Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Rabbitech System = Rabbit Room Remodel

Painting the rabbit room Behr paint color "Peru"
"Peru" means purple....very purple.
Rabbitech as it arrives on a pallet
"Now where ARE those directions?"
Christmas (and my birthday, and anniversary) came early this year.  Hubby surprised me with a new cage system from KW Cages...Rabbitech Cages.  Woohoo!!!  

They arrived this week on a nice little pallet.  That meant moving everything out of the rabbit room and a good scrubbing. Blah.

Sooo, since the room was empty anyway....out comes the sketch pad to draw up a rabbit room makeover.  First was a new paint color...
something bright and tropical.  A fiery coral was my first pick, but I really wanted something cooler.  So I went with a Behr paint called Peru.  Jeepers, it's super purple!  I could never get away with that inside the we just went for it.  Hubby was kind enough to help...again.
All put together and ready
 In the end, we only finished half of the rabbit room...just enough to get the cage system in.  The rest will come along throughout the winter.  But I have a nice sketch to guide me.   

It took two days to put that Rabbitech system together, but this was totally worth it!  Just a bucket of water down the drains and I was done cleaning.  Bye, bye trays.  Thank goodness! What to do now?.....well, groom....of course.    

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More on Sherwood Forest NRF

My feed (Top); SFNRF Pregnant Rabbit (Bottom L); SFNRF M/S (Bottom R)
We've gone just past two weeks on my little Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Feed trial.  We initially started with just the Pregnant Rabbit Feed.  I felt this was a good place to start because good nutrition starts with Mama. I planned to transition the babies to the Baby Rabbit Feed, grow the kits out, and then transition to the Maintenance/Show. 

However, I was so enamored with the freshness of the pregnant rabbit feed, that I ordered a box of the Sherwood Forest NRF Maintenance/Show feed as well. I must say that the Maintenance/Show formula looks even better.  It's so pretty and smells great. 

Here's what I've noticed so far:
  • Rabbit's urine is clearer than with my regular feed. 
  • Less rabbit urine odor, which meant less flies for me to swat.
  • The rabbits really like it.  
 I have begun transitioning most of the herd to the Maintenance/Show feed as well.  Our super picky eater Satin Angora just scarfs it up.  Picky French Toast is now leaving the old feed in the feed dish. Everyone else likes it, too. Of course, we're still in the transition stage and plan to continue transitioning throughout the week. I'll be monitoring for all the usual things like loose stools and such. Of course, it's too early to tell just how things will work out for the herd. But, the feed looks so fresh and clean. That's promising.  I'll definitely be keeping tabs on how the herd does. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Johnson County RC/SW RBA Show Wrapup

It was wonderful to see my show friends after a long summer break, BUT...Boy, was it hot in Cleburne TX this weekend!  

Judge Scott judging BIS
We arrived at Friday evening's show and I almost turned right around and went home as it was mighty hot in the barn for Angoras.  The rabbits went straight to the hotel while I checked in for the show. 

We took a bit of a gamble, but I was worried about the rabbits. Angoras are usually called to the judge's table towards the end of the show here.  I stayed at the show to be able to scratch the rabbits in case they were called.  Hubby had bunny sitting duties until the sun went down and everything cooled off.  
Bruce Lee's BFF, the fan
I grabbed what was likely the last power outlet in the building and settled in.  Once the sun set and temps cooled, the rabbits came back and I began grooming everyone.  I had just started... and guess what?  Angoras get called to Judge Scott Rodriguez's table.  Eek! (not for Judge Scott...but for my "still in the process of being groomed" rabbits).  I gave him a big laugh by rushing to the table and putting up all three of my entries...with soft hair bands on still their furnishings. Oh geez! 

Judge Scott was very nice and I got some good comments about my all rabbits. I returned Bruce Lee to the grooming table and was able to make finish "dolling him up" for BIS Show A.  Everyone was called to the table for BIS and I was so surprised!  Bruce Lee won 2nd RIS!  I couldn't believe it...that made my whole terrible day...and lots of bunny juggling much better.  

The only thing was that all my Texas Angora friends who have mentored me (like Ricardo, Dana and Sasha) weren't scheduled to arrive until Saturday.  I wanted to call them...but it was so late.  And special thanks to my friend, Ricardo, for  telling me, "Ivermectin that baby.  He'll fill out nicely."  As always, you were right.     

The next day it was still super hot.  I spent a lot of time visiting with my good friends. I chose not to blow out coats again because I didn't want to stress the rabbits. I was working overtime just keeping them on ice. No one looked awful...just not as pretty as when when they're blown out. That's the downside of showing Angoras in Texas. 

After a day filled with ice for buns and fans, the rabbits all made it home safe and healthy.  I, however, was exhausted and dehydrated from rushing around trying to keep rabbits cool.
Here are the show results from this weekend:

Show A (Judge Scott Rodriguez)
English Angoras BOB:  Kelly Flading
2nd Reserve In Show: Kelly Flading (Yay, Bruce Lee!)

