Toni's Coneys

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Taking a Short Break

Posted on November 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I am taking a short break from breeding and raising my mini rex. I'm attending a community college and will not have the time to raise litters with the amount of care and attention I like to give them. All my rabbits are staying with me and I'll still be going to shows and registering this fall and next year. I might be raising a litter next spring, I'll have to see how my schedule is.

 

This break will give me an opportunity to save up for a very nice herd buck. I've been wanting to buy the best castor sire I can find to help improve my herd. Now that I'm not feeding growing kits who eat a lot that should be easier! My hopes are to breed this good buck (when I get him) to my does and keep some of the doe offspring to breed back to him. Keeping this in mind will help me when I'm missing baby bunnies. :)

 

I am looking forward to having less rabbits to care for this winter. They may like the cold but their owner does not!

It's Official!

Posted on November 17, 2013 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I have completed all the requirements and am now an ARBA licensed registrar! I'm looking forward to registering at shows in the spring. I can also register rabbits for breeders in the area and register my own bunnies too! 

After working with judges I worked with a registrar at one show. The registrar was Jacalynn Gumz. There were only two rabbits brought to be registered that day, a rex and a Himalayan. Jacalynn registered the first one and pointed out a few things regarding the paperwork that are not explained in the "Instructions to Registrars." Then she had me examine, tattoo, and do the paperwork for the Himalayan.

Unfortunately only one picture turned out, and it's a little blurry.

 

Out With the Fly Strips and In With the Straw

Posted on November 4, 2013 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I've had fly strips up in the shed all summer, and they caught lots of flies. Now with cooler weather flies aren't a problem. Flies may no longer be invading, but cold drafts of air are. So I took down the fly strips and found my rabbit boxes in the garage.

 

Each rabbit gets its own box for winter. That way I can keep the shed doors or at least the window open most of the time. Most of the boxes are made of plywood. These are my favorite, but I also have a couple plastic boxes for messy babies. Everybun is grown up enough to be clean this winter, yay! I give each rabbit straw in its box at night as needed. Some of them eat the straw along with their hay, others only need it replenished once a week or so.

 

It's nice having that Ready for Winter feel in the shed now with the rabbits all cozy in their boxes.

Quick Rabbit Quiz 6

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

English lops, French lops, and mini lops share the Lop Color Guide. Which group is unique to the mini lop?

A. Ticked

B. AOV

C. Wide Band

D. Pointed White

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Answer: D. Pointed White Group

The silver marten breed has four recognized varieties. Which of the following is not a recognized variety?

A. Black

B. Blue

C. Chocolate

D. Lilac

E. Sable

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Answer: D. Lilac

 

Pointed White mini rex are called Himalayans, and are shown together in the same group. Which colors are showable?

A. Black only

B. Black and blue

C. Black, blue, chocolate, and lilac.

D. Sepia only

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Answer: B. Black and Blue

Assisting ARBA Judges for my Registrar's License

Posted on September 28, 2013 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (1)

I have now worked with three ARBA judges as required for my registrar's license! It was a blast, I learned a lot from each judge and enjoyed handling so many breeds of rabbits.

 

I was able to assist Steve Zaruba for my first show, Troy Ihrke for my second show, and Vic Vogts for my third show. I appreciate the time each of them took, giving me pointers throughout the day. I learned how to handle the large breeds, DQ's to watch for on specific varieties, and how to pose Netherland dwarfs, Britannia petites, and Jersey woolies. Each judge had their own style, and I enjoyed working with all of them.

 

With Steve Zaruba I did Polish, rex, champagne D'argents, harlequins,  Flemish giants, Californians, Netherland dwarfs, Havanas, a Jersey wooly, a Britannia petite, and a French angora.

 

We started with Polish, he had me check each rabbit over for DQ's, then checked them himself to make sure I didn't miss anything. After a few classes he just let me do all the checking while he judged. If I got far enough ahead of him he'd have me place a class the way I wanted, and tell him why I placed them that way. He would look them over and tell me if he agreed or not and why. If there was a single rabbit in a class he'd have me give comments on it. With the Polish I learned that the broken color can be tricky, the pattern made it hard for me to see their type properly. The judge told me to close my eyes and feel the rabbits to get a better idea of their shape.

 

I wasn't used to handling large rabbits, since I've only raised mini rex. I had a little trouble turning over the large breeds at first, but the judge showed me a better way to do it. With practice I got better, but I was covered in scratches and my arms were quite tired after doing big rabbits most of the day! 

 

For my second judge assist I worked with Troy Ihrke. We did English angoras, Himalayans, Netherland dwarfs, Americans, and Holland lops. Only five breeds, but there were a lot of them(except the Americans).

