Monday, June 29, 2009

They're here!!!

After much waiting, worrying and anticipating, Kristie and Melinda are here! I first want to thank Sara Kitsemble and Nicole Velotta for letting me purchase these beautiful does, they will certainly be loved! I would also like to thank Anna Dapper in transporting Melinda and my local breeder friends Diana & Karen in bringing them home.

Kitsemble's Melinda - a GC Broken Chestnut doe that is just BEAUTIFUL! Seriously, I would show you but I am letting her relax after her cross country journey :)

Velotta's Kristie - a GC Chestnut doe that has produced many very fine offspring! She did her job in producing both Matty and Twitch. She placed 2nd at Wa St Convention this weekend after having litters (can you say wow!)
Now that they are here, I won't be purchasing any bunnies for quite the while, I have made the necessary herd improvements for this year adding in does that will help aid in areas that I lack or need improvement in. Not to mention, I just couldn't turn this opprotunity down :D

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Convention Juniors Edited Version

All of those breedings, all of those 50 babies have boiled down to the following:

Ellie x Twitch
  • Broken Doe

Obnoxious x Twitch

  • Broken Doe
  • Broken Buck
  • Solid Doe
  • Solid Buck

Hades x Twitch

  • Bkn Doe
  • Broken Buck
  • Solid Doe
  • Solid Buck

Dignified x Danger

  • Broken Buck

Now that's 10 to show, if the type is there (which I would sure hope it is!!!)

Which will mean I will have to rid of some animals that I don't want to.... But it's a good idea to keep the new guys, I will have to keep it small after San Diego anyways.

Some tough choices ahead...


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Washington State Convention / Hera kindles :)

Originally I had plans of attending Washington State Convention... but it's a long drive, and it just about killed me last year. Not to mention, it's hotter this year, so I don't think it would be right on the bunnies. Furthermore, my "seniors" are lacking maturity, so I have decided to send my rabbits with a friend and save my money for San Diego.

I never did mention my San Diego dilemma. Basically, I found out very last minute I had to take a course this fall, and I just can't afford to miss a week of school. So I called it off... but I'm still riding on an expensive ticket. So I'm thinking about paying for the changes and only going for 3 days... We'll see yet. Even missing 3 days will be difficult. College sucks sometimes :(

So, on Friday I am sending up 8 rabbits pre-sold. That should help me with holes since 4 of them are seniors and 4 juniors I didn't have to cull. On the return, I am bringing home 2 bunnies (yes I am insane) but you just cant turn down good deals ;) I am getting a Chestnut Sr. Doe from Nicole who has produced many very many nice offspring. I am also.... getting a Bkn Chestnut Sr. Doe from Sara Kitsemble!! I am not going to talk about the details until I have my hands on her myself, but she is coming all the way from Wisconsin on Friday, and I cant thank the people involved enough for doing this... wow!

In the meantime, I have been sorting through TONS of VERY nice babies! I weaned Mia & Maddelyn's litters. I also gave Kassidy's litter to Dignified, and I gave Kendall's litter to Ellie Mae. The babies are old enough where they're not really nursing anymore, eating feed, just need a mom for a couple more weeks. I tried splitting the litters with other does, but Obnoxious was simply obnoxious and Hades wanted nothing with other babies.

Hera kindled to 3 kits today, two agouti's and one presumably a Steel. Small litter, but all live and very healthy. We don't need anymore large litters with all the little ones we have already!!!

That's all I have for now. I will post updates next Sunday or Monday :D

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Litter updates!

I can't believe how time flies when your busy and having fun. I just got around to re-sexing my litters making sure my first predictions were accurate, nothing has changed. Red means Convention Litters. Bold means likely to Keep. We will narrow those down as time goes on.

Kendall x Boomerang
  • Chinchilla Doe
  • Bkn Chinchilla Doe
  • Bkn Sable Chinchilla Doe
  • Chestnut Buck
  • 3 Bkn Chestnut (2 Does, 1 Buck)

Ellie x Twitch

  • 3 Bkn Chestnut (2 Does, 1 Buck)
  • Bkn Sable Chinchilla Doe
  • Chestnut Buck
  • Bkn Black Doe

Obnoxious x Twitch

  • Bkn Sable Chinchilla Buck
  • 2 Steel Bucks
  • 4 Bkn Steel (3 Does, 1 Buck)

Kassidy x Kenai

  • Blue Eyed White Doe
  • 4 VM Chestnuts (3 Does, 1 Buck)

Chestnut x Danger?

