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If Rabbits had iPhones

January 14, 2015

If Rabbits had iphones

What if our rabbits were tech-savvy?

At my house, we sometimes joke about what rabbits would do if they used modern technology.

As for my rabbit, I’m quite sure that he would want a smartphone. Not just any old smartphone, but the iPhone 6 Plus. And he would want it NOW.

If I told my rabbit he didn’t need the iPhone 6 when I just got him the iPhone 5S for his birthday, and when I am myself still stuck with something out of the Blackberry age, he’d just say that if the 5S was good enough for me, I could have his. But next time he went to a show, all the rich Holland Lop kids would have the 6 Plus, and he’d claim the judges really do factor this in when it comes down to choosing Best of Breed. He’d say I’m so lost in the dark ages that I might not mind using a “smart” phone with an IQ of 12, but he knew I DID care about winning Best of Breed.

If none of this would convince me, he’d proceeded to bite on his cage bars until he got what he wanted.

I believe we have good reason for not wanting bunnies to get into technology. I can only imagine how much more high-maintenance that would make them. Scenarios such as these rush to mind:

1. Watches. They’d employ their stopwatches (or smartwatches?) to make sure we came out to feed them at the right time of day. Not just on our schedule, but theirs, which means 6:30 morning and night. If we were a moment late, they’d pull out item #2: Buzzers.

2. Buzzers. They’d develop buzzers that would ring an alarm system in our homes. They’d sit on those buzzers until we brought out more food. They’d also sit on them at random times throughout the day or night when they wanted a treat, petting, or to come out to play.

3. Social networking. They’d cease communicating with the rabbit in the next cage and seek all their social interaction on I guess that’s a good thing, because they’d stop chewing bald patches on each other’s heads.

4. Shopping for themselves. If rabbits could use Paypal, they would go shopping for bunny toys online. Of course they don’t make incomes, so you’d have to give them an allowance. Make sure you give them as much as your other kids. Gotta be fair.

5. Shopping for you. Sometimes rabbits would use their virtual wallet to purchase things for their devoted caretaker, you. They wouldn’t approve of your cotton sweatshirt and they’d buy you an ugly nylon jacket instead so they can scratch and bite at it. (Have you ever noticed rabbits love that stuff?) They’d think your cologne is atrocious and order a replacement, then ask for reimbursement since they blew all their allowance on you.

6. You have a garage door opener. They’d have a cage door opener. Sounds fair, right?

7. Texting. Unlimited, please.

8. Data? Let’s not even go there.

9. Selfies. They’d spend all day trying to take the best selfie for your rabbitry website. This might actually save you some time.

10. Self-diagnosis. They’d log on to “Vet MD” or some medical website, convince themselves they have snuffles, warbles, and Tyzzer’s disease all at once, order expensive drugs on your card… and then let you know about it.

BONUS: And lastly, if rabbits were technologically savvy they might write a Standard of Perfection app so we don’t have to keep referring to the hard copy. That would also be nice. But problem is the SOP would turn Wiki, because each rabbit would hack in and rewrite it to precisely describe itself.

So although it doesn’t sound like a good thing at first, I guess there would be both pros and cons to our rabbits having modern technology. But since most bunnies are too young to browse the internet by themselves, make sure you visit for them for lots of tips on bunny care!

We Tweet

May 28, 2013


Rabbit Smarties is on Twitter. Like, for real!

It’ll be something of a demonstration in how rabbit breeders just think differently than most folks out there.

Sound interesting?  follow @RabbitSmarites

Love so Amazing

March 29, 2013

apple blossom


When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God.
All the vain things that charm me the most
I sacrifice them to His blood.

Love so Amazing

When I was an older teen, I had one main goal.  I wanted to do well in ARBA national youth contests, such as achievement and royalty.  And I did pretty well; you can check out the ‘about the author’ page if you’re interested in how I did.  But as hard as I worked for those awards, and as important as they seemed, more and more I realize: they matter very little, if they matter at all.

