Saturday, November 27, 2010

I can see the light..

Reuben photographed above with his buddy Tiger. Tiger is a sport Rhinelander which is a solid harlequin colored rabbit. Unlike the Harlequin breed Rhinelander sports are more brindled in coloration although some do have defined markings. When you breed two marked Rhinelanders together you will get 50% marked, 25% charlies and 25% sports on average. Tiger is a very nicely typed sport and is a son of my favorite Rhinelander Rupert. Tiger is one of 3 Rhinelanders I am training to do rabbit hopping/agility. Tiger is very good, I hope to have a video uploaded soon!
I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There is nothing better than lots and LOTS of delicious home cooked food and spending time with family. This years Thanksgiving was extra special for me and my family since it was my sister's birthday and also a time to celebrate her engagement! Her fiance's family came to spend Thanksgiving with us and it was nice to have everyone together for the first time as my sister and her fiance embark on their journey to marriage.
I of course came right off from work and headed right to work after catching a few hours sleep in the early evening. The only down side to working emergency vet medicine is you work every holiday, but considering how rewarding my job can be its a minor sacrifice in the long run!
Things on the farm are going well at the moment. I take my finals in 2-3 weeks and then will begin my winter break which I'm looking forward to. I have ALOT of cramming/studying to do in preparation for my exams... I really can't wait for this semester to be over and to just work, volunteer, and spend some quality time with my animals and family.
I hope to make it to the Richmond rabbit show next weekend, I probably won't be showing anything since I will be coming directly from work but I do hope to see some bunny friends I have not seen in a while. My next show after that will hopefully be the PA Convention in February assuming the 2 babies due at work do not come early and we don't end up with 2 feet of snow!
And now some recent photos from around the farm, the leaves have almost all fallen down and with Thanksgiving behind us winter is just around the corner, I better get to work on my winter layout for the website and blog!

Wind Chime, she is a big girl now! Those horns will come off some time soon.. I keep putting the dehorning off because its not a fun procedure for anyone, the vet, the goat or me with aftercare. This is why proper disbudding at an early age is so important!


Fiddle and his half brother Tambouring stretching for the best bits of pine in the woods.


Reuben giving Lady some love.


Dixie and Athena with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.. lol they've stripped it nearly bare!


My best goat friend Fiddle and Oreo in the wagon


Tambourine being photogenic


Dixie again


A campine hen, she is so broody, she will set on any egg she sees and even round rocks!





A few of the goats munching away

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Convention Purchases

Convention is a time of huge temptation for bunny and cavy enthusiasts. Every single breed recognized and many unrecognized and developing breeds are available for purchase. There are "For Sale," signs dangling from every other coop and the bunnies inside tend to do a wonderful job of advertising themselves with binkies and begs for head rubs.
I went to Convention with a mission to sell the hares I brought along. This worked out in my favor and the hares have been dispersed all across the country. I also knew I wanted to purchase some Rhinelanders to kick start my program back home. I have had a lot of problems getting showable marked babies and I really wanted to bring something in to help with my marking problems. My type is there but my markings are lacking.
I looked at both the youth and open Rhinelanders for sale but it was my friend Keep who picked out the bunnies I would eventually purchase. The first one she showed me was a handsome jr. buck from Canada, he has quite the presence when running down the table and his markings are exactly what I'm looking for. The second doe I purchased was next to a doe Keep was showing me, this little jr. doe comes from California, she does have a shoulder spot but has great type, runs well and has good markings. The final doe that Keep showed me was a real cutie, she is also a California doe and from Lorena who I have purchased from in the past (Sage & Theo) and this little doe was just gorgeous except she has a DQ on her front elbow.
After running them and looking them over I was sold. The best part about the trio I purchased is the buck from Canada and the doe from Lorena are both half blue which means there is a potential if crossed together for future blue babies. I've wanted to develop the Blue Rhinelanders for a while and with them passing their presentation this year it seems like a great time to get the project started.
The does are very young so they won't be breeding for a while, but I am still very excited for their futures and there is no doubt in my mind that all 3 are going to do very well at rabbit hopping, I've already put a harness on my Ferchaud doe and she's learning very quickly!

