Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bob Whitman's Collection

Bob Whitman wrote the book "Domestic Rabbits and Their Histories:Breeds of the World"

Bob got his information from the ARBA library as well as from his own collection
of rabbit books and memorabilia.

I just found this link to a youtube video showing his collection!

He was also Director of the botanical garden in Beaumont, Texas.

Have a good day!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Zealand Rabbit Colors

Photo: 3 NZ Bucks-Big Daddy (Black), Johnny (White), Snavely Buck (Red)

The New Zealand breed rabbit was created in USA. Red was the original color recognized. The White and Black varieties became recognized later. The White dominates as a color of choice for meat processors while the Black provides a dense, deep color fur. The Red also provides a deep color fur and I would consider it a "Heritage" variety of a USA rabbit breed.

Photo is from the rabbitgeek files.

Have a good day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sprang Unsprung on the bus

You can see more of the unsprang bag at my other blog:
Franco's Fiber Adventure

Have a good day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meat Rabbits from Auction or Breeder

People ask "Can I buy meat rabbits at the auction?"

If you mean you are buying rabbits for meat because you are going to eat them, the auction is okay because all rabbits are made out of meat. If you are buying rabbits to breed more rabbits to eat, I recommend buying breeding stock from a breeder. Otherwise one could be breeding auction rabbits that won't get pregnant or won't raise their litters.

After a few missed cycles of breeding and waiting it could be four to six months down the road before realizing that the auction rabbits aren't going to produce. Then we decide we need to buy breeding stock from a breeder. When I buy from a breeder I am relying on their experience in producing rabbits that will produce more rabbits.

While I hear a lot of stories about buyers getting crappy rabbits from known breeders, I hear even more stories about buying auction rabbits and getting no litters. The exception to this would be when you can buy live meat pens or fryers from 4H or FFA breeders at the County Fair auction. Usually those rabbits are descended from good breeding stock.

Reminder for newbies: All rabbit sales are "Caveat Emptor" or Buyer Beware! Do your homework before shopping for a rabbit.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sprang Unsprung on the bus

Starting a new Sprang project for Weavolution's "Halloweave" challenge. My first challenge is to unsnarl the start of this cotton yarn. I'm planning to make a small bag and the only time I can make for this is during my commute to work.

I'm using a small booklet to wind my yarn in kind of a figure 8 pattern. See the new book by Carol James titled "Sprang Unsprung." Sprang as traditionally taught is done on a continuous looped warp. But in Carol's book, the first thing we learn is that sprang can be done with free ends. That makes my project possible on the train/bus/train routine of my daily commute!

At work during lunch break I cut one side of the V shape loops. This gives me yarn ends that are roughly twice as long as the booklet. Which is the size I wanted for the bag.

Using the Sugar and Creme self striped dyed yarn allows me to work with stripes in shades that mix well with each other. That cardboard on left is my frame for this work. I'll loop a string around it to hold my sprang.

Here I have hung the yarn on the header string. The cardboard frame is 4 layers of 8-1/2 by 11 inch card stock (thick) that I taped together. I also cut some narrow strips of cardboard to help keep the different rows of sprang separate. See the "safety string" that gets pulled through as I work to help keep the rows separate.

Back on the bus, all the elements are in place. And now the goal is make a bag out of plain sprang. More to follow later.

Have a good day!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mission Manna in Haiti is training health care workers in Haiti and teaching people to raise rabbits for meat. This June post from their blog shows hutches, rabbits, and a garden. Bravo to Mission Manna for teaching Haitians to care for Haitians.

Have a good day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hawks Go To Church

crossposted 10/13/11

(click pics for larger image)
Morning comes softly over the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. And now the drama begins.

The pigeons on top of the tower are flushed by a Red Tail Hawk (red arrow) trying to grab a fly by breakfast. Unsuccessful.

Here comes the other hawk (red arrow) hoping to nab a pigeon who hasn't seen the memo about the breakfast fly by. Again unsuccessful.

