Friday, December 31, 2010

California X New Zealand

California X New Zealand rabbit is often quoted as the best cross breed for meat. It's almost like a magical combination in the minds of some people.

There is a catch. You must have a good Calif and a good NZ to breed together to get the best effect of the cross breed vigor.

You also have to maintain separate lines of Cals and NZ to cross for meat. So you have to select breeders from two different breeds to maintain separately for your meat crosses.

Instead, I suggest using a single meat breed of rabbit and using selective breeding to develop your own bloodline of highly productive meat rabbits.

In UK, I would look at a meat breed like the Beveren. Raise them for production standards with linebreeding and eat or sell the culls.

When you develop a line of rabbits that reliably produce large, healthy litters you will find people searching you out to buy rabbits from you for breeding.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


from rabbitgeek notes 8/21/07
RE: Need Advice on Rehabilitating a Badly Abused Satin Doe

Good luck on your effort to rehabilitate this rabbit.

Although the teeth may not be misaligned due to poor nutrition. It may
be bad teeth.

Litters can take a lot out of a rabbit. I would put some electrolytes
and vitamin in the water.

I use the electrolytes/vitamin powder you buy for poultry, swine,
etc. I use 1/2 teaspoon to 5 gals of water. My rabbits are on water
bottles so I fill a 5 gal water cooler and fill from the bottle from
the little spigot because it's easier than using a hose. It's also
easy to mix electrolytes in the water cooler. I fill the water cooler
with a garden hose and spray nozzle.

(note: Ray Stacy recommends 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water)

If you use an auto water system may want to pre-mix the powder and
some water in a plastic bottle,shake it to mix, then pour the
concentrated liquid into your tank.

The water should look like pale yellow sports drink. When water starts
appearing clear again time to add more mix.

With that many problems, I would have the rabbit put down.

Good luck!

That girl should not be allowed in animal projects unless she gets a
mentor who can visit her animal to check on their welfare. It would be
better to keep her under the 4H umbrella and teach her proper animal
care then to chase her off. It's more work, but it would be better.

Have a good day!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Designer Yarn From Junk Wool

Betty Chu is the breeder of top of the line English Angora rabbits. She is also an accomplished spinner, knitter, weaver and designer of custom yarns.

Betty takes wool from combings and clippings that may be a little felted from the sides or bellies or armpits on rabbits and then she spins it as a lumpy yarn. Then she dyes some of it and knits hats or sweaters with it. Nothing like an angora hat to chase away the chill.

Some knitters love the yarn because it is uniquely handmade. If they want fine* yarn, they can buy commercial, but Betty's fun yarn is different.
(*Betty does know how to spin fine yarn.)

It's no secret how she does it, but it fascinating that she can take wool that many of us would throw away and make designer yarn with it.

I've seen Betty's yarns and knitted goods for years so when I wanted to find some pictures of Betty's hats, I went to the weblog she manages for Northern California Angora Guild.

Here are links to blog posts that show some hats and other goods.

You can click on the pictures for larger views.

Betty's Fiber Display at Monterey Fair
(click the pictures!)

Show & Tell at Cow Palace (see two of Betty Chu's hats)

over dyeing angora yarn - see Betty Chu's hats

Check out these dye jobs - see a Betty hat

Angora caps in July

Head for hats

Useful empty kleenex tissue box - with a hat

Doggie fashion - a Betty Chu dog sweater

Angora dog sweater - a Betty Chu dog sweater

How many pounds of wool? Classifying angora wool.

Have a good day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Zealand Reds

(from rabbitgeek notes)

This is Salem, New Zealand Red Intermediate Doe (6-8 months old)

A trio of reds, a buck and two does

3 New Zealand Bucks, Big Daddy (Black), Johnny (White), Snavely Buck (red)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

J Feeder or Bowls?

Question: What kind of feeder? J feeder or bowls?

Answer: We used J feeders a lot. These hang the outside of the cage and you cut a hole so you can put the lip into the cage. You can feed without opening the cage. We also used ceramic dog crocks because the rabbits cannot fling them around easily.

I did want to mention that no matter what feeder you get for the rabbits, don't forget to OPEN THE DOOR and touch the rabbits every day.

I found the J feeders made it more likely to pour feed and run down the row without really looking at the rabbits. Having to open the door with bowls made it necessary for me to interact a little bit with the rabbits, especially the hostile ones that wanted to fight over turf. So I had to pay attention to which cage I was opening.

Anyway, just thought I'd mention.
Have a good day!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Outlets for extra rabbits
*rabbitgeek ramblings 12/2010*

One of things I was always looking for was outlets for our
extra rabbits. How do we get them out of our rabbitry?
That is "where" would the extra rabbits go?

For a while we had access to a rabbit runner who was buying
for a processor so we could send our culls to be processed
for meat and get a few dollars. I think they were paying a
dollar per pound live weight. After that ended we didn't
sell any more to a processor because there are no processors
close to us in Sacramento.

Other outlets were selling breeding and show stock, so
conformance to Standard Of Perfection was vital. We sold a
lot of rabbit to 4H kids and our goal was "No DQs" which means
no disqualifications (DQ) for show. Having been burned by some
sellers as 4H parents we wanted to be sure we did not do the
same to other people.

This also meant we could sell rabbits at good showbunny prices,
which meant $20 to $40 each for breeding stock from registered
parents, instead of $5 to $10 for meat rabbits. Non-meat breeds
like Dutch, Netherlands, Hollands, Angoras and others could also
be sold for $20 up to $100 or more.

Yes, angoras can be sold for meat but you have to shear them for
the processor. So you can get some junior wool off of them before
sending to the processor, which might be worth a dollar or two.
Usually we tried to sell as angoras first, because $40 is better
than $5 for meat.

Then there was a buyer who would take any rabbit for $3 each.
These rabbits would be euthanized (CO2) than frozen to be used
as food for zoo animals. Minimum weight required was like 3 lbs.
If you could set up a deal with a zoo (or two), you could have a
constant source of income.

Finally, we had a willing taker at the wildlife care association
who would take carcasses for free to feed to their animals for
rehabilitation. I would bonk the rabbits and freeze them whole.
When I had more than a few I would meet the associate who would
take my donation.

You want to be sure any rabbits for the zoo or animal rehab have
not been given antibiotics because it could cause serious reaction
in the animals.

Just some ideas for outlets.

Have a good day!