  • Bkn Steel Buck

Dignified x Danger

  • 2 Bkn Chinchilla Bucks
  • 2 Bkn Chestnut Bucks

Hades x Twitch

  • 2 Chestnut Bucks
  • 1 Bkn Chestnut Doe
  • 1 Bkn Sable Chinchilla Buck

Sunday, June 14, 2009

What makes success

I was recenlty praised and questioned about my success in the rabbit world. Where I have raised rabbits for nearly 10 years, I am still new and naieve to many things, but I'd like to share my experiences, as I did with the family who asked me.

1) Get started and involved early
Get involved with 4-H or FFA. Show in ARBA. There is no better example as earlier this year I saw Melissa Magee doing breed ID with her kindergarten daugher, Lena. She would take her around the showroom & ask her the breed and color. You'd have to know who I'm talking about to understand this, but it was too darned cute! I didn't get started in the rabbit project until I was in 6th grade, and I didn't really get "involved" until high school or later. This was attributed to #2.

2) Purchase quality rabbits from the start
Try not to purchase rabbits from pet stores or petting zoos. Sometimes fairs aren't even the appropriate place to get quality rabbits (depends on the fair...).
DO RESEARCH. Find quality breeders near you. You may have to DRIVE or have rabbits transported from far away places to get what you NEED. (My 'starter' doe came from Canada!). If you have rabbits you dont want, or is inhibiting your ability to move on, then rid them in the most right way possible, wether they go as pets or whatnot.
Be WILLING to pay a respectable price for a rabbit that's worth the money. I'm not saying purcahse a $150 doe because the breeder wants to cheat you, but be willing to pay that $ for a doe who is worth the price. Then again, there are breeders who are willing to GIVE nice rabbits to youth because they will find it in their best interest to. I have given away several nice Mini Lops to get youth started, and I do not regret it, even when they go back to kick my butt! Roger gave me my first two Satins. Nicole gave me my current permanent herdsire. Then again, I have had to spend hundreds of $ on rabbits to help my stock. It all depends on the breeds and breeders you are dealing with.

3) Use breeders bucks
If you purchase does from a breeder, you are going to want a buck of similar lineage. Roger was the one who instilled the importance of using other breeders bucks. The herdsires breeders keep are better than the bucks they are willing to sell you. He helped me immensely with my Satin stock by letting me use his awesome bucks. Furthermore, I use friends bucks when available. It widens your gene pool while strengthening your herd at the same time. When you don't compete against those breeders, it helps you both out. You can offer pick of litter, share prefixes or even split the litter. Some breeders will charge fees, some will let you do it for free, and some don't believe in this theory. If you know the breeders stock, know their herd is healthy, I think it's an investment worth doing.

4) Wooden nestboxes
So you become a breeder when you have your first litter. My first litter was in 2000, it was actually a Dutch litter! Some people toss over the fact on if to use metal or wooden nestboxes. I can't give you an experience with metal nestboxes, I've never used one. I don't have a reason, but I'm not going to pay for dozens of boxes when I can make my own. There is no problem with using wooden nestboxes if you keep them clean and sanatize them after each litter. They are sturdy for my does to rest on and gives them something to chew on. Plus you can craft them to each individual doe :)

5) Early weaning
Early weaning is advice I would give to any livestock producer. I'm not saying wean at 4 or 5 weeks. 6 weeks is the earliest, I will ever wean. 7 weaks normal and 8 weeks I think is getting too long. When you have litters of 6-8 on average, the less time a doe is on a litter is more time for her to recooperate and the faster you can safely get those babies on feed, the more and the better they will start growing.

6) Replace older stock with younger stock
Always try to replace your sires and dams with their offspring. Theoritically, if you are breeding for better generations, your babies should be better (atleast equal) to their parents. If you arent getting those results, you are doing something wrong. Genetics and lineage is hard to master, or even understand but the more you get the basics, the easier this is. I try my hardest, but sometimes it truly is hard to replace those wonderfully producing GC's. Sometimes it takes more than two litters!

