Saturday, March 29, 2008
I was about 10 years old, when my cousin had gotten a recent birthday present. She always had a couple of pet rabbits, but when I saw that chestnut Mini Lop, everything changed. I went home from her place one evening, and I asked my parents if I could have a rabbit. After debating every negative thing my parents could say about rabbits, they said "why not, she'll lose interest by the end of the summer anyways".
So the following morning I opened up our local classfieds newspaper, "The Nickel" [which name is most appropriate]. I came across the ad "Two 4-H rabbits, cages and accessories, $25". I had my mom call right away and to my surprise they were still available. We drove out to Provalt that evening to get them. When I arrived, I was sooooo excited! Since the paper didn't state what breed they were, I was ready to come across anything! But, they were a fawn doe and a bkn fawn buck, both Mini Lops!
So we shoved the huge cage into the back of our SUV, and drove back home. My dad hadn't the chance to make a frame for the cages yet, so we just set the cage on some plastic buckets for the night.
I had Butters and Carmel for a year and a half before we dived in for more. I was reading "The Nickel" again and came across a breeder selling out, who had cages really cheap. Going there primarily for the cages, I ran across a huge barn of beautiful Mini Rex! Well, we got the cages, and I came home with a Red Mini Rex doe too! Two days later, going there with my cousin [she was buying cages as well] she went home with an Opal Mini Rex doe and I went home with a Castor Mini Rex doe.
Lana's 1st bit of advice: If you are getting a "pet" rabbit, regardless of if you think you are going to start breeding rabbits later down the road, GET THE PEDIGREE! My biggest mistake was telling the breeder that these would just be pets [with all those empty cages she must have thought I was an idiot!] and didn't get any litter information on the two does I had just bought.
So, I settled with my 4 rabbits for a couple of months. Until I walked into a floral shop [who'd ever imagine there were bunnies for sale there...] and found the MOST adorable chestnut Holland Lop buck ever. He was begging for me.... he wanted ME! So we got him... Mr. Snuggles lived a very long, healthy and happy life.
Lana's 2nd bit of advice: Don't buy pet store bunnines! Where as I can say my experience with my only pet store bunny was a good one, I still never got his pedigree [even though I knew he was pedigreed and came from good lineage], he was still an unpapered buck. Many crossbreds, sick animals and pet quality animals end up in pet stores, so if you think you may do the rabbit business later down the road, don't even go there!
I now had 5 rabbits. Until I was obsessed with Dutch. I found a local breeder near me who raised quality Dutch. I e-mailed her and she told me that she had rescued many Dutch from a breeder and she was willing to give these rabbits to good homes. Now, this breeder was well established and a very sweet lady. The one doe I got, "Annie" was the sweetest Harlequin Dutch doe I've ever met. I even used her for my first showmanship event. The other doe, who came pregnant [knowingly went down that road, no mistake there] was a complete "sour" doe. She kindled a litter of 3 DOA in December, being mixed breeds now that I know what baby Dutch look like.
As my cousin was getting more Mini Lops from a breeder in Central Point, she was selling out of her barn, having a Dutch buck available. "Nibbles" came to me free of charge, and one of the nicest tempermented rabbits I've owned.
A month later, I picked up my Mini Lop "doe" from my cousin. A black baby from her first litter, I can announce I was her first buyer and boy was I ever excited! No sooner or later did "Cloey" and Nibbles get into a fight, that we checked "Cloey" and "she" had turned into a buck! Cloey then became Cole, an okay typed Mini Lop buck.
Wanting to find a mate for my little boy, I searched and searched for a quality Mini Lop doe. I came across the website of a girl in south western washington, who was selling a broken chocolate Mini Lop doe of quality lines. At only $40 for a pedigreed doe who I could breed, I jumped on the chance. Now, for the life of me I cannot recall who transported Lola for me..... I feel bad now..... but she was the cutest little bugger ever!
I never bred the Holland Lop, or the Dutch. I sold out of them while I continued to breed Mini Rex. I raised Castor, Red, Lynx, Lilac, Opal, Ruby Eyed White, Himilayan and Seal that I can remember, but running into walls of selling Mini Rex is what stopped us for good. As a young teenager, I couldn't compete with the big dogs, and I couldn't sell the babies that I produced.