Genetic Color Help

Genetic Color Help
*from rabbitgeek notes oct 27 2007
There are a couple of genetic calculators online

Here is Welsh's site for the genotype calculator.
You can use it to get familiar with genetics.

Here is another calculator
It has most of the basics down but not all of the genetics are
included such as dutch, steel, and others but may be helpful.

Computer genetic calculators are handy, including the Evans
program, but they are not perfect. Understanding color genetics
will help guide you through the maze.

Color genetics is a lot like the dice game Yahtzee. You try to get
sets of numbers to fill your scorecard. Sometimes you can "hold"
or "fix" some of the variables by holding some dice before the
next roll.

This is the similar in genetics. You can hold some of the variables
by using certain rabbits with known color genetic traits, and the
rest is a roll of the dice to see what you actually get in the litters.
Some people compare it to playing poker with two decks of cards.

Some of our French Angoras were very good at throwing
multi-colored litters that we called "party packs." Very exciting
to see what kind of colors developed. The skin color when born
can often turn into something unexpected and all we could do
was wait for the kits to grow into their coats.

I can recommend a little book called "Color Genetics of the
Netherland Dwarf Rabbit" by Bobby Schott. This little book takes
you through many of the basic color genetic principles in easy to
understand language with lots of good examples and some simple

Although the book is written for Netherland Dwarfs, the color
genetics are the same for most breeds of rabbits. There are
variations in color names in different breeds.

Pam Nock has a website with lots of color charts
to help get used to the color genetic codes used.

Here is a yahoo group where color geeks hangout

That should keep you busy for a few hours.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Monday, November 15, 2010


from rabbitgeek notes Jan 2009:
Yes, we call it shearing and is a preferred method of wool harvest for
many angora rabbit owners. The coat comes off and the rabbit grows a
new one. Just like sheep are sheared for their wool.

There is a file in the group files area

Look for "How To Shear An Angora" by Germaine Pidgeon. Its a good
tutorial for visualizing how it should be done.

Shearing a good skill to have, even if you decide to be a plucker.
Because if rabbit comes down with symptoms of wool block, you'll want
to get that coat off ASAP! Also, many breeders will shear a doe before
breeding to prevent that coat from becoming nest material.

I usually put the rabbit on a grooming table, and starting along the
back along the spine I clip off little "ponytails" of wool. I set this
aside as the "good stuff" because along the back and sides is the best
length. Wool from the front or shorter length goes to a second pile
for blending or felting.

I leave about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long. Don't worry if it is not
perfectly even in length because after it grows out you won't see the

Best time to shear is when they start to molt, to remove the old
growth coat so the new one can come in. The loose wool from molting is
a big factor in developing wool block so removing at the molt is good.

The rabbits generally like the shearing afterward and will jump around
doing spins and kicks (binkies) in their now lightweight condition.

For scissors we used the Fiskars School scissors with the rounded tips.
Or whatever happened to be on sale for school kids in the fall.

I hope that info helps.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shop vac notes

From Rabbitgeek notes
**Apr 4 2005, cross posted by Franco**

Use the Shop Vac with the hose plugged in the the "blower" outlet so
it blows air out instead of vacuuming in. Do this outside because when
you start blowing out the rabbit, dust and wool will fly everywhere!
Set the rabbit up on a grooming stand or on a table.

Set the shopvac on a nearby table or shelf because the hose is
relatively short. Start the shopvac but don't blow the air toward the
rabbit yet, let it get used to the sound first. Then you can direct
the air toward the rabbit for a moment then away, giving it a chance
to get used to it.

Then it is just like a blower. Use the stream of air to blow away the
dust in the wool. The stream of air will also untangle some of the
matts and will fluff the wool to an incredible "poofiness."

Using this air blower to groom avoids the wool fiber breakage that
occurs with combing and brushing.

Others on the list can give you the fine points of air blowing, since
I'm only a novice at the fluffy rabbit bit. But I'm an expert at
shopvac. :)

**P.S. When you go looking, you want to see the words "blower output"
or "blower port" on the box of the shop vac. The blower is feature you
want and not all shop vacs have this. In 2005 it cost about $40 for a
2 horspower shop vac with blower feature. 1.5 or 2 hp is adequate.

Avoid using compressed air since there is a lot of moisture and dirt
in the compressed air. At work we used filters and driers to treat the
air before using in air tools. **

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tray cleaning

*from the rabbitgeek notes*
The best tip for keeping rabbits in the garage came from Barbi Brown. Usually keeping rabbits in the garage means trays under the floor wire to catch the droppings.

For years we carried trays to the waste can and dumped them there. Barbi suggested we get a bucket and use a dust pan to scoop the poop out of the tray and into the bucket. Then take the bucket to the waste can.

This is so much easier than carrying trays around. Even if you plan to power wash the trays it is easier to move them when they are empty.

We put one or two handfuls of pine shavings in the tray to collect moisture and hold down odor.

If you sell manure you can put plastic bags in the bucket first (8 or 13 gallon trash bags) and tie them off before removing from the bucket. Tied off plastic bags are also good for fly control.

If you use five gallon buckets to move manure for sales, put a plastic bag in it first then tie it off. Will keep the buckets cleaner and reduce the smell. You can put the lids on the buckets and stack them for transport to sale. You sell the bag of manure to the customer, not the pail.

Then when customer takes the bags of manure, you can stack buckets one inside the other for transport home to be filled again.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Friday, November 5, 2010

Radioactive rabbit

News article about radioactive rabbit found, Richland, WA
near the Hanford nuclear power plant

Have a good day!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hanz and Franz

(click for larger image)
I was going through some files and came across this picture of Hanz and Franz. These boys were bought from a breeder by a woman who was concerned they were not getting the kind of care they should be. She contacted me asking if I would like to take them because she was not set up to care for them. She was keeping them in an empty horse stall. So I arranged to meet her during my lunch break from work and I took a carrying cage.

So when I picked them up, I was expecting the worst. Instead I found these gorgeous German hybrids. They were so beautiful and the coats were in such good shape I was thinking I should get a horse barn to keep angoras instead of cages. I took them back to my office and set them in our break room to wait until I could get them home. One of the guys at work said if Santa Claus had rabbits at the North Pole they would look like this.

By asking around I was able to locate the breeder who was able to confirm the German hybrid background. My youngest son Oscar named them Hanz and Franz. Oscar thinks he is so clever.

These rabbits were beautiful but they were dead in a few months. First one died unexpectedly, giving symptoms of wool block. I sheared the other one down and changed his diet to hay. But a few weeks later the other was dead too.

