Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cutie Patooties

English Angora Sable Pearl brother and sister.
English Angora Sable Pearl brother and Tort brother. 
The Blues Brothers, jersey woolies. 
 The Broken JW Brothers and one sister, maybe.
White English Angora Buck.

It is fun to have baby land again. Nothing is cuter then baby english angoras and baby jersey woolies when they get their fluff on. They are so happy when they frolic around, boinking here and there. Asleep on their Mother's back where it is nice and soft. Excited to see me coming around with the food bucket and even the water hose, because they know I can't resist giving them a pat on the head. They listen when I talk to them and seem to enjoy the discussion but never talk back. I think that could be why I sometimes prefer bunnies over humans. They are sweet, positive and all have their own individual personalities. Bunnies know their name and have certain likes and dislikes. They know the difference between me feeding them and when my husband sometimes will do the feeding, taking full advantage of getting an overflowing bowl from him. There is no such thing as a "dumb bunny" in my opinion and they will pull on my heartstrings for that extra shredded wheat or bundle of hay. Guess we are alike and are all just big softies, after all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Big Girls

 GC Shepherds Iris lounging.
 Iris after grooming.
Iris and Iridescence are sisters. 
That's a whole lot of wool. 
Younger doe, GC Shepherds Poppy. 
Little broken tort doe, Shepherds Imari.

English Angoras have a time limit to their show coats. It has changed over the many years that I have had angoras. 3 to 5 months was long for a buck's coat back 20 years ago and 4 inchs was a long coat. Does could grow to 5 to 6 inches and last about 6 months. Show rabbits these days almost don't molt anymore and can wear their original coats from birth to 12-15 months. When they are in full coat it is a beauty to behold and they are often refered to as "The Big Girls".

That doesn't mean they are pretty at the end of the old coat's life. It is hard to remove a coat that you have cared for during this long time. When they have gone to the extreme length of coat, it will loose density and leave just the guard hair behind. It can still be very long and when groomed will look pretty but it tends to deflate once the blower stops. And sometimes the bunny will make the decision for you. GC Shepherds Iris has decided that she wants babies and started to make a nest with her beautiful long coat even though she has not been bred. I got the hint and will be taking her coat off over the next few days. We are having very warm weather so it will not be such a shock for the bunny.

If it was colder and I would have to remove a coat, I could make a little sweater for the bunny by taking an old sweat shirt sleeve and cut out the front legs and angle it away from the back legs. We use these same little sweaters on our baby goats. Some talented people I know knit little sweaters for their goats out of scrap wool. They look so cute frolicing around the fields in multi-colored outfits. As one group of angoras move from the showroom to retirement and baby bunnies, the next group move forward to try their luck in the showroom. The number one thing I think you need when raising angoras is patience.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lots Of Dots

Second broken English Angora Litter 
Broken Blue Jersey Woolies 
Twin Angora Goat Kids 
Bottle Babies lined up for Dinner 
Party Boy Liam is two years old.

Lots of celebrating this week. Liam had his two year old birthday last Sunday and he was really into it, telling everyone he was TWO! He loves"Bloons" and I got him a Little Tykes car which has a cup holder which he put to use immediatly with his juice cup. Next we had twin angora goat girls born, really cute, blackish red in color and really loud. On a sad note, I lost a black English Angora Mom about 3 weeks after childbirth. I am trying to bottle feed the 3 babies, well eye-dropper feeding really. They are doing pretty good, fingers crossed. Also, have a litter of 6, yes 6, Jersey Woolies. Three blue and three broken blue, they are so cute but they are a very messy bunch, spilling food and hay everywhere. Only my woolies have these huge litters, where are the tiny litters of 2-3 that most people have.

And last, my second broken English Angora litter, with so many broken blacks that I lost count. GC BIS Shepherds Sunflower had 7, 4 broken blacks, 2 solid torts and one black peanut. Sadly, the black which I was really looking forward to, didn't make it. All of the others look big and healthy and have very heavily patterned coats. Love brokens and love broken black and broken blue the most. Altogether, a pretty exciting week!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Could it be?

