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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Rabbitry Goals 2012

Let's see- Rabbitry goals for 2012.

Keep the herd to no more than 35 animals. I have happily cut down on the size of the herd this year and I'm liking the smaller numbers.  I don't want to go above 35 animals (although that number may fluctuate as litters are born).

Take a BIS.  I finally got my Reserve in Show.  I want to bump it up a notch and take a Best in Show in 2012. I feel like I have several animals that are deserving of that honor, it just all depends on what they look like on any given show day.  Fingers crossed.

Keep the website updated. For this one to work, first I need to get the website updated.  It's my goal to get new pictures of the rabbits up and keep them updated in 2012.

Take a Top 5 in Sweepstakes Points.  This goal is going to be more difficult.  I was so close in 2011 but close doesn't count. I'm hopeful, but at the end of the day, this is probably the least important of my goals.

I think rabbitry goals are important.  Every year I sit down and think of where I have come from and where I am going.  I was blessed this year to cross off everything on my list.  It was a big year for rabbits and for me- I sent two rabbits overseas, took a class and opposite of group at Convention, won a BRIS with a homebred wooly, placed 6th in Sweeps and worked through a terrible tragedy, including the loss of my beloved Tryon.  I hope that 2012 brings more joy and bigger accomplishments.

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Keep's Rabbitry- including Keep's Sunset and her brand new litter of three! :)

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What is your favorite memory?

A friend of mine asked on facebook for a favorite memory from 2011.

Three stood out in my mind, but the one that meant the most to me happened almost a year ago.

In February I attended PaSRBA and I took Keep's Tryon with me .  By the end of the second day, he was a mess, showing off, trying to climb judge Donyelle, jumping in and out of the coops- generally just showing his butt in the cutest way possible.

When he failed to win BOB or BOSB (it was oh-so-close), I picked him up.  He squirmed until he was sitting on my hip just like a small child will do.  I smiled down at him and I clicked and clucked to him, just to distract him from wanting to wiggle.

He looked at me, twitched an ear and then clicked back! He chattered his teeth lightly in the same rhythm I did it, talking back to me for several minutes.  I've never felt closer to an animal than I did then.

I'm typing this trying desperately not to cry, but I have pretty much failed.

I still miss him so much.

Keep's Rabbitry

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Do it Anyway.

This was posted on my friend Lindsey's blog.  I just had to share.

The Paradoxical Commandments
... by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

2011 Goals- Revisited

Every year I write my goals out.  Every year I revisit the post and see what I wanted to accomplish and if I did. Below is my post from December- 2010.
Hmmm. It's that annual time of year where I sit down and think of what I'd like to accomplish this year. I always really enjoy this, but it's difficult sometimes to put what I want to do in words. After all, I can't exactly say I want to make the perfect rabbit because yes- that's what we are all trying to do! Every year, I up the ante just a little. If I don't hit these goals, it's ok, but I want to always push myself harder to reach the higher goals!

Top 20 in Sweeps- with reduced shows! I may be cutting down on the number of shows I go to, but I'd still like to secure a place in the Top 20.  This year I placed 6th in Sweeps!  What an incredible honor.
BIS/BRIS with a Homebred- You know the deal on this one :D. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride! I'm hoping for it in 2011!  It finally happened! With just a month or so to spare in the year, Keep's Panda brought home a Reserve in Show to Keep's Rabbitry!

Win a class at Convention- I won a class and BOSG at Nationals, I'd really like to take the honor at Convention this year!  Honestly, this was my dark-horse hope.  I never dreamed this one would come true, but this year Keep's Puzzle brought home a 1st place in the Self Senior Doe class and went on to place BOSG!
I am so incredibly proud of what has been accomplished at Keep's Rabbitry this year. I never thought I'd have a list (even a short one) that was fully completed.  I'll be getting to work on my new goals for next year and posting them soon!

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kind of quiet lately-

The blog has been kind of quiet lately, I know. 

The reason is- well honestly I've stopped and started dozens of posts.  I've written quite a few that never get published.   I know for a fact that there are people out there who read this blog to "spy" (hello.. this is a public blog.  It's not spying if I am giving you the information lol!) or who read it just to find something to get upset or offended by.  In fact, if you are reading this right now and are offended by that last sentence- it's you.  You also need to work on your issues.  Seriously.

Anyway, in the interest of creating a less drama filled world, I'm working, slowly, on decreasing internet presence.  I still fully plan on blogging and posting pictures, updating the website, etc.  I just highly doubt I will be blogging daily or every other day.  No big shock there, huh?

So, now that I got that out of my system- I will see you local folks at shows (ooo see that spies? I'm going to local shows! Scandalous.).  I will hopefully see you non-local folks at Nationals!

Thanks to everyone who has read the blog.  I started it in July of 2007 just as a way to share ideas, goals and updates with some friends.  I never dreamed I'd meet people and they'd say "Oh! I read your blog!"  I surely never dreamed I'd be able to keep it going for so long!   I hope you readers stay with me and read the updates, no matter how slowly they may come in! 

This definitely isn't the end...just a semi-hibernation for a while :).

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

There are a lot of things I'm thankful for this year rabbit-wise. 

I'm thankful for the support I received when we had the terrible barn tragedy, even from strangers.