They don’t matter.  They don’t seal my greatness for a moment, let alone a lifetime.  I went on to fail again and again and again.  For instance, that very moment I was accepting my plaque for runner-up queen, a friend in the audience stuck her tongue out at me playfully.  And without realizing I was on stage in front of hundreds of people, I playfully stuck my tongue out back at her.  That was horrible.

But it doesn’t matter.

And that’s the beauty of life in Christ.  That’s the freedom, the joy, the thrill, the peace.  Jesus matters, not me.  This is what I have come to realize, and this, only this, is worth pursuing.  This, only this, makes me happy.  I am happy!  My focus is not always where it should be, but when it is, I am glad with a gladness that casts out fear, gives me confidence in every situation, and does not let me fall into depression even when I fail.

Christ Jesus took my life into Himself, became my representative.  He took my life — its earthly success and its failure — and nailed it to his cross.  He took my sin, and that sin did to Him what sin must do: produce death.   And with His death, I died.  My life died.    Sin had done its work and was dead.

And being dead, had no more power.

And God still lived.  And now that the requirement of the law had been filled, and sin had gotten what it must get, the story of my life was over.  Then, God gave life anew.  Then, apart from the law, God gave life to the body of Christ, and through Him, to all that are in Him.  And now, through Him I live; and now, nothing but Him and His work matters to me.

And it’s free!  It’s free!  I’m not just talking.  This is a freedom that is new to me, a freedom that I did not know before.  For about two decades I tried to be a Christian.  But there was always something between me and God.  I knew I wasn’t doing it right.  I knew I wasn’t doing enough.

I worked crazy-hard to win those royalty plaques.  I was president of our state youth club.  I hosted meetings and clinics.  I wrote books.  I passed my registrar’s exams.  I spent tons of time and money on raising my rabbits.  I studied the Standard for hours and hours and hours.  I was used to doing whatever it took to get what I wanted.  And maybe that’s why it took me so long to realize that in order to get God’s favor, I had to do nothing.

It’s called love.

It’s called love.  I didn’t know what love was before. I tried for so long to earn love.  But you can’t earn love.  Love exists first, and out of love flows care and kindness.  God Loves, Christ did all for me, and thus I am safe, whether I win the awards or not.  Everything else is fading and partial, but love alone lives and is complete.  Love is all that’s worth pursuing.  Love — that is, working for the good of others no matter how they act in return — is all that matters.

I was always told that God loved me.  But, knowing my own faults, I could not believe it until I understood Christ, who took my sin and made it possible for me to be called God’s own.

We speak often of God, our caring and protective Father.  We speak of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, enlightens and empowers us. But we must first speak of Christ, our Gate, our Mediator, our Shepherd through whom we may call God our Father, and through faith in whom we may receive the Spirit.  We must first know Christ Jesus, in whom hope, gladness, and beauty flows.  Only through Him does the world make sense to me.  Apart from Him, nothing seems to matter.

But in Him, I am discovering, all matters, even the little things.



Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That would be an offering far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my life, my soul, my all.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Romans 5: 10-11

As a postscript, I promise I am not trying to preach at anyone.  This post merely spilled out of me, out of gladness that there’s no reason to keep inside.  If you want to e-mail me about anything I’ve written here, feel free.


By the way – look out for showmanship tips on Sunday!

Rabbits for Sale at ARBA Convention – Will they live up to expectations?

August 13, 2012

Some words of wisdom from Laurie, formerly of the Nature Trail rabbitry.  Some of these posts are just too insightful to let them get buried in the dust of time.

How To Be Happy With Your New Purchase

by Laurie Stroupe


It’s time for Convention again already – or finally, as the case may be. Whether you are going or not, you may still be planning to take advantage of the abundance of rabbits that will be for sale between now and then. Yes, many people will make poor purchases, get rooked, and so forth. But others will purchase fine rabbits and still be disappointed with them. But that disappointment might be avoidable.

