Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Page Added

We added current pictures of Snowball's kits today, along with sex and weight info and the price of each kit. 

There are a few factors in determining what price we ask for each kit.  One factor is sex.  Does are in greater demand than bucks.  That's life.

Another factor is color.  Some colors are more desirable than others.  Most everything is more desirable than REW.  Too many people saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  In the movie, a REW rabbit attacks some guy and bites him in the neck.  My oldest daughter saw the movie and refuses to own a REW.

Having a good show body is a third factor.  Wool is the most important factor in showing rabbits, but many judges still have a hard time recognizing that when judging angoras.  So a good show body is important as well. 

And, as mentioned above, wool is an important factor--density, texture, and crimp.  Unfortunately, this is the hardest factor to judge in young rabbits who still have a baby coat. 

This is why there is a range of prices set on the kits.  After their first ARBA show, the price of those who were awarded legs will increase. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

History of French Angora Rabbits

The name angora comes from the Turkish city of Angora, now Ankara, where angora rabbits were first spotted.  This is where angora cats and angora goats first came from.

In 1708 Mortimer described the long haired rabbit in England and called it the "white shock Turkey rabbit."  The word shock was used because of how long the wool was. 

Angora is one of the oldest domesticated rabbits.  Angora rabbits were one of the French nobility's favorite animals during the mid-18th century. 

In 1944, ARBA officially separated angora rabbits into two breeds--English angora and French angora. 

Angoras are bred for their wool, which is removed by shearing, combing or plucking. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

No Blogpost Today Because ...

I created a new page about the kits for sale!  So click on the "Pages" button  and take a look!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

4-H Christmas Party

For our 4-H Christmas party, we went bowling at the Grand Sierra Resort.  Our best friends, who are also in our 4-H group, joined us.  Our 4-H group paid for everything, including dinner of pizza and soda.  In addition to bowling, we had a few contests--craziest hair, craziest socks, and ugliest sweater, all of which we did not participate in. 

We were all allowed to play two games.  It was our six-year-old friend's first time bowling, so we were planning to have the bumpers put up..  Unfortunately, the bumpers did not work in that lane.  We hoped to trade lanes for the second game, but we had a late start, and everyone else started their second games before we finished our first, so we could not trade. 

At the end of the bowling party, trophies were awarded for highest score, most strikes, most casually dressed, most gutter balls, and lowest score.  Our six year old friend won the trophy for the most gutter balls.  I won the trophy for the lowest score--20 points--which, of course, I was not aiming for. 

Friday, December 12, 2014


My kits are adorable. 

As I was gathering up my kits for picture day, I noticed an escapee... Anna. I saw that she had some blood around her shoulder area, so I brought her inside to investigate.  She had scraped herself in her escape from her cage.  I cleaned her up but could not actually find the scrape itself. 

Seeing as I already had my kits inside and was too lazy to take Anna back out, I decided to let her run around while I took pictures of my kits for today's blog post.  As I was setting up shots and taking the pictures, Anna photobombed almost every one.

One of the few good pictures

Stealth photobomber
Clueless photobomber

Shameless, brazen photobomber
I thought Snowball would have raised her better.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New and Improved Rabbit Chow

As the mom and administrator of Black Diamond Rabbitry, it is my job to try to make things easier here when I can. 

Pretty early on (as in, when making our rabbit chow for the first time), I decided the recipe was ridiculously difficult.  Of course, we got the recipe from a much larger scale breeder.  So it stands to reason that it's going to make a lot of feed. 

But this blog is for youth raising French angoras, and most of these youth are not feeding dozens of rabbits.  The larger scale breeders can mix their feed in horse troughs or massive barrels.  The rest of us have to deal with what we have on hand generally.  For us, that means Rubbermaid totes and four-gallon buckets from the donut shop. 

So, using the same recipe, I broke it down into more manageable quantities.  Life is much better now.