7) Don't keep rabbits for color or markings (5 pts)
Don't keep a rabbit because you like its color or how cute it's broken pattern is. Color and markings are only 5 points. FIVE percent. Now it's nice to have your rabbit stand out from all those steels, chestnuts and chins on the table, but that should be your last and final consideration. This can be argued on the fact that I have some colors in my barn or the fact that I have a BEW project. It's simple, the colors in my barn have respectable type and my BEW project is seperate from the rest of my herd. It is never more than 2 or 3 rabbits at one time.

8) Establish a working barn, cages, equipment
You cannot go anywheres with your herd unless you have a barn that works for you! And whatever it is that ends up working, if it works, it works! Some people have rows of hanging cages. Some people swear by stackers. Some use crocks, waterbottles or auto-water. Some people make their own cages and barns. When I first started out, I didn't have a barn. I had wire cages that were hutched and kept behind our garage. I finally got my barn in 2002. Over the years I have used a variety of cages. What works for me, are the modular wire cages with cage stands. I have also purchased a few sets of new stackers. I have 24 holes on one wall. There is a 9 hole stacker, two 6 hole stackers and then a 3 hole stacker. I use J-feeders and I have an auto-watering system by KW Cages. J-feeders are nice if you have them screened, so the feed fines can fall through, and you can feed them quickly if need be. They work wonders for does on litters. I had waterbottles since day one. I still own about fifty 32 ounce bottles. But, when I went off to college my parents put their foot down, and I regreably at the time, went to Auto-water. I was very scared to make the transition, but it was all overrated. My rabbits figured it out and I will never go back. True, I can't monitor how much an animal is drinking, but I can still FEEL their flesh condition and see their manure output in their trays. That is the only negative. I cannot express the feeling to not have to water, for them to have cool fresh water, and how much they want at all times! Plus, it doesn't freeze as easily and takes up less space. Plus its way less work. I cannot describe to you the pain of keeping bottles clean in the summer, filling up 30 or more bottles at one time and in the winter, ohhhh when they freeze, that is not fun.

9) Get a name for yourself
Invest in business cards. Embroider an apron. Put up a unique 8x11 page by your rabbits. Put your name on your carriers. Make a website! Do something unique, a font, a color or logo.

Meet people, just not the people who raise the same breeds as you! Do not sit around at shows. Get up and meet judges, registrars and show secretaries and superintendants. Go out to breakfast or dinner together. Travel! Be willing to make those trecherous drives to other states or the big conventions. Since being in the hobby, my hobby has taken me to places I would have never gone to before. The last requirement, is to HAVE FUN. My lack of participation in other livestock showings are the people, and how they inhibit you to have fun. It's really weird, us rabbit people and how we all get along so nicely. The last show I went to, friends that I went to Michigan with came up and asked me if I had lodging plans. I hadn't even been in the showroom for 5 minutes! I had no plans, and we shared a cottage on the beach that was cheaper than any hotel in town. Laugh with friends & make memories, because as long as you are having fun, you're atleast doing one thing right ;)

Convention Juniors

The Junior classes are where its at when it comes to big shows... your fresh stock thats well fleshed, muscled and ripe for their classes; it's no wonder people breed specificially for them. My Mini Lop National junior breedings turned out well, and I planned equally for this fall as well. Everyone was right on time and kindled well. I have had such good litter success and I don't know what to pin it on... just luck I suppose.

I have 9 litters right now, 1 of them will be too old for the junior class. 2 were bred specifically for color. 2 of them just arent going to throw those massive mature juniors. I know that from their lines.

That leaves me with 4 litters to sift through. Ellie Mae, Obnoxious and Hades, were all bred to Twitch, and my Dignified x Danger litter. Both Dignified and Hades each have 3 bucks, and 1 doe or ? in their litter. *cloes eyes, though they look very promising* I suppose I'll throw out my older bucks and replace them with the young blood.

