Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Monday, June 9, 2014

Chocolates into Steels? Or Crazy Rabbit Genetics?

A chocolate kit was born and fifteen days later it turned into a steel. Chocolate steel.  Crazy.

Rabbit color genetics is really hard to understand, especially when you are nine.  My mom says it's not that bad.  She's nuts.

Anyway, both of Cookie's parents are steel, one lilac steel and one a broken chocolate steel.  The genotype for both of them is EsE.  Es (steel gene) is dominant to E.  But!  If you have two Es genes, then sometimes the steel phenotype disappears, and the rabbit appears to be EE.  We believe this is what happened with Cookie, who is very clearly a broken chocolate. A most adorable broken chocolate.

What this means is that all of Cookie's offspring will be steel.  In this case, when bred with Snowball, chocolate or lilac steel.  Every single one. 

So all the chocolate and lilac kits are chocolate and lilac steel, and all the broken chocolate and broken lilac are broken chocolate steel and broken lilac steel.  Except that the brokens aren't looking very steel-like.

We are so confused.
Self chocolate (left) and chocolate steel (right)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Kits Are Here, Part II

By Charlotte

Tootsie’s kits were born May 25, between 7AM and 10AM.  Sadly, we were not watching, which we later learned we should have been doing.  Seven of the kits were born out of the nesting box.  Two were born in the nesting box, and one of those survived.  We are actually pretty well off because it is very common for does to lose their first litter of kits.  Sometimes it takes three to five tries for a doe to become a good mother. 

We called one of the breeders we got our French angoras from for advice on whether we should put the surviving kit with Snowball’s litter or leave it with Tootsie.  We were advised to put the lone surviving kit in with Snowball.  I stayed up all night with the rabbits—I was so stressed!
Later I saw that Tootsie was looking for her kit, and she looked very distraught and concerned.  She went into the nesting box three or four times, pulling more wool.  Finally, after careful deliberation we decided to put her kit back with her and one of Snowball’s as well.

The next day we checked carefully and often to make sure all was well.  I saw Tootsie go in and feed them a few times, so I was pretty proud of my rabbit.  Tootsie’s kit has a lot of hair and wrinkles of fat.  I call him Roly Poly.  He’s about twice the size of Snowball’s kits.  I think he had a much better start than Snowball’s litter because Snowball refused to eat her pellets for four days.  Apparently does can become very picky eaters when pregnant.

Tootsie is very protective of her kits, which is scary at times.

The kits at five days old