Sunday, July 7, 2013

I Am A Rabbit Breeder

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I am a rabbit breeder…

·      My rabbits are on my mind first thing in the morning.

·      I wake up early to make sure all my rabbits are fed and watered.

·      I am constantly learning so I can provide better care for my rabbits.

·      I am a healer, a groomer, and a maid for my rabbits.

·      I worry about them whenever I am out for the day.

·      I plan and re-plan.

·      I read my SOP…again.

·      I play with my rabbits.

·      I grow things for my rabbits.

·      I love my rabbits and have received my share of bunny kisses.

·      I will make the hard, but necessary, decisions.

·      If, they ever leave my care, my rabbits are always welcomed back home.

·      My rabbits are on my mind as I drift off to sleep.

·      I can’t wait to check on them in the morning.

Raising rabbits is time-consuming and responsibility laden. I take none of this lightly...but I am proud of the work I do. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gene Linkage

I have to admit that I had forgotten all about gene linkage from my high school/college days until I read Candy Haenzel's genetics booklet last year. I originally ordered it because it had a great chart for Angora rabbit folks (like me) who were confused about the different color names and genotypes of Angora rabbits. I use it as a reference for all my color work now as I feel Candy is the foremost expert on Angora rabbit genetics... BUT, my favorite part of her booklet was actually the chapter on Linkage. 

I have a black buck that carries shaded. His genotype is aaBbCc^chlDdEe. He has produced several pearls and sable kits, all of them chocolate based. 

According to the rules of linkage, genes that are linked will remained linked about 65% of the time. In rabbits, the B and C loci are linked. So...I hypothesized that my black buck's b is linked to the shaded gene (c^chl) since the shadeds he produces have all been chocolate (bb) based.    

One of this buck's offspring was also black. I kept him and wondered if my hypothesis was correct. If it was, this young black buck would probably not carry shaded as his mother (a chocolate doe) would not have a B to contribute. His B would have to come from his father. Since the father's b was linked to his shaded gene, it would follow that the father's B was linked to his C.

I bred this younger buck to a REW doe because I felt they would be a nice pairing with the added benefit of seeing if the buck carried shaded.  

Did I get REW or shaded kits so my hypothesis could be easily confirmed? Nope. I got 3 black kits and one lilac tortoiseshell. The buck could be CC. I hadn't planned on breeding him again as I have a better potential herd sire now, but I admit that it is tempting just to see if I was right

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pasteurella Vaccine Info Video

Every week my friend, Lil, and I do a Google+ Hangout. We always meet and usually broadcast these HOAs on Youtube. This week we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bob Glass. He caused quite the commotion this week by introducing a pasteurella vaccine for rabbits.  I talked to Mr. Glass at a rabbit show in Austin, TX this past weekend. Lil and I were super interested in finding out more.He was kind enough to answer questions from Lil and me. I mostly just asked Dr. Mina's questions as he was kind enough to help us out with pertinent questions. Anyhow, it was quite a learning experience.  Here's the video from our informal Hangout.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Acadiana: Welcome to the Herd

Kelfla's Acadiana has been off to a good start. She has been doing very well at the shows for such a youngster. Last weekend she earned 3 legs, one for RIS

 I'm excited to see how she continues to grow and quite happy with her as an improvement to my herd. Of course, there's little things to pick here and there (as always), but overall...she's been developing into a nice doe.

Acadiana is named in honor of the French region of my home state, Louisiana. You can always find good food and good company there. 
  Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Stitch & Pitch...Combining Two of My Favorite Pastimes

This past Sunday, our Green Sheep Fiber Guild from Wools & Tools had a Stitch & Pitch at a Round Rock Express Baseball game. Both hubby and I love baseball so this made it a great activity for us. Oh yes, we took the kids too.

 We made our own bright green shirts with iron on decals and all sat together. We were definitely easy to spot. It was Kid's Day at the ball field so there were lots of activities. At the end of the game, the kids were allowed to run the bases. I couldn't believe they didn't want to run them. They said it was too hot. Ugh, kids these days! Probably for the first time ever, I wished I was under 12.

Regardless, we had a blast!...and I got to do two of my favorite things: watch baseball and knit. If only I could keep score and knit, that would have been heaven. 

We've planned another Stitch & Pitch for June. I can't wait.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Fun (but busy) Weekend

I had a jam-packed weekend! I loved it though.

I brought my two junior English Angora does to show at the LoneStar Rabbit & Cavy 2014 Convention Fundraiser show. They both did very well and got great comments. My blue doe, Acadiana, did exceptionally well. I'm really happy about her development. She finished her GC this weekend (including a RIS)...not bad for a 4 month old baby. She really does look older though.  All the judges have very  nice comments.  I also got to see my new friends Peggy and Monica again...such nice ladies and great company! 

Show Results
Friday Show (Judge Loyd Morgan)
English Angora BOB - Kelly Flading (Yay, Acadiana!)
English Angora BOS - Peggy T.
Satin Angora BOB - Kiki C. 
RIS English Angora (Judge Don Mersiovsky)

Saturday Show A (Judge Reanelle Harris)
  English Angora BOB - Kelly Flading (Acadiana)
  English Angora BOB - Sasha M.
Satin Angora BOB - Kiki C.
Satin Angora BOS - Dana F.

