Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Oops" Happens, or Stanley's Grand Adventure

This is what "Oops" looks like.

If you think that looks like a litter of kits, you'd be right.

That litter is from Blue.  Now, if you are a regular reader, you might recall that Blue just had a litter.  Just last month, as a matter of fact, on December 8.  Now you are probably thinking that is a bit soon.  And you would have great company.  Lots of company. 

But rabbits can multiply like, well, rabbits.  So apparently Blue did not think it was too soon, even though she was still nursing a litter.  You might recall that only one of her litter of three survived.  We put her singleton with Duchess's four kits so that it would be warm enough.  And then one doe nursed the five in the morning and the other in the evening.  They all grew nice and fat and should be posted for sale any day now.

So this is what happened. 

Stanley, Lydia's lone unsold kit from Snowball's first litter, had a huge cage all to himself.  But this was not enough for him.  He would frequently escape from his cage in the bunny barn and go on grand adventures.  He was always recaptured the next morning.  Lydia had been counseled to buy more latches and springs for his cage, but alas, she did not listen carefully to Mom and did not buy enough.  And Stanley was never gone for long, so we didn't really stress about it.

However, the morning of December 27, Becky returned to the house steaming mad.  You could see the vapors rising from her head.  Stanley had not only escaped from his ground level cage, but had also--get this--jumped up onto a folding table (the nearby bale of hay may have assisted him) and then jumped up to the top of Cookie's cage, and then to the top of Blue's cage. Blue's cage opens from the top, and evidently it could not support Stanley's weight, so he crashed in.

Becky caught them in the very act.

She really did not want Blue to have another litter so soon, and especially without another doe bred at the same time.  And no one wanted to breed again so soon, because we already had two recent litters of kits, and we didn't know how quickly they would sell.  So she did the unthinkable.  She refused to turn on the radio at night so that the rabbits would hear the coyotes and Blue might get stressed and abort the litter.  And we had a lot of coyotes roaming around.

Well, now we have proof that Blue does not intimidate easily. 

And, T.M., new owner of Stanley, Stanley is now "proven." 

For those interested, we think these kits are black, chocolate, lilac, chinchilla, and REW.  Charlotte also just tried her hand at sexing newborn kits.  It looks like the REW is the only buck. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting Ready for Gridley

We registered for the Gridley show on Monday, the deadline.  We always wait 'til the last minute to make sure the weather will allow us to travel, and to decide which rabbits have the best coats. 

All the kits from Tootsie and Snowball are going, so there will be enough juniors for a leg.  Cookie is also going.  Snowball, too, will be attending.  Muddy Buddy, too.  Ninja, Blue, Honey, and Duchess and the five kits aren't coming with us.  But they should all be able to make the California State Convention. 

We have gone to Gridley before.  It was a very nice show, probably the nicest I have been to.  It was a triple youth last time.  This time it is only a double youth.  We entered our best rabbits in the triple open to see how our stock compares.  We are looking forward to seeing our angora friends, Betty and Julie and Casey, again.  And we are looking forward to meeting Emmie, who bought a breeding trio from us.  Our aunt and grandpa delivered them, so we didn't get to actually meet Emmie yet.

My siblings and I have forgotten many things in the past, including a rabbit once (at least we were only two minutes away when we remembered).  So we have made a packing list. 

For the rabbits:
Show carpets
Slicker brush
Nail clippers
Crocks/Bottles for food and water
Newspapers (for changing pans)
Towels for covering cages
Spare cage for bringing home new stock

For the people:
Table or stand for cages (makes life easier than bending over)
Grooming table
Showmanship clothes for 4-H (black jeans, white shirt, green ribbon, black belt)
Masking tape (to remove wool from clothes)
ARBA Standard of Perfection
Tattoo kit
Pedigree charts and records for selling and for ARBA registration
Money (for paying entry fees, supplies, new stock)
Business cards
Bags for collecting wool
Snacks  (for you and to share with others)
Water bottles
Hairbrush (for people)
Good shoes (you are going to be on your feet all day)
First aid kit

Monday, January 26, 2015

A New Year of 4-H

At our first 4-H meeting of the year, we had elections.  Two people ran for president, and each made a speech about why s/he should be elected.  The voting was very close, with the new president getting only one more vote than his opponent.  Then we moved onto vice-president.  There were two contestants again, and the voting was not as close.  Then we moved on to secretary.  The secretary takes notes on the meeting, takes attendance, and reads notes on the previous meeting.  I did not want to make a speech, because I was not prepared to give one.  But I wanted an office.  I waited a little while to see if anyone was going run for secretary.  Nobody did, so I raised my hand.  Because I was unopposed, I didn't have to make a speech.  I am now the secretary for the year. 

Then we moved on to treasurer.  My mom wanted my sister to run for vice-president, but she didn't.  She hates speaking in public.  She ran for treasurer.  (That's lower than the secretary!)  And she did it because she was unopposed as well. 

I look forward to learning from this experience. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Questions.  When the girls first got their rabbits a year and a half ago, they asked questions of the breeders they bought their rabbits from, but they didn't want to ask all the questions they had.  They would be embarrassed, or I would be concerned about pestering people. 

But after we have been at this for a while, and especially after breeding our own rabbits and selling them, we have realized that we were wrong. 