I cried and I beat myself up for weeks for not being able to keep them alive. I was really doubting myself after losing those two bucks. Then a few months after that I got an email from the breeder. They wanted to know if I still had the bucks. Seems all the rabbits from that bloodline had died and they were hoping my bucks were still alive for breeding.

I told them the bucks had died, apparently from woolblock. They said that's what happened to the others. Too bad because they all had such nice coats.

I am so glad they told me. I did nothing wrong. It was a bad bloodline. This impressed on me that genetics is overwhelmingly important for wool production and resistance to woolblock as well.

I do have a scarf made with angora yarn spun from my two little German rabbit friends who taught me something about genetics. And that yarn really got me started on my fiber adventure.

Have a good day!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Franco's Plucking Adventure

*from rabbit geek notes*
Franco's Plucking Adventure
originally posted on French Angoras Group
August 28 2004

Hi all, I just plucked our FA senior blue buck who has been
over due for clipping. My lovely wife Tracy groomed him for
me with the blower so the wool would be nice and free from
tangles. I was going to clip him with scissors, but he kept
jumping off the coffee table and running down the hall.
I noticed the wool was pretty loose, so I tugged at little
locks of it and it came off in my fingers, leaving the new
coat intact. We sat for about an hour and a half. I would
let him loose every 15 or 20 minutes to take a little walk
on the sofa.

He looks great. He looks blue again! His new coat is about
1 1/2 inch long and is a nice blue color, not faded looking
like his old coat. And I have a brown grocery sack full of
blue angora to practice my drop spindle with!

Have a good day!
Franco Rios
MFO Rabbitry, Sacramento, Calif.

August 29 2004
Hi, I think at least half of the breeders I've met clip the
bunnies. My goal the other night was to practice clipping a
bunny. But the bunny did not cooperate by sitting still.

So that's how I came to sit down and pluck it. It was helpful
that the bunny was in a complete molt and ready for plucking.
All in all the evening turned out well for me and for the bunny.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios
MFO Rabbitry, Sacramento, Calif.

August 30 2004

Hi, Thanks for your reply. Yes, the buck was ready to be plucked.
And the new coat is really 1 1/2 inch, I took a measurement with a
steel pocket ruler, being the industrial geek type that I am.

I had a little pair of hair trimming scissors at the ready. I brought
the rabbit in the house because it's 90F degrees outside lately and I
didn't want to stand out there in the heat. So I haven't given up
the idea of clipping. I just wasn't successful on my first try.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios
MFO Rabbitry

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Line Breeding and Inbreeding

*ramblings from the rabbitgeek*
A lot of people use Linebreeding to improve consistency in their bloodlines. That would be breeding father/daughter or mother/son, saving the best from those litters to breed back to the parent.

Inbreeding would be breeding brother/sister, which is another strategy that can be used sparingly to emphasize desired genetic traits like body type or color or markings. It can also emphasize negative traits so it must be used with a lot of caution and be prepared to remove any undesirable results immediately. Sometimes entire litters have to be culled.

Linebreeding can improve overall characteristics very quickly when careful selection of breeding stock is used. It can also bring a bloodline to a dead stop if one only focuses on looks and color. Selection for raising kits, fathering large litters, and having good survival rates of litters are also important production factors.

Linebreeding is also the way to establish a bloodline. By the third generation the rabbits are pretty much the result of the breeders selections and can be called their own bloodline, even if several breeders have their bloodline descended from the same source trio originally. Sometimes it is called a "closed herd" or closed bloodline because outside blood is rarely brought in.

Genetics is a lot like the dice game Yahtzee. You try to get sets of numbers to fill your scorecard. Sometimes you can "hold" or "fix" some of the variables by holding some dice before the next roll.

It can be amazing how many unseen genetic factors can be found when one keeps bringing in "outside blood" to avoid inbreeding.

Genetics can be like dealing poker hands. You take out (cull) the cards (genes) you don't want, shuffle the deck and deal again and soon you get the kind of combinations you want on a consistent basis.

Adding outside blood is like adding another deck of cards and trying to predict what combinations will occur. Then spend the next generations taking out the cards that are not wanted (selection). Trying to juggle the combinations from 5 or 6 different decks (bloodlines) can bring you to your knees, especially if something like white spots, bad teeth, or mismarked toenails become fixed in your herd.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 Angora Count

2010 Angora Rabbit Count & Survey!

From Sept 1 2010 to to Sept 30 2010 I will be accepting reports on Angora

We are conducting a count of English Angora, French Angora, Giant Angora, Satin
Angora, and German Angora rabbits.

The purpose is to assess the current populations of Angoras. We want to spot any
trends in population increases or declines and the collection of population
counts is important to monitor.

Please send me a count of your rabbits by breed.
Also tell me what state/province you are in.

Different from previous counts, we are asking for counts of males and females by
breed as suggested by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Please count rabbits that are no longer nursing from their mother. A doe with a
litter under her is counted as 1 female rabbit, don't count the litter.

Send your count only once this year. The count is intended to be a snapshot of
the population for the year.

If you have some cross breeds, you decide what breed they are and report them
accordingly or do not report them. We are trying to determine the population of
specific distinct breeds and we rely completely on your reporting.

Please tell us your count of rabbits:

English Angora: Male / Female
French Angora: Male / Female
Giant Angora: Male / Female
Satin Angora: Male / Female

German Angora: Male / Female


NARBC member yes/no:
IAGARB member yes/no:

The final survey report will NOT include anybody's name, only a state or
province. This is not connected with any government program and information
collected will not be sent to any such agencies. When complete, the survey data
will be made available for download on the rabbitgeek website.

You can see previous surveys at

Looking forward to your rabbit count!

Please send your count by email to:
francorios2000@ yahoo. com <- remove space for email


Have a good day!
Franco Rios
email: francorios2000 @yahoo .com <-remove spaces for email

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What do you feed your rabbits?

What do you feed your rabbits?
*from rabbitgeek notes 7/30/08

Below is my standard blurb on feed:
I usually feed Purina Complete (16% protein) and Purina Professional
(18% protein). Actually I mix them together to create an average
17% protein feed. Lately I've been using Purina Show Formula (16%)
mixed with the Purina Professional.

I have small rabbits, Holland Lops and Dutch as well as large
rabbits like American Blues, French Lops and Angoras.

The Angoras and Americans do well with higher protein requirement
but the protein is not so high as to create problems with the
smaller breeds.

