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Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Culling Monster

I'm awful about culling. You'd think with a limited number of cages, I'd be much better at it by now, but I'm not lol.

At first, it was no big deal. After all, I was just starting out, I needed to buy more cages anyway, and I wasn't 100% sure at what I was looking at, as far as promising juniors went. So, I was able to grow them out longer, buy more cages when I got full- oh yeah, and I only had one breed!

Now it's not so easy. With a combined 3 breeds, but still the same number of holes, I find myself in a pickle. Do I keep this promising junior over that one? How long can I keep them? Do I need another holland more than I need a mini lop?

I'm hoping to add a few more holes soon, but regardless, I need to sit down with a plan, divide my holes among the breeds and say that's it! No matter how promising the baby, or how good a breeder that older buck is, this is what I have!

I've started doing this to a certain extent- I'm selling a promising junior buck, because I believe the parents can do even better. I took a look at a litter of 5 mini lops- 3 chestnut does, 1 chinchilla doe and 1 chinchilla buck. I evaluated all 5, then picked the least promising looking chestnut doe (I had 3, after all!) and petted her out. That leaves me with 4 juniors, still more than I need, but baby steps people! BABY STEPS! :). I'm hoping one of these girls can replace their mama, who has produced GCs for me- but hey, if her daughter is better, maybe she can produce MORE GCs per litter!

I'm selling a buck that isn't pulling his weight- he's eager to breed, but because I have nice, small hollands, I don't really HAVE to have a teeny tiny buck to downsize! So rather than keeping him for one or two does, I'm just selling all three.

This isn't to say I'm immune from adorable rabbits or great deals. Ask Malena, I'm TERRIBLE about saying "awww" and rushing to pick something up and hug it. I'm working on getting better about that too- long road folks, it's a long road to not saying "awww" at the fluffy cuteness.

I've also decided no more what-ifs. What if I keep you and breed you to him, then take your daughter and breed her back, then take a baby and breed back to you- it's ridiculous. I shouldn't be taking "ok" animals and making those kinds of plans. Especially when I have better bucks or does in my barn! Try the what-if doe with a buck or two, if I don't like what I see in the babies, she's gone! No more "but this and that look nice, even though that is awful- but in 10 generations I can fix that, assuming I don't lose the first two things!" This isn't to say I'll throw a great doe lacking a crown to the wolves- but I will move out a doe lacking crown, undercut in the HQ and with a teeny head.

You guys should be so proud of me- I've resisted the temptation to work with BEWs not once, but twice! I decided in the interest of my breeding programs, I couldn't afford to get bogged down in VCs and VMs.

Torts tend to get a bad rap in hollands. I'm sorry guys, I'll take a typey tort over a butt-ugly chestnut any day. It's not the rabbit's fault it's a tort, it's probably not the breeder's fault. I don't exactly know how tort came to dominate the breed, but personally I have several colors in my barn- from tort, to broken sable point, to smoke pearl, to chestnut! Guess what my best doe is? Broken black tort. The best buck? Solid black tort. It happens :). So since I won't cull for color, guess I'm just going to have to keep an eye on the type. That is one bullet I've managed to dodge- color preference!

So, here's hoping I can stick with my resolve and cull hard, instead of just buying new cages. If you see me in the market for some stackers, PLEASE stop me and ask "uh, do you really need cages, or do you just need to cull?"

Thanks for reading!
Keep's Rabbitry

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