--Another post from the old blog:
A great idea for evaluating your breeding program is to use a Show Remark Card to "grade" your rabbits individually to get an idea of where each one stands in comparison with the others. This is a great method to use to gauge Type, but it is also a fabulous way to assess the Wool on your animals as well:)
Here are some sample Type categories for use on a hypothetical "scoresheet". These characteristics come from a variety of remark card styles/formats that I dug up out of my old show records, but if we want to accomodate Wool in the Angora breeds we can add the following categories as well:
Head VG (very good) G (good) F (fair) P (poor)___________________________
Ears VG G F P_________________________________
Bone VG G F P_________________________________
Shoulders VG G F P_________________________________
Midsection VG G F P_________________________________
Hindquarters VG G F P_________________________________
Color VG G F P_________________________________
Meat condition VG G F P_________________________________
Depth VG G F P_________________________________
Overall Type VG G F P_________________________________
Density VG G F P__________________________________
Texture VG G F P__________________________________
Length VG G F P__________________________________
Crimp VG G F P_________________________________
Overall Uniformity VG G F P_________________________
Uniformity of length VG G F P_________________________
Uniformity of density VG G F P_________________________
Uniformity of texture VG G F P_________________________
Coat Condition VG G F P_____________________
Ratio Guard Hair/Underwool VG G F P______________________
So what a breeder could do is print out several copies of these 'scorecards' for their rabbits, and then fill in the categories after a thorough evaluation of each animal. The lines at the end of each trait are for optional notes on each animal, and it would probably be a great idea to do evaluations at pre-determined ages for each rabbit in order to compare development of the animals in your line over time (for ex, do your rabbits tend to develop early or late, do they tend to lose "points" in certain categories at certain ages, do you notice trends of good or bad qualities emerging at certain stages of development, etc.).
An evaluation system like this could really help to identify line characteristics that a breeder might never notice otherwise. And doing it ourselves at home gives us all the time in the world to inspect the minutest aspect of each bunny (unlike trying to get a rushed opinion from a judge at a show and hoping that the writer is able to get it all down on the remark card:)). On another note, something like this might be wonderful for Angora people to get together and do on a Saturday or Sunday at some central location or someone's house----an informal "judging" of sorts of each other's animals with detailed remark cards that specifically pertain to the different breeds of Angora:). This would be incredibly helpful to new people who are unsure of what qualities to look for but do not feel comfortable bringing their animals to shows, and it would give ALL breeders the second opinion that is so sorely needed to prevent our suffering from "barn blindness", LOL.
Also, a personal rabbit "scoresheet" could be customized to fit specific problems in your barn that you are trying to fix. For ex, if you have a problem with lack of fullness in the lower hindquarter, or density over the tops of your coats, you could certainly add categories that address and chart the progress of those particular traits.
There are also pages in the Standards book that show diagrams illustrating good and bad type traits to help you determine the quality of your rabbits. The ARBA Standard of Perfection book is available on the ARBA website for a reasonable price.