Monday, July 7, 2014

Well On Our Way To 3 Years!

 After yesterday's post, I began thinking about how long it has really been since I really started getting back into rabbits. In February 2012, I picked up two Dwarf Hotot bucks with the full intention of using them for the revamping of my project. Which means that I am two years and five months into it!
Now here comes a total shocker... I was finally able to get a hold of my first foundation pair of Hollands in July 2012. Unfortunately, I had an 11 month dry spell in my Holland program where I couldn't even get my does bred. Considering selling out of Hollands, I made a desperate attempt to contact countless breeders for their opinion as to what my problem could be. After several "I don't know" answers, I was beyond discouraged. However, one breeder's message stuck out to me. She suggested that I should try treating my older buck with LA200 to see if he had some sort of hidden infection causing him to go sterile. I treated him just once and bred him yet again to those does. I believe this was my 17th attempt to breed him to my best doe who I had purchased alongside him so many months ago. To my surprise, 31 days later, one of the does kindled a litter of four live babies! That was the beginning of my Holland programs success. Ladies and Gents, the day that my first HL litter was born was July 7th, 2013- exactly a year ago, today.
I never dreamed that I would be anywhere near where I am today in such a short time. This past year has been absolutely packed with struggles and loss but the successful outcomes far outweigh the bad. I never dreamed that I would have a chance at winning Best In Show during my youth career. However, I took home a double BIS on two homebreds, two weeks before my one-year mark.
I remember writing my 2014 Goals this last December, completely doubting myself and the thought of winning just one leg on a homebred in the next twelve months before I would be sitting down again to write yet another year's goals. However, here I sit awaiting six legs to come in the mail, four of which belong to homebreds. Although it may not seem like it, this experience has completely humbled me when it comes to the power of a "newbie". It has also taught me a great deal about my own self worth and capabilities. I learned that I was foolish to have doubted myself to such a degree; to believe that this breed was absolutely too competitive for someone such as myself. I've learned that even as a youth, if I apply myself and collect vast amounts of knowledge, I am capable of moving mountains so to speak. This life lesson has completely changed my perspective of myself as well as my barn full of Hollands, as well as Hotots.
I hope that through writing this post, I have had the opportunity to inspire my fellow youth and new breeders in some way. I hope that each of you have the opportunity to move mountains. My advice would be to trust yourself. You know much more than you think you do. Whenever you feel weak, remember those who made you strong and whenever you start to doubt yourself, remember those you believe in you.



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Double Best In Show

^_^ Yes, that is indeed the look on my face at the moment. I'm speechless still, two weeks after winning a double Best In Show with.....*drum roll*..... two homebred Holland Lop junior bucks! Eek!! :-D I entered seven animals on June 21st for our WRBA show in Salt Lake City, five of which were homebreds who were on their first time out. Additionally, I entered my new herd buck, Zivago and my sable program herd buck, Thompson. Here's how everyone did: 


Show A Results
1st SSB- G.C. TF Zivago
4th SSB- Little Rascal's Mr. Swagger
_____________________________
1st SJB- Little Rascal's Tyler
2nd SJB- Little Rascal's Classy
3rd SJB- Little Rascal's Beau
_____________________________
1st SJD- Little Rascal's Southern Girl
_____________________________
2nd BSB- Xcaliber's Thompson



Tyler went up for Best Of Breed and won without hesitation from the judge. Believe it or not, my jaw dropped. lol In no way did I expect my little junior buck to beat out Zivago, the best buck in my barn who has taken five legs in open and two legs in youth against some of the top Hollands in the nation. Now here's a confession... Tyler was in the cull pen from 4-5.5 months and was nearly sold as a pet several times. My bad! :-O I couldn't believe it! I was absolutely speechless. 
Carrying my T-Man up when they called all Best of Breeds to be judged for Best In Show, I expected nothing impressive, once again. After all, this was a homebred in my arms. The rabbit world trains us younger breeders to believe that we indeed, will not prosper until our rabbitry reaches it's 25th+ birthday. Doesn't it? ;-) Regardless, my heart my pounding, I was sweating just a touch, clenching my jaw, and my knees were a bit shaky as always while anxiously awaiting the verdict. She announced 2nd Reserve, 1st Reserve, and nearly made me faint when I heard "Holland Lop" announced for Best In Show. Once again, my jaw dropped and I starred at my dad with shock plain on my face. After the split second it took for me to regain my cool, I did what resembled a bit of a happy dance which made my tense competitors giggle and relax a smidge. What a peace-maker, I am. ^_^ All the while, this was my dad's first rabbit show and he had no idea what was going on so he was trying to ask me what was happening as I took a moment to mentally celebrate. Lol!



