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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In the rabbitry-

As a quick update- I'm devastated to report we lost seven babies recently.  I think I've narrowed it down to either bad feed or bad hay.   Regardless of the cause, the whole barn is dealing with a feed change.

This isn't without it's own problems.  My favorite little doeling is dealing with some stomach troubles probably caused by the new feed.  She's at that tender age of 6 weeks and we've been dealing with her one day at a time.   Luckily, she's been hanging in there for several days (the others all died within 24 hours of first showing a problem, which is why I believe this is caused by a change in feed, not bad feed).

It has been tearing my nerves up to be unable to save my babies.  Even worse, some of these youngsters I had been keeping my eye on as prospects for a few folks who were looking to get started in woolies or else expand their herds.

So, in short, it's been depressing around the barn lately.  Fingers crossed for this little doeling to pull through for me.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Are Sweepstakes a money game?

I've been thinking about the "Sweeps is all about money or numbers" thing that I've seen a few folks state recently on Facebook.  I just wanted to take a quick moment to say- it can be.  I can recall years ago a mini lop youth mom (out of state) mention they spent $20k a year for her child to stay on top of points.  They would drive 6 hours in one direction on Saturday for a show, then 8 hours in the other direction for a show on Sunday.

The past two years (my first two full years as a NJWRC member), I've been lucky and blessed enough to place Top 10 in our Open Sweeps contest. I consider that a huge accomplishment.  I also tend to show 7-9 woolies or less per show - only the ones I want to show, no "points filler", though sometimes I see what others brought to show, groan and tell the bunny "ohhhh I should have saved my entry fee and left you at home!"  I show pretty much only in my state, but we have a fair number of shows, thankfully.  I try to make it to Nationals and Convention- though often, I can only make one of those, as is the case in 2012.  I don't think we should be tearing down those at the top of the Sweepstakes "race" because they choose to go to more shows than the rest of us, or are lucky enough to have larger barns.  I'm naturally lazy.  I don't LIKE getting up early for shows, so I sometimes skip shows just to enjoy sleeping in.  I don't have a huge herd because I don't want to clean, groom and take care of all of them- not to mention, I can't afford to feed them. Those of you who know me personally know my husband is a preacher. I am currently working PART TIME as a church secretary.  Believe me when I say I can't afford to spend $20k a year to climb the points ladder, yet through hard breeding, hard culling and a sprinkling of luck as to who is in coat on any given day, I'm able to be competitive with the other gorgeous animals put on the table in my area.

I think it's terribly unfair and even hurtful to paint everyone in the Top XX of Sweeps of both Youth and Open as folks who just toss around money to buy their standings.  I had 7 less shows credited to me last year than the year before and placed 4 spots HIGHER, showing the same number of animals.  In the 2009-2010 year, Brian Caudill placed #3 overall with 13 shows.  There are folks who show less than I do that kick my butt and folks who show way more who sometimes I end up beating in points.  Let's not attack people for how they choose to spend their money or their time, or imply somehow they are doing something underhanded, which does seem to be the implication to me.  I would love to see someone with $30,000 to waste put a ton of pet quality animals on every show table every weekend and see if they can end up #1 on our Sweeps list- because I'm thinking that's surely not going to happen.  Does it mean folks who are lower in the sweeps list have inferior woolies? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Don't judge your animals based on if someone else is higher in Sweeps than you are.  Don't buy based only on if someone is higher in Sweeps than you.  Be happy for the people that place higher in Sweeps than you- don't try to drag them down by saying "Oh, I bet you spent more than I make in a year to buy your place."  Not only is that nasty and rude, but it says way more about you than you think it does.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gearing up for shows

September marks the return of shows for us here in North Carolina.  We have three in that month alone, after a summer of pretty much no showing opportunities in state (we do have one show in July). 

So, how are the rabbits gearing up for the show season's start?  By molting to the skin of course!  After all, they've only had three months to get this over with, why not wait until mid-August to start the molt?

I'm going to be doing a lot of tattooing over the next few days.  The babies are starting to be weaned from their mothers and I don't want to make a mistake and forget which black baby belongs to who.  I'm also going to have to start coming up with names for all these juniors! I prefer to have a name by the time they hit the show table, though I know some folks who name them at birth and others who don't name them until they breed the rabbits.

I sexed Puzzle's litter- One of the torts, the chestnut and the siamese sable are all does, while the other tort is a buck.  Both my current favorites are little ladies, which thrills me beyond reason.  Bee's little blue is a buck.

I currently only have one doe expecting, but I am not expecting to see a litter out of her.  Everyone else has been on a break or has been raising a litter, but I'll be rebreeding my brood does soon.  I'll have to be careful and make sure I don't breed anyone I want to show, since I don't show my does once they are 2 weeks in to pregnancy. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Sneaking a Peek

I pulled out some young juniors yesterday and decided to take a "sneak peek" to see what their type looks like at the moment.

I am wow'd by the litter I checked.  It started off beautifully as I marked their ears and wrote down color and sex- I discovered the lone siamese sable in the litter is actually a doe instead of a buck!  Even better, she has been my POL based on head size for a while, I found that her body as of yesterday makes her the overall POL!

I'm actually really thrilled with this whole litter.  I will have two black doelings available at some point in time in the near future, I just have to decide which black doe I'm going to grow out alongside her siamese sable sister.

I made an effort to sex one of Puzzle's babies yesterday- they are still so small, but I think one of her torts is a doe!  I am so happy with all the little girls in the barn, they will be replacing some of the older ladies.

I've been using my REW herd buck more recently, so I think I have finally managed to sneak the REW back in to the herd.  It's been forever since I've had a REW baby born.  That color news coupled with the fact that I do still have some blue hanging around is thrilling!