Archive for April, 2011

The Best Weapon Against Rabbit Cage Trays

April 30, 2011

What gets those rabbit cages cleaner than anything else?  What’s more effective than Vanodine, a power washer, or even bleach??  (As a side note…have you ever poured straight chlorine bleach on to an aluminum rabbit drinking dish?  I have.  It’s interesting.)

But what’s the best weapon against dirty rabbit cages?  Motivation, of course.

Belgian Hare Lookin' At YouI was thinking today about motivation, and how it’s not quite the same thing as perseverance.  Sure, they’re both guided by the same thing: vision — but perseverance sounds like the ability to hang on when you’re giving your all in a righteous war; when it’s conquer or be conquered… but motivation isn’t half so romantic.   Motivation just sounds like getting ourselves to stop slacking and do what we know we ought to do do.

All people struggle with staying motivated.  Yes, I mean BOTH kinds of people: the rabbit breeders and the non-rabbit breeders.  But we rabbit breeders find the results of a lack of motivation to be devastating in our herds.  Lost breeding dates, mixed up pedigrees, littermates kept in the same cage so long that they are breeding each other, droppings piled high enough to reach the cage floor… I’m not picking on anybody, because at some point in my history of raising rabbits, I’ve been guilty of all of those things.

Here are some tips that might keep you going in those times when you’re lacking motivation.  *cough* When it’s time to empty trays. *cough*

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Easter Bunny Greeting Card

April 24, 2011

easter bunny greeting card image

 

 

[click the photo to download a print-and-fold free Easter greeting card featuring a sweet baby bunny!]

Rabbits in Outdoor Hutches part 2

April 23, 2011

The Story of the Rolling Rabbit Hutch and other Matters

Keeping 4-H Rabbits in Outside Hutches, part II.

[For the rolling hutch story, see tip #8.  For the burning hutch story, see tip #9.]

Click here to see part 1 of this post
6. Put a fence around your rabbit hutch to keep predators out.   A strong wire or wood fence can keep enemies out and bunnies in.

7. Insulate your hutch with straw bales.  Rabbits really do quite well in the cold and don’t need much help keeping warm in the winter, even if the temperatures regularly drop below zero, as long as they are protected from drafts.  However, if you want to insulate your hutch during the winter, one of the best ways to do it is stacking straw bales around the sides and rear of the hutch.  You can even lay them on the roof.  You sometimes see hutches with quilts thrown over them, but quilts get wet, chewed, and moldy very quickly and don’t provide as much insulation as straw.

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Outdoor Hutch Rabbit Care

April 20, 2011

Caring for Outdoor Hutch Rabbits: Ten tips for keeping your rabbits healthy and safe, and for building pet, 4-H, show, and meat rabbit hutches.

Rabbit Hutch Building plan and rabbit cage design

Click for full size

Where do they keep rabbits in France?

In the hutch back of Notre Dame!
…Okay, dumb joke.  But if you are starting in rabbits and want to keep them in the hutch ‘back of your house, here are ten tips that can help them stay safe and healthy.

1.  Use weatherproof materials to build 4-H rabbit hutches.  The legs of your hutch should be of pressure-treated lumber so dampness in the ground won’t rot them as quickly.  However, the upper part of the hutch that supports the cage should not be pressure-treated, because you don’t want your rabbits ingesting the chemicals in the wood.  The sides and roof of your cage will take a beating from the weather, so make the sides and roof of sturdy plywood.  The roof of my first rabbit hutch was particleboard that quickly fell apart.  Even OSB weathers after a while.  If you can shingle the roof that’s great!  You can cut a piece of plastic tarp to go over the roof, but water will seep under it.  Never use chicken wire for rabbit hutch construction.  It may not be strong enough to hold up against the rabbits, let alone any predators.


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Kelsey Shultz Interview

April 15, 2011
Pointed White Jersey Wooly and Kelsey Shultz

Kelsey with "Shultz's Best Shot"

Thanks to Kelsey Shultz of Royal Dream Rabbitry, Jersey Wooly and French Angora breeder in Michigan, for April’s Silly Interview!

1. Don’t look it up. Would you guess that “foofy” is listed in the English dictionary?
I don’t think so, but it should be! I use that word all the time!

2. Which is more common: people with the name Ralph or rabbits with the name Oreo?
Defiantly Oreo! I don’t ever think I have met a Ralph.

3. As a teen, which caused you more anxiety: waiting to see your score on a math quiz or a showmanship contest?
Showmanship for sure!

4. Have you ever heard of anyone breeding a French Angora with a Jersey Wooly? Why?
Yes I have. They did it for the wool and size. They wanted a Jersey Wooly size rabbit with a wool of a French Angora.