Here's the updated formula:

15    lbs 18% Purina Show
10    lbs 15% Bar Ale
2.5   lbs wheat
3.75 lbs barley
3.75 lbs oats groats (whole grain oats)
1.25 lbs black oil sunflower seeds
1.25 lbs calf manna

We also made some slight changes.  You'll notice we changed to Bar Ale for the 15% feed due to something we learned at the Gridley show from the angora ladies there.  Our friends forgot to bring food for their rabbits.  We were in a panic to find the right feed for them, and it was going to be a 45 minute drive, one way.  Not good.  The angora ladies said it wasn't such a serious matter to change the feed, as long as what we used was from the same manufacturer.  Our friends were using Purina Complete, and the nice angora ladies had some Purina Show, which they gladly shared with our friends. 

Because of supply issues (our local store never has the Bar Ale in stock that the banner outside their store advertises--grrrrr), we had a longer distance to drive to get it.  And because of that and what I perceive to be a collapsing economy and problems with JIT delivery, we thought it would be a good idea for our bunnies to have their pellets from two different manufacturers.  That way, if one suddenly becomes unavailable it will not be such a serious change in their diets. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Being a Midwife Is a Lot of Work

While Becky was at school yesterday, her does Duchess and Blue were kindling.  Blue built a beautiful nest for her three kits, only one of which, a REW, survived.  Thankfully, I was there when Duchess also kindled--four plump kits--on the wire cage bottom.  I quickly moved them into the nesting box in her cage.  She still needed to clean them, but seemed to be a little tired and wasn't going to finish cleaning the last one.  So I gave it to Blue to clean, and she did a fine job.  I believe that Blue will be the better mother, even if two of her kits did not survive. 

I thought Blue showed some signs of still having kits to deliver, so I went out to the bunny barn to massage Blue's tummy every ten minutes to help, if there were any more coming.  Blue quickly tired of this and took to trying to bite me and then outright refused to be handled in such a manner.  Fortunately, Becky came home. 

The reason I was very thankful that Duchess also had kits (we weren't ever sure if she was pregnant) is because one kit cannot keep warm alone, especially in the High Sierra desert in December.  Even two kits may not produce enough heat to keep warm.  So we decided to keep all five kits in one nesting box in the house by the fire.  Duchess will feed the kits in the morning, and Blue will feed in the evening.  This way they will get double the milk.  Hopefully they will grow nice and fat quickly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Told You So, Part 2. Ugh.

Well, first off, let me say that by all appearances I was right about the kits.  The change in their droppings was due to the change in diet because of weaning.  All but one of the kits is hopping around and continues to gain weight.  One, the one whose color we can't figure out, continues to struggle a bit, but he has gained weight today.  Unfortunately, he isn't super active.  But now, as I have finished typing that, he is jumping all over me. 

However, Charlotte was also right.  Unfortunately.  Tootsie continued to deteriorate despite Charlotte's best efforts.  She passed away the next day in Charlotte's arms. 

We have no idea what was wrong.  She would not eat, and had not eaten for a few days.  She would drink, gladly, if Charlotte was feeding her with a medicine dropper.  There weren't any droppings strung together in her pan, like one would expect to find with wool block.  She didn't have a temperature, so there should not have been an infection.  I guess we'll never know.

So now Charlotte has a litter of kits that still need something only a mother can provide.  Fortunately, we have Snowball and her litter of kits, and they are all together now.  While the doe cages are a perfect size for one doe and her kits (about 30" x 60"), it looked a little crowded with 13 kits in there.  Each cage has two doors on it, so Charlotte put them together offset so that one door is free on each side and two doors are wired together in the middle.  It looks like a little bunny paradise now.
It's difficult to tell in the picture, but the kits are really zooming around in their paradise.

You can see the twist ties Charlotte used to wire everything together.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Told You So

"Told you so."  It's something that moms get to say every once in a while.  I got to say it again today.  Fortunately.

So, Charlotte starts the tears again this morning.  She can't help it.  She is very conscientious about checking all her rabbits and their kits and she loves each one of them as if it were the last remaining rabbit on the planet.

Tootsie has been a bit listless for the past few days.  But to my eyes, nothing seemed to be too off.  Her seven kits are now one month old and she has been weaning them.  I weaned my children at about 18 months.  Put me in a small room with seven eighteen-month old children and I think I'd be a little listless at best. 

