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Saturday, November 29, 2008


I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

We're playing the waiting game here- 5 nextboxes, 3 nests, zero babies. *sigh*! Although several aren't even technically overdue yet- I'm just impatient for babies!

If you guys know Brandi, think about her- she and her husband are both injured by accidents, and they just lost their sweet corgi Odie.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Trails!

Good luck to everyone traveling to see family, be careful and stay safe :) Bigger good luck to those like us who will be risking life and limb at the after Thanksgiving sales (Black Friday- spoooky).

Quick bit of rabbit news- I was mistaken when I posted Tryon got a BOSV, he actually won BOV both shows, so he got two legs- and my little guy is now eligible to get his GC certificate! Hooray! :)


Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Changing the Holland Lop Classes

There has been consideration put forth to change the Holland Lop classes from Broken and Solid to Groups such as the Jersey Woolies have, or even Varieties like the Netherland Dwarfs.

I want to talk about this.

To begin with, a lot of folks feel the groups will promote colors as "torts only win". I find this odd- I've seen a smoke pearl take BOB, I won my first BOSB with a chestnut holland, my second with a broken blue tort. My sable point herd buck has two legs, and the broken siamese sable I sold to Mel in Oklahoma took BOSV- not to mention the various blacks, blues, smoke pearls, otters etc that have won classes or even varieties and breed!

Do "colors" win as often as tort? Of course not. ARE some judges colorblind (as in- if it's not a tort, it doesn't win)? I believe a few are. So what are we going to accomplish by changing the class configuration- sure you'll see a lot more colors, but I worry about the quality going downhill- how many folks will jump on the color band wagon perceiving an "easy win" or "easy legs", since all the group or color variety will need is 3 exhibitors and 5 rabbits. People can easily stack a class/color group to get that.

Secondly, if a colorblind judge is judging the breed, a tort is still going to be the only thing to win breed. So--- other than making it easier to get legs, how has that changed anything? Should an inferior animal get legs just because of the color? NO!

Do I think folks should promote the breed colors? Yes. I am not anti-color. True, if you come to my barn, the majority of my hollands are tort. I don't like REW. I'm not a fan of otter. Sorry. However, you will see sable point, blue tort and siamese sable. Some of my animals carry dilute, others carry REW. In a lot of cases, I'm a simple breeding away from all kinds of colors on *quality* animals. Will I keep them over a tort? ONLY if it's a superior animal in type. I can't stand the phrase "nice...for a color." So- it's an inferior animal, but oh, it's a COLOR so suddenly what would be a pet rabbit in a tort coat is worthy of not only keeping, but breeding? OH! And since the variety managed 5 rabbits and 3 exhibitors, this PET is a GC now? Meh.

Rather than address color concerns, let me raise a different way to change Holland classes- Let's make them junior, intermediate and senior classes.

Oh yeah, I said it.

Rather than keeping my juniors home for a year to a year and a half without being able to show them competitively against 3 year old monster-headed bucks, let's make it to where from 6-10 months, these guys can still show. Why not? There are plenty of other breeds that have three age classes.

In any event, there will be no changes to the Holland Lop classes in the near future. Discussion is still raging though. Where do you stand on the issue? :)

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A few pictures from the show!

The greatest gift of all- a rabbit that doesn't bite you when you dress her up :lol:

Keep's Tryon, a Thanksgiving Turkey for the costume contest!
(picture by Elizabeth)

BL's Down Town, looking IRRITATED as a trusty steed
(picture by Joni)

Joni's little black wooly buck- I told her she needed my conditioning mix!
(Picture by Joni)

Keep's Angel looking fascinated by her first show- NOT!

What a lazy bum!

If you want to see more Shelby pictures, taken by Elizabeth and Samantha, please click here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

End of Season Doldrums

End of Show Season that is.

