Entertainment Blog Directory

Friday, July 6, 2007

Starting a herd

When we started our herd, so long ago, with those 4 hollands, I remember being so excited. I had heard from many breeders "Oh you'll end up starting over at least once..." HA, I thought, not me! I've studied my standard, I checked out some rabbits, I've talked to people, I'm good to go! I was so wrong.

To begin with, I've already explained how AWFUL Wicket was- 10 of 12...I'm still amazed she beat rabbits. Well, the person I thought was SO helpful in explaining rabbits to me, turned out to be one of the folks who will tell you ANYTHING to sell a rabbit- and the two I got were crap. Complete and total trash. The raffle bunny had his share of problems too, but one important raffle rule to remember is "9 times out of 10, you're not getting a BOB winner"...also known as "No one puts nice rabbits on the raffle". And sometimes it's very true. Sometimes, folks have to make space, want to get out of rabbits, etc and you will find a nice animal on there. You just have to know your breeds. But I'm starting to ramble. If you let me do that, we'll be here all day.

We ended up selling the raffle bunny and 2 I had purchased at the show as pets. This was after I had already purchased another buck, one from Laurie Stroupe of The Nature Trail's Rabbitry. Samson was adorable and he placed very well for us as a junior. He was finally a start to a solid herd. I just recently sold Samson- but he produced several babies who got legs for me, one getting a BOSB, my highest holland placing to date.

As for Wicket- she had one litter for us, all DOA. She was always really hard to breed, and after her dead litter, we bred her again. She died mysteriously. I believe something went wrong with the litter she was carrying. Tim was heartbroken, but it's a cycle we just have to get used to. I say this like I'm tough, I won't tell you about how I bawled over the death of babies, or how I woke up every half hour recently, to force feed a dying rabbit (she lived, by the way! HOORAY).

We did end up starting over, just recently. I sold most of my hollands, and we still have a few cuties for sale (some with legs! Check it out ;)). I have greatly condensed the lines I was working with, removed some of the "parts" rabbits I had and I have a better feeling about the juniors I'm working with now. I'm proud to say I have received legs on hollands I own, as well as hollands I've bred. The homebred win is always more special, but it's pretty sweet to have a rabbit you bought, one you recognized the potential of, bring home a win.

So don't feel discouraged, if you're starting with a herd. Don't buy a rabbit here, one there, one from over there- you may have nice rabbits, but they don't always produce nice babies. This is one of the problems I recently was able to overcome- and you can still see the evidence by the fact one of the bucks I'm selling has 2 legs. You have to learn your lines, learn what works- it's definitely a process where you need help. A friend of mine, Alison of The Holland Farm, helped me with experience of hers- mainly "this line and this line don't really work- these two lines work great with that one...". Thanks Alison, it's been a major help.

Also, don't be afraid to start over- the more you're around the animals, the more comfortable judging them you'll become. You get pickier when you realize how truly tough competition is.

Ask for help! Some of the top breeders I know still pull folks over and ask opinions on rabbits.

Be willing to learn- don't assume you know it all because you saw a picture and read a book. No one likes a know-it-all, and most people HATE a know-it-all who knows nothing.

Well, let me climb down off my soapbox now- next go 'round, we'll broach the subject of how mini lops got added to the herd...that is, unless I have some exciting news. We'll see then.

Thanks for reading!
Keep's Rabbitry

No comments: