Monday, July 25, 2011


LHHR's Easy Summer Breeze - enjoying being home.
LHHR's Pickles - a cute doe from Snowball & LHHR's Brianna
Sneakin' - A small typey buck from Lisa :)
LHHR's Nigel - a very promsing jr buck from LHHR's Rylee & Zeus
Smoke Pearl doe from Hillary & Zeus. A litter of color!
Bkn Choco Chestnut doe from Wall E & Seed
Houdini ! a very nice little doe from Isabella (Smoke Pearl) & LHHR's Hank Tank
Amie - from the Poseys. She'll probably be bred to Hank (for similar lineage) when we go home.

College & Rabbits -- Hand in hand

A lot of "retiring youth" are forced to sell out of rabbits when they graduate from high school and/or go off to college. During my senior year I tried to downsize as much as possible, but when my family noticed it was taking a toll on me -- my mother decided I could keep a small herd at home. The rabbits (and animals) were the only thing that kept me out of trouble, kept me driven and without the hobby & 4-H I most certainly wouldn't be the young individual I am today. To take care of the rabbits was nothing new to my mom; she's been SO great throughout my youth taking care of the farm while I am off on travels or busy with school & sports. As a youth her and I traveled to so many shows together people practically considered a breeder. We worked it out to keep 10-12 holes open as long as I got Auto-water and came home every few weeks to check up on them.

Going to college was a preposterous idea for youth in my area. Back when I was a high school junior, I always had goals of attending college. I didn’t attend your regular urban college prep school or even a decent high school. The idea of going to college was outrageous, and not many in my graduating class did. As a senior, I worked my ass off and it paid. I received a lot of scholarships, including two repeating ones for all four years. It is that work that has kept me in college, otherwise – simply put, it’s too dang expensive!

My first year, I lived in the dorms and was sheltered from a lot of costs and expenses. After fall tuition was paid, I truly realized how expensive it was to live in the dorms and the only thing it boiled down to was convenience and security. From there I moved into a house with other roommates and we split costs as much as possible.

Monthly costs:

Basic Living expenses :

Rent $300 ($900 split 3 ways)

Electricity $10-20 ($30-60 per month, depending on season)

Internet/Cable $12 ($35 for the basic package)

Groceries; milk/bread/meats/common items $~50 (ranges from month to month)

Parking permit: $15

Books: $50

Additional expenses:

Random: $50 – shampoo, soap, etc.

Car payment $200

Car insurance $75

Phone bill $50

Gas $40 ( average city driving; no trips home)

1 rabbit show per month: $150

Rabbit feed: $80-100

Seasonal costs include: hay/grain, horse & dog medications etc


Note I do not pay tuition because I’m basically on a full ride because of multiple scholarships; otherwise add in about $7K per term. I did not include any other rabbit expenses, such as purchases of animals or equipment. Working 12 hours a week (university limits 20) brings you $400/month. So with that and refunds from scholarships, I basically live off of nothing. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room for accidents or unforeseen costs.

One could easily claim that I would be better off without the rabbits, and in reality I would have a little more money to spend on ... what? The rabbits make me happy, is a nice side project and through thick and thin, years of college later -- they're still here. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Challenging Silver Marten *edited

After reading the SMRC's version of The Challenging Silver Marten, I decided I had my own version to write.

One year ago I discovered that my breeder friends Sarah Cleavenger & Nicole Velotta were dispersing their herd of Silver Martens. I had always admired their gorgeous Martens and it’s has always been on my list of breeds “I’d raise”. I took the news to heart, and with arising Mini Lop problems and passing my judges test, I decided to take on an additional breed.

I purchased 2 does and picked them up in September 2010. I had asked Sarah if she would breed them to their super buck Arson, before they left. A month went by and no babies. I was not able to purchase a senior buck until October 2010. I took MGD (purchased from Scott Rudolph) home and bred my does. Again, a failure. During that time I had taken the opportunity to purchase a Blue buck from Tex Thomas at convention. It was my first real sight unseen sale, I purchased a “name”, but I received a wonderful buck, Badger. Finally when I went home for Thanksgiving holiday, I bred the does again and they both took, giving me 15 Christmas babies. Of the 15, I narrowed it down to 4 by Spring break. I decided to keep a Black doe & Blue buck from Pyro, and two does from Maddy.

While Marten breeders were battling enteropathies, I was having troubles getting does bred. This has never been an issue for me with Mini Lops, so the concept is alarming. A doe has a certain place in my barn, she’s either a growing junior, being shown, bred, or on a litter. If a doe is none of those options in my herd she does not last long. Additionally, during the spring I was having troubles conditioning the Martens. Where my Mini Lop feed worked wonders on them, it was not suitable to the Martens. Not willing to run two different feeds, I will have to learn how to condition these muscular, firm fleshed rabbits on my feed and learn how to cull to it. Since I have no juniors to practice on, this concept is on hold.