Saturday Show B (Judge Cheryl Blackman)
English Angora BOB - Kelly Flading (Acadiana)
English Angora BOS - Sasha M.
Satin Angora BOB - Dana F.
Satin Angora BOS - Dana F. 
Also, during Saturday's show, I got up early groomed my girls and drove 2.5 hours to south of San Antonio. I picked up a beautiful new baby buck and dropped off one of my rabbits to go to his new home in west Texas. His new family is awesome! (added bonus) They picked him up at the Yellow Rose Fiber Festival in Seguin...and gave me some lovely silk fiber to play around with since I didn't have time to actually go into the Fiber Festival building. I would have never came out and missed my afternoon show. I hear that bunny is settling in nicely. He is such a sweet boy. I hope he makes them as happy as he made me. 


Thursday, April 18, 2013

KW Cages Rabbitech System Review

I've had my Rabbitech system for about 7 months now. I thought it was time to post a little review about my system.

As far as looks go, it is big, shiny, white and medical lab looking (a bit out of place in my old garage), but I love my Rabbitech system. It is very professional looking and sure beats dumping drop pans. There is still work involved maintenance wise though(contrary to popular belief lol)...just different work. Instead of running around dumping pans, I stand and wipe down things. I pull down and replace panels. I spray waste down a trough. I dump the manure/urine collector and hose it down. It's not too bad, but some areas are a bit tricky to get into. I often scrape my knuckles on wire, but I have rabbits. Everyone does that.

I have not had a problem with clogging hay as I saw on some reviews of these types of systems, but hay does slow down the spraying down of troughs. Overall, I think it is very well designed. The back panels and side trays do a very good job of keeping urine inside the system and not on the walls/floors. I can easily scrub cages (floor tops and bottoms) when the back panels are removed. The finish is very durable. I have had no issues with rust or chipping. There was definitely thought put into it.
If I were to make improvements, I'd suggest the following:

  • a quicker/easier way to take off back panels for cleaning (arthritis-y hands). Otherwise, I love, love, love the back panels...such a simple, but functional feature. 
  • slightly more space between cage front bottom edge and trough top edge. I could get cleaning tools in there easier without scraping hands.
  • The PVC spray-down troughs are great, but finding tools to clean it at first was a challenge since you must use nonabrasive tools.  After several other tries, I now use a stoneware pan scraper from Pampered Chef...probably not what PC originally intended. This helps keep the trough smooth so pellets roll down the trough as intended. An automatic rinse system for the trough would probably be helpful (less chance for urine to dry), but I haven't tried this yet. I worry about damp wool on my Angoras. I do
  • a better set of instructions for non-laboratory maintenance department professionals. Instructions were sketchy. In their defense, though...the system is probably sold to a smaller percentage of regular folks with rabbitries. We did eventually get everything together without calling customer service...and I admit that I may be challenged in this area.

This is not a design issue, but something to be aware of. We purchased the manure separator bin (an accessory). We attached our garden hose as designed, but the lay of our land meant flow was so slow to render it useless. I have to hand-carry and dump liquid waste...blah. The manure separator seems like a wonderful thing when the system is higher than the surrounding ground though.  

Also, I put my one-sided system together as the directions indicated. Once it was all balanced and silicone-ed in place, I realized I had to move my system out from the wall about 18 inches to get behind and clean it. In talking to others, someone much smarter than me told me they turned their troughs where the manure slid to the front of the cage instead of the back. This doesn't look as pretty in my opinion, but it does save space in a smaller rabbitry. I'm probably just jealous that I didn't think of it myself. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

TRBA Show Weekend WrapUp

It's been a busy month getting ready for the TRBA State Show weekend. I have so much fun, but I'm glad I can have a break for a moment...or at least until the next show. (Who am I kidding? I love this stuff!)

I ended up not taking Stonewall...super sad about that, but his coat was on the down side anyhow. I did take my 4 young juniors though. Everyone got very nice comments. My favorite young doe, Acadiana, did particularly well, considering she was about a month behind the next oldest rabbits. 

I thought we had an excellent showing of Angora rabbits.  All the judges commented on how hard we made their jobs...That's what I like to hear! 

 Friday Show - Judge Loyd Morgan
English Angora BOB - Ricardo G.
English Angora BOS - Sasha M.
Satin Angora BOB - Kiki C. Yay! Marshmallow!
Satin Angora BOS - Sasha M.

Saturday Show - Judge Eunita Boatman
English Angora BOB - Ricardo G.
English Angora BOS - Caylie V.
Satin Angora BOB - Dana F.
Satin Angora BOS - Sasha M.

Sunday Show - Judge Allen Mesick
English Angora BOB - Caylie V.
English Angora BOS - Caylie V.
Satin Angora BOB - Kiki C. Yay! Marshmallow!
Satin Angora BOS - Sasha M.      