But this is Charlotte and Tootsie we're talking about.  Charlotte can accept death, but only if there's nothing she can do about it.  Otherwise, we have to get help (within financial reason, of course).  And Tootsie?  Well, she really was pretty listless.  Normally, she's got a bit of an attitude.  She scares off my husband and sons.  Maybe she doesn't like men.  Maybe they're just scared because she grunts and is very chatty.  She really does talk.  And she'll warn people off if they need to go away.  But she wasn't doing anything like that today.  Her teeth didn't look great, her bottom was a bit messy, and so on.  Oh, and two or three kits had messy bottoms, too.  I told Charlotte that I thought it was all related to weaning.  At least as far as the kits were concerned, I was sure it was related to weaning. 

A good brood doe with seven month old kits is kind of valuable, financially speaking (from a teen's point of view), so it was off to the vet.

We are fortunate to have a vet who actually focused on exotics in her training.  She trained in England, where rabbits are a much bigger deal, so she has been a great help to us.  (I really don't recommend going to a vet who didn't spend much time on rabbits.  There is really no point.  It would just be a waste of money.)  We had a good visit and Dr. Plateman spent quite a bit of time checking Tootsie out--heart, lungs, intestines, temperature, teeth, abdomen, bottom--the works.  Her conclusion?  Tootsie's a little worn out from having seven kits!  She recommended some herbal supplement--I can't remember the name of it now (it's all the way in the kitchen, and I am dressed for bed).  If Tootsie's not looking much better in a week, then we should consider some lab work or cultures, but not yet. 

And the kits?  They are definitely just weaning.  And they can have some of the supplement, too. 

Told you so.  But it was good to hear it from Dr. Plateman.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Indoor Play Time for Little Bunnies

We usually have outdoor play time when it is warmer, but now that it is December we are doing indoor play time.  When the kits are young we don't want them going outside until they are older to make sure that they don't get too cold and indoor play time is easier for us because it is warmer.  We usually do this once a day when we weigh them.  Also we  like to take out our rabbits when they are young so that they get used to being handled.

We like to get our kits out of the nesting box to play and hop around.  It is cute to see them explore and sniff and climb things.  But we also have to be careful to make sure they don't go behind big pieces of furniture and get lost.  It is fun to try to keep track of all of them, since there are six of them going all different directions.  And we have to make sure we do not scare them or squish them when we are picking them up. 

We take the nesting box out of the doe's cage and let the kits hop around.  That way we will have all of them out at the same time so that we don't risk having any kits miss a feeding.  We always put our kits on the carpet because their muscles are still developing and if we put them on wood or tile they could develop splay leg. 

We take them out so they won't be skittish and will be used to people.  They also like to be handled daily and they need exercise.  Of course, they get exercise in their cage, too, but if you let them run around in the house, they can get used to your other pets.  It is also important to have all of the kits out at once because it lets you observe them as a group to compare and see if anyone is lethargic or looking sick.

Monday, December 1, 2014

There Is a Reason Why Rabbits Have Lots of Kits

The reason why rabbits have lots of kits is because some always die.  As you already know, Snowball lost four of her kits at birth.  Tomorrow the kits will be four weeks old.  We have always heard that the most common times for kits to die (after birth) are two days, two weeks, and two months.  We have never lost a rabbit kit after the first two days. 

That all just changed.  This morning, after taking care of my other animals, I went out to the garage to take care of Snowball and to weigh the kits.  I always weigh from darkest to lightest in colors.  So I always weigh Sven first, as he is the chocolate.  Then I put him back and got out Kristoff, who was still in the nesting box.  I figured he was still sleeping.  But then I found he was cold and stiff.  Just then my mom opened the door and told me it was time for breakfast.  I started to cry.  My mom asked what was wrong, but I couldn't tell her.  She came over, saw him, and felt him.  He was dead.  My mom went inside and put him in a bag so he could be buried.  I finished weighing the rest of my kits.  Charlotte had knit a bunny blanket and gave it to Kristoff so that he could be buried with it. 