Disappointment is related to expectations. When we purchase a nice rabbit from good stock, we expect to produce nice rabbits, especially when we pair it with our own nice stock. If your line crosses with the line you purchase, you may well get your wish right away (and hopefully not a fluke, but rather something repeatable). But I’m going to guess that’s the minority of the time.

First, many new breeders – and some that have been around for quite a while – haven’t really developed their own line of rabbits. What’s in the rabbitry already is not a tightly woven cloth but rather bits and pieces of nice fabric. These folks will continue their practice of buying nice pieces and throwing them into the mix – and the “mix” really is a mix. I can’t see how their rabbitry will progress beyond some lucky breaks.

If you have developed your own line and are purchasing from someone who has a well-developed line, the two may not cross well together – at least at first. Sometimes you can see that the foundations of each line are the same or compatible. Then you can make a good guess. But breeding programs are complicated and few totally replicate each other. Assuming that things will line up correctly off the bat may be unrealistic even in this situation.

So, what to do?

First, if you haven’t consolidated your own gene pool, don’t purchase new animals. Once you’ve bred for a few generations, then you can identify the problem you have across your barn. I have a friend who is just at that stage. She’s frustrated because she has identified a fault across her barn. I don’t think she realizes how far ahead of the game she is. I would guess that many (maybe even most) Holland breeders never progress past the experimentation stage, working with this and that, hoping for a good outcome.

The person who has bred for awhile and starts getting more predictable results, albeit with faults, knows what he or she is looking for and is ready to purchase that piece.

Second, if you don’t have a gene pool, that is, you are just getting started, please don’t purchase one from one breeder, the next from another, and so on. I have often sold rabbits to people who have a half dozen breeders they are meeting with to pick up rabbits from. Sure, they may be getting rabbits from different people with similar backgrounds. I can only hope so. But my guess is that they will end up with a mishmash that will take a long while to tease out.

So now we’ve got our breeder who truly does need to purchase a new piece. They’ve identified the shortcoming in their herd, purchased from someone who has a developed line that is strong in that quality. They buy, breed, and are disappointed with the outcome. What do they do next? Declare that they were sold a poor rabbit. Is that fair or accurate? Maybe, but probably not.

So what am I suggesting?

Be committed to a multi-generational plan.

Let’s take a characteristic that we can see easily and that involves just one gene as an example. Let’s say you have no dilute in your barn and you decide to buy that piece. If you breed the dilute with your rabbits, you will get ZERO dilutes the first generation. Would you declare that the new rabbit was faulty? No, of course not. You would know that you have to breed for a second generation – either back to the purchased rabbit, or siblings to each other – in order to see the change you desire in your herd.

Other characteristics work similarly, though in a more complicated way. Let’s say you want to improve shoulder width, crown placement, or lower hindquarter. You purchase that piece, breed it into your herd and don’t get the results you want. It doesn’t mean that the rabbit didn’t work. It just means you are only getting started.

I haven’t purchased a new rabbit in quite some time. I’m not ready for a new piece yet. When I am ready, this is what I will do.

I will purchase a buck from a line I suspect will be compatible. It will be a well developed line, meaning the breeder doesn’t constantly throw new lines into the mix. I will breed the buck to every doe in my barn (these breedings will be for juniors between Nationals and Convention – I’ll stick with tried and true for the big shows!). I will immediately be able to see which does cross well with the buck from the get-go, if any. Then I will breed doe offspring back to the buck, if they are even reasonably compatible. I may breed siblings, if they make a better pair. Since I will definitely be breeding only GC does by then, I will also breed sons back to their dams.

By this point, I will have a very nice gene pool established with the new characteristic. If, by the third generation, I don’t like the results, then might be the time to say it didn’t work. But I’m willing to bet that, if I made good decisions along the way, I will be pleased with the results by this time.