Show B (Judge Carrol Hooks)
English Angoras BOB: Caylie Voudren
English Angoras BOS: Kelly Flading (Kingfish)
Satin Angoras BOB: Dana Faber
Satin Angoras BOS: Dana Faber

Show C (Judge Ken McCracken)
English Angoras BOB: Kelly Flading (Bruce Lee)
English Angoras BOS: Sasha McPherson
Satin Angoras BOB: Dana Faber
Satin Angoras BOS: Dana Faber
I really wanted to stay for Show C's BIS, but it was just too hot.  It would have been nice to see how Bruce Lee did. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Yard Is Green...with Dandelion Leaves

Thanks to the much cooler weather, rain, and my lax front yard maintenance schedule, the dandelions are all abloom in my yard. Thankfully, my neighbors do not seem to mind.  I do not mind either; dandelions are my favorite flower.  They are so useful.

Every morning you can find me outside with a bowl picking the day's crop of greens.  It's the best kind of vegetable garden, growing with absolutely no meddling from me. To be honest, I would probably mess it up anyway.

Dandelion leaves have long been known to be good for rabbits.  My rabbits go crazy for them. Feeding greens is a part of my anti-woolblock regime. 

Most of the information I could find about dandelions refers to human consumption, but it probably isn't too far off base for rabbits either. Here are some interesting facts about the little dandelion leaf.
  •  Dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value.  
  • Dandelions leaves are a diuretic. I did not know this, but find it interesting. 
  • The dandelion's scientific name, Taraxacum officinalis, means disorder remedy of pharmaceutical value 
  •  There is a website out there totally devoted to dandelions,
The rabbits really enjoy their treat and I get a bit of exercise. 

 USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984)

 Clare BA, Conroy RS, Spelman K. The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):929-34.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Food Trial (UPDATED)

Sherwood Forest NRF(top), my feed(bottom)

Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Food has been on my radar for a bit, but I just recently bit the bullet and ordered a free sample of their food.  I've read all the promotional material.  It sounded good, but why wouldn't it? It's their material. 

But, I'm super attracted by all the science-y talk and the research involved.  Sure, all the feed companies have research departments.  It's just not all out there on the company's web page. I like that.

Someone on one of the many Facebook groups, online forums, or Yahoo! groups I belonged to one gave an excellent description of what a good rabbit food should look like and what to look for on the ingredients list. I wish I would have copied the exact posting because it is what I use now as my guide to rabbit feed.  My wording is not near as good as the poster's.

This feed passed all the initial tests.  It was super green and smelled great.  All...and I mean, all of the rabbits jumped to attention the moment I opened the small plastic trial bag.  They do not usually do this. I would see actual chunks of alfalfa in the pellet.  The ingredients list contained words I could actually pronounce.  Two of my rabbits volunteered to be "guinea pigs".  I will try them on this feed and see how it goes.  While not exactly a scientific trial, I am excited to see how it goes.

What I'm worried about:
  • Protein %.  My Angoras need lots of protein to grow wool...or at least that's what I've read.  After several emails about the quality of protein with Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Feed, I was willing to give it a try with some of my non show herd rabbits. I actually LOVE my current feed.  I'm just curious mainly...and always looking for improvement. Although recent freshness issues have made my curiosity go into action.
  • Corn. My current feed is a corn free feed. I've read most of the research quoted on the Sherwood Forest NRF Web site.  I'll buy that corn is not better or worse than wheat or barley.  I read somewhere that sunflower meal is actually better, but I haven't seen a feed that uses it.  
GUESS WHAT!  Sherwood Forest Natural Rabbit Feed has NO CORN in it!  Whew, one less thing to worry about. Although, really I'm not scared of corn...just of change lol.   
We're on day 5 of our feed trial.  So far, the rabbits have transitioned well and love the feed as much as their old problems with diarrhea or loose stools.  I ordered a bigger box.  Nope, it's not cheaper than my old feed, but I think, just like the rabbits, I'm hooked on the smell.            

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Many Faces of An English Angora

Happy Cricket     
We're not one to play favorites *wink, wink*....but, Cricket is just a doll right now.  We took a million pictures of her the other day...just because she was being cute.  And....she wins this week's award for easy keeper Angora.  Her brothers are such slobs. 
Curious Cricket    
Shy Cricket    
Bored Cricket    
Feel Like Someone's Watching Me Cricket    

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Grooming Day

Terri's Stonewall Jackson (black pearl EA)         
Kelfla's Kingfish (black EA)       
We've spent the last few days grooming rabbits. Some might find this as a chore, but I LOVE grooming days.  

I wish they would pay me to run my hands through angora wool all day because I'd completely make that my career. 

The rabbits seem to enjoy it, too.  It's probably because of the dried papaya chips and tender dandelion leaves.  

A clipped Terri's Princess Grace       
Here are a few pictures from our day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Not The Type of Christening I Had In Mind

Athena, the offender
Even though our little dog is housetrained and has a very large yard in which to do her business...she decided to christen our shed yesterday.  

Scene of the crime
After taking a midday break, we came back to a "piddle" in the corner of the partially constructed fiber and craft creativity hut.  I'm not sure who has more irritated...DH or me (who actually cleaned it up). Athena appeared to be quite pleased with herself as evidenced by her photo. That dog is always all smiles. 

I guess she felt the need to leave her mark on our little construction project and identify it as hers.

In the end, we all ended up having a bit of a laugh about it...but  she is now restricted from the area as a result of her actions. 

Bad dog!...but cute dog, too.

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