My mom, my sister, and I don't know how he died or what happened.  He was doing perfectly well and gaining lots of weight.  He was one of the more lively ones and no one suspected anything was wrong with him.  Until today. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cute and Confusing Colors

We are still unsure about some of the kits' coat colors.  We know we have one self black and one self chocolate for now.  They could become steels in the future.  We know we have a chocolate chinchilla.  We believe we have a chinchilla and two blue chinchillas.  The last one we just don't know about.  If it was from Snowball's litter, I would say it was an agouti.  But Tootsie and Ninja are both selfs, and thus they cannot have agouti offspring. 

Left to right, darkest to lightest--self black, ?, chinchilla, two blue chinchillas, chocolate, chocolate chinchilla

He was born black, just as black as the other black.  But in less than a week, a tannish golden color started coming in. 

Here are the genotypes of the two parents:  Ninja is aaBbCcDdE_.  Tootsie is aabbCcchlDdEs_.  So what is this little guy?  All guesses and any suggestions would be appreciated.

Three Weeks Old

Today Snowball's kits are three weeks old.  (So are Tootsie's, but they're not my department.)

Snowball's kits have already started hopping out of the nesting box.  Earlier today, when I went out, all the kits were eating their Magic Mix.  Yesterday, I saw one of the REWs drinking from the water bottle.  When the kits are three weeks old, they usually start getting weaned.  They are getting along nicely and are all furry.  We will move them out to the bunny barn soon. 


The wool colors, or our perceptions of them, have not changed, unlike with Tootsie's kits.  Snowball still has four REWs, two lilacs, and one chocolate.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Supporting My Rabbits

I like to knit.  It is fun and I feel like I am doing something productive even when I am just watching a movie.  Knitting can also be profitable.  For the 4-H rabbit show last week, I had knit four different patterns of little rabbits, and I sold at least one of each pattern.  I thought there was a nice profit for how much time it took to knit them. 

Here is a pattern for one of the bunnies. 


4 size 2 double pointed knitting needles
DK weight yarn
a little bit of stuffing
tapestry needle
black embroidery floss for eyes
pink embroidery floss for nose


The body is a square and very easy to knit.  Cast on 12 stitches.  Work in stockinette stitch until you have a square.  Bind off. 

The cast on row

One row knitted
The completed square knitted body


Cast seven stitches onto three needles.  Join and knit in the round.  Work four rows, then pull the yarn through the seven stitches to bind off. 

Working on the head


Cast on three stitches for the ears.  Work in stockinette stitch for four to six rows, depending on how long you want your ears.  Then on the next row, knit two together, knit one.  Turn and purl two together.  Pull yarn through the one stitch on the needle and tie off.  Weave end in.  Repeat for second ear.

Assembling the rabbit:

Each corner of the square that is the body is used to form a leg.  Pinch each corner together and sew up half an inch to form a leg.  Repeat for the other three corners/legs.  Stuff the belly of the bunny and sew closed.

Oops, these bunnies go together so quickly I forgot to take a picture.

Sew the head to the body.

Head sewn to body

Sew the ears to the head.  Use black floss to make two French knots for eyes, and use pink floss to make a nose.  You can make a V nose or a triangle nose.

Completed bunny
Don't worry if you think you have an ugly bunny.  My ugly bunnies always sell first.  It is so bizarre.

4-H Showmanship Script

There are many different ways to do showmanship.  This varies across the country.  This is what I do in Northern Nevada.  There are a lot of Youtubes, which may be helpful in different areas of the country.  I did not find them very helpful. 

My first time doing showmanship as a novice last year, I got 4th place out of four.  I guess I learned from my mistakes, because since then I have gotten first place every time.  One first place novice and three first place intermediate.  My sister, who is a junior, also uses this same script. 

Below is the script that I have used each time except my first.  It is good to know your rabbit vocabulary (malclusion, sore hocks, etc.).  Please note that the script isn't everything.  You must also speak clearly and distinctly, wear the proper uniform, and be confident and well-groomed.

Hello, my name is  _____.  I have been in 4-H for a little over a year now.  I will be doing showmanship, which is a health check.  It is very useful for adding new stock. 

First I will read off my rabbit's ear number:  _______. 

I will now check my rabbit's ears for any mites or matter.  [Check left ear.]  The left ear has no mites or matter.  [Check right ear.]  The right ear has no mites or matter. 