I'm thankful for the true friends I have who support me when other people are being horrible.

I'm thankful for the good winners and the good losers, the people that are there to have fun.

I'm thankful for the bunnies.  It makes my day better when I remember coming home from long trips and seeing them all binky in their cages at the sound of my voice.

I am thank for the good buyers and good sellers I've encountered.

I'm thankful for the good things in this hobby.  To the bad things out there- Pfft. You don't bother me.  I've got too much good things to be thankful for, to waste my time on worrying about the bad!

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blast from the Past

I have been lucky enough to have four bunnies I sold return to the barn recently!  Two came home at Convention and then two came home as a result of their new owner's sell out.

The REW doe that just returned, Snow, may be pregnant by a broken chestnut buck out of Brian Caudill's lines.  I had the opportunity to see the potential sire and he's a very good match up with Snow! My fingers are crossed that she kindles.

I also got back a blue otter buck named Ra.  He is the full littermate to the buck I put in the Golden Fleece Auction, Keep's Bashful.  I loved this buck a lot and had just made up my mind to jerk him off the sales list when I was contacted about him, so I let him go.  I'm so grateful that his new owner let me know when she was selling out so I had first chance to buy him back.

I can't wait to pair Ra up with some of the ladies.  I am hoping to get some nice selfs and shadeds out of him, so I'll probably be selling a fair number of tan patterns in the near future, it's not my goal to keep any of those colors.

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moving Out and Moving On

The rabbitry is starting to look a bit empty.   I have 13 cages standing empty right now- and for once, that includes all my juniors being separated!

I do have two rabbits coming home from a sell-out.  I need to get out there and start selling off those excess cages before I fill them right back up.

I am planning on retiring Keep's Chapel Hill soon.   She is still in production and is actually due to kindle this month.  She's just getting older- it seems like just yesterday she was taking 2nd place junior doe at Nationals.  Now I'm looking to find a good pet home to place her in.

As always, I'm looking to make more cuts to my shaded senior bucks.  I was able to force myself to part with only one at Convention. I miss him very much, but he's in such a fantastic home I can't be too sad.

I have ideas on who I may let go next.  Since all my shaded senior bucks are grand champions with the exception of one (poor guy, he's only been to one show as a senior and took 2nd both times behind the other shaded senior buck I took), it's not an easy decision. I think I'll first have to make a list of who definitely can't go anywhere, then move from there to the ones I will consider letting go.  It's hard, the bucks are my favorites- especially the shadeds! However, I have to make room for upcoming bucklings and I can't do that if the cages are all filled.

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why you should always roll out of bed...

The alarm went off at 6am and I groaned.  Literally groaned out loud.  While Tim was up getting dressed, I was huddled under the covers in an incredibly soft, warm bed, thinking about how badly I did not want to get up.  I warred with myself for 5 minutes over the merits of getting up versus just going back to sleep.

Finally, getting up won.  I got dressed and trudged out into the freezing cold to pack up my rabbits and head to Taylorsville for a show.  I was expecting the venue to be freezing cold as usual, but when we arrived, the heat was on in the building and it was fairly comfortable! That helped my mood tremendously.

I took several rabbits, one just for opinions, one just to get her used to being shown because she's hell-on-wheels and a few to help "get in the mood".  I wasn't expecting much from anyone, they are all pretty molty and losing condition right now.

In Show A, Keep's Panda took BOSB! I was blown away, I had been lamenting to Joni that I should have left him home because of his lack of condition.  Keep's Bump It Up won the shaded buck class and took BOG, which should have granded him out.

In Show B, Bump again took BOG!  Most of my placings were exactly the same, but one of my does was bottom of the senior doe class, which surprised me.  Don't get me wrong, I completely didn't expect her to win, but it was a bit shocking that she was 7/8.  She had been 3/9 in the first show.  Panda won BOG and actually ended up taking BOB!  My perpetual "BOSB" winner finally got his moment in the spotlight.  I was thrilled.

I hadn't planned on staying for Best In Show, but since there was only the tail end of one last breed to place before it occurred, I said "what the heck" and we stayed.   The judging tables were small, so we spread out across two and the BIS Judge, Sue Rice, went every quickly over all the animals.  She pulled out Panda for a second look, which tickled me, but then she did a second look over 7 or 8 animals.  Since they only place Best in Show and Best Reserve in Show, I wasn't optimistic.

Sue gave a quick list of who her favorite rabbits were, including "the Jersey Wooly" and I thought Awesome that's almost like an Honorable Mention.  I felt good that she thought so highly of Panda- she was the one that gave him BOSB in the first show.   Standing behind the opposite table from where Panda was, she announced that BIS went to a beautiful Florida White.  Well, that's it.  She's over on that other table where most of her mentions were.  

Then she tossed out "And my Reserve in Show goes to the Jersey Wooly".

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I have taken Best in Show with both Mini Lops and Holland Lops.  I've taken Reserve in Show with Mini Lops- but I've never taken either with a Jersey Wooly, especially not a homebred!

This win and the Convention win put me over the moon! November is officially my favorite month ever now!

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rabbit Myth

Everyone, say it with me.  These are domestic rabbits.
They are 100% used to human scent.