Padlina's Nitch jr. doe (The breeder gave me permission to re-name her, any suggestions??)

Nitch again!

Jr. Buck, Bumble (named by Keep)

Bumble again being a goof

Ferchaud's I Got the Blues (named by Keep)

Blues again, she is SO pretty and flashy and smart, I'm in LOVE!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Judging Day at Convention!

For all breeders, the culmination of hardwork - a year of careful breeding selections, nurturing newborn bunnies and pose training comes to an end on Judging Day at Convention!
For most breeds this occurs on Monday, but for smaller breed numbers like Belgian Hares this happens on Tuesday.
Having only attended one Convention before and my highest placement being 5th (RIP Sassy girl) I did not have any expectations. I have been working very hard this past year to produce only the best by crossing hares that match one another's faults and have generally been pleased with the results.
The honorable judge was Ron Rohrig. He was kind and joked with us as we brought up the first class; the senior bucks. I brought along 4 senior bucks this year, two were just at 7 months of age so I didn't expect much from them. As the judging continued, I was thrilled to see that my bucks were doing very well and I went on to win the class! Ron gave honest comments, he handled the hares with respect and care and was a fantastic judge all around, many thanks to him!
Senior does went next and once again I could barely contain myself as I took the class again, especially with a just 7 month old doe! By the time junior bucks went up and I won that class too I was absolutely euphoric. While my jr. does did not do as well as I'd like I was thrilled with how well the rest of my bunnies had performed. When it came time for BOB judging I already knew I was guranteed Best Opposite Sex so when it was announced Valentine was the BOS winner I couldn't have been happier.
A huge congratulations to the Whitehouses for their BOB win with their adorable jr. doe!!
So the highlights of my placements follows:
Sr. Bucks
1st - Imagination's Valentine (BOS/Best Senior)
2nd - Imagination's Hector
5th - Imagination's Gus
Sr. Does
1st - Imagination's Keepee
2nd - Imagination's Cupid
3rd - Imagination's Heart
Jr. Bucks
1st - Imagination's Rusty
I won best display too which was a huge honor, It's been a tough road with the hares but my results at Convention were a really incredible reward for such a journey it has been.
Once judging was over it was time to celebrate and relax. Most of my hares I had for sale, sold very quickly after judging. I am very happy with the homes they have all gone to and wish their new owners lots of luck with their new bunnies. Its wonderful to do well with the hares but its even greater to be able to send winning and win producing stock onto fellow/new hare enthusiasts. For me its not all about winning, its sharing the love of the breed with everyone.
And now the photos:
Judge Ron checking a sr. buck over

Part of the sr. buck class in holding coops

That's Valentine on the right and Bandito jr. on left trying to pull a piece of cardboard into the coops.. silly hares!

Winners of the classes, from the left. Jr. Doe BOB winner, Jr. Buck - Rusty, Sr. Doe - Keepee, Sr. Buck - Valentine BOS winner

Open Awards

Youth BOB winner and judge!

Open winners with Judge

Judge Ron, Me and BOS winner Valentine!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Convention Day 2 and 3

After the initial madness of settling into the overwhelming experience of Convention by day 2 and 3 I was enjoying myself a little more and much less stressed out.


One of the best things about rooming with the Keep's is their love of exploring and doing some regular "vacation," stuff rather then spending the whole time at the Convention center with the bunnies. We spent the second day visiting Mall of America and even took a side trip to Wisconsin! We found a neat town across the river in Minnesota to have dinner at. Mall of the America was so cool, I had to have my credit card confiscated in order to prevent impulse purchases. There are so many stores, so many places to park and an amusement park to enjoy. We were brave and rode two of the coasters in the park, one went straight up on the ascent quite the build for the drop that follows, the other made you spin around!


Another neat place we visited was the Foshay building one of the tallest buildings in Minneapolis. We got to go up to the top and take photos of the view. The weather was absolutely perfect, no need for a heavy coat, just a light jacket. I really liked the sky walks which connect most of the buildings, that way you don't have to go outside if you don't want to.