This has been our primary feed for many years. We occasionally try
another feed but when the flesh condition drops, we switch back.

It may not be the fault of the other feed. Any switch in feed is
stressful and will cause some loss of condition. We should probably
switch for 6 months to really test it a new feed.

But when we have won many Best of Breed awards with different
breeds on the Purina feed, we always wind up back on the Purina.

When you find a feed that your rabbits do well on, stick with it. As
you breed, you are selecting for rabbits that will do well on the feed
you are giving it.

Other considerations are: I can usually buy feed at a feed store on
my way to work, no extra trips required. If they are out of stock,
there are two other dealers within easy driving distance. Purina has
the easy to read date code printed on the bottom paper strip, no 10
digit date codes to decipher.

I hope this info helps.
Have a good day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

RabbitTalk Forum

RabbitTalk: Rabbits for fun...rabbits for profit...rabbits for everyone

RabbitTalk is a great discussion forum for all types of rabbit owners.
The owners of the forum are open minded and friendly.

There is no charge to join the forum.

Check them out at:

Have a good day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rabbit FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

* I have this FAQ and I am posting for comments - FR *
*original post Feb 7 2009*

Frequently Asked Questions About Meat Rabbits


All rabbits are made out of meat. So any breed of rabbit can be eaten
for meat. A meat rabbit is a rabbit that was grown to provide meat.
These can be purebreds or crossbreeds.

But some breeds are better for size. Dwarf breeds (up to about 2 1/2
lbs) are generally too small to be efficiently harvested for meat.
Some of the small breeds like Dutch or Florida White are good for
small meat production situations.

The commercial meat rabbit was bred to be a certain size by a certain
age to produce young "fryer" sized rabbits. This commercial goal in
USA is to have rabbits at 5 lbs by 10 weeks of age.

There is a competition for meat pens and fryers at rabbit shows. The
meat pen and fryer competition is a demonstration of the breeders'
ability to produce a market animal of consistent size and quality.

A meat pen is three rabbits, any gender, more than three pounds and
less than five pounds. A single fryer is a rabbit, any gender, more
than three pounds and less than five pounds. They must not be older
than 70 days.

There is an article on raising meat pen rabbits on the rabbitgeek website.

Meat Sized Rabbit Breeds

Semi-Arch / Mandolin Body Type Breeds
American * (Blue & White)
Beveren * (Black, Blue, White)

Commercial / Medium Length Body Type Breeds
American Sable *
Champagne d'Argent
American Chinchilla *
Cinnamon *
Creme d'Argent *
Hotots * (Blanc de Hotot)
New Zealand
Silver Fox *
* On Rare Breed Rabbits List

You can read about Rare Breed Rabbits at

Not all meat rabbits are white, so other colored breeds are included
in the chart. Many breeds are raised for unique fur quality as well.

Another issue is bone size. Bones are not eaten, so a hefty rabbit
with heavy bone structure has less meat per pound. So a medium bone
structure is desirable.

For this reason the Giant rabbit breeds (over 14 lbs adult weight) are
usually not used for commercial rabbit meat.


Many people have good success with using cross breeding for meat
rabbits. Breeding a buck and a doe from different breeds or bloodlines
will produce a hybrid litter of rabbits that will grow faster and
larger than the parent breeds normally would due a an effect called
hybrid vigor.

All the rabbits in the hybrid litter are used for meat, not for
breeding. Because the hybrid vigor effect disappears after the first
generation litter, leading to disappointing results for the grower.

This means breeding stock from separate breeds is kept for cross
breeding. So there has to be access to more rabbits to use as breeding
stock, since replacements cannot be kept from the crossbreed litters.


Line breeding is a sustainable plan for breeding within the same

The breeding plan is to breed dams and sires to the offspring. In
human terms, father to daughter, mother to son. This breeding plan is
sustainable since it uses replacement breeding stock from the litters
of rabbits born. Since the breeding stock is the same "blood" from
generation to generation, this is called a bloodline.

This is not "in-breeding" which would be brother to sister pairings.

Selecting replacement stock in line breeding is critical. The
replacement stock must have the desirable traits of growth rate, bone
size, mothering ability, disposition, color and other traits.

Line breeding can improve a bloodline in a very short time. Rabbits
with undesirable traits are removed from the breeding program
(culled). Rabbits with desirable traits are kept for breeding. Not all
rabbits born have desirable traits and line breeding can remove those
traits in a few generations.

This would leave a grower with a bloodline of rabbits that are
genetically compatible for breeding and have undesirable traits
reduced in the line.

For more info on line breeding, try these websites

The Nature Trail

Jubilee Acres

Debmark Rabbit Education Resource

Line Breeding Chart on Pam Nock's website

Have a good day!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Feeding Rabbits Naturally

The Homesteading Today Forum has a group discussion on rabbits including the topic of "Feeding Rabbits Naturally"

You will have to register with the forum to post messages but visitors can browse without registration. There is no cost to register. I've been a member there for a couple of years and I can recommend it.

Also look for "An introduction to Rabbits {Contains a downloadable file}" which contains a PDF archive of Pat Lamar's "Commercial Rabbit Industries" website, which is now offline. Good information.

My screen name there is rabbitgeek

Have a good day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Angora Adventures

(photo:English Angora, tortoiseshell color)
More rabbitgeek notes:

From Woolrabbits group July 1 2006
Hi Joan and Marna,

We have French and Satin Angoras. My lovely wife Tracy is the Angora wrangler in the family. It's my job to be sort of helpful.

Actually, my lovely wife started with Jersey Wooleys, then decided she wanted to move up the "big kid's" fluffy rabbits. We spoke to the Angora rabbit breeders and they pointed us to the French Angoras.

After we started getting used to working with French Angoras, I talked my lovely wife into getting some Satin Angoras, which is a Rare Breed Rabbit.

French and Satin Angora wool can be blended with other wools like sheep, or alpaca. I use a couple of dog grooming slicker brushes to comb out the alpaca and the angora. You do not have to card the angora, but I found it works a little better for me to card it first.

Rather than blending the angora by carding, we have been combining the angora with other fibers by plying an angora single with a single of other fiber.

But I have spun a LOT of angora without carding at all, and my lovely wife does not card at all.

[NOTE: Later we bought a Schacht Petite Drum Carder with fine tooth carding cloth and my lovely wife carded and blending many pounds of fiber. We did find that carding improved our spinning of angora wool.]

