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