The pair of Red Tail hawks are having a meeting in a nearby Sequoia tree to discuss the breakfast situation.

As the pigeons settle in catch some more rays on the roof of the tower.

They are once again disturbed by a hawk on another breakfast fly by, note the dark blur on the left side of the pic.

Once again. Unsuccessful. I expect the hawks can do this all day. I want yell at the pigeons. I want to tell them to become Catholics and move to the roof at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament!

10/15/11 Edited to add this sequence:

A new morning. The hawk does its breakfast fly by.

And snatches a pigeon off the roof of the tower.

And flies off with it to a nearby tree. Pigeon fans do not fear. Because a few moments later the pigeon broke loose and flew out of the tree. Hopefully wiser.

I like my new camera. Its a Lumix with 16X zoom and a bunch of features that make it a little magic picture box.

That's my corner of the world!
Franco Rios

Thursday, October 13, 2011

For Five Days

88th American Rabbit Breeders Association Convention and National Show
October 29 to November 2, 2011

Good luck to everyone who is going!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oakland urban farmers fight for right to raise food

Urban farmers fighting to take back their right to raise their own food in Oakland!

"Should Oakland's backyard farmers raise and kill animals for food?"
Article: Sacramento Bee 10/9/2011

Be sure to add your comments to the article if you feel inclined to do so!

Have a joyful day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rabbit trips up chef

News from MasterChef Ireland contest.
I wish there was pictures but just the brief description makes me want to go to Dublin.
Have a good day!

Click for article:

Beagles are legal

Beagles are legal for hunting rabbits in California.
In case you don't want to use firearms.
Have a good day!

Click for article:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

ARBA is us!

ARBA is comprised of all the the dues paying members. Those of us who are ARBA need to get involved. When California Senate Bill 917 putting restrictions on rabbit sales went to the legislature for a vote, ARBA President Mike Avesing heard about it from ARBA members and issued a call to action requesting all ARBA members to contact the California legislature to lobby against the bill. We are ARBA. We are mobilizing. We are going to take action. Mike Avesing is with us and so are other leaders, directors, and committee members. If we want ARBA to get more involved then we need to get involved with ARBA.

ARBA is not there to do things for us, ARBA is us. We need to do these things. Contact your director today. Contact the clubs you belong to and the clubs where you show rabbits and cavies. Get involved with running the shows. Help with setting up and taking down. Help with watching each other's animals.

Roll up your sleeves and become an ARBA activist.

Have a good day!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Red American Rabbit

(photo: Red, White, Blue American rabbits, photo by Allen Mesick used by permission)

I saw a picture posted by Alan Messick on Facebook showing a Red, a White, and a Blue American from Chris Hemp displayed at Crescent City CA rabbit show.

The American rabbit breed is one of the rarest in the USA and only is recognized in Blue and White. Some people have been suggesting the development of a Red variety in the breed so the American breed could come in Red, White, Blue which is the colors of the flag of USA! Seeing an actual Red rabbit from the American  breed is a surprise and a delight!

Some people think we should practice saving the white and blue and perfecting it before bringing in another variety. They are a very rare breed and we should do everything to help bring there numbers up.

People are breeding more Americans than they were before. The current crop of American breeders are saving the blue and white by driving breeding stock all over the country in the last two years. They have adopted strategies like using blacks as blue carriers to increase the number blues. They have been crossing whites and blues then culling out the unwanted colors. They are working the breed like crazy. If somebody wants to push the envelope and develop a new variety then more power to them. Chris Hemp has been promoting Blues and Whites for about six years. So if anybody knows how to make a Red American it would be Chris. I applaud her efforts! Look how excited people are about a possible new variety of American! That's how to promote a breed.

Well done Chris!

Have a joyful day! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Space Rabbits of Brocklevoons

One of the fun things about the internet is finding links to wacky things
that will tickle one to the core! Have a good day!