I started spinning with a toy wheel drop spindle. I have also made CD spindles to take to 4H meetings to use when I take Angora rabbits for the members to see. I even made a cardboard spinning wheel just as an experiment. It's kind of like a cardboard charkha with a supported drop spindle driven by an elastic band. Very low tech.

Anyway, now we have a Babe Fiber Garden Electric Spinner which is fairly portable and once you get used to the quirky drive band, you can spin and ply at a blazing pace.

As for grooming, you need a blower, sometimes called a "force air dryer" by animal groomers. We currently have one of those orange professional model air blowers that is about the size of big round oatmeal box and blows enough air to dry off a minivan.

We bought it used on ebay for $120, about half of the new price.

Before that we used a small shopvac that has a blower option.

When you get your blower ready, get into the habit of blowing out the rabbits every week or two. If you are going to show your rabbits, think about blowing your show bunnies every one or two days.

Use the blower to blow out the tangles in the wool. If you let the air flow linger over the spot you will see the web start to seperate. Avoid the urge to pull on snarls will your fingers since you are trying to leave as much wool on the rabbit as possible.

With Satin Angoras it is more important to use more blower and less comb since the wool is finer than on a French. You want to leave as much wool on the rabbit as possible.

Many people use the pet grooming combs with rotating teeth that do not pull out as much wool. We also use the little wire slicker brushes for grooming out messes, especially under the rabbit and round the hindquarters. It is common for rabbits to make a mess of their bottoms just after or just before being shown. All you can do is sit down, clean up the mess with a slicker brush and some paper towels so you can get them back on the show table.

As you blow the rabbits you will learn to see which rabbits are starting to grow a new coat, skin discoloration as the hair cells crank up the production of a hair shaft. You will notice how the wool starts to grow in one area and proceeds in stages around the rabbit.

As the new coat comes in, it is time to remove the old coat as soon as is practical to avoid wool block. The rabbits groom themselves and swallow a lot of wool. This wool can get wrapped up with other things in the stomach and cause a blockage.

This wool block can take down a healthy animal in 24 hours.

Watch the rabbits to be sure they are eating their pellets every day and drinking water. Watch the rabbit droppings which should be of good size and fairly moist. Wool block causes the droppings to become small and dry.

Providing hay every day is good for cleaning the system. We also have a "hay day" where we feed hay and water only, no pellets, to give them a day to flush their systems out, preventing the wool block.

Here is a copy of a report I posted on another group about the blowers and grooming tables I saw at a National Show.

From April 16, 2005 on French Angora Group

Okay, here is a report on grooming tables and blowers seen at Angora Nationals in Orland, Calif. With all those experienced rabbiteers I thought that would be a good place to take an informal visual survey.

On grooming tables, the most common feature is a FLAT TOP with no box around the sides, allowing for the blower to get down and around the sides of the rabbit. Picture a folding snack table and you have the right idea. In fact, one of the tables WAS a folding snack table.

If you want drawers for your gear, put the drawers under the table top.

The most common turntable seen was RECTANGULAR and covered with carpet. Lazy susan bearings are mounted underneath. Half of the turntables seem to have been home made. A nice feature I saw on Charlie Lacey's turntable was one inch PVC pipe slit lengthwise down one side then slid over the edge of the turntable and carpet to hold the carpet down and provide a nice smooth edge on each side of the turntable.

This turntable is set on top of the flat grooming table. I didn't see any round turntables. I asked my lovely wife Tracy what happened to her round turntable and she told me she doesn't use her round one anymore because the rabbits kept jumping off. She just grooms them on the table and turns the rabbit as needed.

(I have since found that rabbits step off the round turntable onto the rectangular table top because they can!)

On blowers. The most commonly seen blower was those orange force air blowers. Second most common was the little 2 HP shop-vac blowers.

Funny story about the blower. It was early Saturday and my lovely wife Tracy and her skinny associate Danielle were getting ready to go over to the fairgrounds to groom rabbits for the show.

During the rush to load a minivan and a pickup truck with 20 plus rabbits and all the gear for two days of rabbit shows plus six people, I forgot to bring the blower!!!

Thank goodness for Orchard Supply Hardware in Chico Calif. They open at 7 a.m. and had a 2 HP Craftsman shopvac type blower for $29.99. A 50 ft extension cord cost us $9.99

This one was actually a good deal quieter than the one we previously used for blowing rabbits. This one was also small enough to be hung under the grooming table with zip ties.

So there's a report of grooming equipment for you. Don't forget the comfy folding chair so you can sit down and groom the rabbit on your lap.

Have a good day!
Franco & Tracy Rios
MFO Rabbitry, Sacramento, Calif.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Surveys in progress June

Here are the surveys in progress.

Beverens - ends July 10
francorios2000@ yahoo. com <-remove spaces for email

Cinnamon - ends July 12
silvermarten@ aol. com <-remove spaces for email

Silver Fox - ends July 12
silvermarten@ aol. com <-remove spaces for email

Blanc d'Hotots - ends July 17
matthewhinderman@ yahoo. com <-remove spaces for email

Please send in your counts of male and female of each variety(color) and breed.

Please count the WEANED rabbits. If a rabbit has a litter under her, then count
as one female rabbit, do not count the litter.

Thank you for your participation!

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2010 Survey for Beveren Rabbits Open

2010 Survey for Beveren rabbits is now open!

From June 10 2010 to July 10 2010 we will accept your rabbit counts.

We are conducting a census of Beveren Breed rabbits. Beveren
breed rabbits are one of the rarest breeds recognized by ARBA
(American Rabbit Breeders Association).

They are on the "WATCH" list at American Livestock Breeds
Conservancy, meaning there is cause for concern.

We will conduct the census by email. If you know someone who
does not get email notices, you can tell them about this count
and email it in for them.

francorios2000@ yahoo. com <- remove space for email

Please tell us how many WEANED Beveren breed rabbits you have
as of today.

How many Blues, Blacks, and how many Whites?

As in previous counts, we are asking for counts of males
and females by breed as suggested by the American Livestock Breeds

Please count rabbits that are no longer nursing from mom.
A doe with a litter under her is counted as 1 female rabbit,
don't count the litter.

So count the adult rabbits and any weaned juniors.

Send your count only once this year. The count is intended to be a
snapshot of the population for the year.