 

The classes were large, so I would check each rabbit for DQ's, then the judge would give me a few rabbits to place while he checked the rest of the class. After I placed them he'd ask me why I placed them that way, and would tell me if he agreed or not. If I found a DQ on a rabbit he'd have me give the comments for that rabbit. He kept me on my toes, too! While I was busy concentrating he'd suddenly quiz me on correct color, or whether a certain variety was showable in Netherlands, or other tricky stuff. I'm glad I studied so hard! He also let me look at the Best 6 Class and Best 4 Class winners. I thought the 6 Class winner was best and he agreed.

 

I learned a lot about posing and judging Netherland dwarfs and Holland lops. It was my first time to see the American breed, too. I didn't have any trouble handling the rabbits this time.

 

To finish I worked with Vic Vogts. I had a lot of different kinds of rabbits to work with this time: Dutch, Florida whites, Netherland dwarfs, Jersey woolies, American fuzzy lops, and Belgian hares. Talk about variety!  This time I again checked each rabbit for DQ's, with the judge checking them all after I did. Then he'd have me place at least one class in each breed, often a class in each variety or group. He'd have me tell him why I placed them the way I did, and then he'd have me give comments on the class.

 

I enjoyed judging the Dutch, their markings kept me from getting bored (as if that's possible).  The American fuzzy lops were feisty that day, some were growling at us and even trying to bite. I learned how to pose them and what their wool should feel like.The Belgians were pretty neat, I've never handled one before. Turning them over was tricky at first, with their long legs poking out, but I got the hang of it eventually. Posing them was even more difficult, some were more interested in sniffing the table than sitting up tall.

Now the next step is to work with a registrar! If at least two of the judges and the registrar pass me, I will get my license!

 

Quick Rabbit Quiz 5

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Which variety is the American not showable in:

A. Red

B. White

C. Blue

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A. Red

Americans are only showable in two varieties: blue and white.

Quick Rabbit Quiz 4

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Which chinchilla breed(s) have flyback fur:

A. American chinchilla

B. standard chinchilla

C. giant chinchilla

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Answer: C. Giant Chinchilla

 

Quick Rabbit Quiz 3

Posted on August 15, 2013 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Which semi arch breed is to have a topline which starts in the middle of the shoulders:

A. Flemish Giant

B. English Lop

C. Giant Chinchilla

D. American

E. Beveren

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Answer: C. Giant Chinchilla

Quick Rabbit Quiz 2

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Which of the spotted breeds faults markings on the hind legs:

A. Checkered giant

B. English spot

C. Rhinelander

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Answer: A. Checkered giant

Quick Rabbit Quiz 1

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

What is/are the allowed eye color(s) for the black Japanese variety of the harlequin rabbit breed?

A. Brown only 

B. Brown or blue gray

C. Brown, blue gray, or blue

D. Any color other than red or blue

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Answer: A. Brown only, any other color is disqualified from competition.

Blue Bunny Paws

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The rabbits are getting blue paws!

 

The rabbit pen is under a mulberry tree. As you can see, mulberries stain everything. Julius has his feet stained blue, some of the others have purple feet. Spice and Isima like eating the mulberries, the other rabbits think the berries are too sticky to try.

 

 

Fiber3 Rabbit Chow

Posted on July 1, 2013 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I have been using Purina's Fiber3 Rabbit Chow for almost a year now. It has no corn, lower protein, and higher fiber than Purina's basic Rabbit Chow. I've seen how the rabbits react to it in cold weather and warm, and in all life stages, I'm quite pleased with the results.

 

I switched during our very dry summer last year when I could no longer buy grass hay. I had started feeding alfalfa, but this caused some of our older rabbits to have problems with colic (gas buildup in the intestines). Since my mini rex are also prone to being overweight, I though the Fibre3 would help in both areas.

 

The rabbits now get a ration of Fibre3 and a small amount of alfalfa twice daily. It has worked very well. The older rabbits no longer have digestive problems, and it's easier to keep the does from getting fat. I've been feeding it to does with litters, and I'm happy to say that the kits can eat Fibre3 right out of the nest box with no hint of diarrea. The does with litters have done well on it too. 

 

Because of the lower protein I do give the growing juniors and show rabbits some little extras, and I may end up getting a show feed for them. For now I give each junior a spoonful of oatmeal twice a day, and plenty of alfalfa. If they are still finishing in coat and flesh I give half a plain dog biscuit or sunflower seeds instead of oatmeal for the evening feeding.