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Color of "Money" Is Smoke Pearl

The hubby's shaded English Angoras have been growing up. I do love seeing the different colors and how they develop with the shaded varieties. 

The smoke pearl buck, named Money (as in "Lots O' Money") by hubby, has gone through the most changes.  He is my first smoke pearl
English Angora and I've enjoyed watching his coat grow out. 

I think his color is quite striking in person, although my photography skills are less than desired and don't show it very well.

I've come to really like his smokey blue coloration. Maybe one day, some more little smoke pearls will come my way. Until then, I'll just enjoy my Money. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Stonewall Starts A New Career

Terri's Stonewall Jackson has come a long way from the little buck I picked up in Wisconsin last year. I just love his sweet personality and amazing density...not to mention that he has a nice little body under all that wool. I had planned to take him to Wichita this past year as one of my Convention entries.

However, Stonewall had other plans. He gave himself a haircut along the left side of his face and over his shoulder. No Convention for him. He didn't seem to mind and just made himself at home for the rest of the fall. 

I am pleased that Stonewall decided to grow back a super dense coat. He's been coming to shows with me throughout the winter while the babies were growing up. He's done a fine job representing his breed in a not so common color (black pearl).  He won several BOBs and 1 leg towards his championship.

Now that my latest litter has become juniors, he'll probably begin the hard work of being herd sire for our shadeds. If his coat holds, his last show will be the TRBA State Show at the end of March.

It's been fun, Stonewall! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rapunxel...Wool Ambassador Extraordinaire

I can't say how much it means to me to get pictures and/or updates on the rabbits that go to their new homes. 

Jerrilyn is so awesome. She sends me the best pictures of Rapunxel enjoying life. 

Rapunxel is quite the public figure, teaching about her breed's purpose at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts' Eco-Fair. 

She is a great ambassador for her breed...and I'm sure an attraction all to herself! Rapunxel's duties have taken her to events such as Christmas at Old Fort Concho and a fiber arts demo at the Chicken Farm Art Center. 

Rapunxel lives a wonderful life as a wool producing house rabbit with Jerrilyn.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Buttercup & Kiki Know Best

If that doesn't say "insulted" I don't know what does. 
I admit it. I have control issues. I *must* have my hands in everything around me. That goes for my daughter's Satin Angora rabbit project as well.  

Yesterday, my daughter's Gray Haven's Buttercup kindled her first litter. I was proud of myself for stepping back as Kiki handled the nestbox management duties. It was my turn to be the assistant.

Kiki chose to start out by removing the nestbox from the maternity pen each night. This morning, I woke up at 4am and spied the nestbox resting in a carrier. After an hour of resisting temptation, I removed the nestbox just to check on the babies. Although the babies seemed warm, I was uncomfortable with the amount of wool Buttercup had placed in the nestbox. I had some clippings from Princess Grace (my REW EA) that I put in for additional warmth. That morning, Kiki immediately noticed the new wool. I got in trouble, but she left it in there since I apologized for meddling. I felt I was right, though. Better safe than sorry.

Kiki went to school unable to check on the babies because Buttercup was in the nestbox during the time she had allotted to check on her. Kiki gave me permission to check on babies while she was at school. Yay! Overwhelmed by all her additional rabbit duties while we were on our cruise, she did not clip down Buttercup as much as she'd liked and was worried about wool getting tangled around babies. 

Later that morning, I removed the nestbox to check on Buttercup's babies. At the top of the hay laid a pile of super white wool (Buttercup's a black tort). Buttercup had neatly placed all the wool I had put in earlier on the top of the nestbox, replacing it with lots of her own wool. I was speechless. I guess Kiki and Buttercup DO know best. 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Young Guns for Texas WrapUp

I had a great time at the Young Guns for Texas Show in Waco, TX. A few of my Angora friends do not have rabbits in show coat so the turnout was light, but we were certainly focused on a quality display...very nice animals from everyone. I had a blast! I probably should have taken pictures, but hubby stayed home this time (he's the photographer usually) and I was all caught up in the action and forgot.

There were lots of people coming around to talk about Angora rabbits. I talked to so many that I had a sore throat when I got home. Everyone was so nice and asked great questions. I even got to meet a few folks that I only knew through social media and over the phone. AND...I got to see a lady that bought one of my Angoras about a year ago. I was so happy to hear that my lilac tort girl was doing great and living the good life.

I brought Defiance along for the youth breed ID. She caused lots of scratching of head and bewildered looks. I didn't know that the older kids would have to guess color as well. She is a lilac pearl and that stumped a few. Either way, Defiance loved the attention and happily chomped on pellets while they surrounded by a circle of puzzled youth.   

As far as show results go: 

Show A (Judge Wade Burkhalter)
English Angora BOB - Caylie V.
English Angora BOS - Caylie V.
Satin Angora BOB - Kiki C. (Yay! Marshmallow)

Show B (Judge Don Sheets)
English Angora BOB - Brian F. (Yay! Stonewall Jackson)
English Angora BOS - Caylie V.
Satin Angora BOB - Kiki C.  (Yay! Marshmallow)



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