Jet and Jessie

16 06 2008

One of the most rewarding things about this is seeing rabbits you have raised doing well for other people.  Especially kids, and especially kids like Jessie, pictured above with me and her black buck Briony’s Jet. 

I met Jessie and her family a couple of years ago, and with her enthusiasm for Dutch, natural sportsmanship and sweet personality, she’s impossible not to adore.  Jessie got Jet last fall, and has done well with him this spring and raised a few litters from him.  He’s obviously a spoiled and beloved bunny, and she had him in prime condition this weekend, winning a BOB in one show and BOS in another.  For me, this was the best show this year…it was even more fun watching Jessie win than doing well myself!

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Summer ears?

10 06 2008

Here are three of my six-week-old babies:

I will be the first to admit they look fuzzy and donkey-eared.  This is not a vanity shot!  Some breeders refuse to even breed in the late spring or early summer to avoid “summer ears.”  The rationale is that the ears grow longer and thinner both in substance and in furring.  I have raised summer litters every year I’ve been in rabbits, and never had a problem with ears on the Dutch.  Yes, it does get quite hot in Kansas and no, my barn is not air conditioned.  I rely on air circulation and radiant heat barrier insulation, which keeps it tolerable even on really hot days, when I also add frozen water bottles.  Of course, they also get cool water a few times a day.

What I have noticed is that summer babies’ ears do tend to reach their adult length faster (as shown the little guys above) but when they get to show age, they’re indistinguishable from winter babies.  I took head and ear shots of four rabbits today: two bucks and two does, with one of each sex born in winter and summer.  I’ve included their weights so you can judge for yourself how well the ears balance with their overall size.  All have won BOB/BOS awards as both juniors and seniors and all were raised in my barn, except Classy, who was raised just down the road in a very similar barn.  See if you can tell which are the summer babies:

Buck #1: Bing – 4 lbs

Buck #2: Classy – 4 1/2 lbs

Doe #1: Tumbling Dice – 4 lbs 10 oz

Doe #2: Rock ‘n’ Roll – 4 lbs 2 oz

 

 

The answer:  Both #2 rabbits are summer babies!  Bing was born in December and Dice in February.  Both Classy and Rock ‘n’ Roll were born in July.  They are all from the same line; Bing is the sire of both Classy and Dice and Classy is the sire of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  The litter at the top are also Bing babies, so I’m not worried in the least about their ears. 

Don’t be afraid to breed Dutch in the summer because of ear length.  They do grow a little quicker, but they will catch up.  And besides, a little more length is easier to tattoo!

Update: The two blacks in the top photo are (l-r) Factory Girl and Gambler.