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Friday, October 31, 2008

Stories from Convention!

Wow, so let's see-

I guess I had better go on and tell this one, before the people from NC I saw rat me out :).

We spent part of the morning during the judging at the Kentucky Derby Museum. It was so much fun, and probably after 2pm when we arrived at the showroom. By then, I had received a call from my friend Melanie, who was in absolute SHOCK that her gorgeous little wooly doe, Lil Bit Farm's Dilemma, had taken first in her class and her baby broken doe had taken 2nd in hers.

It was with extreme trepidation that we all wandered back in to the showroom and before we split to go our separate ways (to check on the bunny placements), I told my friends from California, Katie & Susie, that I didn't even want to check placements- I just wanted to "bask in the glory of knowing Melanie". Ambling down the coops, I arrived at Keep's Dreamer's cage first, my self jr. doe. She didn't have a card at that point in time, so I assumed she hadn't been judged. When I turned to Forest's cage, which was just diagonal from her set up, I stopped dead.

I was in absolute shock. Only in my wildest dreams did I consider a top 10 finish and I never really thought about a top 5, knowing the kind of breeders I was going up against! I was shocked and trembling from excitement- I know I was a bit dazed as I double checked, then checked again to make sure that really was a sticker on the tag of my rabbit!

I stumbled down the aisle and chanced on some wooly breeders from NC sitting at the end of it- in shock and nearly in tears I told them how Forest had done. They were so sweet, congratulating me. A friend of mine, Lisa, came running from the opposite direction and from my face, knew something was up.

"What happened?! WHAT HAPPENED?" She wasn't sure whether to be excited or scared for me.

That's when it happened.

In front of the other breeders, I managed to gasp out "Forest placed 4th" and the bawling proceeded. Yes......I bawled at Convention lol.

I'm proud to say I managed to hold it together watching Tryon be judged. This was partially because I wasn't 100% sure which he was- 1st, 2nd and 4th looked the same!

I stood next to Janice from Topp Hatt Rabbits and we watched the class wind down. Her buck placed 4th and she was so amazingly kind to me. He was cooped just a cage over from Tryon and so I got to talk to her quite a bit. It was nice, in the midst of some of the back-biting, catty, bitterness of a major contest between major breeders, to find someone who had time for a wide-eyed Convention newbie. She was one of the many folks I met, most of whom were also sweet people. I'm happy to say 90% of the folks at Convention proved just why rabbit people are the best in the world.

So there you have it- I bawled like a baby! I think it's justified though :).

Keep's Rabbitry

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We're Home!

Wow Convention was absolutely overwhelming. I'm not even kidding, so many rabbits, so many people!

I'll make this post short and sweet, because I'm sure I'll be posting about my Convention experiences for the next hundred years or so.

Keep's Forest- Self Sr. Buck (JW) took 4th place!
Keep's Tryon- Shaded Sr. Buck (JW) took 2nd place!

My other two animals got NPs (for Near Perfect, right?), though they had excellent comments :).

Keep's Cha-Cha is now living in Oklahoma! I'm so happy she's going to a great home, I hope she out produces herself!

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, October 24, 2008

See ya later Alligator!

We'll be heading out Saturday to go to Kentucky! EEK! I'm still torn as to if I'll be taking a computer or not- I'm leaning towards NOT, so please have patience if you email me over the next few days :).

Good luck to everyone traveling, I hope to meet you! Be safe!

Keep's Rabbitry

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feed Troubles at an end!

We had some horrible trouble with the greedy feed store we've been dealing with. While I understand prices of everything have been going up, we were being charged $17 a bag for Purina Pet Chow (green bag). Recently, despite our loyal patronage, our significant spending in the store and our recommendations that local buyers also purchase food from this store, we encountered some extreme rudeness from the owner of the store, regarding the food they now want to charge $18 a bag for. He decided he "might have to make" us purchase the blue bags of food that he wouldn't always keep in stock for us, and that he continued to order despite our telling him we would no longer be purchasing that type of food due to the price.

I will not be "forced" to do anything, especially when MY money is being spent and in significant amounts.

I told you that story to tell you this one-

In our search for a new feed store, we happened to stop by one on our way back from Asheville. The woman there was extremely sweet and we purchased all their Purina Pet Chow- at $13.80 a bag. Yes. We saved over $3.00 A BAG. I'm thrilled. I also told her of our troubles and asked her to order us more food. It's very definitely worth the extra drive to save that money!