On to the next show!



Show B Results
1st SSB- G.C. TF Zivago
4th SSB- Little Rascal's Mr. Swagger
_____________________________
1st SJB- Little Rascal's Classy
2nd SJB- Little Rascal's Tyler
4th SJB- Little Rascal's Beau
_____________________________
1st SJD- Little Rascal's Southern Girl
_____________________________
2nd BSB- Xcaliber's Thompson



The results varied just a touch in this show but for the majority of my entry, they placed just the same! I once again was not expecting much however when I heard the judge announce BOB and ultimately, BIS once again, I was speechless! All I can say is wow! I can't believe it even as I sit here now. It just doesn't seem like it really happened yet. Looking at the awards, I still feel as though it was a dream! Regardless of whether it was a dream or reality, I'm so excited! 


Best In Show- Show A
Little Rascal's Tyler

Best In Show- Show B
Little Rascal's Classy
I actually recorded videos of most of the judging and those can be found here:

Show A:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTlCJ4KaDb0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st2YIU4zOa0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ema8Suix2zc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQujeTxV4SE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDugn2CDMl0
Show B:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehc4J7y3jDc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkqaur8YFE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry9aetfceHg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxxQH2UAnpk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wznCvxHiCg

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Showing Off Our Holland Lop Bucks

Today it occurred to me, my Hollands have truly proven themselves these past few months. As a breeder, you slowly lose sight of what accomplishments and improvements you have made with your herd. But then you take a moment and step back, really evaluating the animals and comparing them to what you had 6-12 months ago. Back then, I had one buck that I truly loved named Tyrade who was fabulously typed. In addition to him, I had young little Duke who was a "sticky" buck meaning that he was hormonal and always messy. I didn't know what to think of him but his genetics were solid so I figured I would keep him and see how he produced. And lastly, I had little Chowder... who was a pet buck with a big head, basically. Lol! Chowder wasn't even big enough to show but he was sure a cutie and could offer a nice head/crown to any doe that was lacking such. 
As of now, I have Zivago, Thompson, Swagger, Tyler, Classy, and Beau as my current working bucks. :-D I love them all and don't know where I would be without them! 
Zivago is my main man... he's a stunning example of the breed and a "go-getter" when it comes time to breed a doe. He is a larger solid black tort than most of my Hollands. He has 5 G.C. Legs that he earned in open classes against thirty or so Hollands! They were also tough classes against some of the top Hollands in the nation... that makes me very proud to call Zivago, my own. ;-) 
Thompson is my old man. This sweet boy resembles my beloved Gilroy who passed away last year as my sweet old man. Thompson is a broken sable point with a beautiful head/ear/crown, and a fabulous body to match! His markings are stunning and he has produced beautiful animals that are currently working in my shaded program. Thompson is a little shy but he is a true lover-boy at heart. In 2011, Thompson took 1st BJB at HLRSC Nationals. He remains a beautiful example of the Holland Lop rabbit. 
Swagger is a son of Duke who also passed away last year. Swagger resembles Duke in many ways, however he has better type than his father. He has fabulously thick bone, relatively clean coloring, a short body, a nice coat and finish, dark points, a bigger, rounded head, and decent crown definition. Unfortunately, he inherited Duke's "love" of posing. He literally grabs my hand and removes it from his head. Lol! He's a hoot! 
Tyler, Classy, and Beau are my upcoming bucks that are just beginning to start production in my herd. Sons of the beautiful Tyrade and lovely Manda, they have the top-notch genetics to match their stunning looks. I plan to grow all three of these brothers out to 11 months old before deciding who will stay and who will be sold. I will more than likely be selling the one or two bucks that I decide not to keep at Convention this year. So far, it looks as though Tyler will be the #1 keeper. Classy and Beau need more time to mature but they each have their share of nice attributes. Classy with his solid body and stunning head/crown. Beau with his short, compact body and beautiful topline. His head/crown are still developing but they're quite promising. I absolutely adore these boys! 