I will now check my rabbit's eyes for any cloudiness or discoloration.  [Check left eye.]  The left eye has no cloudiness or discoloration.  [Check right eye.] The right eye has no cloudiness or discoloration.

I will now turn my rabbit over and check his nose for any redness or discharge.  [Check nose.]  My rabbit's nose has no redness or discharge. 

I will now check my rabbit's teeth for any malclusion or any missing teeth.  [Check teeth.]  My rabbit has no malclusion or missing teeth.

I will now check the nails of my rabbit's front paws for any broken or missing nails.  [Check and count nails on both paws.]  One, two, three, four, dew claw.  One, two, three, four, dew claw.  There are no broken or missing nails on his front paws.  I will now check for sore hocks on his front feet.  [Check front feet.]  He does not have sore hocks. I will now check my rabbit's front legs for straightness. [Check both legs.]  My rabbit's front legs are perfectly straight. 

I will now check my rabbit's chin, chest, and abdomen for any ruptures or abscesses.  [Check abdomen.]  There are no ruptures or abscesses on his chin, chest, or abdomen.

I will now check the nails of my rabbit's back paws for any broken or missing nails.  [Check both back paws and count nails.]  One, two, three, four.  One, two, three, four.  My rabbit's back paws have no broken or missing nails.  I will now check my rabbit's back feet for sore hocks.  [Check both back feet.]  He does not have sore hocks.  I will now check my rabbit's back legs for straightness.  [Check both back legs.]  My rabbit's back legs are perfectly straight.

I will now sex my rabbit.  [Check for sex.]  My rabbit is a buck, so I will now check for both testicles.  [Check for testicles.]  They are both there. 

I will now check my rabbit's tail for wry tail or broken tail.  [Check tail.]  My rabbit's tail is perfectly straight.   

I will now check my rabbit's wool for any mites or dirt.  [Check wool.]  There are no mites or dirt. 

I will now pose my rabbit in all four directions.  [Pose rabbit.]

Do you have any questions?  (If you don't know the answer to a question, do not say, "I don't know."  Say, "I am sorry, I do not know."  Do not bluff.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Maple Goes Home

We found someone who was interested in buying a French angora rabbit for her daughter's birthday.  After several emails back and forth to arrange a time, we settled on Friday afternoon. 

She came by, and we already had Maple out in the living room running around.  My mom printed up an information sheet. We talked about grooming and combs to use.  We talked about transitioning feed and the kind of hay to buy and where to get it.  I showed how to trim nails.  And we talked about 4-H, and that the meetings are only once a month, ten times a year.  I am hoping her daughter will come.  People will see that it really isn't difficult to care for French angoras.  It will also be nice to have more French angora rabbits at the shows.  We talked about the shows and how we learn something new every time. 

Then we showed her some of our kits.  She wished she'd brought her daughter to see and learn.  Today we got an email from her.  Her daughter is so excited to have Maple.  If they send us a picture we will put it up here for you to see. 

Maple in his new home
I know Maple will be so happy in his new home. He will get lots and lots of love. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Update on Snowball's Kits

Snowball's kits are growing every day.  The kits were five days old when I started weighing them to make sure they are gaining weight.  They are progressing nicely.  Some are even adding an ounce a day, but half an ounce a day is more common.

The names for my kits are from the movie Frozen, except for one extra.  That is for the largest REW.  His name is Harvey.  (The movie Harvey is must-see for rabbit lovers everywhere.)







Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fur Color in Tootsie's Current Litter of Kits

When Tootsie's current litter of kits was born, we thought there were two self blacks, two self chocolates, and three self lilacs.  As they have grown their fur this past week, we have seen some changes.  We have seen that Snowball's self chocolate is a much deeper shade.  Snowball's lilacs are also much lighter than Tootsie's lilacs.  I am beginning to suspect that Tootsie's "lilacs" are actually smoke pearls or chinchillas.  The chinchilla light gene, written in the genotype as cchl, occurs in Tootsie's maternal and paternal grandparents.  If so, this means that Ninja and Tootsie will produce a much wider range of colors in their kits than I previously thought. 

One of the two blacks looks like it is becoming an agouti, which is impossible, so....  The other one just looks black.