Could our feed problems FINALLY be at an end?! I hope so! :)

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, October 17, 2008

Travelling with Rabbits

We all do a lot of transporting with our animals! To shows, meeting buyers, even moving! So how can we make traveling the safest as possible?

To begin with, I always lay a blanket down in the back. It catches the hay and any spilled water (or urine). It also helps keep the car from gathering scratches from loading carriers!

My preference on long trips is to stuff the carriers with hay and to place puppy pads under the carriers. Note, I prefer to use carriers. It gives the animals a better grip (as opposed to cat carriers) and doesn't take up as much space as cages or even the cat/dog carriers.

Most of the veteran show folks know this already :).

I prefer to only have latch on carrier cups when I do provide food and water (only on longer trips). I do not like to use small ceramic cups, a quick turn or a bump could lead to the animals being popped on the head!

Make sure your rabbits are getting plenty of ventilation! We don't want them getting overheated, which is a particular danger in an over packed car!

A particularly helpful tip is to pack your carriers sideways if you can. If you have to slam on breaks or get into an accident, your rabbits will slam their bodies in to carriers- not their faces! It helps prevent serious injury to your rabbits- such as broken necks, broken teeth, etc. We can't always swing this one due to limited space, but the most valuable stock is always placed this way!

Bungee cords attached the carriers are also really helpful. It helps keep the cages from sliding around! Most of the time, our car is so full we don't have to worry about this step as much, but folks I've ridden with (who have larger vehicles) always make sure to bungee theirs in!

When we stop at rest stops or to run in and grab food (we tend to eat a lot of fast food on rabbit show days!), we make sure to park in the shade and roll down all the windows. I do NOT recommend leaving the rabbits in the car in hot or even warm weather for any extended period of time! As I mentioned- we run in and run right back out! Cold weather is much better for the animals- they won't overheat and they won't freeze :). My preference is still to be in the car if that's where my rabbits are!

Keep's Rabbitry

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Cleaning!

Fall Cage Cleaning is upon us! Next friday, we'll be doing a huge overhaul on the cages- they will be taken out and sprayed off and torched (as needed). All the pans will be cleaned and water bottles run through the dishwasher (along with removable bowls). Woolies and molting hollands will be groomed extensively, in hopes of keeping the cages clean longer than a day or two :).

So much work! So much time! So happy when it's all over :). We want this massive cleaning to tide over everyone until we get home. Plus, it's one less thing I'll have to worry about! Now I just have to hope for nice weather to get all those pans cleaned!

Keep's Rabbitry

Monday, October 13, 2008


Fall is here! The leaves are changing, nights are getting cooler and of course, the rabbits are molting! I love the beautiful colors of fall and the great temperatures though!

I like to give the rabbits extra hay during especially molty times. I also try to give papaya tablets to each, to help break down the fur they are ingesting while grooming.

It's about time to do a last, huge rabbitry cleaning until Spring! During the winter, it's often too cold here in the mountains to drag all the cages outside and scrub them. If worst comes to worst, we will work on a cage by cage basis, but it's sure not fun!

I'm dreading finding the frozen water bottles that winter brings! I'll be blogging later on tips to keep the bottles from freezing- I've heard some fun new tricks since last year!

For now, I'm just trying to enjoy Fall. Breeding does for a last baby boom- after all, winter can be difficult to get babies and when you do get litters, kitcicles are a very real danger.

I'm also looking forward to bagging up those fall leaves for free roughage for the rabbits! They LOVE playing in crunchy leaves, and it's beneficial for them to eat it as well :).

Keep's Rabbitry

To sleep, perchance to dream...

I haven't been sleeping well lately, mainly due to weird Convention dreams! Isn't it funny how our minds get so worked up over something? I'm not dreaming my animals are molting or pass away- I'm cramming Convention in to tiny outdoor fair areas with mini dachshund shows in the basement. Or better yet, I'm dreaming that the holland buck I'm picking up is unavailable and I get stuck with pretty much the worst example of a holland I've ever seen.

I want to remind everyone that you do need your ARBA card to check in. I lost mine last night (found it this morning, thankfully) and I don't want anyone getting there only to realize their card is now hours or days away.

We're bringing small water bottles for the rabbits and perhaps the bowls they are used to as well! Not to mention zip ties for the cage and oats in case someone goes off feed.

I'm hoping that making plans will keep the dreams from overwhelming me. I don't think I'll sleep well until Convention is over lol!

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Mini Lop Trio for Sale

Ok here we go- this is the trio I was going to keep, even though the sell out. I keep flip flopping back and forth because there is SO MUCH POTENTIAL in this trio, it's ridiculous. They really, really compliment each other perfectly. I've decided that a sell out is truly that- I will NOT keep a show trio.

