Friday, November 26, 2010

Hotot x (Beveren x Californian) update

First Step in this line was to breed a Beveren X Californian. The goal is to bring in some of the Beveren's fur qualities, while getting rid of the blue eyes and mandolin body type.
This is the F1 generation of the Hotot portion of the project. The results are pretty good.
I'll have some pics up soon.

Blanc de Hotot x Californian cross

This is the F2 generation. The rise from the shoulder is good and the rabbit is nicely compact. Good teeth, and the eyes are dark. I didn't expect any eye flecks in this line, but you never know! The rabbit to the left is 0C53B, an F2 buck, and other than a spot on his rump, could be shown as a Blanc de Hotot.

The growth rate is good, with 3 Jr's bucks weighing 7lbs 14oz and 1 Jr Buck at a Senior weight of 8lb 2oz. A rabbit should easily make their senior weight and get there fast. These guys are all on the lean side, certainly not fed up to a "show" weight. I'll give them a few months to flesh out and see how they look then.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the results so far, and can't wait for the next generation of this line.

This is 0C54B, also an F2 Buck from the same litter as the buck above

This is 0C57B, also an F2 Buck from the same litter as the bucks above. There is a 56B also, but the picture was not good enough to use.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rabbit Nutrition, an answer to: What should I feed my rabbit?

Help! I don't know what to feed my new rabbit!

OK, you just got a rabbit or are thinking about getting a rabbit and want to know what you should feed your new rabbit. Cool, I am glad you are searching for info and want to do the right thing.
The first thing you notice when you start your Internet search is you will get lots of opinions and that they vary greatly in content. Well, I'm no different, and what follows is my opinion. now you are probably thinking;

What are your qualifications, Dave?

Good question! I am not a Vet, nor am I am not a nutritional Scientist. What I am is someone that maintains a herd of 50+ rare breed rabbits (ok, I've got a couple dwarf bunnies too!) that are healthy, happy and well cared for. My rabbits do not suffer from digestive problems, hair block, G.I. Stasis, diarrhea. You can read more about my rabbits on my website, Crystal Creek Rabbitry.
My position is, who would you rather take advice from, Someone with a rabbit or two in their house that they have to take to the vet, or someone with 50 to a 100 rabbits that must be cared for 24/7, 365 days of the year and are well maintained and trouble free? The information and opinions I offer here are based on my experience, reading and research on rabbits and their husbandry. I have some more in depth info on my Rabbits Diet page.

Here is what my healthy, happy and thriving rabbits get.

WATER - Clean, clear and available 24-7. A water bottle is more dependable and sanitary than a crock.
PELLETS - You must feed your rabbit the correct, measured amount of feed daily. A fat rabbit is an unhealthy rabbit. Here are the feeding guidelines from the ARBA, This must be an alfalfa based pellet to be the mainstay of your rabbits diet. A grass based pellet does not have all the protein and nutrients your rabbit needs.

That's it, that is what I feed my rabbits every day of the year and they are in great condition, healthy, productive (breed well), long lived, and problem free. Isn't that what we are looking for?

Now I know you are all saying:
(1) "But everything I have read says rabbits must have hay to chew to wear their teeth properly". Wrong. Malocclusion of the teeth is a genetic trait passed down from parent to offspring. Come on over and I'll show you a bunch of 1-8 year old rabbits with perfect teeth that never get hay.
(2) Another common falsehood is; "Pellets don't have enough long fiber to keep a rabbits gut working". Wrong again. High quality Alfalfa based pellets are ground to provide the proper amount of fiber for your rabbit. Again, come on over and you can see a barn full of rabbits that don't get hay with perfect poops and perfect teeth. I guess that covers the rabbit from end to end! Get it, end to end? Teeth are in the mouth and poo comes out he other end?. . . . , OK, well I thought it was funny.
I do feed hay to litters at weaning age which is 4-6 weeks, but suspect even that is not necessary.

If I could give some advice to a new rabbit owner it would be these three things.
(1). Get a cage with a wire floor and a tray below that collects the poo and urine. I know a lot of the hutches that are available to buy are cool with multiple floors and stuff. But the reality of cleaning them on an almost daily basis is more than most rabbit owners signed up for and can sour your rabbit experience.
(2). A Water Bottle is more dependable and sanitary than a crock. It will keep clean water available for your bunny all day long and they can't tip it over or poop in it.
(3). Feed Alfalfa based Pellets as the mainstay of your rabbits diet. If you want to give treats like a grape, slice of apple or banana, keep the portions small and infrequent.

That's it in a nutshell. I know you wish it were longer and filled with mystery, but a rabbits diet can be a pretty simple thing. It can also be as complicated as you want to make it. Unfortunatly the rabbit is the one that pays for a poor diet, filled with sugary, starchy treats. Too often with their lives. Do your bunny a favor and keep it simple.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blan de Hotot x Californian cross F2 litter

This is the 2nd generaton of mt HT x CA cross line. They still have a good amount of spotting, but remember we are going for type here.

Can't wait to see how they grow out!

F2 Blanc de Hotot x Beveren litter

This is a Beveren F2 litter. The F1 was Bevern x Californian, which resulted in a HUGE Dutch rabbit.This litter comes from the F1 doe X a purebred Blanc de Hotot buck.

Looking pretty Hotot, but we'll see how they grow up.

New Blanc de Hotot litter

New litter of eight purebred Blanc de Hotot rabbits. They are about a week old here, their eyes will open up at about 10 days, and they'll be out of the nest for good at 21 days or so.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New litter and some other breedings...

There is a litter of pure HT in the nest right now, they'll be 20 days old on May 11th. It was a litter of 8. One was a runt, leaving 7. Four of those are big, healthy beautifully marked Hotots. Two are sports with a few small black spots and one is a dutched sport.
The breeding was April x Spot so I expect a few big, well typed rabbits from this litter.

In addition to the outcross litters, coming up, there are two more litters of pure HT due in the next 30 days or so. I'll post about them when they happen. So with a little luck, it will be a busy May-June!