Sunday, April 4, 2010

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!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love what you said here! I think sometimes we are working so hard on the outside of a rabbit we forget about the inside until often it is to late and the line has as you said hit a dead end. Well said! Thank you : )