Space Rabbits Of Brocklevoons on youtube

Space Rabbits of Brocklevoons', by Kate Rowe and accompanied by Ryan
Morrison. This was filmed during their Australian tour, at Albêdo in
North Lake, Perth, on the 9th May 2009. Kate Rowe is an Australian
songwriter from the Blue Mountains in NSW. Ryan Morrison is from W.A.
and also performs solo and with the Spooky Men's Chorale

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rabbit Agility

Rabbit Agility - In the real bunny world, the rabbit is a runner, a jumper. The rabbit is fast and nimble. The rabbit has a thousand enemies that will catch it and eat it. But first they have to catch it. Using the natural talents of the rabbit there are events called Rabbit Agility or Rabbit Show Jumping. You can find some information in facebook, and great stuff on youtube.

Youtube videos

Have a good day!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Soylent Green Anyone
"Soylent Green Anyone" by Sami Segale
Oakland (CA) Examiner

All pig breeders and rabbit breeders need to read this article. It talks about freedom to produce our own food. Starts talking about raising a market pig then discusses Debe Bell's rabbits in Colorado.

Have a good day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Real Bunny World

When you go to Facebook, search for REAL BUNNY WORLD which is my new Facebook group where rabbit breeders and pet owners can share questions and answers in a open group format.

In the real bunny world, rabbits feed the world. Rabbits were carried by sailors and soldiers everywhere to feed travelers.

Rabbits are a multpurpose animal. We need to embrace the rabbit for what it is.

https://www. facebook. com/groups/ 125157017579447/

And our numbers are in the tens of thousands. ARBA has over 23,000 members. Not to mention many times more that are rabbit keepers.

We can move hundreds and thousands of rabbits for rabbits shows, fairs, and demonstrations. We can move tens of thousands of rabbits for national shows.

Talk to your family and friends. Talk to your friends in law enforcement or that work for the county. They'll learn that rabbit keepers are not part of a problem, we're part of the community!

Have a good day!

How big is too big?

Rabbitgeek posts from Facebook:
"One immediate problem is that small breeders often find themselves in trouble with the zoning department. If rabbits are protected as livestock, many times there is the requirement for acreage to serve as a buffer for neighbors. In one area, one needs 1/2 an acre to qualify for "incidental agricultural" use. A common size lot single family dwelling is 1/8 of an acre."

Laws that get passed do not affect big guys and little guys equally. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) would apply to all animal raisers but while small farms have to pay a per animal license (expensive) the big operations get to buy a site license for pennies per animal."

I have no problem with somebody who has 500 working does. Or even 1000 working does. What I don't want to see is laws that require us to have 500 working does before we are considered "legitimate" farmers/breeders. If small farm/homesteading/urban farming is going to be successful, we need some parity with the big guys. But if the big guy is Cargill, I'm gonna be toast. No, I'm going to be the shadow of toast."

"Like the recent laws in Calif about chicken egg producers required to use bigger cages or pen or range feeding. If big rabbit producers are forced to use huge cages, we will all be redesigning our rabbitries. Other issue is that some of us have raised small rabbits for meat (Dutch, Standard Chinchillas) and those should not be forced to use larger cages."

Have a good day!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Electrolytes and Vitamins

*from rabbitgeek notes Aug 21 2007
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.

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 gatorade. When water starts
appearing clear again time to add more mix.
Have a good day!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Percent Protein and Hay

Question: Another question on hay... I am unhappy with the level of protein in the local pellet feed. Not a single kind is 18% and the %17 percent cost almost twice what 16% does. Typically I mix a 12% with the 16%. I have heard that American rabbits do very well on closer to 18%. I wanted to supplement their pellets with alfalfa hay. Is this OK or would that be too much protein? I only feed them a little alfalfa currently. But they really like the alfalfa.

Response: American breed rabbits should do well on 16% feed. There should not be a need to have special feed formulas to grow them into proper weight range.