Please tell us your count of rabbits:
Beveren Black: Male / Female

Beveren Blue: Male / Female

Beveren White: Male / Female


Please indicate
Beveren club member yes/no:
(Club membership not required for survey participation)

The final survey report will NOT include any body's name, only a state
or province. This is not connected with any government program and
information collected will not be sent to any such agencies.

Looking forward to your rabbit count!
Please send your count by email to:
francorios2000@ yahoo. com <- remove space for email

Beveren Breed rabbit club info can be found at

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Free Range Compared to Pastured Eggs

There is a short article about Free Range Eggs compared to Pastured Eggs

The website is about a Farmers Market in San
, one of their new vendors, Shelly Mcmahon of Shelly's
Garden, produces eggs with pastured chickens.

The article starts about the middle of the page.

This might give you ideas about
your own flock of heritage chickens on your farm. Or you might think
about diversifying your current poultry or rabbit farm.

Have a
good day!
Franco Rios

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rare Breed 2009 Working

Rare breed list 2009 working copy has been uploaded to the rare breed rabbits group file area as a PDF file. This file ranks all the ARBA Rabbit breeds

Here is the short version
#1 is most rare, #16 less rare

09 Rank - Breeds - 2006 Rank
1 - Blanc de Hotot - 3
2 - Angora, Giant - 2
3 - Beveren - 7
4 - Cinnamon - 8
5 - American - 1
6 - Angora, Satin - 4
7 - Chinchilla, Giant - 5
8 - Lilac - 11
9 - Silver - 14
10 - American Sable - 10
11 - Belgian Hare - 9
12 - Chinchilla, American - 6
13 - Rhinelander - 15
14 - Creme d'Argent - 12
15 - Silver Fox - 13
16 - Palomino

*Chinchilla, Standard was #16,
is now #17 and off Rare Breed List
Palominos have joined the list.

I took the ARBA Convention entries for the last five years, took the average and
sorted the list.

I took the ARBA Registration number for the last five years, took the average and sorted the list.

I took the rankings and ran the average of the rankings to make up the new list.

Since the Rare Breed Rabbit List started on the rare breed group, I present the data and the list for discussion on RareBreedRabbits group before posting on the Rabbitgeek website.

Please join the Rare Breed Rabbit group for discussion of the proposed new list

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Sunday, May 2, 2010

RVHD NOTIFICATION: Minnesota Outbreak of RVHD

[Forum_Rabbit_Health] RVHD NOTIFICATION: Minnesota Outbreak of RVHD
*forwarded messaage*
Pamela Alley

Today we were notified of a small occurrence (25 rabbits) of Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (RVHD) in Pine County, MINNESOTA. All rabbits on the premises have died or been euthanized, and at this time there is no further known spread. However, as this 'index premises' was one which collected rabbits from multiple sources, we do not know the initial source of the disease.

Should you panic? NO! While frightening in its tenacity and ease of transmission, this disease can be managed and limited in spread by common precautions. It should never be treated lightly or disregarded.

We STRONGLY encourage those in Minnesota and the surrounding area to think carefully about any unexplained deaths in their herds and to take the appropriate steps for accurate diagnosis should symptoms and signs indicate any possibility of RVHD. If you have any doubts, contact your State Veterinarian for assistance-- or contact the Rabbit Industry Council at 530-534-7390 or email: **Please see further details at the end of this email!!**

We also STRONGLY encourage all shows and exhibitors to use an appropriate disinfectant (see below) on all coops, carpets, and equipment. If you are uncertain of your herd health status, please stay home until you get it straightened out.

A PDF with all this information is available at

While the document is not yet updated to the current outbreak as yet (pending further, more detailed information) , it is accurate and highly useful regarding prevention, management, and reporting of this deadly disease.


On 4-22-10, a report was made to the OIE which noted that beginning in early February of 2010, rabbits at a facility in PINE COUNTY, MINNESOTA which collected rabbits for use as food at a wildlife rehabilitation center began to die at a startling rate, with 20 dying initially. This was thought to be due to feed contamination, but as further rabbits brought onto the property also died rapidly without clinical disease, a sample was submitted to a private laboratory for analysis.

WE CANNOT PRAISE THIS FACILITY ENOUGH FOR TAKING THIS STEP! It is vital that we all investigate unexpected deaths, especially multiple deaths, with diligence and care.

The sample was suspected to be positive for RVHD and further testing was done by the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and found to be definitively positive on enzyme-linked immunoassay testing for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus. The property was then thoroughly decontaminated and any remaining rabbits euthanized. Free ranging rabbits in the area are being trapped and surveilled for signs of the disease. (While native species are not susceptible, it is not known if there are feral domestics in the area.)

As of this point in time, this is the limited information we have. We're working on re-establishing contacts within USDA/APHIS to be able to bring you more and more detailed information as soon as possible.
************ ********* ****


Symptoms and Forms of the Disease:

The disease seems to appear in three ways; the first and most common is called PERACUTE and is simply a dead rabbit in the cage from one visit to the next.

The ACUTE form is represented by a lethargic, depressed, off-feed animal that dies in the space of 1-2 days, shows incoordination and signs of pain before death, and may show clear or bloodstained nasal froth or discharge. A temperature of 105-106 degrees F may be present upon initial examination.

A small number (<5%)>

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Painting old cages

*from rabbitgeek notes june 2006*
I use "cold galvanizing" spray paint for cleaning up rusty cages.

You can get this spray at Ace Hardware and other stores.

It leaves a coating of zinc on the metal to fight rust.

I use a propane torch first to burn off the fur/wool. Do not let the wire turn red from heat as this will weaken the wire. Burn fur/wool off before washing or will have clumps of wet fur on the wire that is hard to burn off.

I wash the cages really well with a hose, a power washer works good. Wet cage down then wait to soak for a few minutes then start washing. Use a brass wire brush or barbecue cleaning brush to knock off the rust and any dried on waste. Let dry.

Spray with the cold galvanizing spray. Be sure to cover bottom and sides of the wire. Let dry overnight.

There will be a little residue that comes off at first but other wise the paint stays on wire for a year and will need some touch up.

If the wire is seriously corroded paint is not going to help, you need to replace the wire.

Have a good day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shipping Rabbits

*from the rabbitgeek notes*
We've shipped several times. Below is an article we wrote in 2004.

I'd like to add that we used a standard 3-hole show carrier with
cardboard inserted in top of the carrier under the wire to make a
"solid top".

We used empty tuna cans for feed and water cups. We punched two
holes in the sides of the cans with a nail and used wire to attach to
the side of the cage.