Registrar Test Results

Posted on June 18, 2013 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I passed the test! I received the results in the mail yestderday. My score was 100% on the oral and 98% on the written. That means I missed two questions, I wonder which they were...

 

Now I can start working under judges for the next few shows! I plan to start this Saturday, I'm looking forward to it. Mom will have to show the rabbits for me. She's been doing it the last few shows while I write, so she'll be fine.

My Quest For An ARBA Registrar License

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (1)

I have been going through the process of obtaining an ARBA rabbit registrar license! If all goes well I hope to have my license early next year. This may seem like a long time, but there are many steps involved and it may actually take longer.

 

This is something I've wanted to accomplish for a while; I'm looking forward to it. It will give me something to do at the shows and I think it will be fun. I will also be able to register rabbits for breeders in the area, and even my own rabbits.

 

We need more registrars in Iowa right now, too. In fact, the last two shows I went to, the clubs had not been able to find a registrar who could come.  

 

I requested an application in March and started studying the Standard of Perfection. When Mom and I went to the rabbit show in Amana I brought my application to get the required twenty signatures. This sounded easy, I know more than twenty ARBA members. But not all the people I know were there that day and some are youth members. The signatures must be from adults, and must also have a membership number. I started off well, all the breeders I know were happy to sign. The club members who put on the show were glad to sign too, and lots of people introduced me to their friends and they signed also. After a while I ran out of people I knew to ask, and I had also volunteered to write for a judge, so by this time I needed to get to work. I was assigned to write for Mike Avesing, the ARBA president and a fun judge to work for. When we were done for Show A Mike signed my application and seeing that I still had a half dozen spaces to fill, he took me around to the other judges and his friends to fill in the rest of the blanks and even get some extras!

 

The next step was to take the test. I needed to do lots of studying. I had to do without the ARBA's Study Guide since it was being revised. I am lucky to have Ellyn of Rabbit Smarties as a friend, and she has some very helpful material on her website. With the help of her study tips, I set to work learning the Standard of Perfection. I'm not used to studying, so it took a while to get into the groove. I kept a notebook of notes for each breed and also pages for many of the varieties. I took these notes and my Standard with me whenever I would have spare time to study. Mom said she was starting to feel like hiding when she saw me coming, because I'd be sure to tell her something about rabbit colors or faults. I knew I'd been studying too much when I saw an unusual cloud and immediately thought "that looks like a blue frosty Holland lop." Whenever I began to think there was too much to learn, or when I had questions, Ellyn always helped me out.

 

I arranged with judge Harry Boots to take my test at the rabbit show in Oskaloosa a couple weeks ago. By this time I had studied so much I wasn't even nervous, which is unusual for me. Mom and I arrived at the show early so I was able to take the test before the show started.

 

For the oral part of the test I needed to tattoo a rabbit. The only rabbit we had without a tattoo was Hope's mix breed pet, Jasmine. She said I could bring her to tattoo. I used my EZ Tatt pen, I really like it. For some reason no ink would come out at first, until I realized I had forgotten to wipe off the ointment I keep on the needle for rust prevention. That was the only part that didn't go well; the tattoo is one of the best I've done. After tattooing, I had to show that I could properly handle and evaluate some rabbits. 

 

The second part was a written test of 100 questions. They were all multiple choice and true or false questions. I thought the test was pretty easy after all the studying I'd been doing. The first part of the test was questions on general disqualifications and registering rabbits. Next there were two or three questions about each breed of rabbit. These questions were mostly about disqualifications and colors specific to each breed. There were also quite a few questions about ear and fur lengths, so I'm glad I memorized all those.

 

After the test I felt pretty confident I passed, there were only a few questions I wasn't sure of the answer. Now I have to wait for the official results to come in the mail. I expect them any day now.

 

I did receive an email from Eric Stewart who grades the tests. He said I passed, and that I did "exceptionally well!!" I can't wait to start working with the judges! If I get the results soon I can work at our next show in Allison on the 22nd.

 

Mom snapped some pictures of me taking my test.

 

 

Spring Cleaning in the Rabbit Shed

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (1)

We are finally having some warm weather after all the setbacks in March. That means I can do spring cleaning! The rabbit shed has been in desperate need of a thorough hosing.

Mom helped me carry the cages into the yard; I also took out everything else that wasn't on a high shelf. I swept out all the hay and straw that had accumulated behind the cages and then washed the floor and walls down with the hose.

I love having a plastic shed, cleaning is so easy and thorough. For tough urine stains on the walls or floor I use distilled white vinegar.

After cleaning the shed Mom and I put the rabbits in carriers and hosed their cages, trays, and dividers. The whole process took all morning and part of the afternoon, and it was worth it! The shed looks and smells great.

