Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fun-Bunny Stuff

This weekend I spent the greater part of my time doing rabbit chores. Yesterday I dropped pans, cleaned the barn, and groomed every rabbit that needed it (yikes!). Today I sheared down all the 2011 PA Convention prospects, scrubbed out and sterilized every water bottle on every cage, figured out my breeding pairs for next week's Fall breedings, and did some tattooing. Whew!:-)

While I was doing my grooming I decided to take a picture of my slicker brushes, which are DoggyMan brand in two different sizes. I have one little one for dewlaps, chins, and armpits, and a bigger one for the stomach, chest, and saddle areas.

As everyone in angoras knows, Doggyman is the gold standard in rabbit slicker brushes. They are softer than any other brand and do less damage to coats than any other brand. They are fantastic. The only drawback (IMO) is that the handles have no grip to speak of and are made of the same exact material that the body of the brush is made of. Also, the handle is put together in two parts which are prone to breaking in half after a couple months of use.

Since these are not the cheapest brushes available and no one can afford to be without a means of grooming (LOL), angora people have come up with ingenious ways to doctor their tools to make them last longer and feel more comfortable in their hands.

Electrical tape or textured adhesive tapes work very well for wrapping around handles. The tape makes the handle easier to get a grip on, and it also keeps it from breaking in half so the brush lasts much longer overall.

Unfortunately tape doesn't always do a perfect job, so the second fix is to wrap rubber bands around the handles which gives you an even better grip on the brush. It may sound unbelievable, but rubber bands actually make a real difference in the amount of pressure that grooming puts on your hands, especially your wrists. For some ergonomic reason you can feel a real difference when you have multiple rabbits to do, or multiple rabbits to do fast, like before a show, etc. Some people favor the types of rubber bands used on broccoli at the supermarket, for ex. (because they are wider and flatter) but any kind will work. As you can see, it isn't pretty but it works:-).

Also, we took a trip down to the Museum of Natural History in NYC last week, and look what we stumbled upon in the Hall of Dinosaurs!

For those who do not recognize it without the fur and ears, this is the skeleton of a rabbit, specifically a ROCK RABBIT.

Below the skeleton there was a plaque explaining the relationship between the rabbit and the pika, which is the only other animal in the Lagomorph family. I tried to take a close up that was as easy to read as possible. There were also skulls of some much earlier rabbit ancestors in the hall, but they were difficult to photograph in the positions that they were in.

We took tons of pictures of different dinosaurs at this museum. I do not believe that the collection of dinosaur bones at this museum is rivaled anywhere, and it took a l-o-n-g time to get through the whole thing. Here is a picture one of the boys took of a complete triceratops:

Oh, and here is a last gag photo that the kids took of Jonathan pretending to put his head in the mouth of a stuffed tiger. Nice, huh? All well, boys will be boys:-).

Anyhow, more again next week and hopefully our weather will stay cool here after YET ANOTHER heat wave last week. At this rate we will not be taking the fans out of the barn until Christmas, for sure. I have not seen a summer like this in 10 years:(:(.

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Bunnies for 2011

Well, the Summer breedings are pretty much over with now, and out of 50 or so babies it looks like I will be holding 9 or 10. These Jrs. will not reach Senior-hood until next year, but for now they can probably go to a few Fall shows as Jrs. and pick up some legs (maybe---?:)), and then they'll be ready for the Big Leagues on the tables next Spring:).

Below are a few of the keepers I took pictures of today (I still have more to groom tomorrow). There are also a few younger litters that have yet to be evaluated but who should have nice prospects in them out of Etienne and Diana. Those guys were recently weaned and I won't handle them to check type until they are at least 10 weeks old---so they have had more time to flesh out.