If your domestic rabbit has a litter, you can touch them immediately after she gives birth.  She will not eat them.  She will not reject them.  They will not die from contact with you.  I get so tired of people telling me or my husband that if we touch our rabbit babies, the mothers will eat them, then arguing with me about it.  Let's see- I've had Jersey Woolies for almost 6 years now.  I had Holland Lops for years before the woolies.  These people, on the other hand, heard the rabbit myth.  Who is more qualified to speak on it? Hm?

Now, some does do cannibalize their kits.  There are hundreds of reasons why they may do this.  They may be lacking in nutrients, the baby may die and she may eat it to "protect" the others from predators.  She may be a terrible mother.   The point is, this is the exception, not the rule and a doe that cannibalizes her babies does it not because you touched the animal, but because of one of the reasons noted above.

I do not breed terrible mothers, nor do I sell them as breeding stock.  If I have a first time doe that eats her litter, I may let it slide- terrible things happen during the first kindling sometimes, so they get a pass.  If they do it a second time, that animal goes to a pet home or is otherwise culled. 

Long post short- touching a domestic rabbit's babies will not cause her to eat them, kill them, or abandon them.
Rabbit Myth #1? Busted.

Keep's Rabbitry

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One step forward, two steps back

I've been going through my herd, looking to fix problems and strengthen strengths.

To me, the worst part of raising rabbits is to try to fix one nitpicky piece.  Do you need more width? Be prepared to sacrifice shortness of body or quality of wool.  Do you need thicker ears? Be prepared for more length to them or to lose some hindquarter!  It's very rare that you are able to fix a problem area in your herd without losing something else!

It's also impossible to find a complete buck or doe.  No one has a perfect rabbit and even if they did, they aren't going to sell it. 

I've decided that instead of "fixing" my does with bucks, to go the opposite way and "fix" my bucks with does.  To that end, I've brought in a few new does.  Actually, one is a Keep's doe that I sold out to California a while back.  The other is a cute little black doe who is very promising.  I'm anticipate that her lines will mesh well with mine.

I can't wait to have my current round of juniors grow up.  I'm really keeping an eye open for does this year- I don't need bucks right now, which means that of course all of my babies will end up boys!  This round of babies was very "Panda"-heavy... by which I mean I bred Panda almost exclusively.  I can't wait to take some of his daughters and breed them back to some of my other bucks.

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Convention Tourism

We met some new friends at the Speedway!  They show Mini Lops.
One thing I do not do is spend 100% of my time at Convention! There is just too much to do in each city to do nothing but live and breathe rabbits for 5 days.  I know, I know, I am there for a rabbit show- but still! What am I going to do on all those days? Look at the same rabbits in the same coops 8+ hours a day? No thank you :).

Tim loves the opportunity to look up places to eat and things to do, so I mostly leave him in charge of activities.  When we went to Kentucky, we all knew we'd have to go see Churchill Downs.  When we found out we'd be going to Indianapolis, we all knew we'd end up at the Raceway.
Oh no! The dinosaurs are breaking out of the Children's Museum!
We didn't get to do as much sight-seeing as we wanted to.  Unfortunately, the Wooly SNAFU ate up a day and a half of our time.  The museums in Indy are all closed on Monday as well, something we didn't realize.
Beautiful architecture in Indy!
Regardless, I had a fun time exploring Indianapolis.  We were able to spend a day at the Children's Museum, which was incredible!  We checked out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, spent a few minutes before closing in the Art Museum, saw various war memorials and even drove out to Carmel so that Tim could do a food challenge. 
Outside of the Art Museum
I can definitely say Indianapolis is somewhere I'd visit again!

-KristenKeep's Rabbitry

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A judging hiccup at Convention

Judging started on Sunday this year, which was new and different.  Woolies were slated to go up at 8am, so we all made arrangements to get to the showroom about that time.  Since I had no Agoutis or AOVs, I was able to shoot to arrive slightly later than some of the other folks.

I ran a brush through one of my woolies and then I was happily done grooming.  I love easy care coats!

Around this time, it became obvious that no woolies were going on the tables!  Unfortunately, though woolies had been scheduled to go up as one of the first breeds, we weren't assigned a table.   It reminded me strongly of the trouble the Hollands had in Minnesota the year before.

We waited around, twiddling our thumbs, unsure as to whether we would go up that day or if we would be bumped back to Monday.   We finally got word we'd have a table as soon as the fuzzy lop people were finished- which ended up being right at 3pm.  Eurgh!

Our judges were troopers and judged as quickly as they could, but around 8pm they had to call it a night.  After all, they had also been up early and had been on their feet all day, unlike those of us who were able to find chairs at various points through the day.

Our traveling buddy ended up having to write for Rhinelanders and while they had been tentatively scheduled to go up at noon, they also didn't actually hit the tables until 3pm.  They did finish on Sunday night, but it wasn't until 10pm!  The Rhinelanders had their own hiccups, which I won't go in to as I wasn't there and can't accurately relate what happened.  I ended up helping write out the placement awards for the Rhinelanders, once the woolies were done.