And now, for their pictures. The three older boys didn't get new pictures because I am a bit nervous about blowing their coats for the show next weekend. Hopefully I can get new posed pictures this Fall or Winter when they're in prime coat. 

G.C. TF Zivago
5 G.C. Legs

Xcaliber's Thompson

Little Rascal's Mr. Swagger

Little Rascal's Tyler
Ooo-la-la!

Little Rascal's Classy

Little Rascal's Beau

This is a very informal picture that I just snapped for fun.
Can you not adore that gorgeous face with his
head/ear/crown?! Classy is adorable and stunning, himself!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Little Rascal's Beau

After a quick photo session with a sale bun, I pulled out this cute buck just to snap a few shots of his development and maybe share the pictures with a friend or two. I had no intentions of taking nice pictures here so please do not judge my ability to contrast based on these pictures... Lol I know the rabbit blends in and it looks bad! Let's not talk about that. Focus on the gorgeous little junior buck! ;-)

Beautifully balanced and look at that face!

I could just *smooch* him <3


Monday, April 28, 2014

A New Road For This Breeder

Since my losing my best doe, I've done so much thinking. I've spent lots of time away from the rabbit world. I've actually enjoyed the time away from them to be honest. I need time to get my head on straight and work on things other than rabbits. Of course, this is not to say that I have been taking any less care of my herd; that remains the same. Merely, I am just switching focus. I realized that I'm only going to be young once and I can't spend this much time focused on social media aimed towards rabbits. I have so much that I need to work for in this final month of school. Then after this final month of school, I have 24 days with the best guy I have ever met before he will practically disappear off of the face of the earth for two entire years. He is moving to Mexico for a period of time to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout those two years, I won't be able to talk with him for more than thirty minutes over email, early every Monday morning. The thought of missing him makes me sick.. literally. However, I know he will be able to reach out to so many people and that makes my heartache so worth it in the end. It would be selfish of me to say I don't want him to go. But realizing I have exactly 57 days before he steps on that flight, I've made the decision that the rabbit world needs to take a seat for a while. I want to be sure that I make the most of the short time that remains.
Additionally, I've picked out my new horse. It's just a matter of taking the time a few times each week to visit her 80 minutes from my home, to ride and get to know her before her current owner will consider releasing her to me. That is definitely going to take a ridiculous amount of time (and gas money) to visit her.
Because school is over in a month, my best friend will be off to college, my 'boyfriend' will be off to Mexico, my brothers will be off to an assortment of different states and countries around the world, and dozens of my other friends will be off to college or their own missions... while I'm still stuck in high school, missing all of them. I mean, talk about everyone disappearing from your life! ;-) I suppose I'll need my rabbit world more than anything after everyone is gone. But while I still have them, I plan to cherish every moment. They each mean so much to me and I love them!! I'll be a mess when I have to miss all of them. Just watch, I'll be bawling throughout the entire last week of school. It's going to be a 'fun' time. ;-)
Anyways, I really need to make a personal blog for all of that mushy love-life, friend-life stuff. On a bunny note, I'm really starting to like some of my jrs!! There are five DH that are looking good so far-- the nicest doe is named Argentine Tango, followed by a sport named Anna. The nicest buck is named Valentine, followed by Maks.
In my handful of Holland jrs, I'm really liking Classy, Jack Daniels, and Beau. These 3 brothers are all looking nice and I'm struggling to decide who will be my keeper. It's such a tough decision! I may grow them out for another month to see their true type. I need to make sure they're all finished with their jr molt before I make a final decision and post 2/3 for sale.
Jack Daniels
Faults: fine bone, tight crown
Strengths: short, wide, full body. crown
definition, etc

Jack Daniels

Beau
Faults: low headset, body length, slipped crown
Strengths: bone, crown definition, topline, decent
shoulder width, full body

Beau

Beau

Classy
Faults: slipped crown, lacks shoulder width, folded ears
Strengths: just about everything else :-)

Classy
What a face! <3

Classy
A blurry picture but look at his head!! <3

Cute litter of sables. You see that baby on the far right?
Yup... blue point. -_- 

This is practically in my back yard. Honestly, I hate UT
deserts and all of the dry looking sagebrush but this pic
was pretty!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RIP Valentina :'(