With the probable last show of the year behind me, I'm sad. I love showing, but now I have to wait to show off my pretty little juniors- in fact some will turn senior without ever hitting the table! I've got to fight the culling bug, I definitely have a few animals I want to move out- not for any real reason, as far as I can tell, just because I'm getting down right anal about always having something available!

Ah well, on to the best news of the day- Keep's Tryon took a BOG and a BOSG in the two shows today! Hooray! I also got some really excellent comments on Forest and the two junior does I took along! YAY. The hollands did fairly all right. As I recall, Bart took 3rd in the first show and 2nd in the first- poor Zapp placed six both times, but I think it was a fairly large class.

I'm waiting anxiously for my litters to be born- I've got several due at the end of the month and running in to December. So much of raising rabbits is waiting- there isn't a lot of instant gratification in this hobby!

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, November 21, 2008

Last Show of the Season?

Tomorrow may very well be my last show of the season! It's definitely my last pre-planned show.

Shelby is a strange arrangement- it's a collection of breed specialities, followed by a general Best in Show at the end. Thankfully both Hollands and Woolies are sanctioned- Thriantas are not, but I plan on showing my junior buck anyway :). The Belgians are staying at home, because I don't want to stress either too much. Bandito has been to a lot of shows recently, ya know. Both he and Jasmine are looking beautiful- I can't wait to continue to show them off in the Spring.

It's been snowing all day here- the highest temperature I saw was 28 degrees. Brrrrrr. We're definitely going to have to have everything ready in the morning so that we spend only the least amount of time possible outdoors! Thankfully Shelby, traditionally an outdoor show, is indoors this go round! Woo hoo!

I'm so happy- almost everyone I wanted to take was in excellent coat (Tryon especially!). Since this could be the last chance at legs for some of my girls before going in to the breeding program, I'm especially glad they are looking nice.

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Ugh- Snow. I love snow, don't get me wrong. But I'm not looking forward to frozen water bottles! I've knitted bottle covers, so I plan on giving those a shot, as well as some old socks pulled down over the bottle.

Can't hurt to try! Besides, even if it gives me just a 2-3 degree reprieve, anything is better than nothing!

Some folks switch to crocks this time of year and simply dump the ice out, making sure to refill the bowl several times a day. Tim is in charge of watering and he doesn't like this approach.

I've also heard of folks who remove all the frozen bottles, take them inside to thaw, then return them to the bunnies. They also do this several times a day, making sure the water is available to the rabbits more often. We may give this a try if the winter proves to be as harsh as the "wooly worms" say it will be!

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I finally got a little Californian doe from Brandi & Pete! I'm thrilled, even though this girl (who is nameless right now) is a baby and won't be ready to start my meat program for months.

My original intention was a colony trio- setting up a pen for the three along with hiding places and nestboxes, and allowing them to breed when they chose to, etc. After all, these rabbits will not be shown, so maintaining a pedigree on them isn't important to me.

However, I now think it may be better just to set aside 3-4 holes and go from there. Because we don't own our home and property, it's harder for me to do what I want to do in regards to the rabbits. With the hole-approach, I WILL be able to keep tabs on the litters and so can do a pedigree if I choose to.

I'm excited about having a steady source of rabbit meat in the near future- it's healthy, delicious and I will be keeping close tabs on the amount of feed they eat and growth rates to determine if it's cost effective as well!

Keep's Rabbitry

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So excited!

My broken siamese sable junior holland doe (wow, a mouthful!) Keep's ChaCha just won BOSV for her new owner, Melanie! I'm SO thrilled. This doe is not only a color, she's little! Mel's showing partner (her mom!) LeeAnne called to give me the news and I must have sounded like the biggest half-wit. I was so shocked, especially with the caliber of breeders she was showing against, that I spent most of my time going "whaaaa?" and convinced she was joking!

This is a huge triumph for me and for Melanie, who sold me the father to that doe, Lil Bit Farm's Zapp! I just had to share our news with my blog readers- after all, a tiny colored junior taking BOSV- I know it's not a BIS, but wow, thrilling all the same! :)

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, November 14, 2008


I'm excited! Malena & I will soon be trying the new Purina Fibre3 feed. I've heard great things about the feed as far as color, freshness and driving the bunnies WILD!