Decoding Your Rabbit's Pedigree Part 2

Posted on February 25, 2013 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

In Part 2 of Decoding Your Rabbit's Pedigree I will explain how to use a pedigree in your breeding program.

In the sample pedigree I have marked the rabbit's sire (father) with a blue oval and the rabbit's dam (mother) with red oval. As you can see, the sires' info is always above the dams' info. This is true for both vertical pedigrees like this one and horizontal pedigrees as well. You can see that the sire's name is Curry, and HIS sire's name is Sherbert. Occasionally other pedigree designs are used, but there will be some way to tell which rabbit is the sire and which is the dam.

What else can your rabbit's pedigree tell you? You can look at the varieties (colors) of the rabbit's ancestors to help predict what varieties will show up in his/her litters. In the sample pedigree you can see that this doe is a castor, and her sire and dam were castors as well. One of her grandsires was a red. It is a possibility she may have some reds in her litter, especially if bred to a buck with red in his pedigree.

You can also see how your rabbits are related by comparing their pedigrees. By looking at the breeder's prefix to rabbits' names you can also tell what lines your rabbits are from. The rabbit in this pedigree is a blend of two lines. Her sire came from Broadfoot lines and her dam is from Kelly lines. Rabbits that have all their ancestors from the same breeder are more likely to produce offspring with consistent, good quality than rabbits from a mix of several different lines. If you were to look at the pedigrees of the rabbits on Spice's sire's side, you would see that they originally came from Kelly lines too, so they are distantly related to the rabbits on her dam's side.

Pedigrees usually show the winnings or at least registration numbers of your rabbit's sire, dam, grandsire, granddam, etc. Although you shouldn't buy or breed a rabbit just because his dam was a Grand Champion, if the rabbit IS a good example of his breed, and his pedigree shows lots of winnings and registered rabbits, this is an indication that he will produce good offspring, provided he is bred to a good doe.

 

This concludes Part 2 of Decoding Your Rabbit's Pedigree. I hope this helps when you're choosing your next pair of rabbits to breed!

A Rabbit Welcome

Posted on February 3, 2013 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (1)

It's nice to know my rabbits like me. After all, I spend an hour a day cleaning their cages, an hour feeding and watering them, and another hour grooming and spoiling them. Last week I was stuck inside for a few days with a bad cold. Mom fed my bunnies for me, and even cleaned their cages. The first chore time I was able to go out and feed them, they were so happy to see me! Each of my twelve rabbits had to say hi before they would take a single bite of breakfast. They all wanted to sniff, put their paws on my shoulder, or even lick my nose. From reserved Daisy Lou to outgoing Nugget, they all said "Welcome Back!"

Decoding Your Rabbit's Pedigree Part 1

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

When I bought my first pair of mini rex they came with pedigrees like this. Most of it was Greek to me, and it wasn't until later that I learned what it all meant.

 

Here is a 2-part article on decoding your rabbit's pedigree. For Part 1 I will focus on the information about your rabbit, the part I have circled in red in the sample pedigree. Some pedigrees are vertical like this one, others are horizontal. A few are even shaped like a pyramid. With any of these designs, the information that pertains to your rabbit will be at the point of the roughly triangular shape the boxes make.

 

The first thing to notice is the rabbit's name. It will usually be prefaced by the rabbitry or owner's name. This is so other breeders will know who was the original breeder of this rabbit. Sometimes the rabbit will have a name already ("Spice" in my example) or the space after the breeder's name may be blank or just an ear number. If the space is blank, or an ear number only, the breeder has left the naming up to you! Be sure you always include the prefix of the breeder, "Toni's" in my example. If you don't like a rabbit's name, it is okay to give it a nickname, but don't change the name on the pedigree unless the breeder is okay with it. This is so they can keep accurate records.

 

The next entry we will look at is the variety (color ) of the rabbit. This sample just says CASTOR, but is usually entered as Variety: Castor. Either way, this tells you the variety of your rabbit. It could be Variety: black. Or broken black, black otter, even black tortoise. This tells you the official color of your rabbit. It could even be a variety that is not showable for your breed, such as a harlequin mini rex, but still very useful in breeding programs.

 

Sometimes a pedigree will also have a series of letters such as A_B_C_ddE_. This stands for the rabbit's genotype, and lists the known color genes the rabbit is carrying. This can be very useful when deciding which rabbits to breed to produce the varieties you want.