We also took a trip down to the Mississippi river, and yes I did spit into it for good luck! (I think it paid off with how well my bunnies did!)


At the Convention center, Belgian Hares were scheduled for judging on Tuesday but the club meeting was on Monday morning. While we are a small club, we're also a tight knit group for the most part and we all share the common love for our beautiful breed. Many things were discussed and election results were revealed, congrats to all the new position holders! I've agreed to use my position as a vet tech to compose some health related articles for the spotlight newsletter, especially focusing on health issues that are relevant to the breed. There was some discussion about the development of black and tan hares too which was important since I am working on my own line of black and tans.


In between the hare meeting and the adventures we took to explore the city and surrounding areas I took some photos of the many rabbits at Convention and chatted with some lovely folks! It was so much fun to meet new and old bunny friends and talk rabbits!



A view of Minneapolis from the Foshay building



A presentation wooly, unfortunately all the woolies failed their presentations this year.


A red Netherland Dwarf for presentation, they also failed.


Broken English Angora presentation rabbit, another failure :(


Blue NZ also failed their presentation, but they are just gorgeous!


A hare on the merry go-round at Mall of America


The Belgian Hare Club meeting!


The Mississippi River


Me at Mall of America's amusement park


Yup we rode this!


Presentation blue Rhinelanders, and yes these cuties passed!!!


:)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Convention Day 1

I'm going to blog about Convention in stages!
First up is arrival day, November 6th. I departed from the farm bright and early in the morning and got to my mom's house mid morning with two large sky kennels in tow and my two dogs to be dropped off for pet sitting at "grandmas." From there it was off to the airport where I was dropped off curbside at departures for Delta. A kind sky captain wheeled my bunnies to check in where their kennels were covered with "live animal," stickers/barcodes for the flight and proceeded to security. They were visually inspected and a wand was waved over them. They were a big hit with TSA who asked lots of questions about the big bunny show I was attending.
I watched the bunnies get loaded from the baggage carts onto the plane from the gate window and then off we flew for about 2 and half hours to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Upon arrival I had to walk a LONG way to baggage claim where it took some time to find a sky captain to wheel the bunnies to the rental car folks. I met up with my friends and hotel roomates from Keep's Rabbitry, we quickly discovered after getting the rental car that the car we reserved was going to be too small so we upgraded to a larger SUV so all 16 of my bunnies would fit!
From the airport in our shiny rental car we headed to the Convention Center. We discovered a HUGE back up for check in/unloading. We were able to park on a side street and thankfully borrow a cart from a fellow bunny friend in order to get our bunnies inside. Check-in is such a whirl wind, I had to make 2 ear changes to my entry and then unload all my bunnies. I brought 15 Belgian Hares with me and transported a friend's English Lop. It took alot longer than expected to get everyone settled in their coops but thankfully all the bunnies seem to have tolerated the trip well and were eating/drinking.
The Convention Center was huge and very nice, while check-in was a pain due to the unorganized unloading situation things went much more smoothly after that. By the time my roomies and I got to our hotel we were exhausted!!

My 3 junior does Hazel, Fawn and Amelia in their coops. (Paper plates mark my bunnies!)

Some of my senior does, Maeve, Gem, Keepee, Heart, Cupid, etc.

The hotel picked the BEST breed to welcome us with, the Belgian Hare of course!

A neat sign designating the cooping area for Hares.

Unloaded and on the tram heading to rental cars in Minneapolis.

My bunnies about to load into the plane.
Check back tomorrow for Day 2 of Convention.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Back from Convention!

I just wanted to let everyone know I made it home safe and sound from Convention, photos and details will be posted soon, I have 2 huge tests this coming week so I'll try and blog between work and studying.

My Belgian Hares did phenomenally, I took Best Opposite Sex of Breed, 1st sr. buck, 1st sr. doe and 1st jr. buck along with Best Display along with multiple top 5 placements! What an honor!

Congrats to the Whitehouses for their Best of Breed win with their adorable jr. doe!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Convention!!!

I just wanted to post that the build up for Convention is reaching a breaking point! I leave on Saturday morning and I'm so excited!