We left the showroom late, as one of the last sets of people out the doors.  Unfortunately, I had to return the next morning at 8am so woolies could finish up on the table.  We were late getting to the showroom and my last class, Shaded Junior Does, was already up.  I'm so thankful that a friend of mine, Cathie, was looking out for me and made sure my doe's cage tie was clipped and she was on the table.  I would have been extremely upset if I had missed that class!   Keep's Muse, my little sable point, took 6th.

The self group had not yet had the group winners chosen, since one judge had to finish up self junior bucks the second day.  I was dismayed to see that Puzzle, who had won the Self Senior Doe class, was blowing her woolcap! It really gave up between judging Sunday and Monday.  However, she still took BOSG and nearly took BOSB as well.

It was a bit frustrating, knowing we had gotten up early and rushed to the showroom, only to spend 7 hours wandering around or twiddling our thumbs. It was even more frustrating knowing that this mistake meant there was no chance to catch up on sleep the next day and another 3 1/2 hours were going to be spent watching judging.

In the end, all the rabbits were judged though.  I guess that's all that matters.

Keep's Rabbitry

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm baaack!

Well I was back yesterday, but I felt like I wanted to take a mental health day :).

If you haven't heard by now- Keep's Puzzle, self senior doe, took BOSG at Convention! It was incredible, I couldn't believe it.  I was even more stunned when the judges kept pulling her out on the BOB/BOSB table and comparing her to the little chestnut doe who ultimately took the honor of BOSB.   We were so close, but at the same time, this is farther than I've ever come before at Convention!

I was pleased, for the most part, with how my animals did.  I took 9 rabbits (one of them being the Golden Fleece Auction buck) and 6 of them were Top 10 placements.  I think one of the no places was just outside of the Top 10.  Not bad, considering how molty he was!

Convention was stressful, as it always is and I have tons of stories and pictures I just don't feel up to sharing right now, but will be posting in the next few days.

Keep's Forest came back to the rabbitry from Pennsylvania and Keep's Sunset returns to us from California.  I added in a cute little black junior doe as well- this was the extent of my shopping! All of the Golden Fleece rabbits went for incredibly high prices.  I am proud to say that Wonder's Kiss Me, a shaded senior doe (BOG) who went for $950 in the auction is the daughter of Keep's KTLM! That was exciting for me as well as for her breeder Amber.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Do or Die Time!

Well this is it! Coats are the best they are going to be for Convention.  My shaded Junior doe has a ROCKING body, but she's giving me some attitude when it comes to posing- hussy!   Sadly, she's got very, very short wool.  It's long enough to show her, but ehh.

I took a look at the numbers- Self Group, Broken Group and Shaded Group are the biggest  groups this year at Convention- and I'm entered exclusively in those three.  We will have enough animals to leg out every class except AOV juniors, assuming there are enough exhibitors.

I may or may not have internet access this coming week.  The best bet for updates is via my facebook page, I can at least text a friend to post on my wall should the stars align and I somehow win Best of Breed (LOL).

To everyone traveling to Indy, be safe and we'll see you there!

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Convention Bound- Soon!

We're down to "go time". 

We will be leaving in four days.

One week from now, judging will be underway.

I'm freaking out- again.

There is a lot left to do.  I have to finalize all the information for the transporting I'm doing.   This involves spreadsheets.  Lots and lots of spreadsheets!  I want to make sure every bunny gets to their transporter or comes to me with the minimum amount of headache.

I need to get all the information for the sight-seeing we plan on doing. A big part of the Convention Experience  for me and Tim (and anyone with us) is exploring the state we are in.  I love rabbits but I am not spending almost a week doing nothing but eating, sleeping and looking at the same animals in the same coops.

I plan on clipping nails and doing all my tattoo touchups before we hit the road.  I do NOT want to be clipping nails as the classes are called!

Luggage packing is definitely on the list, as well as packing for snacks.   Since Jersey Woolies are one of the opening breeds at 8am, I am hoping we will be finished fairly "early" in the day.  My friend has Rhinelanders and we aren't sure when they will be going up on the table, so it never hurts to be prepared.

I'm going to try to do a bit each day so I don't end up overwhelmed.  Well, more overwhelmed.

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yet another Convention post

We finalized entries last night- talk about nerve-wracking! One of the does I very much wanted to show is currently in a half & half molt.  Half of her is beautiful and the other half...gag!  One of the junior does is about to blow her coat, so I had to do two last minute substitutions.

I've got so much to get ready for the big show.  Folks on Facebook are not helping with their statuses reminding me that the day of the show will be here all too soon.  I guess I'd better get on buying those little extras, huh?

I have several rabbits leaving to go to their new homes across the United States.  As of yesterday, I will also have two does leaving to begin new lives in Indonesia! I'm very excited to have an opportunity to send two lovely producers over to some new friends who are working towards their country's first ARBA show next year! 

I'm bringing home two Keep's rabbits.  One has been vacationing in Pennsylvania and the other was living out in California.  I'll post pictures when the prodigal bunnies return.

Now that I am safely past the "Convention week due date" zone, I'm able to start rebreeding my does as well.  I look forward to a baby boom in the month of November!

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hickory Show

The Hickory Show as Saturday.  For the first time ever, we a.) had it in Hickory, not in Taylorsville and b.) had it in a Tractor Supply.