Obnoxious's litter was too underdeveloped to tell sexes yet. Furthermore, they are the oddest creatures I've had in a long time. I am not going to let that get to me, I am hoping it was a good cross. I dont see why a Velotta/Desurra/Sieber cross wouldn't work out...

Ellie has about half and half on bucks and does. They are pretty cute and she is doing such a good job.

Total: (of the above)
only 5 solids..... all bucks
lots of brokens to sift through :)

In the next few weeks, I will be sorting through babies like crazy :D There will be plenty of updates, and lots and lots of pictures!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

WOW is all I can say, I can't even remember the last time I blogged.

Oregon State Convention went well for the most part. I was particularly stressed out before, during and after. [thats another story in itself about San Diego]. Got to Newport around 5 on Friday, judges conference started at 7 and of course, I was first. That lasted till about 10 and we headed to the cottage in the dark. We stayed with some wonderful friends near the beach and it couldn't have been better.

Got up early on Saturday... Got to the show, helped McKenna off with royalty and started up Mini Lops in the A show under Roger. Went very well. Found my rabbit from Tracy, very beautiful doe. Thanks to all the people involved help getting her here! Show B didn't go so well.... oh well! The banquet was very nice :) We have two Oregon teams going to San Diego.

Sunday was rough start. I stayed up very late studying for finals. Show C was alright, Titan won his granding leg, and that will probably be all of his showing since I wont get any until the fall!!! I stuck around for a while because I wasn't ready to go back and study, but I had to leave eventually so I stuck around for BIS.

BIS A: English Spot, Kelly Rooke -- RIS: American
BIS B: Rhinelander, Lorena Ferchaud -- RIS: Florida White, Karyn Fegles/Diana Mortensen
BIS C: Checkered Giant, Terisa & Jeff Sibernagel -- RIS: Silver Marten, Larry & Sharon Webb?

That was Newport. Monday, was finals. They went well, better to be expected actually!!! Now that I have my grades, I did better than I thought. Still waiting on one... it should come in soon. I got to head home around 6:30.

My babies, I examined around 11 pm. Here is the run down:

Maddy x Chocolate (5)
1 Bkn Black Doe – DQ
2 Bkn Black Bucks
2 Bkn Black Does – Keep 1
Mia x Mason (8)
4 Chestnut (2 bucks, 2 does)
2 Bkn Chestnut Bucks
2 Chocolate Chestnut (Doe & ?)
Kendall x Boomerang (7/8)
1 Chinchilla
2 Bkn Chinchilla
1 Chestnut
3 Bkn Chestnut
Ellie x Twitch (6)
1 Bkn Black
1 Chestnut
3 Bkn Chestnut
1 Bkn Sable Chinchilla
Obnoxious x Twitch (7)
1 Bkn Sable Chinchilla
2 GT Steels
4 Bkn GT Steels
Dignified x Danger (4)
2 Bkn Chinchilla
2 Bkn Chestnut
Hades x Twitch (4)
2 Chestnut
1 Bkn Chestnut
1 Bkn Sable Chinchilla
Kassidy x Kenai (5)
4 Chestnut – Vienna Marked
1 Blue Eyed White Doe [KEEP]
Chestnut x Danger (1)
Bkn Seal?

I am very excited for all of the babies! On the 9th I bred Cris to Chocolate, and Chestnut to Theodore. Hera's due date is coming up soon, she is due to Dominic.

Coming home from Washington State Convention are Velotta's Kristie and Kitsemble's Melinda. Melinda is in Minnesota right now, so I hope she is traveling well, and that everything runs smoothly. They will be bred when they get home. I also have 3 other does that need to be bred, but we'll see how it goes.

On Wednesday, I hooked up 9 more holes to the auto water. All my current rabbits are on one wall now. Will be working on the other side of the barn in the weeks to come. Purchased 500 lbs of rabbit feed, guess that goes to show how well its working for us. I really am confused how it can work well on one side of the country, and not the other. Or just variances from breeder, but I know a few handful who are still on it and everything is going very well.

What else? Oh I need to sell like 4 rabbits for Ellensburg. I'm actually willing to give some of them away because I dont want to have to work to sell them ;)

I'll work on the website tonight when I can't work outside. :D