Americans were developed to be meat and fur rabbits. Selective breeding will give you rabbits that thrive on 16% feed.

The commercial rabbitries typically feed 16% feed to bucks and non-nursing does. Nursing does and growing meat pens get 18% feed.

One commercial breeder said that as he pushes his feed cart down the aisle he would look for the nest boxes and if there was a litter they get 18% feed. Everybody else gets 16%.

Because 16% feed usually costs less than 18% feed. So 18% feed is reserved for nursing does with litters and for growing out meat rabbits.

I fed a lot of 16% feed (Purina Complete green bag) to my Americans. Later I would mix 18% feed (Purina Professional grey bag) and 16% feed to make an average 17% feed. That was because of our mixed herd of four to ten different breeds at any one time. That seemed to cover the higher protein need of litters and big rabbits like French Lops and Angora rabbits while not overwhelming the little Holland Lops, Netherland Dwarf and Polish. I could feed them all from one barrel and it worked!

Sometimes we would feed 16% Purina Show blue bag because of the extracts and oils they added but mixed with the 18% feed or mixed with the 16% Complete green bag to cut the costs down.

Those changes were to accommodate some of our other showbunny breeds, not to affect the Amerians.

For basic feed a breeder can use 16% feed. When our budget would get tight we would use all 16% feed and use oats for supplement. For nursing litters supplement with a tablespoon of Calf Manna or Animax each day. I used crocks to feed so it was easy to put the supplement on top of the pellets.

I want to breed rabbits that thrive on 16% feed with some supplement for does with litters. Some people say that meat pens should grow on 16%. Maybe with some oats or corn/oat/barley/molasses (COB).

Having said that, for individuals who are not quite reaching show weight, I found that Barbie Brown's conditioning mix supplement is very good for filling out the body.

As we grew and selected our rabbits for body type and size, there was less need for the conditioning mix.

As for hay, we used oat hay or grass hay because it has a good fiber content and is cheaper than alfalfa. Rabbits get plenty of alfalfa in the pellets. As rule of thumb, good horse hay is good rabbit hay. So we would buy hay from feed stores that cater to horse people.

Rabbits can adapt to alfalfa hay if they have to. If alfalfa hay is low cost in my area I would use it. I would like to have rabbits that thrive on feed that available locally and would feed it consistently.

We would also use the hay to stuff nest boxes. It gives the kits something to nibble on and I only had to store one bale of hay instead of a bale of hay and a bale of straw in my small rabbitry.

Just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
Have a good day!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Can't Find White Buck

Problem: I lost my buck awhile back, and can't find a White New Zealand buck to breed my White New Zealand buck to. Every one wants to sell me a Black New Zealand.

Response: In Rare Breeds we run into this issue with shortage of breeding stock. If the BNZ has good body type, breed to WNZ and save a color cross buck to grow into a breeder. The color cross will have one white and one color gene. When 5 or 6 months old you can breed the young buck to a White doe. You should get half White and half Color rabbits in the litter.

So if you bred a BNZ and a WNZ today you could have a new litter with WNZ in 6 or 7 months with some color cross for the freezer.

Save more than one color cross buck and keep checking in case the Sex Change Fairy visits your rabbitry.

Have a good day!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Stray White Hairs

Question: I'm trying to find out if there is a genetic reason for stray white hairs in black rabbits (New Zealand Black)? I have two youngsters that just developed patches of scattered white hairs (enough for a Disqualification DQ on the show table). I had high hopes for these two because of their body types - but don't want to perpetuate the bad color if it's genetic.

Answer: The Stray White Hairs (SWH) are a genetic issue. I believe the stray white hairs are a separate gene.

It is not caused by breeding to Ruby Eyed White (REW) unless the REW happens to have the SWH gene, which would be hidden under the white coat. Some Black Dutch rabbits will have SWH. Dutch are NEVER bred to REW. Some breeders will use tweezers to pluck SWH before a show although it is against the rules.

Stray White Hairs are an issue in American Blues, which has been fighting SWH since the beginning of the breed in 1917. The issue can be improved by breeding away from SWH, only breeding those rabbits with excellent body and fur and minimal SWH, to overcome the SWH fault.

I believe most of the breeds with solid colors recognized have a Fault for stray white hairs which becomes a disqualification (DQ) if 3 white hairs are found together in a colored fur area. My advice is try to find mates that do not have SWH to breed to the youngsters with SWH. Then maybe you can get some offspring with the body type and less SWH.

Have a good day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rabbits for Independence

Amherst family subsists on home-grown rabbits
In pursuit of independence

Have a good day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


NCAG - CoCo County Fair, New Zealand 2011 Rabbit Convention

The New Zealand 2011 Rabbit Convention is featured in pictures on the web log of the Northern California Angora Guild. We mean the country of New Zealand, not the rabbit breed.

Betty Chu is the manager/editor of the NCAG blog and has assembled a great group of pictures from the NZ Convention. Follow this link to the articles

Something I did not expect to see was a picture of Enderby Island rabbits on the the show table. Enderby Island rabbits are unique to the country of New Zealand, having developed by natural selection on Enderby Island.

Also featured this week is the rabbit show activities at Contra Costa County (Calif.) Fair.

Great snapshots of a traditional county fair that keeps to the basics.

While you are at the NCAG blog, bookmark it so you can visit and check out what Betty has found.

Have a good day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

See the Rabbit Breeds

To see all the rabbit breeds

Visit the American Rabbit Breeders Association website to see pictures

The pictures are linked to the rabbit breed specialty club if available.

Have fun clicking!

Have a good day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

English Angora Rainbow

Cruising the internet when I saw this link and clicked it.

Bumblebee Acres - English Angora Rabbit, Colors of the Rainbow

This is an astounding pictorial of the many colors found in the English Angora Rabbit as seen in the USA. Many pictures of the kits and some adults display different types and lengths of wool to demonstrate the fabulous colors.

Go there! See it!

Bravo to Bumblebee Acres!

Have a good day!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Line breeding is controlled in-breeding. It's used to reinforce genetic traits. So when you have a great rabbit, it's a proven way to almost "clone" that rabbit. But care must be taken to cull any rabbits that don't meet the mark since any undesireable traits will also be reinforced by linebreeding. Line breeding is common in many types of livestock.

Have a good day!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It Lives In The Bloodlines

The bloodlines are the important thing. Individual bunnies can be dear, but because rabbits have such phenomenal birthrates, the bloodline has a life of its own.

One of my favorite rabbits was a Blue Dutch buck named Schettlers Chevy. We picked him up in a raffle. We called him Baloo because he was big. He was a big Dutch with a lot of rabbit personality. Always glad to meet you when you came to feed or visit and he never bit

Baloo never won a leg, too big, kept getting DQed for being overweight. But he did produce 3 Grand Champions among his offspring. A long line of offspring including Dust Bunny, Lulu, Shirley, Catalina, Blue Betty, Blueberry, and the last of his line, Blue Berry Bonds, a Blue Dutch Buck with 15 Grand Champion legs.

Blue Berry Bonds passed away in 2005, but we will remember Baloo and his children forever.

Have a joyful day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Complete Angora Person

Looking at the Domestic Rabbits magazine from American Rabbit Breeders Association, the Nat'l Angora Breeders Club Club Report (Mar/Apr 2011), Betty Chu says:
"A show exhibitor is only half of a complete Angora person, the other half is the fiber artist who works with the Angora wool; and vice versa. It takes both showing and utilizing the wool to totally appreciate the beauty and functionality of Angora rabbits."

I have to agree with Betty. My lovely wife Tracy and I started as Angora exhibitors. We used to throw away the wool we gathered on the slicker brushes during grooming. Then we discovered that people will pay $5-$6 dollars PER OUNCE for raw angora wool.