Let's see- To begin with, sorry about the faces on the does- babies love to chew on mama's fur rofl. I was trying to take these by myself too, so they could be better as far as pics go.

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Keep's Basheba-Chestnut- this is an adult GC Velotta's Joe daughter. Excellent mother, she's got 2 legs. She goes flat over her topline but she's so WIDE and has such nice HQ- she's been close to that sr. leg so many times, but never lucked up and got it. One leg is for a BOB as a junior. Throwing REALLY nice babies here lately.

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Fatboy's "B"- proven- 1 leg that I know of, I'll check and see if she has another. I really like her, haven't shown her, I got her and put her straight in to my breeding program- excellent mother.

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Fatboy's Tye- Broken Chestnut- 2 legs
This guy is so wow. He's looking a little rough in the pictures, he's been digging at his food and dropped some weight (he's getting double rations to put it back on him). Gorgeous- gorgeous gorgeous, I fully expect him to be able to grand. FULLY expect it. He'd have had it already, but he broke a tooth WHILE BEING JUDGED and of course, couldn't win the class after that. The tooth is 100% fine now- I'm not sure if the judge dropped him or what. >.< He's young, not even a year old.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kentucky is getting closer!


I can not believe it's coming up so fast! I feel like I'm in a race with time- will she come out of her molt? Will he get the perfect touch to his wool? Should I have entered ____ instead of ____?

Since we're rooming with some other folks from California, we've got to coordinate our driving with their flight. Luckily, they are arriving after I had planned to get there, so yay!

We have to set up a pet sitter for the cats and rabbits, take the dogs to my in-laws, print copies of ALL correspondence on behalf of Convention- that is, I plan to have a copy of every screen of the entry process, as well as of our hotel room confirmation, parking pass confirmation if it doesn't arrive- everything!

Snacks are on my mind- what to take, we can't afford to eat every meal and snacks in the Convention hall! I've heard prices are quite a bit on the high side.

I need to get a list of phone numbers of folks who want to meet up while we're there, confirm ear numbers on animals I'm picking up for other people-

So much to do!! EEK!

Keep's Rabbitry

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thinking ahead in your program

I was reading in my AKC magazine and stumbled across a quote from a breeder of champion dogs. Paraphrased, he basically said that the difference between breeders and top breeders is that top breeders aren't thinking just about current matings, but always thinking at least two generations ahead.

I am pleased to say that I do consider future breedings and have, at any given point in time, up to a five generation plan. Most of the time, the plan doesn't work out because the offspring at some point are lacking something I was hoping they'd gain to make the matches work. At that point, I simply change plans!

When you breed, it's important to match faults and have a clear picture of what you want. Why are you breeding that buck and that doe? What do you need to fix? Can that possibly be improved in this match? If it is improved, what's your next step? This will help your program so much! Have a clear picture where you are going. After all, you don't jump in the car and just drive, not knowing where you are going or what you'll do when you get there.

You don't have to have a written out plan. Mine is kept in my head and usually goes "A to B, and then if I get a buck out of that, I'll breed him to C- if I get a doe, I'll breed her to D. Then I can take a buck from that and breed it back to A...or if it's a doe I can use E..."

You don't have to have that specific a plan! A lot of friends tend to say things like "If I could get his ears on her body..."- well there you go! A first generation plan! And if you *do* get those ears with that body, what else do you need? "And then add in a touch more mass..." POOF, second generation breeding, who as a buck or a doe in your barn has mass to spare?! :)

I hope you enjoy planning your breedings as much as I do! Even when things don't go quite as planned, it's so much fun to try to put the pieces together! Of course- I love jigsaw puzzles, maybe that's why it appeals to me so much :)

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Traumatic Day

I had 4 animals outside in the rabbit pen today- 3 mini lops and my siamese sable holland doe. They are all young and get along well together. They were all playing around and I had a person come out and buy a pair of mini lops.

So I left the other 2 in the pen to have a good time- it's a beautiful day after all, weather is perfect and they enjoyed the grass. I wish you could have seen the binkying.

We get ready to leave the house, so I go out to put the animals up- the Siamese Sable holland is GONE. GONE. I yell for Tim, we search high and low, around the house, in the garden, under the cars- she's gone.

We still had to leave, but I cracked the rabbitry just in case she came back, smelled the others, etc. After all, we've had rabbits get out before but never leave the open rabbitry (thankfully)

So.... we come home, it's dark, but I try to look around again- can't find her sad.gif. I was starting to feed and told Tim "It just makes me sick to think of her out there-" we have coyotes (I've been told), stray cats, dogs, etc. all around us, plus a road on 2 sides and she's just a young holland.