So, never attempting to breed my Mini Lop buck and doe together, I decided that Cole didn't have the type that I wanted. So..... searching for another Mini Lop [buck or doe at the time, I didn't care] I came across a wonderful website of a Mini Lop breeder in Canada. I took one look at Rah's Venice Rain and knew I had to have her in my barn. I'm sure you're wondering how I got her from Canada to southern Oregon, which is really quite simple, she made it to a Washington show, where she then traveled to Canby, where then a breeder friend in Cottage Grove picked her up for me. Having her brother-in-law deliver the rabbit, she arrived in a cardboard box very late at night. I opened it up and took one stroke of her fur.... I have *never* felt anything comparable since.
Rah's Venice Rain came bred to Vail's Ganache, a bkn chocolate buck in which Karin Vail was the nicest lady ever to let Jenn breed Venice to him, not even having a clue who I was.
Venice kindled 3 kids which started my Mini Lop fever up. I sold off all the Mini Rex, all the other pets to just have Mini Lops in the barn :) Many generations later [I'm prettty sure I'm 5th or 6th generation now with my prefix] I have experimented with several lines creating a set of rabbits ideal to my intpretation of the standard. I breed Mini Lops primarily for type, but I also factor in temperment, color, heat & disease resistance, size, lineage and table performance. I carefully select what I use in my herd and expect that buyers understand that when I go to sell them, they they are not buying just "any" Mini Lop.
I raised Satin rabbits from March 2006-December 2007, selling out only because I'm going to school. Satins are one breed I love with all my heart, they are AMAZING and I cannot wait to begin to raise them again in my future years. I am keeping a small herd of Mini Lops while at college. This year I've kept around 21 with a few litters, but this coming year I will get down to 15 and no litters while I am gone, just on breaks. Currently I have let go, and continue to let go of awesome animals in which I have spent a lot of time with. Reducing for college, or selling out for that matter is NO easy task. While in school, with my registrars license I hope to get hired often at the Northern shows and continue going to rabbit shows, registering and helping out where-ever I can. I may end up becoming judge [we'll see about that with a few more years of experience] but at the least I will become a 4-H leader for Benton county and keep my rabbits at home. Unlike the horses, the dogs, the sheep, the beef, and all the other animals we've had in the past, the rabbits are here to stay. I just cannot sell out after all my hard work and determination to succeed further, I have made the best friends in the rabbit hobby who share my passion, I have some of the best judges and veteran breeders to look up to [you know who you are ;)] and some lovely rabbits to keep my bloodline going.
Until then, I have to continue selling. I have 7 cages, a lot of equipment [carrier bottles, j-feeders, random crocks, coop cups, reg. water bottles and more] and a handful of rabbits for sale. So, if you know anyone who wants a clean start, send them my way -- any help is appreciated!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I woke up pretty early, had my morning coffee and proceeded out to the barn. I dumped all the trays and removed all the other manure. Elijah played with the juniors until they were exhausted and ready to go back into their cage. I put a wire contraption over their J-feeder because they were digging their feed out, which with it being $16 a bag now, I cannot afford to have it be wasted! Hopefully they will get used to eating this way, I'm pretty sure it irritates them for now though.
I did head counts on my litters. I'm pretty sure all of Lela's babies are bucks, but since I've already sold Hollywood and Lela leaving in May, I need to keep one. Not to mention do they look pretty nice. I especially have my eye on the Smoke pearl and Smoke pearl chin bucks!
Klara still has her 5, the Vienna marked standing out in the litter.
SourCream is doing an amazing job with her 7! Age-wise, she was a little young to be bred, but she was 6 lbs already so I made a mistake when throwing her in with One Hot Innovation.
Since my boyfriend is terribly sick with the flu [the one going around in S. Oregon], I helped my brother in-law put up a couple gates for the lower pasture. We have to move the horses this spring so we are starting on it now.