Nearly three days ago, Valentina went off feed, water, and completely stopped pooping. After some TLC using the decent amount of veterinary knowledge that I've acquired over the years of raising many species, by the next day, she was drinking on her own and there was a tiny amount of manure in her tray. On day two, she was still drinking and I had finally gotten her to eat hay and 1/6 cup of pellets. She wasn't pooping much in the morning but that evening, she had a nearly healthy amount of manure in her tray. I concluded that it was simply a minor fur blockage and she would be back on track with just a few more days of tender, loving care.
Today, I was happily walking around the barn when I got home, feeding the hungry bunnies when I came to Valentina's cage and quickly concluded that my best doe was in fact, dead. Strewn about her still body were mouthfuls of pulled fur... and no babies. I dropped the feed bucket in my hands and pulled Val out to examine her; ...to confirm my fears.
Her body was not yet cold or stiff, but her eyes were dull and I could see that she was no longer there, clinging to her life. She was with no doubt, gone. I just stared at her, letting that oh, so familiar feeling of loss and a breaking heart creep up on me.
I began examining her trying to find an explanation. I discovered that her vent was bleeding and was frozen with disbelief. This doe wasn't pregnant. Her last due date was exactly two weeks ago and she never kindled. Surely she couldn't have a litter inside after so long without complication? I began palpating and to my astonishment, found a lump that was 3/4 the size of a full-term baby. I continued palpating in search of more but found nothing else.
Still in disbelief, I kept telling myself that it could be a compaction of fur that blocked off her intestine and became solid. But what are the odds? Realistically, the odds are that my doe died because she still had at least one baby inside that she was never able to pass. Ladies and Gentlemen... I give you the Dwarf Hotot.

Today, I learned the truth of the old veterinary saying: "If the patient gets better all of a sudden, it's either a miracle or they are about to die."

For once in my life, I find myself wanting to take a break. This could quite possibly be the biggest loss I have endured yet. This was the best Dwarf Hotot that I have produced in my entire life, even after developing three separate lines over the course of many years. I adored this doe and all of her temper tantrums. She was everything I worked for and the image of my barn; the very image of what I was continually striving for standing before my eyes. Valentina was born in my barn at the time when I needed hope the most. She was taken at the time when I thought my hope had paid off. She was my victory.
As I sit here in an emotionally exhausted blob typing away on my laptop, I haven't quite accepted it yet. I doubt I will. I'm playing the "what if" game. But a part of me is begging myself to forgive, forget, and move on. Breed those does. Pray for something worth half of what she was. Work harder than ever. But then that brings up a new question. Can I work harder? Is what I'm doing right now, still not enough to say that I've earned my "Valentina"? Quite frankly, I feel like I was putting my heart and soul into my rabbits up until these past few hours of contemplation. I'm ready for a break. I'm tired. I'm broke. I'm numb. I'm lost.

And I'm about to perform an autopsy. Will post the results when I'm ready.

In tribute to the most beautiful, stunning vision to pass through my barn. <3 She stayed for such a short time. It wasn't long enough... but it was long enough to last forever. Adieu ma victoire, mon triomphe, mon anglais s'est levé. </3


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Some Cuties

I took a couple of pictures in the past day that I just need to share! I've posted a few of them to Facebook so you may have seen them already. Because the majority of my rabbits have gone into horrid molts, I wasn't able to take more. Additionally, it has been raining excessively so I wasn't able to take any outside with the pretty mountain background!! Luckily that rain will make our pasture even more green for the pictures I take in the future! :-) 

Marc Anthony- the long awaited pictures! I've only had him
for 6 months and finally got a picture! Lol He has been
molting and out of condition for ages. He's getting there.
 I think convention was rough on him. Poor guy. 

Very nice. A bit too long for me, but we can work with that.

That cute head and muzzle!! My favorite thing about him...

He's a bit skittish still so that's a work in progress.

Little Rascal's Classy- SJB- 4 months old
Loving this Tyrade x Manda baby! Beautiful type,
kind-hearted personality... What a guy! He needs lots of time
to develop but I'm excited to see him grow into his potential!

My favorite DH litter, out of Tucker x Blue. Unfortunately,
they all obviously carry blue. Hopefully I can work with that!
I love their lines and they're all very round still while on the
doorstep of the uglies... that's a pretty good sign, I'd think.;-)