5. Do rabbit photos outnumber people photos on your hard drive?
Actually no. Rabbits come in second. I have a lot of pictures of landscapes, interesting buildings and other things we see when we are going to rabbit shows.

6. What will be the first lionhead color to be accepted?
Either tort or White. Those varieties are the most I see.

7. What is your favorite soup?
Homemade Chicken Noodle

8. Do you like the smell of calf manna?
I do.

9. How strongly do you feel that “woolies” is the correct nickname for your breed, and that “jerseys” is not so hot?
Woolies is easier to say and people will know you raise a wool breed. I do use both, but woolies is used the most.

10. Which editions of the Standard of Perfection do you own????
I own three: the 2011-2015, 2006-2010, and 2001-2005

Thanks Kelsey!  You can see Kelsey’s successful bunnies at the Royal Dream Rabbitry Website.

Grooming Texel Cavy Coats

April 11, 2011
texel guinea pig broken color red and white

Photo by Sandy D.

The only cavy  breed with a curly, longhaired coat is the Texel.  Texel coats are quite unlike any other!  The hair on the head of a Texel is short and kinky; the rest of the coat is long and curls into corkscrews and ringlets. The undercoat will be curlier, but the guard hairs should show definite curl as well.  Emphasis in judging is on coat curl.

How do you groom a Texel cavy?  Should you brush a Texel cavy or wrap its coat? The answer is no.  Although wrapping and brushing will ruin a Texel coat, the care of a Texel can be just as time consuming as care of the other longhaired breeds.   Texels should not be housed on wood shavings because a shaving can be quickly caught up in a curly coat and begin a gigantic tangle.  Twice a day you should finger through your show Texel’s coat looking for knots.   This problem often starts around the hind legs.  It’s also important to keep a Texel’s toenails short so they do not catch in the coat.  Once a day you should mist your Texel’s ringlets with water and separate the larger locks with your fingers.  They should curl up nicely on their own.

What grooming aids should you use with Texels?   Should you give a Texel cavy a bath? As with any breed, the use of grooming chemicals is against ARBA and ACBA show rules, because the standards call for the cavy to be shown in its natural condition.   However, Texels can be bathed using a shampoo without conditioners.  Texels should never be blow-dried!  Instead, dab your Texel with a towel, then set it in a fresh cage wrapped in a fresh towel to dry.    There is an excellent article on Texels on the ACBA website.

This article is an excerpt from our book, “Cavy Savvy 2-in-1: Combination Study Guide and Activity Book” full of guinea pig care, breeding, grooming, and showing information.  For more information and sample pages, please visit Cavy Savvy’s Page.

Easter Bunny Baby Rabbit Photo Gallery

April 9, 2011

Looking for a little springtime?  How about some cute Easter bunny photos of baby rabbits?

chocoalte baby Polish rabbit

These are baby Polish rabbits out on the lawn.

polish rabbit baby broken chocolate
“Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?”

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Site Back Up

April 6, 2011

RabbitSmarties.com was down most of the day on April 5th.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  If you sent us an email and we have not responded, please try again.
Thanks!

Rabbit Royalty Tips: Interview and Application

April 3, 2011

holland lop rabbit.  Photo by laurie stroupeI don’t even live in the western half of the United States, but I have heard a lot about a show they’re having soon called the 2011 “West Coast Classic” rabbit show in Reno, NV, on April 15-17.  It’s one of those that I wish I could get to.  But, if you’re there, look up Karen P. who will have Rabbit Smarties Publications on display.  This year, they’re hosting the 2011 Mini Rex national show, the 2011 American Fuzzy Lop National Show, the 2011 Jersey Wooly Rabbit Nationals, and the 2011 Havana Rabbit Nationals, and of course all-breed competitions.  You can learn more about this show and download the West Coast Classic rabbit show catalog at http://www.westcoastclassicshow.com/index.html

I’ve also heard that they’re having a youth rabbit royalty competition.  If you are competing in the West Coast Classic rabbit royalty contest, here are a few tips on royalty contest interviews that you might find useful.

Read More!

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April Rabbit Poll

April 2, 2011

Broken Black Polish Rabbit PosedAhhh!  April Already!  Time is moving so swiftly these days.  The book business is going well; we’re almost a shout away from 2,000 copies sold.  You can see some breeders’ websites that we’ve worked on recently at Pinewind Farm and McCabe’s Rabbitry.  Let us know if you’d like a makeover for your site, too!

Sorry that the blog has been slow.  I have a very large new project in the works!  But I will continue to post here.

Ready for April’s Poll?

[poll id=”4″]