Monday, December 15, 2014

Cute Holland babies

Our current litters are very cute.

Diva x Thomas Jefferson's black tort does, 8 weeks old

Betty X Charlie Brown's litter, 5 weeks old

Loving this litter!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tips on building a herd.

So you want to build a herd?

First off do your research! Have a good look at the Standard of Perfection, look at the breed websites and check out breeder's websites. Best of all, go to some shows to get a good idea of what the perfect rabbit in that breed looks like. Prices vary wildly depending on breed and region but be prepared to spend some money to get good quality and possibly transport if you can't find what you need locally. Everyone has their own interpretation of the Standard of Perfection, so look until you find a breeder who has rabbits you *love*, most breeders are happy to help you out and can recommend other lines that cross well with their own.

Don't be too attached to fancy colours, type matters a lot more and it can be hard to start off with a colour project. Breeding rabbits takes time and patience so have a good goal in place, having a long term plan really is important because you often need to think years in terms of producing what you want. Once you have some rabbits don't get barn blind, keep evaluating your rabbits and their offspring and comparing them to the breed standard. Even two top rabbits can produce pet quality bunnies. Type really has to be first, if you are excited about a colour and have a little extra cage space then get like one rabbit of your chosen colour, don't jump into a huge colour project. A coloured rabbit has to be nice not "nice for a bew" The people who seem most successful I think of as having a nice herd and then adding colour, not building a nice herd from parts with colour.

Try to make every rabbit count, I think the key is having a herd that crosses well. Like you start running into problems if you get doe A for buck B but she won't cross well with buck C so you get doe D for him but she has some similar faults to buck B so they can't be crossed. By having a herd that crosses well instead of "parts" animals then you automatically keep your numbers smaller, culling hard is the other step, However by letting them go too early you may let go of some animals you wish you'd kept but most people don't have unlimited cage space.

A buck is going have the biggest impact on your herd so your primary herd buck should be the nicest rabbit in your barn, a doe's first job is raising a healthy litter so I will forgive a few minor faults on her if she is a good mum. Generally a nice buck will be the most expensive to buy when starting out.

It can be overwhelming starting a herd, many people (myself included) have started and then changed course and restarted. Don't be discouraged, just keep working at it. Sometimes it comes down to what you can invest more of in your herd, time or money. Some people are able go to a top breeder and drop a grand on a trio and they are going to see results quicker than someone who buys a herd over time and breeds up. Both people will see results (if they make good breeding choices and stick with it) but good rabbits can be expensive and you have to invest time and money to build a herd.

Bottom line is have fun! breeding and showing rabbits can be a great hobby, but you need persistence and patience.

Monday, July 21, 2014

BEW and other stuff

Gosh, I have been neglecting this blog. busy summer I guess, all the critters are doing well.

Anyway I am very excited to announce our Blue Eyed White Holland Lop project!

I couldn't find any in Michigan but always thought they were really pretty, recently I unexpectedly (and accidentally) acquired a very nice Vienna Marked buck. Which lead to the purchase of a nice trio from Wisconsin and the start of my little color project.

Blue Eyed Whites are an interesting variety to work with and need to be kept separate from your regular show lines, this is because of the Vienna gene. All our colour project bunnies will be kept separate from my regular Holland Lops unless I make a cross specifically for Vienna Carriers. The pedigrees are clearly marked, I don't want anyone getting nasty surprises.

As for showing - Blue Eyed White's & Vienna Carrier's are showable, but Vienna Marked are not. Vienna Marked are sold only to be used in a BEW breeding program or to be sold as a pet. Any rabbits I bred will have it marked on the pedigree if they are carrying the Vienna gene.

BEW - Blue Eyed White. Which is a solid white rabbit with blue eyes.
VM - Vienna Marked, also known as "Sports". Which means that a rabbit carries the gene and shows it. For example: a solid black rabbit with white spots or patches, white toenails, blue eyes, ect.
VC - Vienna Carrier. Which means the rabbit carries the gene, but doesn't show it.

The Vienna gene must be present in both parents in order to get a BEW. Here are a few crosses that could be made and the results that you should get...