Tribute to Bumper

May 17, 2012

I got my first bunny on March 25, 2002.    He was Bumper:

opal Mini Rex Buck

Just so everyone knows, I did not pick the name Bumper because it sounded like Thumper.  I picked the name before I even met him, and I didn’t know he’d be gray like Thumper.   I wanted a frisky bunny, one that was always jumping and playing and bumping into things.   I think that was the idea behind “bumper.”

Originally, I didn’t want a rabbit.  I didn’t want anything to do with a rabbit. I had asked for a horse, and a rabbit is not a horse.   Fall of 2001, my Mommy decided that a rabbit was both more economical and practical, and told me to “think rabbit” all winter because we would get one in the spring.

I told her to go away.

At Christmas that year, I got one “early” present:  “Your Rabbit,” a book by Nancy Searle.   All I remember was disappointment.  My mom claims I asked her, “what am I supposed to do with this?”   (Of course, a few months later the book was well worn and highlighted.  Almost six years later I had the opportunity to meet Nancy in person, and she bought a couple of my rabbit books.  That was cool!)

Then came Christmas with the extended family.  There are nine cousins, and we used to do a gift exchange, so the parents didn’t have to buy presents for all nine.   One aunt in particular was known for giving a large batch of presents to whichever cousin her son drew in the exchange.   Everybody liked to get gifts from Aunt Sally.  That year,  Aunt Sally had me.  And I got… a boatload of rabbit stuff.   What a letdown.  She gave me these bags of rabbit food.  They smelled like alfalfa — and to me, that was awful.  They stank up the car on the way home.  They sat in the basement and stank all winter.  I couldn’t believe how bad they smelled.

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So spring comes, and a rabbit starts to sound a little more interesting.   We visited a few local shows.  I wanted a Mini Lop, but my brother wanted a Mini Rex.  I’m glad we went his way.

In mid-March 2002 we visited the home of a well-established Mini Rex breeder here in Michigan.  We came to the house, and she sent her daughter out on her bicycle to the barn, which apparently was some distance away through the woods.   Eventually the girl reappeared, with a rabbit carrier swinging from her bike handle, and a bunny in it.   We were a little concerned at this mode of transit, for the rabbit’s sake, but we needn’t have worried.  That rabbit was FEARLESS.  We took it home.

But it wasn’t Bumper.   That one, a castor Mini Rex, became my brother’s rabbit.  To find me one, we went to the home of a girl who was aging out of 4-H and selling her Mini Rex.  She was really nice and helpful, and showed us around her barn and helped us with some rabbit care tips.  She pointed out several bunnies for sale, but one caught my fancy.  According to her, he was an adult but still young, had pretty good show type, and was more playful than most of them.  My Bumpey.

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Opal Mini Rex

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He never did much in the breed classes, but was my showmanship bun for a time.  He retired early though, and was my little buddy.   Occasionally I would take him to a 4H meeting, but that seemed to make him nervous.  He would snuggle up to me and lick my hands and face.  He didn’t do that at home so much, just while we were in “scary public places.”

I didn’t get into breeding (purebred) Mini Rex, so never used him (*cough* much) as a herdsire.  But I sure loved him.  I’ve often wondered, if I could have only one rabbit, of any I’ve ever owned, which one would it be?  Only one other bunny, Baxter, ever came close to Bump.  I think I’d take them both.

Looking over some of my own writings recently, I came across this note from April 4, 2006.  Pardon the spelling:

Bumper disapeared on April 1st, 2006. I’m not sure he’s dead, but it’s likley I’ll not see him again. I don’t know how it happened. I was letting him run around the yard the day before like I always do, and I distinctly remember putting him back in his cage that day. I remeber because it had been raining and he was muddy. The next day his cage door was open, his feed uneaten, and he was gone.

There was no possible way he could have gotten out of the barn, I checked the inside and the outside: there were no holes. But wherever he is, I think I’ve lost my Bummy.

He never showed up again.

Bumper would be 11 years old today, as old as I was when we met.   Happy birthday, little guy!  I love you still!