I cleaned all my carriers, and found a new spot for them. Went and got another 100 lbs of feed..... cleaned some cages.... sorted through equipment/cages I want to sell..... Cleaned my coop cups and decided I needed to re-order waterbottles. We rarely use them on our carriers but I have this weird obsession to want to have a "set" for my 15 carriers.
I started filling in the ditch where the auto-water will result from. Pipes and electrical are in although not hooked up. We have our order ready for KW, just have to call it in tomorrow.
I was supposed to be going to a Leadership conference in Polk county tomorrow but I'm not sure if I feel up to it. I would have to take the kids with me since my sister doesn't get back until Sunday afternoon.
At any rate, we groomed all the rabbits and I did some evaluating of the herd. I decided I can let a couple more rabbits go, even though I really don't want to. :(
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
FD's Klara kindled 5 of 5 kits this morning. 4 are chestnut, but 1 is a Vienna Marked chestnut!
LHHR's SourCream, kindled 7 of 7 kits! 5 are Vienna Marked and 2 solid, all chestnut.
Both are sired by LHHR's One Hot Innovation. Not proven on the show table, but certainly a buck with outstanding type features. We hope his strong genetics take over on this litter.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
After waking up a little late, I managed to make it to Central Point on time by driving well over the speed limit. I had intentions of getting to the show at 7 am (to get a good spot!) but my mistake left me getting there at 7:45 or later.
Being lucky, I walked right in and found a spot next to some familiar Mini Lops owned by Lacey/Stacey Jackson. I actually recognized Swimmer from quite a distance, which goes to show how much I miss the dude.
I didn't even get a chance to breathe before they called Mini Lops. They were with Roger, so I could see where my morning was going. :) First class, Boomerang won 1st and he later went on to win BOSB! I am not sure how my other rabbits did. I do know Swimmer took 2nd in a very large class and Plank Hero, the orange, was amazingly not the first rabbit off the rabbit off the table of agoutis. I continued clerking all of A with Roger, including English Spots, Florida Whites, Silver Marten, Palominos, New Zealands and Californians. It's really nice to clerk for a judge your really comfortable with, just makes the job 10x easier. I then, registered a couple of rabbits. I managed to mingle with a couple of breeders while "resting".
No sooner or later while I was registering other rabbits, did the Mini Lops come up on Melissa's table. I did find myself clerking again for the millions of Mini's that came up on the table. The only rabbits I remembered were Summer, who was 3rd, Maid Dignified who was an amazing 2nd in a large class! and Swimmer, who was again 2nd in the large class. I found my neighbors Ed & Jackie who where saddened to see that I had sold out of Satins. I dropped off Bridget to Teri, got my carry cage back from Roger and then loaded up the rabbits. I watched Allen judge for a while, registered a few more rabbits and found myself getting out of the show room before 5 pm.
Came home, unloaded the rabbits, watered/fed everyone. I was dissapointed to see my feed had gone up to $15.50 a bag!!!!!! oh my gosh! I hadn't bought my show feed since October, and it was 12.95 then.
SourCream is nesting! Klara has no activity..... I think I will replace Exclusively Roman with his opal daughter from Gigi. She wasn't into the posing today, but I think she'll come out all right. we'll see.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Pear Blossom Show List:
- LHHR's Boomerang - SSB - 3 junior legs
- RD's Plank Hero - SJB [unshown]
- LHHR's Easy Summer Breeze - SSD - 1 jr. leg (BOB of 70) and 17th SJD 07' Convention
- LHHR's Exclusively Roman - BSB
- LHHR's Maid Dignified - 2 junior legs
Short but sweet. Boomerang is coming off a molt, but still looks very nice. Plank Hero is loosing that nasty junior coat of his [in a neat manner though] Not the fur I'm used to in ML's, but I'm hoping it will improve some after his senior coat comes in. Summer is a lil rusty on her ears, lacking in her crown [wishing I could have transplanted her sister's head on her body] but in very good fur condition. Roman is not in the best coat or flesh but being very picky there. Maid Dignified just looks as best as ever. She was BOV and 1st of Class at Red Bluff where the judges raved about her. :)
At the show I am the registrar... made sure I ordered a couple extra sets of blanks, since everyone has rabbits to register after the long show withdrawls. I have also been asked to clerk/ramrod for the busier judges, which if you have ever done that all day long that is a chore itself (but a vital key in keeping breeds and judging go along smoothy). I will then also be showing my rabbits, and trying to converse with breeders I haven't seen all winter!
