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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