As a downside, some breeders are reporting less than stellar coats. That's fine, I'm confident my conditioning mix can keep the luster to their coats! Especially if the feed is superior otherwise!

What is Fibre3, you ask?

It's a corn free feed originally developed for pet owners, in an attempt to keep house bunnies from becoming obese. It's got a high crude protein content and is high fiber to help with the digestion of the animals! Check out it's ingredients here.

The best part is, it's at least $3 cheaper than what that awful feed store was charging me for Purina Show (blue bag) and it's $2 cheaper than the Manna Pro Malena was feeding!

I'll keep you guys updated!

Keep's Rabbitry

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free Pets! Make a Great Surprise!

If you're looking at the title of this blog with a slightly "Has she lost her mind" expression, I applaud you.

Animals do not make great surprises. Period.

What has prompted this, you ask? A craigslist post, titled "Free Kittens! Makes a great surprise!"

Oh? For who? The people who didn't want a cat, didn't know they were allergic, have a brand new leather couch, who live in a pet free apartment? Or for the people who don't know how to take care of them and who had no desire to have a cat until a well meaning and doting great aunt presents their 4 year old with a kitten?


If someone says "Gee. I'd love to have a rabbit. I've done all my research, everything is set up and I'm just lacking the bunny-" then yes. Maybe a rabbit would work as a surprise. Assuming you know their size preference, sex preference, color preference, up ears or lops?

I always like to pick my own animal. This is a 14+ year commitment, or in the case of a rabbit, a 5+ year commitment. Why be saddled with an animal you may not click with, or think is completely ugly?

When I have pet buyers contact me wanting to buy a pet as a "surprise", I'm sure they feel like they get the third degree. I won't sell "surprise" pets for people outside the household, unless I can speak with the person that will be taking care of the animal- the mom or dad of the child (because most surprise pets go to children). It saves so much trouble in the end and really saves me the trouble of talking for 2 weeks with a buyer who flakes out because "my brother in law is being unreasonable and won't let my little niece have it after all."

Ugh- Free pets....great surprises. Meh. Only for the person who gets to be the hero for giving them the pet- not the poor parents who have to tell their child they can't keep it.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wanted: English Lop

I'm looking for an English Lop for a friend- pedigree isn't important, neither is quality. Personality is an absolute MUST! Needs to be friendly :).

If anyone knows of any, please let me know! :) Can pick up at Shelby!

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conditioning Mix!

I'm going to be offering Conditioning Mix, for sale at the Shelby Specialty show. It'll be $4 a lb or $3.50 per 5lbs. Any further discount can be discussed in private :).

I'm selling this conditioning mix in the interest of keeping it fresh and in small packages. Think about it- to mix my own, for only my personal use, will leave me with around 45lbs of mix. For a rabbitry with around 50 animals, several babies who would not be partaking in the conditioning mix, this will last me well past the time where the mix will still be fresh! It's definitely a benefit to share it!

I'll be mixing my conditioner up right before the show, so all packages will be as fresh as possible. If interested, please email me with how much mix you're interested in :). I do accept Paypal, Money Order and will also take a check if it arrives by this Saturday (11/15)

Keep's Rabbitry

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Therapy Rabbits

Therapy horses, therapy dogs- therapy rabbits? It's amazing what animals can do for us.

Rabbit Shows are an amazing type of therapy for some folks. Rabbits in general are calming animals, many willing to spend hours being petted. But shows- wow. They help people battle depression, through the love of the animals and the close friendships formed. It gives people something to look forward and a win can propel you straight to Cloud 9.

Rabbit Shows bring the shy and chronically shy out of their shells. Plenty of people around, chatting about rabbits- a conversation will often start between two people and snowball until a group of us are standing around talking about the merits of one animal against another, exchanging breed information, etc.