Having it in the back storage room of the Tractor Supply was...interesting.  I was expecting much more of a pet crowd to come in and browse around but they really didn't.  I did pet out one of my unshowable brokens (no butterfly), but that was about it.

We had Bill Whaley in Show A.  A lot of my animals placed well under him, but I was completely surprised when he chose BL's Isis as BOB and Keep's Tribute as BOSB.

In show B, Tribute again took BOSB and the judge told me that if he'd had a little more coat he would have taken BOB.

I was thrilled.  Tribute is my last Tryon buck ever born, so he's extra special to me.

Keep's Rabbitry

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Convention Transportation

This is just a quick reminder for folks- I have only a few spaces left for transportation back to the NC/VA area from Convention.  I do still have spaces available for the trip to Convention.

Please contact me via facebook, or via email if you need transportation!

Keep's Rabbitry

Monday, October 10, 2011

JW Sweeps

Jersey Wooly sweeps were finally updated.  Unfortunately, the wrong report was uploaded for "Overall Open" Sweeps, so I don't know where I placed officially.

In District 9, the top five are all in NC or SC!  There is some serious competition at my regular shows :).   I placed #2 in the district.

I have my Convention entries in, though I'm considering adding one more rabbit to the lineup.  I'm hoping to get them to grow their wool in more quickly, so I'm pulling out all the stops and trying some new things.

There is a show coming up in Hickory this weekend.  I am not sure who I am going to show yet.

ETA: The report has been updated- I'm #6!


Thursday, October 6, 2011


I put off breeding the woolies for a while and now I have to wait until their due dates will be safely past Convention before I breed again.  I do have two does due towards the end of October, but that's about it.

I have a good amount of empty cages in the barn right now- it makes me so happy.  My goal is to move out my 6 hole stacker and at least one of the 3 holes.  Then, after the Convention sales animals move to their new homes, I'll take out another 3-holer.  I want to move my hay container into the rabbitry and get some shelves put up to house the nest boxes and other things.

I have managed to nail down 5 Convention entries.  The rest I'm flipping back and forth on.  Will they have wool? Won't they?  I think I'm going to NOT enter my two sale bucks.  Then, if any of my show team absolutely looks awful, I can substitute a sale animal instead.

I need to get my website updated badly.  Most of the animals pictured on it I don't even have anymore! Yet another thing to add to my list of "find the time to do this".

I have two pet woolies available.  One is a charlie mark and the other is missing it's butterfly.  The "pet" tag in no way indicates their quality, I just don't mess with mismarks.  They will be available at 8 weeks old.

Keep's Rabbitry

Monday, October 3, 2011

Avoiding the Unavoidable

I've been trying to avoid the unavoidable- deciding my entry list for Convention.  It's due by October 11th though and my goal is to get it in by the 7th, in case I have problems with it.


I decided to start out by just listing everyone that I think would have a good placement at Convention.  My list is at 16 who are of a good age to show and have at least a fighting chance of having a coat on by then.   Just a fighting chance, I'm not expecting all 16 to be primed, but a few of my juniors have too much wispy baby coat to warrant going to Convention.

16.  At $14 an entry, that's not going to happen.

I'll probably go over the list more seriously tomorrow.  Two of the animals will probably be sales bucks, but to be honest, I'm not sure how much I want to deal with sales animals once in the showroom.  It can kind of be a huge pain in the butt.

A few of the animals on my list are in the same class.  I try to avoid this as much as possible, showing no more than 2 per class at Convention.  This will help me narrow my list, but first I have to decide who are my top choices in each class!


Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fairview Show-

I had such a fantastic day at the Fairview Show.  Even though it's 3 hours away, this show is always so much fun and the trophies are FANTASTIC!  Hand crafted pottery- love it!

Show A:

I had a great show in Show A.  Keep's Bashful took BOG self, Keep's Puzzle took BOSG self, Keep's Little Comment took BOG shaded and Keep's Muse took BOSG shaded.  The judge honored me by saying the best two rabbits on the table were the BOG Self and the BOG shaded.  Keep's Little Comment ended up taking Best of Breed!

Show B didn't go quite as well, though Keep's Heart Throb took BOG shaded and Keep's Muse took BOSG and ended up winning BOSB!

There was a fair show in Winston Salem today, but I don't like showing two days in a row if I can avoid it.  I like to sleep in and rest on the second day, especially since I have to go to work on Monday.  I think I made the right decision- it was cold today! The rabbits seemed to appreciate hanging out and relaxing today as well.

The next show is in two weeks, then two weeks past then is Convention! EEK!

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Putting the Wool in "woolies"

Or rather... where is the "wool" in these so called "woolies"?

I am so frustrated.  We've planned, we've saved and we're looking forward to Convention in Indianapolis.

What could go wrong?

Oh... yeah.  The rabbits.

The buck I was most looking forward to showing is molting so badly he has bald spots.  He's also the world's slowest wool grower.  Great, that's a no go for him.

Everyone else is either naked, about to be naked, just barely starting to not be naked or a baby.

Yeah... a BOB winning Convention lineup, they are not based on wool right now.

It's very disappointing to breed hard, make beautiful animals and then have them not be primed for Convention, the biggest show, and able to show themselves off.


