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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finishing What You Start.

Ugh, my aching back. Most of you don't know this, but I knit- and today I decided to finally finish up two scarf projects, rather than starting something new. All I had left to do was to add the tassles. Of course, I didn't do this in a comfortable spot, nope not me! I was hunched over in the floor for an extended period of time. In fact, I just dragged myself over to the couch.

What has any of this got to do with rabbits? Well- kind of nothing. I mean, the rabbits aren't going to wear the scarves, I didn't make the yarn out of wool or anything. But I got to thinking-

-finishing my knitting projects is kind of like projects we start with rabbits. Let's use Hollands as my example.

Lots of folks start color projects. Agouti, Otter, Marten, Chocolate, Tri- it goes on and on. Nothing is wrong with that. In fact, I know Saynora is working on tri hollands. When you accomplish what she has in a breed, you can do pretty much anything you feel like doing lol.

It seems though, that a lot of people don't want to "finish" just one project. I know of some rabbits that have all the above listed color projects going on. Of course, Otter and Agouti don't exactly mesh. So, you get a rabbitry full of incompatible colors. This sets ALL those colors back. It's kind of like my scarves. I can start a hundred of them, but they are all worthless if I don't keep working with them and see them through to completion.

My advice would be to pick one color project, or two that can be compatible. Make these animals beautiful, get other people involved- then move on if you want to work on something else. Don't expect people to jump all over otters that are long in shoulder, undercut, snipey in the face and have ears that would make an English Lop jealous. I personally would rather pool all my resources in to making my animals the best I can, rather than trying to quarter the resources to make barely decent animals in four separate projects. Imagine having three breeds like I do. If I allot $300 to rabbit improvements, only $100 goes to Hollands (no laughing, I'm trying to keep this simple). That means, only $25 goes to each of the four color projects I'm pretending I have. So instead of a single nice animal that will improve all my rabbits, I have to go bargain basement shopping and spend just $25 on an "ok" parts rabbit that probably won't improve anything in my line.

Now, I know- if I only had Hollands, I could spend $300 on those improvements to the line. But, I like to mix it up a little and so do color folks. That's why I suggest sticking to just one or two color projects that can at least be compatible.

Another example! The other day, my Jersey Wooley doe Raleigh gave birth to a beautiful black buck. Now, I already have a shaded Jr buck out of the same cross, however this black buck can work with my Agoutis, my Shadeds AND my Selfs! I WIN! The shaded buck can only work with selfs and shadeds. Assuming the type is comparable, I'm definitely going to keep the self buck, because he is the linking element between Agouti & Shaded.

See what I mean? I could bring in Tan as well, but this single black buck is the ONLY rabbit that is 100% safe to use with the tan group. My REW selfs have a very high chance of carrying Agouti. Tan + Agouti= not compatible. So, while the tan group rabbits are gorgeous, I'm going to stick to what I have. Because of the three colors in JW, I don't have space or resources to devote to color projects in Hollands or in Mini Lops. Now, I could. I could have pairs that work only with each other. But I'd rather make nice rabbits.

I know this seems very "do as I say, not as I do". But the mini lops are more technically "Tim rabbits", even though I love them and work with them. My rabbitry wouldn't be as big as it is if he didn't have the minis, so I feel like I can safely count them out. So I have two breeds. Since the self links Agouti & Shaded, I can spend my $100 on improving black/blue selfs or non-Agouti carrying Rews and improve the entire herd. That's what I mean by compatibility :).

If you have the room, have all the color projects you want! Just beware of starting all those new projects when you haven't worked on any of the first ones. Try not to be a starter but not a "finisher". By finishing I mean, at the end of your Agouti project, if the stock you've produced isn't better than what you started with- well, you missed a stitch, forgot the tassles- you didn't get that scarf finished. Was that bad luck, not enough patience- or too many irons in the fire?

Keep's Rabbitry

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