Contractor Sprays Bora Care Today

Well, today the contractor is spraying the house with boracare for powder post beetles.  The rabbits are all moved out of the laundry room and in small cages in the far part of the lawn.  I’m wishing that I could be outside too, working on the large hutch, so I could put Erma and sugar in there soon.  I really prefer having the rabbits outside because their cages need less cleaning when they are in wire bottom hutches.

Plans for the future.  Well, since Florence was spade I now have only one purebred French Angora doe.  I will probably breed Erma in the next couple of months.  First, I will try to breed her to Charlie, my chocolate torte buck.  I hope that they take this time.   When I bred him to Florence in the Fall I didn’t get any babies, so we will see.

For now, I am just waiting.


Merry Christmas Y’all!

Merry Christmas to everyone and their bunnies!  Sitting inside the cozy house here, Santa’s offerings have been unwrapped and played with, eggs have been scrambled, and zzzz’s are waiting.  

This month I have finally finished my Wildlife Management BS, and I am happily waiting to find work as a field biologist.  The rabbits made it through too many days in their cages, late night feedings, and not enough cage cleanings while I studied genetics, goshawks, wetlands, and performed a work trade at Aleda’s school.  We are all on the other side, gladly.  My spinning wheel waits by the window for me to return, and the wool is stacked up in the living room waiting for me to find money for cotton hand cards.

I have exciting plans for 2013.  I can’t wait for my life to stabilize.  I lost 30 pounds in 2012, and I would like to lose 30 more in 2013.  I have applied to jobs all over the country, but will be decorating cakes until something pans out, hopefully picking up more shifts in January.  I also want to start a little etsy business selling reusable rabbit diapers!

Merry Christmas!

Will Breed next Spring

Good Autumn y’all.  I am presently trying to graduate college.  My last breeding attempt, which would have been my first purebred attempt, failed.  Florence never had any babies.  It’s probably for the best, as I do not have time to put into my backyard homesteading activities, short of feeding the animals and collecting the eggs.  

I will be breeding in the Spring.  I expect to let each doe have one litter in 2013.  At that point I will be starting to keep records and building my rabbitry name.  I hope to show my first juniors in the Fall of 2013.


Let the Search Begin: Wool Genes Polymorphism, Codominance, Multiple Genes???

I am attending university, as foreigners say.  It is my last semester, after an absence of six years.  I am taking genetics.

And of course, what I am truly passionate about is backyard homesteading.  But ya kinda have to have a backyard, and so home economics forces me to venture outward in a search for money.  When I get home, after trolling Facebook and craigslist, I find myself still trying to solve the puzzle:  why, when I crossed my purebred high quality German Angora buck with my French Angora doe, did I get SHORT HAIRED RABBITS.

Well, I think there are multiple genes driving wool traits.  Of course!  Because they have  3-4 different types of hairs, different thicknesses, different colors, different densities of guard hairs vs. under fluff wooly hairs…it’s not just whoop, der it is, wool!  All the same!  Right?

So here is the link of my latest google search, in my desperation for information:

Genetic polymorphism is the existence of more than two allele possibilities for a single locus.  Meaning, it’s not just this or that–it’s this or that or that other or the other one or that one over there.  Also happening is crossing over during the gamete (egg/sperm), creating even more variation, meaning……….?  Hell if I know, I’m a hack.  It’s a mumble jumble to me.  Bottom line, hey people, the rabbit genome was only mapped four years ago…the human genome was only mapped in the last ten years or so…what I’m saying is…we don’t really know.  Purebred lines are by definition more homozygous than the original rabbit, meaning, breeders have purposely bred out the possibility of some genes in a breed just so we get the morph, the shape, we want.  So, getting to the recessive/dominant conclusion was…a generalization that I don’t believe will hold true once more studies are done.  My goofy short haired german/french crosses are not normal haired!  They do not express “normal” phenotype (appearance). They have more variation in hair length, they have longer hair than “normal”, they have wool on their tails.  So all this “wool is recessive” jive—well it is just jive.  It’s not that simple.

Or, I’m wrong.  But I am often right.

Red Babies?

I am hoping that I put my colors into the color calculator correctly.  I am a bit confused as to what color Florence actually is.  I was told that she is a a shaded agouti, but she has thrown REW, fawn, blue tort, broken black, a steel chinchilla, and a silver chinchilla. I just bred her to my new rescue bunny, Charlie, a chocolate torte.  He should carry REW.  The calculator said that I have a 25% chance of having red babies.  Oh, I just went back and checked the dam’s genotype, and changed it to what I think it is, and it increased my chances of getting red to 38%.  Wow.  I hope I don’t get my expectations too high.  I have to say I’m excited.  The buck is actually still in quarantine, but has been on antibiotics over a week, has been treated with revolution for mites and worms, so…I don’t think a five minute encounter with her running all over the living room and him looking at her funny until I held her still should cause her to develop anything…except red babies.  Super super hope!

Focusing on French Angoras and New Directions

Well, I am now focussing my rabbitry efforts on setting up a purebred French Angora herd.  Unfortunately, my first litter of French/German crosses was a flop.  None of the babies grew wool.  One customer is returning two of her babies, both does.  I may, however, cross them back to an unrelated buck for genetic diversity.  The more I try to set up my herd, the more I find extensive inbreeding in the lines available.  I understand that inbreeding has its purposes, but unfortunately, the French Angora seems to be so obscure in California, that it is almost impossible to set up a genetically diverse herd.  Perhaps I am talking out of ignorance, but I am a believer in hybrid vigor.

In addition, I plan to begin showing next year, hopefully my own babies.

Oops I did It Again!

Oh dear…so two evenings ago I let my satin mix buck out in the playpen…while one of my angora does was on a tie down in the front.  It didn’t even dawn on me that if one of the got loose, that I’d end up with more babies that I don’t want.  Until dusk, when, yes, it was apparent, I had done it again.  Erma, the French Angora doe with the champion lines, is pregnant again with non-angora kits.


In other rabbit news…I treated the angoras with revolution today.  It does appear that the three angoras may have fur mites.  From what I read online, these fur mites are quite common, and can be contracted from just being out about in the yard.  I do wish I had used ivomectrin instead, because it would have been much much much less expensive and one bottle would have lasted me the rest of my life.  In the future, I WILL be using ivomectrin.

I am resisting the urge to breed Florence (French) to Hans (German) again at this point.  It is very upsetting to be having more non-angora babies, but I am not ready to place two litters again!  So…I will wait, possibly until I acquire a French buck.  I would like to establish purebred pedigreed lines.  I am hoping to eventually own a pair of purebred German angoras as well as a pair of purebred French angoras.  Finances are limiting right now, as I am taking a break from working before going back into the university to finish my wildlife biology degree.  Then I will be pursuing a teaching credential, after which I hope to begin working again at over double my previous earnings!  One can dream.

For now, I am turning away from breeding towards my handspinning and knitting efforts.  I also aspire to take up sewing our own clothes.