In a situation where Tim & I will have to go a lot of moving around, leaving friends in our wake, I know I'll always get to see my rabbit friends :). They are a constant and I'm so lucky to have such great friends- ones that will let me crash at their house (with the dogs). We form groups- such as the new Thriantra & Belgian Hare Coalition. Cindy at Sea Breeze Bunnies & I will be working with a tiny herd of Thriantras to help Pete & Brandi at BL's Bunny Barn promote the gorgeous Thriantas. In return, Pete & Brandi will be getting a Belgian in the future and helping me with the promotion of the Belgian Hares!

It's just amazing, when you think about it, what animals can teach us and do for us. I've posted before that you don't make money with rabbits, but you will teach your kids amazing life lessons, responsibility and hey- if they are shy, maybe they'll gain some confidence. Maybe the love of the rabbits will bring them out of a depression. A good friend of mine adopted a rabbit right after the death of her father. He helped her cope with her loss- years later, she still has them and is a great ally to rare breeds.

So go hug a bunny.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Daring Breedings

Ask any breeder you know if you should do a broken to broken breeding. Go ahead- I'll wait.

Just kidding, let's pretend you've asked. The answer you get will depend on the type of breeder you speak with! There is no right or wrong answer, just the difference between the daring breeders and the play it safers.

For instance, breeding a broken to broken can result in Charlie marked animals Some folks refuse to mess with charlies and pet them out or sell them at 8 weeks old as brood animals. Some folks flat out refuse to breed a broken to a broken, others will only breed heavy pattern to heavy pattern.

So what should you do?

Well that depends. Are you the kind of breeder that wants perfect, showable babies out of each litter? Or are you the kind that will take a hit for a single generation, such as getting excellent type on a charlie/unshowable color, then breed that animal in again to the herd to produce showable animals?

Personally- I'm the daring breeder. I've got a broken/broken (light pattern on the doe) breeding that should come to fruition in the next few days. I've bred a blue tort to a sable point, well aware I could end up with unshowable colors. I could go on and on. I'm breeding because of the extreme compatibility of the type and lines!

I think the best course is to know what you could be getting in to and how to counteract any "daring breedings" you do. Make sure it's absolutely worth it as far as lines and type compatibility go. Know that if you breed and get a certain unshowable color, how you can use that in your herd to your advantage. What colors will work with the unshowable to make the offspring showable? You don't want to do constant daring breedings and end up with a color so messed up there is no way to ever use the animals you create!

Keep's Rabbitry

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leaving the Rabbits

While we were out at Convention, we left the rabbits in the hands of an experienced rabbit care giver. I taught this lady how to care for them, she's owned rabbits in the past, it's perfect! Right?

When we arrived back on Thursday, we were happy to see bowls mostly full, water bottles mostly full and everyone bright eyed and bushy tailed. Kind of.

In the midst of checking all my perfectly happy rabbits, I glanced in a bottom cage that was much like the others- full feed dish, full water bottle. However, this little buck had pulled some of his fur and he was on his feet swaying strangely. I picked him up and he didn't feel limp- most of you have felt the "death limp" where you know it won't make it. However, I could feel every bone in his body! What?!

After petting him a bit, I put him back in his cage and he DOVE in to his feed dish. Apparently, he'd grown quite attached to me, though I hadn't realized we were quite so close. He had pined away for a week, refusing to eat or drink while I was away! A quick check on the others revealed three others who apparently felt the same way, though not quite as extreme.

So definitely, no matter how tired you are, take a moment to great your rabbits and check everyone over! Most of my favorites were fine, it was these others, the silent lovers, who suffered the most while we were gone! Who'd have known?

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Not a lot of words from me today- just pictures! :D

Silver Marten Holland

Broken Black New Zealand! LOVE!

Broken English Angora...or perhaps it's a sheepdog.

Meat pen

Friendliest Belgian Hare Doe ever!


REW Velveteen Lop


Tan Netherland Dwarf