As I say that Tim goes "oh my god, there she is."

YEAH.....she came back! ohmy.gif I was so happy, I was seriously feeling sick to my stomach thinking about her out in the world alone.

Sooooo traumatic! Thankfully she displayed some common sense! Maybe she missed her sister, I don't know. I'm so thrilled she's back, now we've got to figure out how she got out and fix up that pen! I don't want this happening again for sure!

Keep's Rabbitry

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Show Results!

Wow, it was.......an interesting day :).

To begin with, we noticed a fellow exhibitor wasn't around for Show A. It was odd, because she was supposed to be coming, but we assumed something came up- oh man did it! The poor folks were stuck on the off ramp about 10 miles away! Thankfully they had a relative to come get them, and ended up having to tow the bunny van home, but geez! After a light bit of teasing, I drove home the point we need to have cell numbers passed around! I haven't forgotten, so expect an email from me soon Jacklyn!

Show A went well in the woolies! Forest took BOSB again (darn Shaded doe whips us every time lol) and Tryon took BOSG (to that same doe). I was pleased with my boys! My little Dreamer got very excellent comments, but of course she blew out her wool cap! I can't wait for her to get a little older.

Show B went....differently. Keep's Lucky took 2/5 in the broken junior doe class, which thrilled me! THRILLED ME. However- we managed to lose the broken jr. buck class winner, a doe was not judged because she was thought to be that buck- it was a big mess! Thankfully it all got squared away.

Congratulations to Janice who cleaned up on the Holland tables! I hope she had room for all her trophies going home :P !

Show B in woolies- uhm. I was extremely disappointed by the judge we were appointed. Even the youth have told me they feel their fees are wasted under him. True to form, we did terribly under him. Thankfully the BOB and BOSB rabbits were deserving......that is, after someone told him that he had chosen BOB & BOSB to 2 does. I've made the decision not to show under this judge any longer, I just DO NOT like the way he handles the animals.

I sold a pair of hollands (bye Bowser! *sniffle*) and a mini lop doe today- I'm so thankful for the cage space and I'm happy about the placements. I know both exhibitors take really good care of their animals.

I've also set up appointments for several folks to come out and look at juniors! Slowly but surely, the mini lops are leaving us.

I'm also offering a proven quad of mini lops for sale at a large discount. I think these 4 could be an EXTREMELY good start to minis for someone. They include 2 previously unoffered animals.

Wow, I'm tired! Getting up at 5:30am will do that to ya though! Enjoyed seeing everyone and getting to spend a bit more time socializing!

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, October 3, 2008

Almost Show Time!

The rabbits are groomed, the carriers are waiting, the pedigrees are printed...it's almost show time!

I'm a little nervous- I've got 3 first timer junior holland does going out, including 1 that *may* make the trip to Convention with me!

Dreamer blew her wool cap- it's totally gone. Doh! I hope she gets it back in the next few weeks!

Tryon is looking a little funky in his coat/color. I think it's because he's not quite done with that molt, but it still gives me twitches.

At least Forest is lookin goo... no I won't even say it. If I do, he'll do something to mess it up by tomorrow!

Now, the sensible thing for me to do would be to go to bed. After all, we'll need to be up early to pack the car & get on the road! Let's see- 30 minutes of getting ready/packing, minimum 1 1/2 hour drive, MUST be at the show no later than 8am (to get set up & register- and run my mouth!)....that = ugh, 6am at the LATEST.

More than likely, we need to be up around 5:30 am. *twitch twitch* The things we do for bunnies... Tim started his whining three days ago, we just didn't do the wake up math until right now! Maybe I should have started whining too!

Wish me luck, I'm taking 14 animals to sell (including several ADORABLE, FRIENDLY pets). I need the holes, my herd is growing very well right now!

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'm back!

I'm back! :) So I've been catching up on emails and inquires :).

Let's see- I got my entries in for the Taylorsville Show! Three woolies and three hollands. All the hollands are juniors who have never shown before, I'm more than a little nervous to put them on the table! I've got to admit barn blindness in the case of two of them- siamese sables (one broken, one solid).

I'll be bringing along the mini lops I've got left for sale, plus a pair of Hollands and a junior & senior Wooly buck.

We also have decided to rehome a ratty female I took in as a rescue- I'm hoping to find her a nice, non breeding home. If you're interested in her, please let me know!

Keep's Rabbitry