In October I started showing the Martens & have exhibited 1-4 per show since. I have done pretty well, holding my own weight. In June I had my most well deserved wins at the State conventions; but some heartbreaks came as well. At Oregon State, Del Rio won BOB in shows B & C. I also won BOSB in two shows with Bacardi. After Oregon State, I felt the Marten pains as I lost Zinfandel. A week later I lost Del Rio. At Washington state, I scratched two black does. Pendleton was buried in a class of 15 with finish breaks. Badger was 1st of 4 each show & Bacardi, he was my little star. He won BOV both shows with comments from both Tex Thomas and the Sunday show judge that he was an inch away from winning BOB, he just needed more maturity. It was especially nice to hear Tex rave about Bacardi. He even found me afterwards to tell me what a great job I had done growing him up. Marten breeders at the table surely thought he would win, but those shiny blacks are hard to beat!

With two does & two bucks, plus a Silver Marten colored Satin purchased at state, I am at a road block with the small herd. Maddy is hopefully bred. As soon as Pendleton gets home, I will be breeding her. I would really like to breed her to Bacardi, but my feelings are I should breed her to Badger and sell him & Maddy and move on with my line. I have molded what I want so far and only to move forward makes sense right now. Purchasing more Martens doesn’t seem pliable. After seeing what other breeders raise & offer to sell – breeding my own and achieving my own does to breed is the only way up. Unfortunately, that means getting litters from my does. Until this action happens, the Martens are currently less than frustrating. A good kind of frustration, I enjoy the challenge as long as I can overcome it :) The Silver Marten breeders in the pacific northwest (and nationwide) are some of the downright nicest breeders I've ever encountered and am happy to have the incentive to continue into the next year.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A break in weather

These rains sure make doing chores a lot harder. Right now the ground isn't muddy, but that slippery texture where it makes everything you need to do a lot more difficult. So trays and rearranging cages will have to wait another day.

So today I am just catching up on rabbit records, doing pedigrees and cleaning my auto water system. My parts from KW finally arrived for the new cages and I am determined to get it back up in working order.

I guess if I have any regrets in the rabbit world, is buying this KW auto water system. If I could rewind time, I'd definately go with another company. KW tops all other equipment hands down, but there is much work to be done with their nivek watering system.

On a positive note, I sold 5 juniors yesterday. This leaves me with only a couple brood does for sale after the completion of their litters.

When I get back up to Corvallis on Sunday I will have lots of picture and website updates.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer time Bliss

Summer has always been a time to relax between work days and accomplish all of those projects you've been meaning to do during the school year. This summer is no different. The hay has been put up, work is the same as usual & the rabbit barn is staying cool. We've had a summer rain and very few days over 100*. On the rabbit front... weaned litters are doing well. I've had the chance to go through them:

*Rylee x Zeus: I sold 1 of the 4 bucks to a youth breeder. I will go through the remaining 5 sometime next month and decide who to keep & sell.

*Wintergreen x Hank: 6 of 6 solid bucks. 4 chestnuts & 2 chinchillas. The best one in the litter has a chewed ear. It's very minimal, but the other chin in the litter is very similar. So we kept 1.

*Isabella x Hank: 3 does, 2 bucks. They were weaned today, and we will go through them next month. From what I can gather, I like this litter and nothing was worthy of a first cull.

Wintergreen leaves today for CA. I will be selling the extra Silver Marten buck (now a senior), and the rest of WG's litter. That will open up 2 holes.
I brought in a 3 hole stack from out behind the barn. With 6 holes empty at school, that's 6 less I have here .... so have to improvise.

Rylee is due today, with 5 litters coming around the beginning of August. I won't be home for those litters so updates will be slow on them.

No shows until September. So until then it's just going through litters and deciding what will get to stay for the winter :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Been home for a week.

New rabbits have settled in well. Lots of litters born.

Nemo x Hank Tank
9/9 -- all chestnut

Wall E x Sesame
5/6 + 1 foster. Has a bkn chocolate in the bunch.

Tomato x Hank Tank
1/7 (fostered) - chinchilla

Hillary x Zeus
6/6. Includes 4 bkn opals, 1 blue chinchilla & 1 mystery shaded

Bred 4 does on the 4th
Weaned a litter today. 6/6 bucks and 3/5 does in the 2nd litter.

Updates might be slow. Been busy since I got home.