Sunday, October 23, 2011

A good week..a very good week

In our hobby, we can go weeks and months (OK, let’s be totally honest--years) without a big win.  But every time we get a little discouraged, we see the face of a 4-week old kit, or we talk to a friend who is excited about their Fuzzies, and we are ready to go again.  Still nothing can jazz up our enthusiasm for American Fuzzy Lops like doing well at a show.

Last weekend, things went well, very well for me.  I won Best of Breed in the two shows with a solid sable point buck.  I thought he was looking very good, but took him to the Best in Show table with no expectations.


Judge Randy S examines the AFL during Best in Show A judging.

BIS DD (2)

Betty and her English Angora doe, selected Best in show by Judge Kevin S, and me with my buck.  My buck was Reserve Best in Show for both shows that day!

Yesterday, I headed to another show, the last show before the ARBA Convention in Indianapolis.  I packed up a different group of Fuzzies this time, to make sure all the rabbits had time to rest before traveling to Convention later this week.  It was so tempting to take the sable point buck again, but I decided it was more important for him to be ready to compete in Indianapolis.  Besides, I thought I had a couple of other bucks that were looking nice.

My broken buck won Best of Breed in both shows. But I really didn’t expect more.  There were a lot of very nice rabbits at the show yesterday.

BIS A (2)

Show A, my broken senior buck is selected Best in Show by Judge Josh H!  Betty’s English Angora is RBIS.  Note that we have both won again one week later but with different rabbits!

BIS b (2)

Show B, my broken buck takes BIS again.  Juan and his Mini Lop are selected RBIS by Judge Melissa.

I guess I like this hobby after all!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let the pictures tell the story

Mason, MI: It was an AWESOME show, says Tabatha.

Show A Open BOB- Tabatha Corbin-Meeks
                    BOS -Margaret Wronski
Show B open BOB -Theresa Frank
                    BOS ~ Tabatha Corbin-Meeks
Show C Open BOB ~ Tabatha Corbin-Meeks
                    BOS ~ Dawn Guth
Show D Open BOB Tabatha Corbin-Meeks
                     BOS ~ Tabatha Corbin-Meeks
Also we hear that Jamie Fry did great in youth and took RBIS in show B!




Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun in the Sun

Backyard Show 6.26.11Spring and summer can be a great time to step back and enjoy the rabbits in a more relaxed way.  One tradition is the “picnic” or backyard show.  District 2 hosts one of the best where American Fuzzy Lops, Jersey Woolys and Angoras all gather for a great triple show.Backyard Show 6.26.11 Wade and Carol

Wade checks the Fuzzies while Carol is finally caught on camera.

Backyard Show Chris Zemny 6.26.11

Chris had a great time relaxing, talking and judging.


Johnny judges French Angoras with Gabrielle taking comments


Youth exhibitors turned out in great numbers and had gorgeous Fuzzies!


Show A, Youth, Johnny Haussener

  1. BOB, VC  Hayley Cowles
  2. BOSB SKT   Hayley Cowles

Show B, Youth CHRIS Zemny

  1. BOB FFS    Madison Todd
  2. BOSB MXML1 Ruby Juballa


  • BOB SKT Hayley Cowles
  • BOSB FFS   Madison Todd

Show A, Open Johnny Haussener

  1. BOB FOB Mary Henderson/Guy Reynolds
  2. BOSB LSU2 Carol & Kendall Green

Show B Open Chris Zemny

  1. BOB CHR Carol & Kendall Green
  2. BOSB LP1 Christina Gillett

Show C open Wade Burkhalter



Youth turnout

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fuzzies go to school

Rabbits, children and science.....mix those three things together and you have a successful Science Day prsentation for kindergarten classes.

I took six different rabbits with me--two Fuzzies, one Jersey wooly, two young Netherland Dwarfs and a Thrianta. All were picked because I thought they would be tolerant of poking and prodding! I talked to the kids about the many uses for rabbits, what they eat, and how the babies tend to look like their parents. When I asked what rabbits eat, the answer was always "Carrots!". The kids were great though at sitting in their chairs and holding up their hands to ask questions. It helped that the teacher warned me that their attention span was "8 mins"!

Rabbits and the "teacher" were tired when the day was done!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do you have any Sable Points available?


I get more requests for sable points than any other variety of Fuzzies.  That’s not a scientific survey of course, because most people know that I don’t raise too many of the rarer colors anyway. But torts and sable points are very compatible when it comes to breeding and since most of us have torts, then most of us could also raise sable points. 

As discussed in the last post, there are five main color genes (ignore the broken and vienna genes for now).  By the way, there is a very good article in the current issue of Domestic Rabbit, May/June 2011, on rabbit color genetics also, which is a great reference too. We are going to focus on one gene for this discussion though, because it is where the torts and sable points different, the “C” or pigmentation (also called color) gene.

In some ways, the pigmentation gene is the hardest because instead of a nice simple two versions, with one dominant over the other, the “C” series has five different forms or alleles.  “C” is the dominant form which means that one copy of this allele will affect the color of the rabbit. The other four alleles of the pigment gene are : “c(chd)”, called chinchillation dark which results in chinchilla or silver marten varieties; “c(chl)”, chinchillation light, required for sable points, Siamese sable, and smoke pearl varieties; “c(h)”, Himalayan (or Californian) allele, giving pointed white, and “c”, for albino or ruby-eyed white variety.  Since each rabbit has two copies of the pigmentation gene, the dominance of each matters:  C > c(chd) > c (chl) > c(h) > c. 