So we started saving it. I learned how to spin angora wool on a homemade drop spindle which started me on a fiber adventure that continues to this day. I've spun angora, alpaca, and sheep wool. I learned about knitting and weaving.

My lovely wife Tracy would blend it with other wool on a drum carder. She would spin it into yarn and ply it with other yarns for "art yarn" or "novelty yarn." Then she'd knit it into hats and scarves.

I've met many competent and passionate Angora rabbit exhibitors at the shows. I'd say over half of exhibitors I've met USE the wool.

The reason the Angora rabbit exists is for the wool.

To fully appreciate the Angora, one has to use the wool. To understand the structure of the wool, one has to use the wool. To appreciate the differences in Angora wool, one has to use the wool.

If one does not use the wool, they are missing out on the full Angora experience.

Have a good day!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Favorite Awards At Rabbit Shows

What is your favorite award at rabbit shows?

I like the coffee mugs, ball point pens, aprons, ball caps for Best of Breed and Best Opposite Sex of Breed (BOB/BOSB).

I like to see carrier cages or folding chairs handed out for Best In Show and Reserve In Show (BIS/RIS).

At Livestock Nationals at Cow Palace, San Francisco, they handed out stadium blankets one year and little duffle bags on another year for BOB/BOSB for all the breeds entered!

One more thing.

Would rabbit clubs please include the rare breeds in the BOB/BOSB awards/prizes?

Many clubs do not give awards if there are less than 8 or 10 entries.

I know it is hard to justify a fancy award for a breed with a few entries, but if you could hand out a flat ribbon or something it would be much appreciated by the rare breed exhibitors.

Even if there was only one entry in a breed, it would be nice to get a flat ribbon for Best Of Breed. If clubs need to save the coffee mugs for the bigger entries that is understandable, but a flat ribbon doesn't cost that much.

It would be encouraging to the rare breed exhibitors and I think clubs would see an increase in the entries from these minority breeds. That would make for wider variety in the judging for Best in Show. In Calif there are 35 to 40 different breeds hitting the BIS judging table.

At one Youth show, there was a single Standard Chinchilla entry. That doe went to the BIS table and took Reserve In Show. She did not win a leg toward Grand Champion but she did win the RIS award (carrier cage from KW cages). And it made a youth exhibitor very happy.

So please remember the rare breeds when handing out BOB/BOSB ribbons.

Have a good day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rabbits Make Good Stew

This post was seen on -

Someone said it to me again today. Whenever someone finds out I have a pet rabbit, they tell me that rabbits make good stew.

Well I tried! I got a good recipe, bought all the ingredients and put them in the kitchen with Hershey the rabbit.
He didn't make anything!

Rabbits can't make good stew!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rabbit Fever on Today!

Rabbit Fever is everywhere!
NBC Today Show has booked Amy Do, director of the film "Rabbit Fever", to appear on the show on Friday morning this week.
Betty Chu was also invited to appear with her English Angora Lilianna and Lucianna, both multiple Best In Show winners.
Please watch the program on Friday morning. Betty will have reports of the trip and appearance on the blog when they fly back on Friday night.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rabbit Showmanship

Question: Where can I find info on Rabbit Showmanship? Videos? Lots of details?

There are some good showmanship videos on youtube

Check out examples 1, 2, 3 showing 3 members doing their presentation.

There is also an ARBA Showmanship Standard

There is an older standard with a score sheet that is handy that you can download from the 4HRabbitList yahoo group files area

Have a good day!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Low House

*from rabbit geek notes Dec 31, 2004*

8 ft by 4 ft roof 50 inch high, Inside measure 90 inch by 40 inch, the cages rest on 2x4 boards that rest on a couple of slats on the sides.

The house is made with 4 sheets of 48 x 96 inch OSB. Cutout front door and side window. Back is solid. The panels are screwed at the corners.