Because the girls are happy for the opportunity to share their love of French angora rabbits with others.  And because we realize that people who ask questions really want to learn, and really want to care for their rabbits as best as possible. 

So, whether by posting a comment on the blog or by emailing, by all means, please ask questions!  You can even address your questions to the girls if you want their opinion, or to me, The Mom (Jennifer), if you want a parent's opinion.

French angoras really are the best rabbits.  We want everyone to be successful with them, and we are happy to help in any way we can.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Harvey Goes Home

We were planning to visit my grandparents and deliver three rabbits, two does from Charlotte's litter and one buck from mine, to a nice lady outside of Galt.  But my grandpa and my aunt had some business in Reno, so they came here to visit us.  So we decided to ask if they could deliver the bunnies.  They said they would be happy to.

I wanted to spend some time with my grandpa and aunt while my sister groomed.  When they were ready to leave, I had to groom Harvey very quickly.  Harvey was the best buck out of the litter.  I am happy that he went to a good home.  I know it's a good home, even though I haven't seen it or met his new owner, because she asked so many questions and was interested in rabbits.  I knew she wouldn't be careless. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Elsa Goes Home

We had placed an ad on Craigslist in Modesto.  A lady replied to that ad and asked for a REW doe.  We emailed back and forth to decide on a day to meet.  First, she wanted us to meet halfway in Truckee.  But my mom said no.  Gas is so expensive that it would eat up all the profit.  It wouldn't be smart business. 

We decided to meet on Thursday, and the lady said she would drive all the way here.  Charlotte had to tattoo Elsa.  Boy, was Charlotte scared, because this was her first time tattooing and she didn't want to hurt Elsa.  We also had to vaccinate Elsa. 

The lady came Thursday afternoon to pick up Elsa.  She said that she also had another rabbit, a Holland lop.  She said that she was going to get Elsa fixed, because she didn't want to breed.  She took Elsa to her house and sent us a picture of her Holland lop and Elsa playing. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vaccination Day

BunnyVac pasteurella vaccine, 20 dose vial
We vaccinate our rabbits because we do not want them to get snuffles.  Snuffles is actually a very deadly disease in rabbits and highly contagious.

On vaccination day we bring all the bunnies inside, so that we do not miss anyone or vaccinate anyone twice. 

Vaccination holding pen

We have two people doing the work.  The first holds the rabbit, keeping him calm with a firm hold.  The second draws the vaccine into the syringe and removes all air bubbles. She then pinches the skin between the shoulders and inserts the needle just under the skin. 
She then pulls back the syringe just a little to make sure there is no blood, and then injects the vaccine. At this time, the rabbit may become unsettled, because it hurts.  Try to finish quickly and then massage the injection site.    

A booster needs to be administered four weeks after the initial injection, and then annually. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stanley Goes Home

My mom posted an ad on Craigslist for Provo, UT, because my brother goes to school there and could transport rabbits for us.  Within a day or two, we got an email inquiring about my junior bucks for sale.  And then a little bit later, the lady saw the ad for Stanley.  And she wanted him. 

We worked out the details and set up a time to meet in Provo.  Stanley had to be transported in an apple box because we needed all our show cages here.  I got up early Saturday morning and gathered everything Stanley would need for the trip.  I brought Stanley inside and let him run around for awhile.  As I picked him up and held him, it seemed like he knew he was leaving.  He didn't wiggle around in my arms, but just let me snuggle him.  I didn't cry.  I was proud of myself.  Then it was time for him to go.

Later the next day, my brother called us and told us that Stanley had been given to his new family.  Jared was really happy that he went to a good home with really nice people.  It made me feel like Stanley would be very happy.

We got an email from his new family, and I could tell that Stanley would be very happy with them.

Stanley in his new home

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Holy Cow!

That's not a phrase I use much, if ever.  But there's really no other way to describe the response to the "French Angora Rabbits" for sale ad we posted on Craigslist in Modesto.  Our ad in Reno has, so far, netted not even a nibble.  Our ad in Provo, UT, found us a buyer for Stanley, and he went to his new home yesterday.  My son, Jared, was very happy to see that he was going to such a nice family.  We're waiting for them to email us some pics that we can post on the blog.

But the ad in Modesto?  Just wow.  It's like everybody's New Year's Resolution was to get a French Angora rabbit.  I've spent quite a few hours over the past two days responding to inquiries.  Some are homesteaders wanting to barter.  I'm all for homesteading, and barter is good, but there's not a lot that we need, especially when there's a few hours of driving between us.  Some people sound like they have no idea when it comes to caring for an angora rabbit, and that makes us a little concerned.  We really want these super sweet bunnies to go to happy homes where they will be well-cared for.  Then there are the spinners.  I like hearing from them.  They ask intelligent questions.  And someone who is into spinning yarn isn't afraid of a little work in caring for rabbits that produce such lovely fiber. 

Anyway, I think it's up to five does and one buck on hold now.  It's a response we certainly didn't anticipate.  And if I am adding things up correctly (it is almost 1AM right now), I think that means we have three bucks and two does left. 

And this reminds me.  I guess I better get a sales policy posted.  We don't want any misunderstandings or hurt feelings.