what I can to satisfy my own feelings about what it means to be an American citizen.  I am currently following the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation's Advisory Board for a new program for licensing dog and cat breeders in the state.  Tuesday's meeting was mostly introductory, but in spite of what the pictures look like (haha) was very interesting.  The board is composed of people with a WIDE range of views (breeders, rescues, veterinary practice, animal control).  I look forward to seeing how they work out their differences and work toward a common goal.

Committee members get a chance to ask questions. 
My interest is mostly in regards to the process of animal care standards development.  This is a big area of debate in the rabbit community. Even though this is a cat and dog Breeder Licensing Advisory Board, I think the process will be enlightening for rabbit folks as well, especially if breeding rabbits is in your future (or present). If you get a chance...check out TDLR's website.  
You can subscribe to the areas you are interested and will receive email updates about meeting dates and agendas.  You can even watch the broadcast live, although the link kept going out during today's meeting.  Not sure if the fault was with me or TDLR, but like many, I tend to blame my government ;) The email subscription service also keeps you in the loop if committee positions are available so you can serve on a board, if that's your kind of thing.  Even if you want a more "hands off" approach, you can follow the legislation and email public comments to be addressed at future TDLR advisory board meetings...all in the comfort of your own home.

Like Mom always says, "If you do not take an interest in your government, someone else you really want someone else to decide what's best for YOU?"   Awww....Rats!

Next Meeting: The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation is scheduled to meet Wednesday, December 14 at 9:00 a.m. in the 1st Floor Public Meeting Room of TDLR's North Campus, located at 1106 Clayton Lane in Austin. Once an agenda has been finalized, it will be posted on the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation web site. The meeting will be broadcast and available for viewing in RealPlayer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Nice English Angora Grooming Resource

A partially clipped Little Sun, looking a bit like a Valley Girl.    
So far, my project has an excellent feeding program with which I am very satisfied.  Housing plans are in the developmental stages, but I have a good idea of where I am headed.  I have what I feel is a good start in regards to a breeding program and foundation stock.  BUT, if there is one area where I could use improvement, it is grooming bunnies.  I try...but one look at my hair on any given day, and you can tell that primping is not one of my priorities.

Armed with a Metro pet blower, steel comb, DoggyMan slicker brushes (in two sizes), a grooming table, and a rotating pin rake...I, at least, look like I know what I am doing.  I have been lucky to have a few more experienced folks take time to help me get started with hands-on grooming help (Thanks Sasha, Margaret, and Sara!).  I could be a top-notch "pet" angora groomer. As far as a "show" angora groomer?...I am a work in progress.  Even though my rabbits do well on the show table, there is a lot on which I can improve. I want to do right by these rabbits (and myself), so I am always on the lookout for more info. I have a grip on the basics.  It's the little things (four of them to be exact - LEGS!) that get me.  Luckily, I have nice, patient rabbits that put up with the learning curve.

I've gotten some excellent tips so far.  I use them! However, I am constantly on the lookout for more grooming tips.  I found this blog the other day.  It was on the 3rd google page for "english angora grooming secrets." It should have been on the first.

This blog, although short, does such a wonderful job of explaining grooming guidelines for the different ages of English Angora coats.  Information is clear and succinct. Plus, there is some genetic information that I found really interesting. I wish the author would write more. Maybe she could write about EA body type? That would be awesome!

That is why I like these English Angoras.  They give me a chance to work on something that I am naturally not so good at AND feed my affinity for all things fluffy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dana's Yummy Red Satin Angora..and other stuff

Congratulations to my angora friend, Dana!  Her Satin Angora won BOS at the ARBA Convention 2011.  That buck is wonderful!  I am already making plans for next year's convention in Wichita, Kansas. Note: My planning so far mostly involves begging DH. I hope to move quickly on from that to the "real" planning.  Hope to see you there!

Speaking of next year's shows and Wichita...I have been talking to my bunny friends about heading north to Kansas for the angora specialty. It is held the second weekend in June. It's a nice indoor, air conditioned double show with angora specialty. Showroom opens the night before. We had such an awesome time last year. It would be great to have a group of Texas folks to represent...just sayin'.
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