Monday, June 22, 2009

Fiber Festival

G.C. Shepherds Posy strutting the fluff.
A little peek?

She can flirt with the crowd with the best of them.
At the last minute, I was invited to come to a fiber festival in north western Ringoes, New Jersey. It was at the Woods Edge Wools Farm owner by Linda Berry Walker and her son Brendt. What a beautiful farm and what a wonderful operation! They raise about 300 llamas and alpacas. There were baby critters everywhere from new born llamas and alpacas to a whole pen of about 20 young gelding in the middle of the beautiful show barn. Take a look at their website if you get a chance.
Always glad to promote the angora rabbit as a small fiber pet and companion animal, I thought I would go and asked my friend, Donna Mcgraw, to come along. It is so much fun to talk to people about angora rabbits and to watch the look of wonderment on their faces. Donna is really good at talking about the breed and gave a wealth of information to potential bunny owners. Part of the festival requirements was a one hour demo at the front of the show barn and Donna and I shared duties by each doing a demo. Donna showed how to pluck down her beautiful tort doe, Raisen on Saturday and I talked about grooming angoras with Posy (shown above) on Sunday. Too busy to take pictures, but I am sure Donna got to take some. It was alot of fun and we enjoyed showing off the angora rabbit and fiber to the world outside of bunny shows.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Angoras Can Fool You

Wyatt as a junior.
Wyatt winning Best in Show.

G. C. Pearly Mae in show coat.
Well, just when you think breeding a white bunny to a colored bunny will only give you white babies, they come along and fool you. Pearly Mae who comes from a white father and has much white in her background and has given me white in her litter before. She was re-bred to G.C. B.I.S. Wyatt and there is not one white baby in the litter, not one. The colored bunny gods must be feeling sorry for me that there are 13 REW babies at my house. There are torts and blue babies and all 8 are doing well. I am excited with the blue as there is blue in the last 3 litters that were born here. Blue and black being the favorite colors around here.
Mom is a little worn out as she had a harder time of it then usual. She had one little baby on the wire at 9am and then didn't have any more. I could feel them in there so I let her run around on the floor for awhile. This got things moving and she had 7 more in the nest box at 9 pm. There was a very large one with a big head and this was probably the hold up. They are very active and really cute.
The other litters all have their eyes opening and have that funny, half-focused look. They sure do recognize my voice at feeding time. I keep the nest boxes in the house and put mom in them with a towel over her to feed. I do this until the babies are big enough to manage the cage floor. This gives the mom a chance to rest and recooperate. The babies don't seem to mind being in the house either.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Heavy Heart

Wooley babies having a snack.
Nap time after lunch.

Mom got the comfy spot.
The rabbit world is filled with lovely people and when one of them leaves us it makes for a very heavy heart. Brian Hartzel is one of the reasons that I added Jersey Woolies back into my herd after many years without. He made such improvements in the breed that I felt they were back to being a wool breed again rather than a Netherland Dwarf having a bad hair day. Many years ago daughter was showing in youth English Angoras and her best friend was showing American Fuzzy Lops. Brian was the big competition and was constantly the topic of conversation.
Years later, I heard that he had was able to get the broken Jersey Wooley passed. This made me happy because I was in love with broken bunnies and that they were wooley was great. At the Rhode Island Convention, we were all grooming together in a very tight area and this handsome young man set up his grooming table. The only problem was there was no plug close enough for him. He said "Did anyone have a spot to plug in?". Everyone ignored him. I thought this was mean so I offered him my extension cord only to find out later that this was the famous "Brian Hartzel". Everyone was too busy grooming or maybe no one wanted to help the competition. He was very thankful and polite.
A few years later I added 2 of Brians beautiful Jersey Woolies to my lines that improved the broken color and wool tremendously. He has made such improvements to the Jersey Wooley and American Fuzzy Lop breeds that his legacy will be felt forever. Everywhere that I saw Brian, I made sure to stop him and tell him what a great job he did with him bunnies and how beautiful they were. He was always humble and would say "Well, I still didn't win Best in Show". Well, in my eyes he will always be the Best in Show.