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Hoppin Circle Wrap Up – Feb 2012

March 23, 2012

Oak Ridge Rabbitry shows us the imporatance of being transparent in our rabbitry.

At Home Pets tells us how she breeds for health in her rabbitry.

The Kelfla Project shows us how they stay organized with a animal management application.

Fisher Farms Rabbitry shows us their set up for taking sassy pictures of their adorable buns.

Hendricks Hearth tackles a very important topic in The Hay Post.

Rabbit Smarties introduces us to the breed; Silver.

October Grace Rabbitry shares with us some of their dreams for their barn.

Information on the Silver and Silver Fox Rare Rabbit Breeds

February 27, 2012
Featured Article- There is a breed called the SIlver


If I may state a humble opinion, I think that the most under-appreciated breed in the United States is the Silver.  Nope, not the Silver Marten.  Not the Silver Fox.   The Silver.

I got my first Silvers in 2004.  Since then, I have met many rabbit exhibitors who are not aware that this breed exists.   I’ve seen them missing on lists of breed on different websites.   Sometimes, if I mention that I raise silvers,  people take it to mean Silver Foxes or Silver Martens.  Those are both cool breeds, but I’m talking about something entirely different.  It weighs about five pounds.  It comes in three colors, each interspersed with glittering white hairs.  It’s built like a rock; feels like no other rabbit I’ve touched.  Its fur is short and sleek and snappy.  It’s a Silver.  Would you like to see one?

Silver Rabbit


A Rare Breed In Danger

Despite the fact that the Silver has been known as a breed since the sixteenth century, in America today this unique rabbit is in danger of extinction.  The Silver is recognized as threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.   This means that there are currently fewer than 100 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population is less than 1,000. [Source: ALBC]

I’ve served as the National Silver Rabbit Club’s webmaster for over six years.  Seeing this club from the inside, I’m even more concerned about the future of this breed.  The Silver, yes absolutely, has a following of die-hard breeders.  The problem is, most of these breeders are in their 60’s and 70’s.  I don’t see much of a younger generation raising this breed.  The heritage breed enthusiasts in this country are eagerly promoting rare rabbits such as the American and the Blanc de Hotot, but the Silver seems to slide under many people’s notice.

Silver-Fox-Marten: Is there a difference?


So what are the differences between the three breeds with “Silver” in their name?  Let’s start by setting aside the Silver Marten: (more…)

Banner Design Samples – Attractive Rabbitry Websites

February 7, 2012

Been spending some quality time in Photoshop lately.  Here’s what happened.

Rabbitry Business Card Design cute holland lops

Affordable Custom Business Card Design


Sunny Bunnies Farm Business Card Design


Sunflower text oriented Holland lop bunny banner

Dog Kennel Used as Sample

facebook page banner customization for dog kennels

(Non-official) Logo – The Hoppin’ Circle.

cute bunny logo graphic

Why do we keep at it? Guest Post

January 20, 2012

On the outside, raising rabbits looks like so much fun.   Cute fluffy bunnies and tiny babies to play with that bring home big big trophies and ribbons?  Oh boy!

But get into it, and the good times are punctuated with lots of trouble.  Rabbits are extra wonderful because they are living things — but living things, well, stop living sometimes.  In this world, life comes with death.  Winning comes with losing.  But we stick with it.  Why?  Guest poster Laurie Stroupe answers that question…

Rabbits ARE Addictive

If you took psychology 101, you may remember the schedules of reinforcement. If you get a reward for doing something, you continue to do it. Once the reward stops, you discontinue the behavior.

But there are different schedules of rewards. Sometimes you get a reward everytime you do something. When the rewards stop, you stop the behavior very quickly. If you put quarters into a soft drink machine and get a soft drink, you’ll put quarters in next time you want one. But if you put several quarters in with no drink, you’ll quickly stop.