If I have good results I will post saturday night, otherwise I will be taking a long nap in my bed that misses me!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
So when all "rabbit rules" tell you not to cross animals with an overlapping fault, and you do it anyways what happens? See what are the results? Good, bad or a mixture in between?
The thing is, with rabbits you are limitless to what you can expect. Even colors can pop up several generations later regardless if it may show up on the pedigree. You can breed two awesome rabbits together and get crap. You can breed to not-so-decent rabbits together and get real nice rabbits. That's what's fun about rabbits... it's never ending and there's always someting to work for :)
MAD was bred to Buster today. We're hoping to move Buster on but keep a nice doe from the litter.
Klara is coming up with a litter due next Sunday. Sour Cream "could" be due then as well, but we really think she took for the 8th.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
This morning I was blessed with 5 healthy kits from "Lela" our opal doe from Stitch and Cloey. She was bred to Hollywood Dun It, being this is only his 2nd litter and his 1st litter we didn't keep anything from, we are especially looking forward to this litter. There are 3 dilute, and 2 black something-or-others.
Figured out our Pear Blossom entry, although we won't name names because I don't want them molting! ugh. One is coming off a molt, but the others look good. I think they molted though this winter so they should last a good while.
We also, and get this, FINALLY started on the ditch for the automatic water! My boyfriend broke the escavator in Portland on a job about a month ago so I had to do this one by hand. 65 feet 8 inches deep! But the piping will go in while I am gone and we should have water running (no hoses involved) to the rabbit barn soon! So I will go pull out my KW magazine again and figure out what I need! :)
Until later... for now I am posting a picture of my favorite doe MAD taking a snooze. She follows in the footsteps of her Grandma, Milkhouse's Jaws, photo of Lisa Davis at Milkhouse Lops Rabbitry. [we also used to have a pic of Mad's mom Sugar, taking a snooze... i'll try to find it] We are very fortunate to have recieved such nice animals from Lisa :) Can't thank you enough.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
10 bunnies left in the last 2 days. 9 left for their new homes in N. Oregon and S. Washington yesterday. 5 of them were babies, but 4 were seniors.
I sold a young buck to a girl from CA today. We possibly got 2 does bred to him before he left. He was looking very nice, but we'll take a baby from him. On the 23rd we bred Klara and SourCream today, but we put SourCream back in with him today and he got her this time for sure. Now just hope she takes.
There are just 7 babies left from the January litters. 3 which we are keeping (HHD Chestnut Doe, RMM Bkn Opal Doe, LGER Opal doe). The Bkn Opal from Renee and the Bkn Chestnut from Gigi will leave next weekend, which leaves us with one chestnut & one bkn chestnut bucks available. Honey and Gigi are also ready to go now that they have weaned their litters.
Bridget kindled to 3 kits... I am drawing a blank on their DOB, but they are about 2 weeks I think now. I checked them today and there is 2 bucks and 1 doe. So, we will keep the doe because we have no need for bucks at this time.
Lela can be due from March 5th to March 15th, since Teri did a live-in breeding with her.
We are back to using 21 cages on one wall. We really haven't advertised our sale cages, but we plan on selling them soon. That way we will be forced to keep an even smaller rabbitry.
Picked up 100 lbs of feed today. I was amazed to see how much it had gone up, but then again gas is 3.44 / gallon in southern Oregon!
Pear Blossom's entries are due soon. I have an idea of who I will show but I have to keep it limited. I am the registrar for the day and I have been asked to clerk/ramrod for one of the busier judges. Pear Blossom is always a show to keep you on your toes, for sure. At any rate, will bring 4-5 to show, and about 4 to sell. :)
My horse is losing her furry winter coat. She always looks adorable this time of year :) I have to make an appointment for my dog Chopper, time for him to get his check up/shots. I can't believe that pup is already 3!
School is getting to me, I will be very happy for spring break :)
I will get some updates done on the website tonite.