I was enjoying the sunshine and warmer temps for sure. I gave all of the pigs big mounds of hay and they are all out sleeping in the sun right now. Full bellies + sunshine + a comfy bed= happy pigs!
|Narrow Gate Farm Dallas-broken black Holland Lop buck|
|Musical Bunnies Hollywood-Broken Chinchilla Mini Lop buck|
Right now Hollywood is playing in my office floor-leaping and bucking and conducting solitary rabbit races around my Pyreness (who is oblivious). Basically I am trying to get the "ants out of his pants" before going outside for our photo shoot! Dallas will have his turn next. He loves to get let out to play.
Tomorrow I am taking a break from the farmer's markets to go to a rabbit show. I am taking a couple of the young boys to see how they do. I still have a lot to learn and these are not top quality show rabbits but I am interested to see what the judges say about them. It is all a learning experience and everything that I learn will help me to improve my herd.
In preparation for the show, I have had the boys out clipping nails, brushing them, posing them and just basically handling them and reminding them what it is like to be picked up and posed and moved around. At a rabbit show, when your class is called, you place your rabbits in a "coop" (one of a long row of small cages) in front of the judge. The judge then takes the rabbits out one by one and handles them. You cannot really tell the body type of a rabbit until you put your hands on it. Once you hold them, you can feel the thickness of the shoulders, their body condition, fur condition etc. The judge then moves the rabbits around in the coops with the higher placings going to one end and the others going to the opposite end.
The most beneficial part of a rabbit show for a breeder is that after the judge has sorted out the rabbits, he/she will then comment on their reasons for each placement. The judge's comments (as well as the placing in the show) are a tool for helping to evaluate your rabbits. Rabbit shows are also attended by people who like rabbits (they are like potatoechips, you can't have just one) and buy them. The shows get your rabbits out in front of people who like your breed and who may buy from you.
I have three Holland Lop does bred and set to kindle at the end of January. The does are all different with different strengths and weaknesses. Any kits with disqualifications or obvious faults will be sold as pets without pedigrees. I will keep the rest of the offspring until they are about 3-4 months old. At that time, I will choose one or two of the best ones to keep and show.
|Narrow Gate Farm Diva, Broken Tortoise Holland Lop doe|
When you purchase rabbits, no breeder is going to give you his absolute best stock, so you usually purchase the best that you can and then improve your herd through breeding and culling. Rabbits have a quick turnaround, so a herd could be improved quite quickly with judicious culling. By culling in the case of a pet and fanciers breed (as opposed to a meat breed), I mean that the rabbits not kept in my barn for showing/breeding will be sold as pets and as brood stock (not eaten).
|Meat rabbit brood does, fertilizing the garden to be-a New Zealand and a NZ/Californian cross|