Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

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.