Roof is covered with a piece of vinyl flooring wrapped around the sides and then stapled.

It was painted to make it weather resistant. A plastic tarp is pulled down at night and tied down for extreme weather. Shed is located under a large shade tree.

Have a good day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cold weather - SoCal Style

A friend in Southern California asked about expected low overnight temp of 30F degrees, which is low by So Cal standards.

My reply:
As long as the rabbits stay dry and out of the wind, 30 degrees will not be a problem for them. Some rabbitries are in locations where they get sub zero overnight, so 30 degrees is okay, although your rabbits are probably not used to it every day.

So the precautions you took are reasonable. Be sure there is some ventilation because rabbits need fresh air or they tend to get sick.

Be sure they have unfrozen water during the day. Not hot, lukewarm or cold is okay, just not frozen.

If you have the hay to use, go ahead and give them some extra for bedding or use pieces of corrugated cardboard boxes for them to sit on. Any hay or cardboard that gets soiled should be removed in the morning.

That should cover it!

Have a good day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Breeds For Beginners

Rabbit Breeds for Beginners
(from rabbit geek notes 12/27/09)

Welcome to the group.

Are you planning to raise meat rabbits? Are you looking for strictly for show? I'm glad you are asking now because the first rabbit you buy will likely be with you for its whole life.

For meat pen rabbits, see my website with meat pen info

For "fancy" rabbits strictly for show this is my suggestion for new members or beginner:

Netherland Dwarf - Lots of competition, but because the dwarfs can compete for first place in dozens of colors and groups, there is a lot of chances to win a blue ribbon. Small rabbit, small cages, small feed bill.

Polish - Many of the same advantages, not as much competition.

The prices for ND and Polish rabbits are not terribly high. We've even found good rabbits in these breeds in the raffles. Our first showbunny was a Ruby Eyed White Netherland Dwarf we bought in a feed store. He often won first place as a REW Sr Buck.

Stick with solid color ND & Polish, not the broken pattern markings which can be a problem at times.

We had good luck with Dutch, but the marking requirements can be very frustrating for a beginner so avoid them the first year or two.

I would avoid Holland Lops. They are very popular, very cute but in show there is a limited number of colors to show in. At shows there are literally hundreds of rabbits competing for a small number of first place ribbons. Because of the popularity and the intense competition, the prices for Holland Lops is much higher than for other breeds.

It can be very frustrating for children to be told their rabbit won 10th place out of 27 rabbits.

I would also avoid Lionheads. While they are definitely a popular breed, as a showbunny they are not officially accepted in the ARBA Standard. So this means that from year to year, your rabbit may or may not be showable because of color or they may change the working standard and now your rabbit has too much wool on the flanks or not enough wool on the head. So beginners should avoid Lionheads. It also means that Best Of Breed Lionhead cannot compete for Best In Show in an ARBA show. That will not go over well when you have to tell the kid all the other kid's Best of Breed can go to the Best In Show table, but not theirs. *As of Feb 2014 Lionheads are an accepted ARBA breed for show! I would not consider them first choice for beginners but they are no longer on my avoid list.*

Himalayan - Another kid friendly breed is the Himalayan. Small and generally docile they are easy to handle. 4 different recognized colors give some flexibility for competition.

If you shop for rabbits at a rabbit show, before you buy, ask if you can take the rabbit around to get opinions on it. Sometimes you can catch a rabbit judge taking a break and ask if the rabbit has any disqualifications on it. Judges usually try to be helpful to beginners and will give you a good assessment.

Also, I don't expect people to sell me a rabbit guaranteed to win rabbit shows. I want one that will not be disqualified in show.

Rabbit should have a tattoo in the left ear and the tattoo should match the pedigree.

Get the pedigree at time of sale. Be sure the pedigree is SIGNED and has all the weights written in. There are hundreds of people who were told the pedigree would be mailed and it never was. No pedigree, no sale, walk away. If the seller really wanted to sell the rabbit, they should have brought the pedigree.