But with a variable schedule of reward, sometimes you get a reward and sometimes you don’t. But when you get that reward, it’s so desirable that you keep trying for the next one. If you put quarters into a slot machine, you may not get a reward every time. But when you do, it’s very exciting. People put lots of quarters into slot machines with no wins, just hoping for the next time. It’s very addictive.

And so it is with rabbits. I’ve gotten emails from people who are discouraged. Perhaps they lost a littter. Perhaps nothing promising has come from their nest boxes in awhile. Perhaps they’ve had judging inconsistencies that are frustrating. They question why they even do this.

And then one day, they go to the barn, and “find” a very promising youngster. JACKPOT. All is forgotten and suddenly they are ready to go again.

Yup, it’s an addiction.

Blogging plans.

December 15, 2011

It’s been a while, eh blog? Well, don’t feel too bad. You and a lot of people know why I’ve been neglecting you. I still like you though. To be honest, you’re closer to my heart than the NT is anyway. It’s coming up to your 1-year birthday: January 1st. How ’bout after that we start meeting regularly again. I’ve got a lot of ideas — doesn’t that make you excited? No? Oh – you’ve seen the worst side of my ideas. But these ones are good ones. No? Not buying it? Okay — you just wait and see.

“October” poem by Robert Frost

October 4, 2011
it was a dark and stormy night.  The bunny with glowing red eyes

It was a dark and stormy night. The bunny, with glowing eyes...

Kristina has brought a trend to the rabbit blogoshphere: Blogtober! You’re supposed to blog every day in October, or at least more often than normal.  I thought it was too cute an idea to pass up, though I think I’ll be in the second category of “more often than normal.”  I was planning to blog more come this fall anyway, so it seemed a good time to start!

I just posted a rabbit faults and DQ’s quiz for those who want to practice for ARBA royalty or judges’ tests.  But as that is probably boring to many of the other blogging RA’ers, I’m hereby putting up my dark and stormy scary bunny picture (see left) and posting one of my favorite poems (I have a lot of favorites)…


by that Robert Frost dude.

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
one from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.

Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if the were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost–
For the grapes’ sake along the all.


Felt Rabbit Breed Miniatures – Pencil Toppers, Keychain Crafts

September 13, 2011

Was poking around in my old photobucket album– how fun!  Found precious pics, funny pics, “OH YEAH I remember” pics, and those  old pics that make you wince, and move your mouse to the delete button…but for some reason, don’t click it.

Among the “Oh yeah, I remember” pics were these felt bunny crafts I made and sold several years ago.  I made at least 60 of them one winter, of many different breeds.  It was fun!  They were originally intended to be pencil-toppers, but could also be put on keychains, backpacks, be gifts, toys, you name it.  I heard that one lady bought a Dutch felt bunny and put it on the judging table.

Anyway they’re kind of silly, but…

holland lop rabbit craft in palm of hand

Checkered giant felt rabbit craft

A Checkered Giant


jersey wooly BEW rabbit toy

A pretty BEW Jersey Wooly


broken black Netherland Dwarf rabbit felt craft

A broken black Netherland Dwarf


cute brown american fuzzy lop pair

“Chestnut” American Fuzzy Lops


handmade felt bunny - dwarf hotot breed

Chocolate Dutch

Black Dutch rabbit realistic 3d felt craft

Black Dutch

handmade cute bunny craft by a kid


Tri color holland lop rabbit keychain decor

Tricolored Holland Lop

english lop rabbit broken black on stack of poker chips
English Lop


king bunny with crown on pen topper craft

Rabbit Royalty?


Lionhead. Tort Lionhead.

Dwarf Hotot Rabbit miniature gift possibility

Dwarf Hotot.


GO BLUE! University of Michigan
Uof M cheer gear



I confess, I DID make a spartan one [Michigan State U]… but it was a lop.  OF COURSE.   I made others, too.  Flemish Giant, Tan, Silver Marten… lots.

The crew:

huge bunch of felt bunnies

Which do you like the best?