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!