 

Now we will move on to the ear number. This is the series of numbers or letters that are used to identify the rabbit. In our example the ear # is SPI. This will be tattooed in the rabbit's left ear. The ear number should never be changed. Sometimes it will fade and need to be re-done. If this happens check the pedigree to make sure the correct number is being put in the ear. If the space for the ear number on the pedigree is blank, your rabbit has not been tattooed yet. In this case you may choose what you would like in the ear.

 

Some rabbits also have a registration number. Registered rabbits have been examined by an ARBA registrar to determine that they are a good example of the breed and free of disqualifications. If they pass this examination they will be issued a registration certificate and a registration number. The number will consist of letters and numbers such as JN806C. Registered rabbits will also have an R or their registration number tattooed in their right ear.

 

Next is the G.C. #. This stands for Grand Champion number. If your rabbit has a Grand Champion number, he is a very special bunny indeed. To earn a Grand Champion your rabbit will need at least three wins that earn G.C. legs. These are wins with at least five rabbits in the class owned by at least three different exhibitors. Your rabbit will also need to be registered to be awarded a Grand Champion certificate and number.

 

A rabbit's pedigree also records its adult weight. In our example we have the weight as 3.12. This means 3 pounds and 12 ounces, not 3 and 12/100 pounds. Other weights could be 3.00, 4.04, 4.05, etc. These all show the pounds to the left of the decimal and the ounces to the right. To show 3 1/2 pounds rabbit breeders would write 3.08.

 

Now we have D.O.B. This is Date of Birth. That one is pretty easy. Also there will be an entry for sex or gender of your rabbit. Bucks are males and does are females.

 

Last but not least there will be an entry for Winnings or Legs. These are the winnings your rabbit has so far in his show career. Placed 1/4 means he won his class, such as first place out of four junior bucks. BOV means he won his variety, such as Best Castor. BOSV means a doe won BOV, but he was the Best Opposite Sex Variety. BOB is Best of Breed, BOSB is Best Opposite Sex Breed. BIS is Best in Show. There are sometimes others such as Best Fur.

 

That wraps up Part 1 of Decoding Your Rabbit's Pedigree. I hope it helps you make sense of your new bunny's pedigree!

Gordisima's Long Awaited Litter

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

After waiting since spring, Gordisima finally has a litter! It has been a long wait, I hope it will be worth it. She has three little kits, all castors. Nugget is the sire. They were born November 11, 2012.


Isima is 1 1/2 years old, and I didn't want to wait that long before her first litter, but things have just not worked out as planned. I bred her last spring, but that buck was never able to produce a litter. After moving, I bred her to Nugget. Her first litter was due in September, but it was aborted two weeks early. We were having a deck built, and I think the noise stressed her too much. I didn't realize it was bothering her or I would have moved her to the garage away from the noise.


Her second litter was born in October, this time they were full term. I was there to watch her kindle, but even though everything seemed normal, they were all dead. What a disapointment.


This month, as the day of her kindling drew near, I watched her very closely. On Sunday, Veteran's Day, she began to build a nest. The temperature outside was only 32 F, and she didn't want to pull much fur. I gave her some of the fur I save for just such times, and she gratefully used that. I checked her every hour, all day long. She stubornly sat in "bunny slipper" mode and dozed. When I went to bed that night she still hadn't had her litter. Spice had kindled earlier in the afternoon, four healthy kits. But Isima was still napping. I set my alarm and got up in the middle of the night to check on Gordisima.


They finally came! In the light of the heatlamp I saw the fur in her nest box moving! I gave her a treat and checked on the new litter. Four kits, one was dead. The other three were alive and healthy looking. I was glad I came out to check her, since one of the kits wasn't with the others. I put it in the nest and covered them back up.


I'm so excited about this litter, Isima is a very nice castor, and so was her dam, Daisy. I hope Nugget makes a good sire for my line.

Spice's First Litter

Posted on November 20, 2012 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Spice kindled (gave birth to) her very first litter on November 11, 2012! She's doing a great job with taking care of them, they are all thriving. She has four kits, all castors. '

I'm very excited about this litter for several reasons. The first is that Spice is the only offspring I have from Toni's Curry, my best castor buck. In his short life he sired a Best of Breed, Best Opposite, and Best of Variety. Spice is very like him in type, I'm hoping she passes it along as well as he did. Spice has a Best Opposite of Breed leg, but I retired her early so she could be a brood doe.

The second reason I'm excited about Spice's litter is that the sire is Hayworth's Nugget, a nice little castor buck I bought to replace Curry. It will be interesting to see if he works well with my line.

Last but not least, Spice has the best feet I've seen on my mini rex. They are almost as furry as a Netherland dwarf's! She has good bone too, nice and sturdy. Needless to say, she doesn't need a resting mat. I hope she will help cement this trait into my line.

 


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