GC BIS Shepherds Sunflower 

Westminister Dog Show Best in Show Pekinese

You sure can see why people get the English Angoras confused with a dog breed. When their ears are down, they look pretty much the same as a Pekinese. I wondered why I was enjoying the look of this little dog so much. Watching the trainer/show person fluffing and brushing. The dog just seemed to enjoy all the attention and seemed to know he was "all that"! Loved the expression on his sweet little face. He is just adorable. I for one can appreciate all the work that goes into these long haired show dogs. At least we don't have to give our bunnies regular baths, but the intense grooming has to be somewhat similar. So glad he won and he seemed to be very happy about it too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PASRBA/ Part 2

 UARBC Breed winners from the Saturday Specialty Show.
GC Shepherd's Ring My Bell, BOB JW Open Saturday. 
GC Shepherd's Princess Poppy, 4 times BOB winner 
Alex Stepnoski after grooming angoras all day.

It is hard enough showing one breed at a large show but it is even more difficult showing more then one. My trick in the past was to put the exact same rabbits in each show. It makes it much easier to remember who goes where. Eight shows over 2 days with 2 breeds gets very expensive so I cut back on some shows this year. It made for a very confusing show with getting the right rabbit up to the right table at the right time. So I made a chart as to who was going where and under what judge. I used this technique in Maine at the triple show with 2 breeds. It worked out fine until they changed the judges in one case. Some scrambling went on and running as I was watching out for a different judge to be finished his breed.

I am glad mine are all wool breeds as everyone was located in the wool room, but for people with short and long wool breeds it made for alot of running, phone calls and help from each other. Only one mistake was made on my part with the wrong sister in the open show on Saturday. Oh well, not so bad considering, and I didn't miss one class, which was more of a worry. It was so much fun to catch up with everyone and we had a fun pizza party with all the roomies, Donna, Carolyn, Annie and Anita on Friday night. It was also fun to watch Alex in full grooming frenzy, getting all her bunnies ready for sale. We will miss her and hope she comes back to showing angoras soon.

Monday, February 6, 2012


 The car is finally packed.
Arrival at the "New Wool Room" 
Grooming crew, Donna, Annie and Alyssa. 
Judge Morgan with French Angoras.

Everyone looks forward to PASRBA. It is the break from winter that we all enjoy. For most rabbit people, it is the first show of the new year. (Unless you are crazy like me and travel to Rochester and to Maine in January). PASRBA is a true mini Convention. Most years in central Pennsylvania, there is snow but we go anyway, including the year we had over three feet of the white stuff when we came out to go to the showroom on Saturday morning.

This year, with over 8,000 bunnies there on Saturday due to the really nice weather predicted, the four showrooms were full of people and bunnies. The layout changed this year. The fuzzy breeds were always located in a "wool room". This made everyone happy as all the Angoras, Jersey Woolies, Fuzzy Lops and Lion Heads were located together. We loved this as all the friends were together and we kept the fuzz and blower noise in one location.

This year the wonderful crew at PASRBA gave us a new and bigger wool room and it was great. Plenty of room to move, lots of tables to put cages on, wall space and outlets for blowers and all of our Open, Youth and Specialty Judging tables in one central location. I personally loved it and thanked the crew over and over again. It makes a big difference not to have to run all over the place with different wool breeds, especially when showing two breeds at two Open and two Specialty shows each day. I will add more photos in the next few blog posts but I thought you would enjoy my car packed with 27 bunnies and all that goes with them.

Plus, congrats to Charlotte Shwiekart (sp?) and her beautiful Pointed White French Angora won Best in Show Open against 8,000 bunnies and also Best in Specialty Show on Saturday. We are always so happy to see the wool win! GO WOOL!