Keep's Rabbitry

Saturday, September 24, 2011

We say goodbye

We said goobye to Velotta's Joe yesterday.  He was a chinchilla mini lop buck who I purchased with 2 legs.  By the time we sold out of mini lops, he had a total of 14 legs including 1 Reserve in Show.   We decided when we sold out of mini lops that Joe would retire here with us.

He was a good natured buck who loved to be held and to get head rubs.  Tim even used him in a sermon a time or two.  You can imagine the preacher holding a rabbit like a baby really caught their attention.

However, as he aged, Joe began developing some issues.  We long suspected he had diabetes or kidney failure.  He would drink a 32 ounce bottle of water in no time and then look around for more.  I often told Tim he'd drink himself to death given the opportunity.   He was getting old and though we nearly lost him last winter, he pulled through for us.  Even then we knew he was likely not to make it through the year.

I found that he had passed away sometime yesterday. 

Rest In Peace Joe.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Silvering gene in Jersey Woolies

Did you know there is a silvering gene in Jersey Woolies?

Neither did I, until Saturday.

I happened to think about a black junior doe I have while at the show on Greensboro.  Since I was standing next to Ms. DQ Queen herself, Kitty Lynch, I described the doe and finished it off with "it almost looks like she's a silver fox."

"That's because she's silvered," Kitty said, nodding.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Apparently this is a product of an outcross I did a while back.  The animal's granddaughter is this lovely little doe, Nova, who I nearly sold at a younger age.  Now I'm glad I didn't, as I would have hated to unwittingly passed this on to someone!

I noticed that as a younger junior, Nova had an excess of scattered white hairs at the base of her ears.  I thought it was just an unfortunate thing.  I had planned to keep an eye on it and do a test breeding to a very clean buck. 

As time went on, I noticed she was getting more and more scattered whites, until it began to appear that there was something very different going on here.

Note the white hairs distributed through her wool? The longer, wispy gray wool is her baby coat.  I imagine that by the time she fully molts, her silvering will be even more pronounced.

The doe won't get to stay around, since unfortunately the silvering is undesirable.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Greensboro NC Show Results

We had the Greensboro show today! I am exhausted, but the show went really well! We managed to get a triple done by 3:30! WHOA! Way to go Sandhills, for an excellent show.

I didn't do much at this one- everyone is super molty or very young, but I did manage a few good placings.

Travis Finkle gave Keep's Little Comment (shaded sr. buck)  his 3rd leg in Show A! Yay for the newest Keep's grand champion.  Little Comment did really well, this is only his second show and he brought him his 4th leg!

Wade Burkhalter (one of my favorite judges, by the way, hehe) had us for Show B.  My broken tort junior buck took 1/4, my black junior doe took 1/2, Keep's Heart Throb (shaded sr. buck) took BOG and Keep's Bee (self jr. doe) took 1/5 for her first leg in her first time out! Yay!

We had Owen Yates in the third show.  I really enjoyed this judge, he was very easy going and fun to talk/joke with, though he kept the pace up as well.   Under him, the broken tort junior buck took his class again and BOSG!  My black junior doe won her class again, Keep's Little Comment got his 4th leg and my baby shaded junior doe took 1/2. 

So yay!  Several new legs, granding another buck and a wonderful day full of friends.  I had friends come up from Oklahoma to visit/show and met some new wooly breeders. 

Now I am exhausted and hoarse! Someone remind me NOT to talk so much...oh wait, that's pretty much "my thing".

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Not All that Glitters is Gold

Fool's Gold sure is pretty.
You've heard the saying "Not all that glitters is gold".   If you haven't, this blog could be awkward.

In a nutshell (or in a concise statement), it means not everything that looks precious is precious.  To put it in even plainer terms as they apply to rabbits- not every animal you produce is gold, nor is every animal you buy.

Some people put a lot of store in what a pedigree says.  Who is the breeder? How many legs to the parents have? How many total legs are on all the rabbits on the pedigree?  Even the top breeders produce pet quality.  It happens, it's nothing to be ashamed of.  Sometimes two rabbits don't mesh, no matter how beautiful they are individually.  Sometimes in using "parts" animals, you don't get any of the parts you were trying for. 

Not everything you produce is gold either.  When you get some nice animals, it's tempting to assume that everything they produce is perfect.  Ok, well maybe not perfect, but at least a very nice brood animal- right?  No.  Not right.  Even the best buck, no matter how many legs, throws crap.  It's super, super, incredibly, super, super (super super?) super rare that you will get animals that will throw you near perfect animals in every litter.  By super rare I mean- that never happens. It doesn't.  Oh, the really valuable bucks and the really valuable does will throw you great litters, I'm not saying they won't, but I don't know of a single doe or buck that has ever produced nothing but grand champions. 

This means not everything you produce is worthy of being sold to a working herd.   Not every animal is "brood" or "show" quality just because it's your name on the pedigree or because of who the sire to the litter is. 

While we're on the subject, a brood is not an animal "with long ears, a narrow head, narrow body, long in type, flat over the HQ and undercut".  Folks, that's a pet quality animal.  Stop right there- I don't care who it's daddy is.  I don't care who it's GGrandsire was, or how many legs are on the total pedigree.  It's a pet.  Sell it as a pet.