Having a pedigree is not required to show, but is required to register the rabbit with ARBA and to apply for Grand Champion for a winning rabbit. ARBA membership is also required to register a rabbit or apply for Grand Champion certificate.

Having a pedigree solves a lot of issues if you decide to breed the rabbit. Pedigree also makes it easier to sell or trade the rabbit if you decide to.

Above is my standard spiel on rabbits for beginners.

It's just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

Have a good day!

Rabbits and Chickens

Found this link to a picture of a Salatin Rabbit/Chicken house,
Rabbit cages are on the left of the picture

I believe there is netting above the rabbit cages that keeps the chickens from roosting over the rabbits.

This blog also has some pictures of rabbit harvesting.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cleaning Rusty 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 otherwise 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.

NOTE: I'm told that chain link fence paint works well and costs less
when cleaning up a lot of cages. A $20 can of fence paint can do
over forty cages with a paint sprayer. Two $5 cans of cold galvanize
paint was enough to do two or three 3-hole stacking cages or 9 holes.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Year of the rabbit

Celebrate Year of the Rabbit!
Eat More Rabbit!
Chinese Lunar Calendar and Horoscope
03 Feb 2011 to 22 Jan 2012

Friday, January 7, 2011

Red New Zealands

QUESTION: You also raise NZR correct? Could you give me some tips on looking at stock for them? I am interested in raising them. Is it a must to breed red to red? If you breed red to white will you get brokens?

My lovely wife was the New Zealand wrangler. She had Reds that would run the other colors off the show table. With New Zealands, they have Black, White, and Red. The Red was the original color. The White and Black came later.

New Zealand breeders generally keep all the colors separate, treating them almost like separate breeds. Many NZ breeders will not buy a rabbit if it has other colors on the pedigree. It should have all black, all white, or all red.

When selecting for Red, look for color that goes all the way down the hair shaft to the skin. You want a nice bright reddish color, but not dark red like mahogany. The belly can be lighter shade, but not white.

Breed Reds to Red for best results. The theory is that there are red factors that can be collected in the bloodline as you breed and weed out the weaker red colored rabbits.

Look for a rabbit top line that peaks just at the midline of the rabbit.

If you breed red to whites you will not get brokens. You need to breed a broken into your lines to get brokens.

If you breed red to white you will have to wait and see because you don't know what is hidden under the coat of the white rabbit. White is albino that covers the true color of the rabbit. When you cross the white with the color rabbit, the colors gene under the white coat will now come into play, no longer hidden by the white coat.

Broken pattern is a gene that comes from the from the English Spot rabbits, the gene is even notated as "en".

You are welcome to join the NewZealandRabbit group on yahoogroups.

Have a good day!

Picking an American

QUESTION: What should I look for when picking my kits? What should the body type look like? What should I look for in the fur? Obviously I should pick the deepest blue color I can find correct?

Look at my rabbitgeek american rabbit webpage

See the old book with the sideview of a blue doe?

That profile has been my goal when selecting for rabbits. I like to see that shape when I look at a rabbit that is relaxed and sitting flat in the cage. As you see the round part of the topline peaks toward the back of the rabbit. That's the mandolin type. That is different from commercial type body type where the roundness peaks more in the center.

Look at this Convention Youth Best of Breed from 2003

There's the topline peaking past the midline.

Check out the white rabbit from the Can-Ams

Topline peaks past the midline.

The last two pictures on the webpage are two blue grand champions.

The last picture is a doe that was born at my rabbitry who made it to grand champion.

Look for color that goes down to the base of the hair shaft. And look for friendly rabbits that come to the front of the cage rather than those that cower at the back of the cage.

Put your hands on the rabbits and feel for muscle tone. It would be good to feel a hefty body that feels heavy for its size.

Avoid biters.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios