Friday, June 22, 2012

This little buddy came to visit me...

Okay, this cute little Dove came to visit me on Wednesday. I opened the window and it came in and easily got on my hand.

Well, the next day, he came again! This time, he kept bugging me and not letting me work! lol  Okay, again, he was let out yesterday and now this morning, he just came in again and is bugging me once again.  How cool is that?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guardian of the Standard, by Kelly Flading

The Angora Breeder:
Guardian of the Standard
by K. Flading

Angora rabbits are cute and fluffy. Almost everyone who sees them can’t help but say, “Awwww.” at the sight of these wonderful creatures. If you own these rabbits, you may consider helping others experience the same wonderfulness of Angora rabbits. This could make the breeding of Angora rabbits a tempting proposition. Who can help but be attracted to giving such joy to others?

However, it is a huge responsibility to breed Angoras. The ownership of an Angora rabbit is more high maintenance than most other rabbit breeds. The general public is usually not prepared to take care of an Angora rabbit without proper training. This makes the potential for accidental neglect very high. Become a guardian of the American Rabbit Breeders Association’s Standard Of Perfection…the ultimate resource for the rabbit breeder/exhibitor. The SOP is a book, but it is so much more than that. The SOP lays out the standard by which the breed you love will look, move, and feel through years of history and development. It is a living document (updated every 4 years) by which a breeder can strive to reach perfection. Serious breeders will have a copy of ARBA’s SOP to help guide them in breeding goals.

What does it mean to be a guardian? A guardian is someone entrusted with protecting, watching over, or maintaining something. In this case, that something is your chosen Angora breed. Each breed has a standard by which it is judged. Know that standard. How do you get to know your breed’s standard? Get started with the ARBA Standard of Perfection. This book will be your go-to resource for body type, texture, eye color, recognized colors, and much more. From there, you will have a good foundation of what improvement means and can expand your learning through showing, mentorship, and research.

If you already have rabbits, bring them to a show! Showing your rabbits is a wonderful way to learn the standard. You spend an entire day surrounded with people who enjoy rabbits as much as you do. You can bounce ideas around about breeding philosophies, possible pairings, grooming tips, etc. As a bonus, you get an objective third party opinion about your animal from an ARBA judge. Just remember, it is just one person’s opinion about your rabbit on that particular day. You can use this information to guide your breeding program. The information and friendships gained at a show is invaluable.

Rabbit breeding can be a tricky journey...fraught with great joy and great heartache. It is not for the weak at heart. That’s why it’s helpful to have a few people you can talk to about breeding decisions, nestbox management, and such. Get a mentor. Even if you’ve read your SOP, there are still so many things that really need to be taught hands on. It is very difficult to feel what good shoulders are like within the pages of a book. Your mentor will help guide you through the decision making process and possibly shield you from the many pitfalls of novice breeders. Many seasoned breeders know that in order for the breed to improve, you must help the newcomers. It’s best for the breed if we all help each other reach for the same goal.
There are many different views about raising rabbits that you may find yourself constantly confused by conflicting information. Take the time to research the different opinions you hear. What works best for someone else’s herd may not work for your rabbits. There is comparatively little research done on rabbits and many studies can be biased based on who funded the research. Now’s the time to use your critical thinking skills and do what is best for your rabbits.

Breeding your rabbits should never be taken lightly. Breeding should always be carefully planned towards making an improvement on the breed. This is how you become a guardian of the Standard of Perfection. Sure, anyone can make some fiber or high maintenance pet bunnies, but why do that if you can really make a difference in the breed you love. If your rabbits are able to perform on the show table, you will know you’re on the right track and are making a positive contribution to your favorite little bun’s breed. It’s a marvelous thing to produce a rabbit with excellent health, a strong immune system, a great body type, and for Angoras… wonderful wool with the density and texture for which each breed calls. If you decide to breed rabbits…remember…be a Guardian of the SOP.

This article is re-printed with permission from Kelly Flading of "The KelFla Project".

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Long time I don't post

I just realized that it has been such a long time since I posted on my blog. I need to get back on track. Being plagued with lots of work (as if that was bad, lol); some family illness, and of course, my oldest son moving out of the nest, have had a toll on me.

The good thing for us is that we have several English Angoras that I am hoping will continue to develop well enough to take to ARBA Convention this year. Yes, this year has been good to us. We had several litters and I've kept the best that we have, the rest were culled. I hope they continue to develop good enough to compete with the big'uns up there.

I've noticed that there are several people now in Texas that are getting into the breed and I hope they know what they are getting into in terms of care and husbandry. Therefore, I am hoping to get back on track on my program and blog and add some articles or video vignettes about the Angora breeds.

It will be good to see who is really in it for the long haul and who are just in it for the novelty or trying to make a buck out of this awesome breed. I've seen several people come and go, realizing that this breed requires extra care and there is not much money to be made out of, as breeding high quality angoras is not just simply placing a buck and doe together. Furthermore, the problem many are making is purchasing rabbits from unknown or obscure rabbitries that do not even show and are breeding indiscriminantly and sell to the unsuspecting victim. One thing I wonder is why would they not approach the "big name breeders" that have the best quality? Perhaps, the reason is that the "big name breeders" sell selectively only the ones fully committed to the breed and are NOT in it to make a buck out of this awesome breed. Overall, like everything in life, only the ones with the true intentions will last in the end.

P. Ricardo