Don't sell animals you aren't proud of just because "well it's better than what they have" or "they are lucky to get something with my name on it".   Hey, sometimes animals don't develop like we expect.  It happens.  However, to knowingly label something brood quality and sell it for a higher price when you know in your heart it's a pet quality animal?  That's just wrong.

We all want to "make our money back" in our hobby.  Some folks do it through pet sales, some do it through show or brood sales.  Lots of us just don't ever make the money back.  Just remember- not all that glitters is gold.  Don't let the glitter and glamor of a beautifully printed pedigree fool you, whether you are buying or selling.

Keep's Rabbitry

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Missing a Show-

I missed the Mountain State Fair this year.  I usually like to get up there- we get ribbons for class wins lol!  This year though, I was frustrated.  We have to send in our entries almost a month in advance.  If you saw my last post, everyone is molting like crazy and has been.  Half of those I would have entered would have been bald by this show- such a waste of time and money.

So, I missed it. It's kind of sad, but at the same time, I was able to do other things this weekend, which was nice.

Greensboro comes up next weekend and while everyone is still molty, at least I can make good decisions about who I want to show there.

Keep's Sparta kindled 3 lovely babies on the wire.  Thankfully, she pulled a LOT of wool and they all made it! We have a little rainbow litter, looks like a tort, a REW and...a  black or a seal, I can't really tell right now.

Keep's Rabbitry

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We have babies!

Carson, a doe I have out of Hartzell lines, kindled six beautiful Panda babies for me on September 4th!

She had two REWs, a black, a tort (or sable point) and two broken blacks.  One is beautifully marked and one is missing it's butterfly and will be for sale at 8 weeks old.

Carson has proven herself a wonderful mother and I'm very excited to watch her large litter grow.  It will be the first time I get to see what she throws, she lost her first litter in the AC disaster and spent the last few months fostering another baby for me.

I'm waiting on a new lady to kindle, Keep's Sparta.  She is absolutely beautiful but unfortunately hasn't been shown at all due to my limited show schedule so far and her odd molt schedule.  I palpated her just a few days ago and felt a baby.  Once I felt the first one, I stopped because I don't want to stress her out, but she's definitely pregnant.  I believe I bred her to Panda as well.  He's getting all the action lately.

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Show season, but no show coats

Show season is gearing up-  it's starting to cool off a bit and the shows are eager to resume now that we're all going to be able to survive without getting heat stroke.

Everyone I talk to seems to be going through the same thing- bald rabbits!

I think this is my least favorite time of year, despite the shows.  These animals go all summer without a hint they want to shed and then as soon as a show is on the horizon, they all immediately do their best to go completely naked.  It makes it impossible to show them, hard to sell them and the real trouble makers shed in such a way as to make their cages a disaster every single day.

At this point, I don't even care about the local shows.  I just want them to be ready for Convention.  I'm not taking that many to show, but geez, it sure would be nice if the ones I am taking didn't look like they did last year- 90% bald.

Keep's Rabbitry

Monday, September 5, 2011

Guest Post: For the love of rabbits.

The following is a guest post by Julie Cahill of Oak Ridge Rabbits.  It originally appeared on her blog "Oak Ridge Rabbitry's Blog".

Everyday when I log onto my rabbitry Facebook, I see one or more statuses ranting about rabbits. "I can't believe he did this!"..."I should've known better!"..."How could she do such a thing!"..."You know what I hate?"..."I don't understand why"..."Why do people have to"...and the list goes on. Always very intense, passive aggressive notes that probably don't belong on Facebook.

I have to agree that people, whether in rabbits or outside of rabbits, often disappoint. I have had rabbits bought out from under me. Someone has bought a rabbit from me and then turned around and sold it for twice what they paid. I have seen adult exhibitors show their rabbits through a youth. Undeserving rabbits have won a class simply because the exhibitor is close with the judge.

These things do happen. At the time, we get so frustrated with the situation that we often consider what it would be like to not have to deal with it. What if I sold out? I don't have to deal with all this, so why do I? And we question whether it is really worth it to get so bent out of shape about rabbits.

To me, it is.

Personally, I think this is a hobby worth fighting for and I feel lucky for having found a hobby that I'm so passionate about. I could just as easily take up metal detecting and go hunt for quarters in the park. I could collect spoons and spend my Saturday afternoons polishing them until I can make faces in the reflection. I could buy junk computer parts and miraculously construct a working operating system. All of those would be fun hobbies. They would keep me content, give me something to do. They'd be comfortable. But comfortable isn't quite what I'm looking for.

I'm in this hobby for the love of rabbits, for better or worse. It has brought me to some of my highest highs with unexpected show wins or some of my lowest lows with, you know...people. But it's all or nothing, and the intensity of my connection with this hobby is what makes it worth fighting for.

If you're still questioning whether it's worth it, maybe quarters and spoons are for you. As for me, I'll be at the show table. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Waiting on Babies-

I'm waiting on a few does to kindle.  There are more ladies I need to breed, but since Convention is coming up, I really need to think hard before I breed any does.  If they kindle, I sure can't take them and show them! Especially since any babies born from these breedings will be less than 4 weeks old when Convention starts, I can't take the does and I sure can't take the babies!
I guess some of the Keep's does will get nice, long vacations.

