Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Who Buys an "Unshowable" Rabbit and Why?

Let's face it.  Anyone who is going to pay $75 or more for a rabbit is going to want a very good rabbit.  But not everyone needs a "show quality" rabbit, despite what some would have you believe.  Here at Black Diamond, when we post information about our rabbits for sale, we try to include as much information as possible to help buyers in their decisions.  But somehow, some people just lack in reading comprehension, or refuse to read at all, and jump to irrational conclusions.   If a rabbit has a disqualification, it will not be sold with a pedigree and should not be bred for the show table.  Or it should not be bred with the intent of producing show quality rabbits.  Really, what you do with your rabbits is your business, and nobody else's.  The exception to this, as blogged on previously, is if  someone wants to obtain a certificate of development for introducing a new, showable color of rabbit.

We breed more than a few rabbits here, and in the process the girls have learned a lot about differentiating between showable and unshowable rabbits. About a third of the rabbits here are unshowable, usually because of color but sometimes also because of a poor body type.  But we can't house unshowable rabbits for the rest of their lives, and the girls aren't really ready to start checking out hasenpfeffer recipes.

Anyway, back to the groups of people who want a good rabbit without necessarily needing a (more expensive) show quality rabbit.

So what becomes of our unshowable rabbits?

Some, a very few, become pets.  However, most people who want merely a pet rabbit are not going to get an angora.

The majority of people who buy the unshowables are spinners who want the bunnies for their fiber.  Pretty self-explanatory.

Then there are the homesteaders/sustainable living/prepper-types who want good stock without the concern for showing.  They can keep just what they want for spinning and eat the rest.  They don't have to be concerned about whether the color is just right, whether the rabbit is overweight, or whether the shoulders are too long.  They have it easy.  But they still need a rabbit with a good body.  You don't want a doe with pinched hindquarters and the potential problem of difficulties in kindling a litter.

The last group of people who buy unshowable rabbits is 4-H youth, especially the young ones.  (Well, in the case of the young ones, it's the parents doing the buying.)  Sometimes the mothers are spinners and want the fiber while their children have the experience of caring for and showing a rabbit.  In fact, if I were a parent of a young 4-H member, I would say that getting an unshowable/pet quality/DQ rabbit would be the only way to go. 

And why is this, you ask?

Number one, 4-H shows can get really long.  The shows generally begin around 8:00AM and you have to check in at that time.  You have to be there all day, because French angoras don't go to the table till late in the day.  But what if you are showing a DQ rabbit?  Well, then, at our 4-H shows in Nevada, DQs and crossbreeds are the first ones on the table.  And you get your awards right away.  Your younger child doesn't have to wait until the end of the day.  You can have a life outside of the 4-H show that day.  At the recent Placerville show, the pet class show was later in the day, but that may have been more a function of being absolutely overwhelmed with the number of entries they had (they were anticipating 600, and got 2,300).  However, the awards were still given right away.

Now it is important to remember that the rabbit has to have a true disqualification, or else it is considered cheating.  Ideally, you get a rabbit with a really nice body that is disqualified for color or weight or some kind of congenital birth defect.  This way you can get a less expensive rabbit and you get to go home early.  It is a really good way to go for younger kids.  In the DQ/pet class, the youth are judged on how well the rabbit is cared for rather than whether the rabbit conforms to the ARBA ideals.  It's how all young kids should begin, IMO.

At the Placerville show, Lydia entered Silver, who is DQ'd for being the wrong color.

She was absolutely thrilled with her first place win. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Placerville Show Report

Well, the Motherlode Rabbit and Cavy Show--Summer in the Foothills Show is what they called it--was a bit of a zoo today.  I think the organizers said they had around 2300 rabbits.  That's a lot of rabbits.  And it was a very small building.  There wasn't enough room for everyone inside.  It was quite hot outside.  And there were probably more than a few fire code violations.  So the show organizers will have a few issues to address for future events. 

But overall the show went well for the girls.  Lydia and Charlotte each sold a junior doe.  So they'll be able to support their bunnies for a few months.  :)

We got to meet Emmie, a very nice lady who bought a breeding trio from the girls earlier this year.  She had kits from them on the table, plus she brought a couple of older rabbits for Charlotte to evaluate.

The judges just kinda want to make your head explode at times.  Well, maybe it wasn't that bad.  Then again, maybe it was.  Julie entered two of her REWs as "fillers" so that there would be enough for a leg.  The two fillers got best and best opposite.

More often than not, Charlotte and Lydia are the only youth showing French angoras.  They will usually have enough rabbits to fill two classes, but not three.  Today, they had only three bucks to take to the show, and we all felt there might not be any other youth showing, so they entered the bucks in the open shows.  There were a total of six junior bucks.  Charlotte entered her broken black buck with the intent of finding out whether he was too heavily colored to be considered show quality.  Not only was nothing said regarding the amount of color, but in a field of six junior bucks in open show A, he placed second.  Moreover, in open show B, he placed first!

In the youth shows, the girls entered only does--five juniors and three seniors.  Sage already had five legs, but they were all as a junior, so we were really hoping she'd get a leg today.  The judge, Uno Kivi, felt her coat was lacking, and he selected Charlotte's blue junior doe for best of breed.  However, in show B, judge Scott Rodriguez chose Sage.  So Sage can retire from showing now that she is a grand champion.  Scott also highly favored Lydia's junior doe Lady Amber, who had had a rather poor body type, or so we thought.  She will now be able to be sold as a show quality rabbit.

Anberly with her junior buck--BOSV, Charlotte with her senior doe--BOV, and judge Scott

Lydia entered her sable agouti, an unshowable color, in the pet class.  And winning first place there just made her day.  The judges complimented her on how well groomed Silver is. 

And as always, we learned something new about the rabbits.  Apparently, if the temperature rises about 80 degrees, bucks can become temporarily sterile for up to 90 days.  Younger bucks will recover more quickly than older bucks.  We haven't researched this yet ourselves.  Ninety days seems like a long time, so I'm not sure about that, but everything else seems like it is very plausible.  I'll have to do some research on that.

All in all, a very good day.