Well, actually, the camera makes it look like there are only three colors.

But, trust us, they are very different in color in person.
The two "chocolates" are different colors.

The three "lilacs" are all different colors.

It's all very suspenseful.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Reno Rabbits 4-H Show, 8 November 2014

We arrived really early so we could set up and so Charlotte could help with the health check.  My mom helped with the snack bar.  We arranged things we were selling on our table. 

I was asked by our 4-H leader to show a young girl how to do showmanship.  I basically gave my presentation.  Showmanship just has to be practiced a lot.

And then our friends arrived.  They brought some games for us to play, which we did, but Charlotte had to help with getting ready for judging.  Then we looked at some of the prizes for Best in Show and Best Reserve, and so on.

Showmanship started around 10:30, and Charlotte wrote all about that on her post.  There was also the hurdle contest, which we didn't do, but it is fun to watch.  Then there was the costume contest.  Finally, the showmanship results came.  After that we started getting our rabbits groomed because the French angora would be up soon. 

The rabbit judge was super slow, so finally we had to go to the cavy judge, because the other judge was still doing mini rexes and we were supposed to be out of the building.  Ninja wasn't very good when the judge was trying to flip him.  Then came Stanley.  He was horrible.  He was almost DQ'd because he hurt the judge.  And then Maple was up.  And then Remy, our friend's buck.  The judge said that Maple was a little light, so he was in third.  Then Remy was in second, and Stanley in first.  Then Panda and Lola, our friends' junior does, were judged.  Lola got Best of Breed.  Stanley got Best Opposite. 

Waiting for the Best in Show judging

Finally the rabbit judge finished with mini rexes and we were able to move on the Best in Show judging.  The best French angora got mentioned by the judge in her final remarks, which we have never had happen.  Then we packed up and left. 

4-H Rabbit Showmanship Competition

Showmanship is very useful for learning how to check for healthy stock.  It helps you learn what to look for.  It is really fun to do at shows, especially if your rabbit is being judged at the end.  French angora and other wool breeds are always at the end. 

Showmanship is  good way for youth to gain confidence in public speaking. 

There are five levels of showmanship.  Cloverbuds, or Pee Wee, are ages five through eight.  Novices are any age, nine through eighteen, for their first twelve months of competing in showmanship.  Juniors are nine through eleven years of age.  Intermediate are ages twelve through fourteen.  Seniors are fifteen and up. 

There was only one Cloverbud at our last 4-H show, this past Saturday.  My friend and I wished she had had some competition.  This little Cloverbud practiced twice a day for a month with her French angora junior buck. 

Cloverbud, checking the underside of her rabbit

First place cloverbud showmanship, out of one

I have two friends who were novices this year, and both did very well--much better than I did my first time.  The younger one got fifth place out of eight.  She lost points because her shirt had 3/4 length sleeves and didn't stay tucked in.  My first time I lost points because my bow came undone.  My other friend got second place.  She lost points for not being able to answer some questions.  But this was the first time for both of them, and they did really well.  Next time I expect they will get first and second places. 

No dirt or mites

No malclusion

No ear mites
Second place novice showmanship, out of seven competitors
My younger sister Lydia received first place in the junior level competition.  It was her first time competing in the junior class.  She was very nervous. 

Posing the rabbit
Getting ready to flip the rabbit

First place junior showmanship, out of five competitors

I also competed in showmanship, in the intermediate class.  Though I had already competed at this level twice before, this was my first time doing it California style.  California style is crazy.  But it was a good experience.  With California style, two or three or more youth present AT THE SAME TIME.  It was pretty nerve-wracking.  Probably the hardest thing for me was focusing on my presentation while hearing the others give theirs.  It was so awkward continuing my presentation while the others had already finished theirs.  Then I worried about the questions from the judge.  Because we had to know about the breeds that our competitors were using for their showmanship.  I was stressed because the others got so many more questions than I did.  At the end, I received first place.  I was so confused, because the judge didn't ask me very many questions. 

California style intermediate showmanship
Everybody goes at a different pace
First place intermediate showmanship, out of five competitors
Seniors just have to know everything there is to know about rabbits.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


We haven't posted in the last week due to extreme computer problems.  The old one was terminal for quite some time and finally bit the dust. 