Speaking of does, Keep's Fiona, who you may remember fought for her life earlier this summer, is doing very well.  She is actually 100% recovered and I believe I may try to show her this Fall, for her last G.C. leg.  I'd very much like to make her a champion.

Keep's Rabbitry

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sell Down Update

My sell-down is going very well! I have 6 animals that will be leaving at Convention time, all to really good homes, with folks who are excited about them.  That makes me very happy, though it's hard to let these guys go.

I have a few more rabbits earmarked for the sales page very soon.  They are so young, I want to get a good idea of what their type will be before I commit to selling them.  I try to be very picky about what I sell.  If I don't like it, you won't either!

I'm also selling a 6-hole stacker.  It will open up a little extra space in the Rabbitry.  I'm also sad to see it go, but since my plan is still to move down to 30 holes, there is no point in holding on to it and letting it get covered it dust and cobwebs.  After the 6 holer goes, I'll have a few single hole cages to move out as well.  I've just got to wait until I get my numbers down so I can open the cages up.

Keep's Rabbitry

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Still Miss You...

I went outside to give the bunnies a treat- a few sprigs of cilantro to everyone over 3 months old.

I couldn't help myself- I thought "You will be SO excited for this.  I bet you can't wait."

Then I remembered you're gone and it hurt all over again.

I find myself always turning towards your cage and it surprises me half the time to see someone else there.  A memory will hit at the most inopportune time and I have to push it away for fear of crying.

Has it really been 2 months? It seems like it was just last week.

I still miss you Tryon.

Keep's Rabbitry

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Guest Post: Odds and Ends

Today's blog comes from Melanie over at Lil' Bit Farms.  She graciously allowed me to share this post with you.  Visit Melanie's blog here.

I thought I'd write this blog to blow off some steam regarding some of the emails I receive.

Please remember that the rabbit hobby is probably not the only thing a breeder does or has going on. Some people work two or three jobs. Some breeders have spouses, kids, grand kids, nieces/nephews and other various family members that do require attention, grooming and feeding just like rabbits. Some breeders even have other hobbies - gasp! Mom and I have started couponing, not extreme, but every little bit helps. It takes a lot of time to do. Some breeders periodically face other life difficulties. Just this month my Mom was hit with a severe storm that required extensive repair and ongoing cleanup. She has been dealing with contractors on a daily basis. Please keep this in mind; a rabbit related email could be delayed a few days while life happens. I often hear, "so and so hasn't gotten back with me and it's been TWO DAYS". While I myself have had breeders never answer an email request, please be courteous and patient because not all breeders are that way.
Now to the odds:
I want a top show doe - slim to none
  • I want that same show doe, both to show and to produce the next generation of Lil' Bit Farms Hollands (TNG of LBF). I figure if I've taken the time and energy to selectively cull and breed to get that doe then I should have first dibs on her.
I wouldn't mind waiting for a proven show doe - medium to high
  • After a doe has had her show career, moved into breeding and successfully produced TNG of LBF, then we often sell that doe around 1 1/2 to 2 years old.
I want a show doe - medium
  • We may be working on fixing a certain fault in our herd and even though she is show quality she just doesn't fit into our breeding program at that time. I consider a doe 'show' if I would put her onto the table myself. I DO NOT consider a doe 'show' just because she is free of disqualifications.
  • I also cannot guarantee how well a Holland will show in any circumstance. Different areas, styles of Hollands and judges make this impossible to determine.
I'm looking for a brood doe - high to very high
  • For me to consider a Holland 'brood' it does have to have certain qualities to rate it as such; bone, butt, head, depth etc. and in some combination
  • One of our best does, Wynn, has not successfully raised a litter. Her big ugly sister had 7 (SEVEN) babies her first litter, raised them all and half were keepers. Show does are not always the best purchase.
I want a buck with thick bone, short shoulders and a nice head/ear/crown, the whole package - slim to none
  • Again, I want that same buck, both to show and produce TNG of LBF. I figure if I've taken the time and energy to selectively cull and breed to get that buck then...you should know the drill by now :-)
I want a buck with a nice butt but I can fix the head if he doesn't have it - medium to high
  • We just may have the piece you are looking for, it doesn't hurt to ask
  • The above is just an example, feel free to replace the underlined with another flaw/fault
I'm looking for a brood type buck - high to very high
  • For me to consider a Holland 'brood' it does have to have certain qualities to rate it as such; bone, butt, head, depth etc, in some combination
  • Zeke 2 has never shown well for us but he throws very nice kids, multiple winning BOB/BOS kids. Looks are not everything, even in a buck
The faults I'm currently culling out may be ones that you don't have. My herd strengths could play well into what you need and visa versa. Hollands are the piece-iest rabbit I've ever dealt with. Fix one thing and other fault works its way in. It never ends.

Now to the end.

I DO NOT KEEP A WAITING LIST. I have tried, very unsuccessfully. Life happens, I just couldn't manage it. I placed a 'notification email form' on our sales page. I try and only put sales stock there. If you sign up you get notified when that page is updated. Simple and easy.



PS - a high vased posed-long legged Holland does not = good bone and chest