Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Determining Which Kits To Keep

So one of the girls' buyers has had her first litter of kits and the time is coming to decide which to keep, and which to sell.  I thought she had some good questions, and so I thought I would also post my reply to her here.
First off, I would wait a bit on making determinations about which rabbit is best for a few reasons.  1.  I'm guessing that you are not super experienced in assessing rabbits, so you need to have other opinions; 2.  Asking your 4-H counselor is a good place to start, but while s/he may be experienced in assessing rabbit bodies, the rabbit body counts for less than 50% of the points in showing, so assessing wool is really important, too (though it is hard to do on a junior); 3.  Some rabbit people favor the English angora body over the French angora body, and that's just the way they assess French angoras.  So someone who favors an English angora type might diss what others would consider a great French angora type; 4.  We have seen rabbits that started out looking like they were poor to fair turn out to be really great rabbits.  In conclusion, I think two and even three months is too soon to make a final determination about which kits are best.  If you bring them all to the show next month, we have a few people we can ask to give opinions on them, and that way you'll have a better idea.  And then if you have entered them in the show, you can also get the judges' opinions. 
Of course, the judges' opinions are also crazy, as you will eventually experience for yourself.  Twice, in two different triple youth shows, we have had three judges assess Phantom, one of Charlotte's does.  One judge disqualified her (overweight), one judge hated her, and one judge gave her the leg.  Two different shows, months apart.  Some judges just have bad hair days or are just weird or something, I don't know.  The one judge who hated her last month said he didn't like her coat, and made it sound like Charlotte wasn't taking care of her.  So I told Charlotte this, and she was puzzled, but didn't do anything about it.  A few days later it was time to pluck Phantom.  She yielded over four ounces of fiber, and not a single mat or even tiny tangle anywhere, and a staple 5-6 inches long.  I can hardly wait to spin it! 
Charlotte thinks there is no decision between trying to build a good herd or trying to have the best rabbit to show.  She sees them as being the same.  I think they are a little bit different, based on what your purpose for raising them is--and my purpose is a little different from my girls' purpose.
My purpose is to have an abundant supply of the warmest, softest spinning fiber for making clothes for my family while at the same time having a breed of rabbit that can be used for meat if/when we have to.  Now to accomplish this, we have to have the healthiest rabbits possible, and part of that includes having a good body.  I don't know yet, or if, it is critical for rabbits to have a good set of shoulders or proper midsection to be healthy.  I do know that hindquarters should never be pinched.  For my spinning purposes, I also don't care whether the rabbit's coat or toenails are the right color.  But that is really important in showing.  And it's somewhat important for selling.  If you're selling to spinners, color doesn't necessarily matter.  But you may have to reduce your asking price a bit for an unshowable rabbit. 
There is a lot to consider here.  Hope you don't get overwhelmed!


  1. I like personable rabbits. If the rabbit isn't a friend, I don't want to do the chores as much. I think it is really hard to tell what you have body and/or wool wise under 6 months to a year old. They take time to grow good bodies & true wool coat. BTW Pumpkin has turned into one of my favorite rabbits. She still hates to be held or carried. But is really sweet in the yard with the kids, loves to be petted. Loves to sit and eat grass & rest her nipples. Blue has porked on a couple lbs.

  2. Good points! And I'm so glad Blue is finally gaining weight. We really hope you take her to the ARBA show next month.