The article follows, Tracy writes:

Flying Rabbits to Hawaii

This endeavor started in August with an inquiry as to my For Sale
French Angoras. I'm pleased to report that the three angoras that I
sold to a girls school in Maui are flying to their new home on
Tuesday, 12/14/2004.

I highly recommend for handling the flight.
was recommended to me by Betty Chu. Betty's an amazing resource,
she knows EVERYTHING!!! :) I tried initially to send the bunnies on
Deltavand found that the flight alone would be about $700. Through, the flight on American Airlines is $199. To ship them out
of Sacramento it would've been $300. So I'm driving them to San
Francisco for the cheaper rate. Now understand that the price is just
for the rabbits. I don't get to go :(

I have an appointment with the vet to get the bunnies' health
certificates. The angoras will have to be quarantined in Hawaii for 30
days but the school has arranged to have them quarantined on their farm.

Shipping Rabbits

The three angoras are making their way to Hawaii as I write this. We
drove them to San Francisco International Airport and dropped them
off at American Airlines cargo. It was great because we didn't have
to actually go inside the airport. made the reservation
with American Airlines and handled all the paperwork. The cargo clerk
was expecting us and she was very nice and efficient. We had no
problems with either the Health Certificates or the Acclimation
Certificates. We shipped them in a 3 hole carrier this time without
using a dog kennel. Franco just put a solid cardboard top on the top
of the kennel, inside the wire top and they were good to go.
I wouldn't hesitate to ship rabbits again. It was a very positive

Safe Arrival!

My French Angoras arrived safe and sound at the Honolulu Airport.
However, the rabbits arrived missing one of the health certificates,
the pedigrees, and the acclimation certificates. I'm not sure what
happened to them because Franco put them in between the
cardboard and the wire on the top of the cage. It seemed secure
to me. So at about 4 pm our time, I got a call from the Honolulu
airport saying that they have the rabbits but they can't release
them without the health certificates. I kept copies of the certificates
but the official needed to have them faxed directly from the vet.
So I called the vet and she faxed them right over to the official
and the rabbits were released. That was the only snag in the whole
procedure and it was a very minor one. I'm not sure how to prevent
that problem the next time we ship but we'll figure something out.

The health certificates were somewhat of a joke. I paid $30 for an
office visit and $18 for each health certificate. The vet weighed the
rabbits, looked at their teeth, ran her hand over their bodies, and
listened to their heartbeat. That was it. Then she completed the
certificate. At the time, I was thinking that this was a waste of time
and money, but it is a requirement for shipping, especially to Hawaii.

The girls school LOVES the rabbits. They say that Asher is such a
cuddle bug (and he IS). I sent Lily to Hawaii bred to Rhubarb so
they'll have a larger gene pool.

This has been a great learning experience for Franco and I. We'd ship
again without any hesitation. Now that we know what we're doing :)

Have a good day!
Franco & Tracy Rios

Monday, April 19, 2010

House of Blues - Rabbit housing

*re-post from rabbitgeek notes, May 31 2004*

Hi all,

I made a little rabbit shed. I had some rabbit cages on two by
fours and sawhorses and I wanted to get the rabbits under some
proper cover. Using an idea from Pamela Alley in Meatrabbits, I
built a little 8' x 8' shed.

It didn't turn out exactly as I thought it would. I didn't get a
four foot walkway in the middle because our growing cages are 30
inch deep not 24 inch, so it is a little more crowded in there than
I thought. And I made my walls 7 x 7 foot perimeter to get some
overhang on the roof.

An important factor in building was finding these little angle
brackets by Simpson strong tie. I hate nailing with a hammer and I
don't own a nail gun. But I have electric screwdrivers and I was
able to put the shed together with screws and brackets. I spent
about $40 on screws and bracket, but it was the difference between
go and no-go on the project. And I can unscrew and move pieces if
needed. The whole shed except the roof is put together using screws
and can be unscrewed if needed.

I don't have a lot of construction skill. I have more construction
luck than skill, so I'm glad I found those brackets.

I double hung four litter cages on one side 36 wide by 30 deep. The
other side is two hanging cages (24 wide by 24 deep) and a three
hole stacker (24 x 24) for bucks and growers. Total 9 cages. I'm
planning to set up some worm bins under the hanging cages. The
stackers will have their trays dumped into the worm bins as well.

The shed mostly consists of 4 x 4 posts in the corner, 2 x 4
framing, green corrugated plastic roof. I haven't finished the
walls completely yet, but it's good enough with some tarps tacked up
for shade. The roof is almost 9 foot high, great for hot weather
sheds. Also, the shed is in the shade of a large hackberry tree.

When I started to hang the cages, my wife suggested I use it for my
Americans. So I have four breeding does in there (two with
litters), two show and breeding bucks, a junior doe for show, and
our 4 year old Dutch doe who is a retired breeder that first got us
started in Dutch rabbits. And one empty cage for growing out
another rabbit.

So, I have a house of American Blues. What could be better? B-)

Thank you Pam!

Have a good day!
Franco Rios
MFO Rabbitry, Sacramento, Calif.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Drum Carder - Strauch Petite

*from Jan 2009 notes*
I hand carded with big slicker brushes for dogs.

Then I gave my lovely wife permission to buy a Strauch Petite drum carder. Great little drum carder. It's also the lowest cost (new) model Strauch makes.

We watched for used drum carders on the internet but apparently no wanted to sell a used one when we wanted to buy one last year.

So we bought it new with the brush attachment. I really like the brush attachment.

We wanted fine teeth (standard on Petite) because we have angora rabbit wool to blend.

Also works with angora goat (mohair), sheepwool, alpaca fiber.

Have a good day!

Sustainable Standard of Living -- Not Lower Standard

*from feb 2009 rabbitgeek notes*
I'd like to propose a shift in the discussion.

In the current economic environment, people are learning the "buy now -- pay later" model doesn't work.

When borrowing against the future, we are subject to rise and fall of fortune, fashion and economy.

By adopting the "pay as you go" economy, we are setting a foundation for living that is practical and SUSTAINABLE!

Instead of trying to pump as much equity out of our properties and being mortgaged into the next century, we will be trying to live within thelimitations of our income and the product of our properties. Since we will not be squeezing our property to death (mortgage) we will have a sustainable livingstandard that will weather the bumps of economy.

Everyone on these forums knows what I mean by sustainable standard of living.