Normal Coloured Rabbit (VV) x BEW (vv) = All (Vv) - all will carry the gene, but no BEWs.
Normal Coloured Rabbit (VV) x VM or VC (Vv) = 50% will carry the gene & 50% will not. This is not a desirable cross, as you will have a good chance of not knowing what carries and will likely waste cage space & time.
VM or VC (Vv) x VM or VC (Vv) = 25% BEW, 50% carriers, & 25% non-carriers. In this case there is a chance that you will not know which are carriers or non-carriers. It is advisable to not use the rabbits from this cross because you cannot tell whether they carry or not - again, a waste of time & space.
BEW (vv) x VM or VC (Vv) = 50% BEW, 50% carriers - marked or not.
BEW (vv) x BEW (vv) = 100% BEW!

We currently have a Vienna Marked black doe and my surprise Vienna Marked buck, and two BEW. Hopefully next year we will have some nice offspring, I'm really aiming for the awesome Holland type in a Bew package.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring is springing!

We are finally getting some nicer weather which means OMG I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO.

Anyway here is one of Amelia X Lucky babies that is growing up well.
I'm really liking the look of this Bluebell X Dandelion baby as well. I guess I'm gonna have many tort bucks, lol.
Juniper and Oscar made some niiiiiice offspring so I bred them again. Hopefully we can get to some shows this summer.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Baby pictures!

Finally got pictures of Amelia's litter, she had six! big litter for a small bunny. Very nice kits, all Torts. They are almost 3 weeks old. They will be ready for new homes in March.

One has always got to be uncooperative!

Moon (Silver Fox) and Bluebell (Holland Lop) are both due next week. I need to make some hard decisions on which Silver Foxes to keep and will list some for sale soon.

Friday, January 10, 2014

January update

Gosh, I haven't updated in ages!

We are doing good, critters are all well. It has been crazy snowy and cold here.

Amelia (tort Holland lop) is pregnant and due next week, I am excited to see what she produces. She will be moving into the house soon as I want to keep a close eye on her. I'm going to be breeding Bluebell to Lucky soon.

I just bred Moon (blue SF) to Forest again and we will see how that goes, breeding is always tricky this time of year. I also need to do a preg check on Lentil (black SF) to see if she took.

I have a lot of tattooing to take care of this weekend and then listing a couple young SF for sale. I currently have some nice big black bucks (Oscar x Lentil) and a good looking first litter from Juniper (Oscar x Juniper)

Maran chickens have started laying and I love having such a variety of egg colours, pretty cool.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to buy and sell

A surprising amount of people suck at buying and selling rabbits so I thought I would do a little guide. It's really not hard to be good at this. People exchange money for rabbits, everyone is happy. I've had some super experiences and some really odd ones as both buyer and seller.

How to be an amazing buyer
Be clear about what you want, do a little research beforehand so you can say "Hi, I'm looking for a blue Holland Lop buck, what do you have available?" rather then "I want a bunny but not really sure what I want so send me all your pictures and lots of detailed descriptions so I can say "no that's not what I think I want " Also known as "don't waste someone's time."

If the seller doesn't have what you want or is out of your price range then say "no, thanks" and look elsewhere, totally easy and polite but generally omitted step.

When you find the bunny of you dreams, be on time to the pickup place and have the money ready in a form that is acceptable to the seller. Don't be freaked out if the seller has a closed barn and wants to meet at a public location, there are some nasty rabbit illnesses around and many people keep a closed herd, doesn't mean they are hiding something.

If you have other rabbits, quarantine your new rabbit when you take it home, a seemingly healthy rabbit can harbor nasty illnesses that can infect your whole herd.

Lucky looks cute here but this photo doesn't tell a prospective buyer anything except look at his snoot.

How to be an amazing seller
 Know your stock and prices, It's nice when someone is on top of things.

Respond promptly to inquiries, Life gets in the way sometimes, but I try to respond within a day or two and generally by the same mode of communication (email back, call back) Be honest about your stock, their health and productivity. Take the time to take good photos, make sure the rabbit is posed correctly for it's breed.

Don't be shy to let people know your prices, a buyer shouldn't have to stalk you to get a price. I have had to email people multiple times to get a price and honestly I'm less likely to buy from someone when they are weird about it. Be open to offers but don't feel pressured to sell for less. Be upfront about your stock and able to answer questions, we want people to enjoy their rabbits.

Keep good records and make sure the buyer gets the necessary paperwork. If selling pedigreed rabbits make sure the buyer knows not to change your prefix on rabbits they purchased, pretty simple to keep track of because a rabbit born in your rabbitry gets your prefix.

Send a little feed along to make sure the rabbit does well in it's new home.