The sable point rabbit pictured at the top of this post has very nice clean sable point color. Note the darker shading on his muzzle and ears.  The legs and feet are also darker sepia brown. The color over the body isn’t white, but is a very light almost “pearl” color (sable points are called “pearl” in the angora breeds).


Solid sable point AFL with clean color


Solid sable point with darker sable point color. 

There are variations in the sable point color that occur as seen above.  It is believed that two copies of the c(chl) gene will result in the darker version while one copy of the gene paired with a “c” allele will give the cleaner color.  This could be tested by breeding each of these rabbits to a ruby eyed white rabbit, if REWs as well as sable points are in the litters, then the sable point parent carried one copy of the c allele.

One complication with broken sable points is that the light body color can make it difficult to see the pattern on an adult.  The color is readily seen on a broken sable point kit. At birth the colored skin is as visible as in any other broken, and as the wool grows it is still easy to see.



But as the wool grows, the color seems to become diluted over the length of the hair shaft and be more difficult to see.  Sometimes these rabbits are disqualified for having too little color, but most judges realize the need to look closely (even in the sunlight if possible) at the body, as well as the head.  A rabbit with normal or heavy broken markings on the head is likely to be well colored on the body as well.



The buck above shows the typical pattern of color on the head seen in broken Fuzzies with a prominent butterfly and colored ears.  Additional pattern of color is also apparent on the face of the rabbit.  The body also has several large areas of slightly darker colored wool, although the length of the wool makes it harder to see the color.


A broken sable point with less density in the wool has more prominent color patches.  Some sable points are also darker in color than others; this is probably because the rabbit carries two copies of the sable point gene rather than only one copy. 

Enjoy your sable points.  They are a beautiful variety of AFL.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oh Mr Mendel, where are you?

When the talk turns to alleles and genes and Punnett squares, some folks’ eyes glaze over while others get very very excited. If you are one of those who start thinking about what you are having for dinner when the ABCDEs roll into the conversation, just stick with me and give it a shot.  This won’t be a full lesson, just a tidbit.  If you want to produce colors (varieties) that can be shown, then you need to know some basics about rabbit color genetics. 

There are five genes that determine most of the varieties of colors shown in Fuzzies (Note I said “most”, not “all”).  Each of these genes has at least two alleles (or versions) that will determine some feature of the rabbits color. 

DSCN0028First is the “A” or agouti series.  This gene determines whether a rabbit with exhibit agouti, tan or self pattern, thus there are three possible alleles of this gene.

The “B” series is next, and is sometimes called the basic series.  Its easiest to think that all rabbits are either black or brown.


The “C” series, or pigment series, controls the amount of pigment in the hair shaft and has six different alleles that produce rabbits that range from full colored to albinos (ruby eyed white).


The “D” series or color intensity gene controls the intensity of color resulting in either intense color, e.g. black, or dilute, e.g. blue.


The extension gene, “E” controls the extension of black to the fur tips.


There are two other genes that are important to us also.  First is the gene that produces either solid or brokens.  Any color can be broken. Then there is another gene, usually termed Vienna or Blue-eyed white that can conceal all colors and produce a BEW.

Photos are from rabbits that were class winners at AFLRC National shows and ARBA Conventions. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Basket of Babies

There are few things as exciting as your first litter of Fuzzy Lops (well the second, third and fortieth are close!).  After just celebrating the arrival of the litter, the next fun part is to figure out what varieties are in the nestbox.  Since we have so many torts, its not usually that difficult.  But some of the lighter colors can be more challenging.  For example, I have thought I had a ruby eyed white (REW) kit until the eyes opened and the wool started growing and I realized it was probably a blue point.  Experience also helps a lot.  I recently had an email conversation with a new exhibitor/breeder who wasn’t sure whether her sable point juniors were solid or broken.  My suggestion—let’s look at the photos of young kits before the wool grows in.  Watch these Fuzzies grow:








So what varieties are in these two litters?  Its one broken tortoise shell, two REWS and two solid sable points.  Beautiful!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Warm weather = power washing


  So why are all the rabbits loaded up in transport cages?  Sure its nice outside, but they would rather be in their normal cages, eating and relaxing on a warm weekend day.

Do you think something is happening in the barn that we should investigate?IMG_0967

It is time for spring cleaning, one of those days that we both love and hate.  It is a huge job, and best done with lots of help.  First everything is removed from the barn—rabbits, tables, feeders, and assorted junk that accumulated over the past 6 months.IMG_0964  Next, the wool is burned off with a hand held torch.  This doesn’t remove all the wool, but it helps. A broom and shop vac are used to clean the light fixtures, walls and rafters.  The biggest step and most time is spent with the power washer.  It takes at least two times over the cages, and heavy work with wire brushes to clean everything.  IMG_0969

Eight hours later, the Fuzzies are all back in their cages, fed and water.  The trays may still have a few stains that collected over the years, but the cages are clean and fresh smelling!  Ready for the summer now.

Monday, April 25, 2011

More Nationals 2011


On Friday, the show room was just starting to fill as exhibitors came to load Fuzzies into the coops.  Christina is playing with Natalee, Parker and Stuart.


The American Fuzzy Lop club booth was decorated with the award quilts, and a great silent auction.


Show day (Saturday) was busy but there was still time to talk to old friends (Lisa B, Mia B, Shari A, Sherry H, and Carol G)


Nate B, Muriel K, Diana K work on the paperwork of the show.  Great team!


Christina G, Irving, and Marian S watch the judging.