I am proposing the use of the phrase "Sustainable Standard of Living" as a catchphrase that will get people away from thinking "Lower Standard" since it's not a lower standard, it's a better standard, it is realistic and will provide a measure of security in turbulent times.

It's just an idea for promoting a common sense way of life in a new way.

You can use it or not. Spread the word. Sustainable Standard of Living.

Your mileage may vary, Void where taxed or prohibited.

Have a joyful day!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Don't need salt spools

*from rabbitgeek notes 11-09-07*
The only time I would use salt licks is if I was not using pellet feed. Home made rations would require additional minerals and salts. The feed list recommended by House Rabbit Society is also very weak on minerals.

I don't use salt licks or salt spools. My pellet feed contains all the sodium and minerals the rabbits will need. Another reason for not using salt licks is that if you hang them on the side of a wire cage, the salt will corrode and rust the wire.

If you decide to use salt licks, hang them from the ceiling of the cage like a hanging toy so it does not touch the sides of the cage. Hang it at a level that the rabbit can reach up to lick the salt
spool. Now it will not corrode the side of the cage and the rabbit has a play toy!

Have a good day!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rabbit Tray Tactics

We kept rabbits in a garage. We used fans for air circulation and air conditioning for summer comfort.

We used trays under the cages to catch droppings. If you are going to clean every day, put a handful of pine shavings in the tray in the spot where the rabbits usually go to poop.

Rabbits will usually use the same corner as their potty corner.

The pine shavings do a pretty good job of reducing that smell.

When we took rabbits to the county fair, they stayed there for 5 days over trays that had two inches of pine shavings. Very little smell there too.

One trick we learned was to use a dustpan to scoop the waste from the trays and dump it into a plastic bucket.

Have a good day!

White Toenail

The white toenail thing.

Its one of the things that has to be Perfect. Its called a Standard Of Perfection. The toenails have to conform to the breed description. Generally the dark rabbits need to have dark toenails. Some judges will fault a rabbit for "uneven colored" toenails rather than DQ for a white toenail.

I have to respectfully disagree with the statement that a white toenail on a dark rabbit means its a heavily marked solid, not a broken.

I would agree that it MIGHT mean a heavily marked solid. After all, a judge has this rabbit in front of them that they never have seen before, so everything has to be taken into account.

When I raised American Blues, a variety of rabbit that has been solid for almost 100 years (1917 accepted in the Standard), we would get white toenails, usually on a front paw, one of the middle toes. These rabbits are solids. They always have been.

I learned to treat the white toenail thing as a separate genetic trait. A very annoying one. If it turned up in a rabbit, that rabbit was removed from the breeding program. Usually there would not be more than two white nails in any litter of 8 or more.

After a couple of years of culling, I was only getting a white nail in every other litter. Because of the Standard, I improved my lines.

Only the first year when I had such a hard time finding Americans would I keep a doe with a white toenail to use as a breeder. I never kept a buck with a white toenail.

If I was raising solely for meat, I could use white nails. But I was raising for show and culls go to the butcher.

I think that showbunny people would be best served to remember to use production traits in choosing rabbits for breeding. It's not just a showbunny. A doe needs to be able to raise kits. A buck needs to be able to breed does and make baby rabbits.

When I only looked for show bodies or eye color or fur color, I would wind up with does that won't breed or won't raise their kits or won't be easy to handle. We've had Grand Champion does that would not raise a litter to save their own life. And that is what I consider a failed bloodline because the line was a dead end at that point.

The goal of herdsmanship is to create a sustainable line of consistently high quality rabbits.

We all have our favorite rabbits, but I love looking at the great-great-great grandson or daughter of a favorite rabbit. Its about the bloodlines and the family tree.

Have a good day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


(Pic: American Blue buck, ear # DE9)

*These are notes about tattoos that were written at different times and are presented here in no particular order. Originally posted July 2007 on yahoogroups*

Wrap the rabbit in a towel (think bunny burrito) with just the ear sticking out to maintain control of the rabbit for tattooing.

I use clamp style tattoo on rabbits at 4-6 weeks. Older than that and the thicker ear is harder to tat. I squeeze hard and fast, usually the pins go all the way through the ear, I have to peel the ear off the pins. I try to avoid any large veins in the ear.

For ARBA purposes, tattoo goes in the left ear.

I use a cotton swab (like Q-tip) soaked in ink, I put a finger behind the ear, and then I rub/roll the ink into the pin holes so the ink goes all the way through the holes in the ear. If I do it well, the ink goes through the holes and I can read the tattoo (ink dots) on my finger.

If you do it a couple of days before weaning, you can put the rabbits back in with the doe who will lick off the excess ink.

I once mis-read my calendar and tattooed some 3 week old rabbits. The ears were kind of small, but when they grew up, the tattoo grew with them and it was extremely easy to read the tattoos.

NOTE: Be prepared for kits to scream. DON'T PANIC! At first you think you have caused great bodily injury, but you haven't. Give them a moment and they calm down. Before I clamp the tattoo, I squeeze the ear for a moment to desensitize the area. Some people press an ice cube to the ear before tattoo.

You can use a combination of numbers and letters, 3 is usually sufficient, or you can use more letters and numbers if you like. Some people use fancy combinations with buck and does initials, month born, year, etc.

If you only have numbers 0-9, you can just start with a 3 number serial like 102, 103, 104,etc. Note that when you get to 109, you won't be able to make 200, so skip 200 and use 201, skip 202, use 203, 204, etc.

A common numbering system is to use initials of the buck and the doe names with another number or letter to denote which litter and which kit.

LMA2 = Louie, Madison, A is first litter, 2 is the second one that was tattooed.

Or your initials and a number like LAC23

One rabbitry I know kept a tattoo register book and just used their rabbitry initials RR and a sequence RR102, RR103, RR104, etc. You can get hundreds of tattoos with a couple of letters and a full set of numbers.

Just don't lose that book. They recorded buck/doe, date of birth, and whether the kit was a buck or doe. They used the same book for all the breeds they raised.

We have used battery tattoo pens and they work pretty good. My lovely wife used them extensively on her rabbits. Batt-tatt made the best tattoos. The other EZ tat brands did nearly as well.

I do not use the tattoo pens very well because I have very bad handwriting. I failed cursive writing every year in grade school. I found out it is called dysgraphia and is not uncommon. My sons have the same problem. Even my block letters are very bad. So I use the tattoo clamp. And I learned to use a typewriter in junior high school.

I hope this info helps.

Have a good day!