First is Spang's Anje (0SP67) out of Kimba and Anton. Anje is a large REW doe with great bone and type:

Next is Spang's Aiko (0SP54) out of Carmen and Diego, one of two sisters who should be great show rabbits as Seniors:

This is Spang's Nikola (0SP64) out of Diana and Anton. Also a typey girl:)

And this is the second (and best:)) sister out of Carmen and Diego--Spang's Evita (0SP57)

This is Spang's Duncan (0SP37) out of Marin and S'more. A MONSTER big Sable boy who I have to put on the scale tomorrow to make sure he isn't overweight already, LOL:

And finally, this is Spang's Selene(0SP61) out of Bijou and Diego. This doe is going to have a wonderful, wonderful coat just like her Mother (grin!), so I have decided to keep Bijou indefinitely to get as many carbon copies of her as possible:)

Anyway, more again next week when I will blog about something more interesting for a change instead of pictures, pictures, pictures. LOL.

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Giant Project

Today I took some Giant cross babies from my most recent litters, and had my son snap a few pics of them.

These buns are approx. 7 weeks old, and are a cross between a black Giant and 2 different REW FA/NZ crosses. As you can see, many of them already exhibit the furnishings one would expect on a Giant, but I think it will be awhile until the coats are correct and can actually be considered Giant triple coats.

My plan here is to develop a line of Black and REW GAs. I got plenty of both colors in the three litters that I bred, fortunately, so I am hoping that these babies will be a nice starting point for the project.

I am hoping to select the very best/heaviest/hardiest/typiest babies out of these litters, and then breed them to Dustbunny's's Liam (the pure REW GA I have) for part II of this thing:). For culling help I have enlisted the aid of two wonderful meat breeders I know who are experts in type and bone, and that way I should manage to get excellent evaluations of everyone which will lessen the chances of me making a horrible mistake on my own, LOL.

These first two pics are of two Black crosses. Their color looks good but as far as type and meat condition go, it is still too early to know anything. Below this are two REWs who are the exactly same age, and as everyone gets older I will continue to post pics here so everyone can see how they develop. This is going to be a fascinating experiment because you never know what will happen when two different lines and breeds mesh together. It will be really interesting to see how these litters grow, and it will also be fascinating to see how long (and how many generations) it will take to make a true, functional, bone fide Giant:-). I am trying to get ahold of one or two more purebred GAs to add to my herd, and I may also try adding a purebred NZ White doe from a friend of mine who has stock from one of the top lines in the country.

Anyway, more stuff again next week. Hope everyone is enjoying the MUCH cooler weather now (in this area, at least!:))

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Butler County PA Show

The first show of the Fall season here is usually Cobleskill NY, but this year I have to skip that one because of a family/ kid commitment. Since I am high and dry between now and the NYS Convention in terms of shows, I thought I would try a new show in PA this week that was only 3 hours away and a double show to boot WITH an Angora specialty attached (making it a triple show!).

I brought very few rabbits thinking that there would be lots of other angora exhibitors there, but it actually turned out to be a tiny little show with hardly anyone else on the table, LOL! It was a beautiful, cool day at a really nice fairground so it was fun anyway, and the show was so well-run that we got home at a reasonable hour despite tons of shows and specialties going on at the same time:).

Here are a few shots that were taken throughout the day. Spang's Elenita earned BOB in the first show and Spang's Zsa Zsa took BOB in the second Open and the Angora Specialty, eventually earning BIS in the Specialty at the end.

These first 3 pics are of the first Open show judged by Johnny Hausser (sp?), a brand new judge who was actually one of the youth breeders featured in the upcoming movie 'Rabbit Fever', LOL! He did a wonderful job and I think he has a bright and wonderful future ahead of him as a judge:). Here he is examining both Elenita and Zsa Zsa.

This is Deb Vecchio judging the Specialty with Alex Stepnoski at the writer table. Zsa Zsa is hanging out in the end cubby.

And this is my usual bunnies-in-carriers shot. Extremely boring but an easy pic to remember to take during the day, LOLL!

And this last is a cute picture of the Youth BIS Judging with two kids holding onto their well groomed Giant and English Angoras:).

Anyway, so that's it for tonight. We are enjoying nice COOL weather here (finally!!!), and the bunnies are very relaxed and relieved. Hopefully the temps will stay low at this point so the bucks have time to recover in time for the next wave of breedings in October (knock on wood!)

Have a great week!:-)