The new one was rejected by its previous owner, #1 son, shortly after purchase.  Probably because it is a piece of junk.  But that's just a guess on my part. 

Now, on to the reason you're here.  Bunnies.  Lots of bunnies.

Tootsie and Snowball both kindled early Tuesday morning, one day earlier than anticipated.  Honey, the 4-leg grand champion, has not.  Maybe she thinks her good looks are all she needs.

Anyway, back to the kits.  Snowball had eleven kits, seven of which survived.  One was clearly stillborn; she didn't clean it at all.  Two she cleaned partially, but we figure she decided they weren't going to make it and didn't finish cleaning.  One--we figure it was the first--was born outside the nesting box.  We didn't even find it until the next day.  It had been perfectly cleaned up, but it looked like Snowball had bitten both back legs off.  Kinda gruesome.  Snowball did not do anything like this with her previous litter or with any of the other current kits.  My best guess is that because this one was outside the nesting box, she was trying to get it back in, ... and didn't realize the strength of her teeth. 

Of Snowball's surviving kits, four are REWs.  Two appear to be self lilacs and one appears to be a self chocolate.  They are all pretty quiet, like one would expect of rabbit kits.

Snowball's kits, Day 1
Tootsie had seven kits, and all seven have survived so far.  Two are black, two appear to be chocolate, and three appear to be lilac.  These are the squawkingish bunch of kits ever. 

Tootsie's kits, Day 1

If you would like to be put on the waiting list for purchasing kits, send us an email at  They will be ready for new homes January 4, 2015.  We prefer to have buyers come here to our rabbitry in Reno, but we can bring rabbits to rabbit shows as well.  We will be at the California state convention in Turlock February 28.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Preparing for Kits To Arrive

Starting two weeks before the kits are due, turn on a radio or CD player at night to calm rabbits and drown out unwanted noise from cars or coyotes or other predators that could be lurking outside.  If you have neighborhood dogs or children you will definitely want to run the radio all day and night.

One week before the kits are due, you will definitely want to clean and sanitize the doe’s cage, pan, and nesting box.  Hay is expensive, so you will want to use some shredded paper.  Try not to use thicker paper, or paper with sharp edges. 

Pluck, comb, or shear the doe’s wool the week before the kits are due so that there is no wool long enough to wrap around little baby bunny legs or ears.  Also, you can cut the wool the doe pulls herself into small pieces.  One week before the kits are due, do not move the doe any more. 

Two to three days before the kits are due, put the nesting box in.  Do not do this any earlier.  You don’t want it to become a litter box.  

Snowball with a mouthful of hay for rearranging her nest
Finally, start watching for signs of imminent kindling—stuffing hay in mouth, pulling wool, rearranging the nest.  Don’t stress the doe by checking too often, but do check to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What Happens at a 4-H Meeting

Today I thought I’d post on what happens at a typical 4-H meeting.  First, we open the meeting and then recite our pledges to the United States of America and then our 4-H pledge.  Then we have roll call and introduction of new members.  The Treasurer’s report comes next.  The treasurer states our expenses and then how much we have left in the bank.  The secretary’s report tells what happened in our previous meeting.  New business is then presented and discussed.  Then we all discuss the previous month’s shows—where we went and what awards our rabbits received or how we did in showmanship.  All of the above happens at every 4-H meeting.  

(Oops.  My mom just realized she forgot to take any pictures.)

The next portion of the meeting is different each month.  At this month’s meeting we had a presentation by the 4-H coordinator about the ambassador program.  I’m too young for it, so I really didn’t pay much attention.  Next there was a presentation on a fundraiser.  Then we discussed our upcoming 4-H show, the expenses for it, locations for future shows, and made assignments for this show.  Finally, two of our members gave a presentation on mini rexes.  

Announcements always happen at the formal end of the meeting, and then the meeting is adjourned.  But most people usually hang around for a while.  The senior members of the club then help the younger members with showmanship, clerking practice, tattooing, or judging.  Basically, we help out with other members’ rabbits, learn new things, and socialize.  Each meeting lasts about an hour.