Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Working with Colors

I had someone email me asking questions in regards to breeding "colors." I thought they asked some good & interesting questions, so I figured I would put my response on the blog with the general question that was asked.

"I noticed you started in the reds and oranges. Why did you get out of them?"

I only sold out of the reds & oranges because I wanted to focus more on the chocolates & lilacs. I had too many rabbits (had around 50 holes at the time) and it was getting overwhelming. At the time, I was still in high school and had other things to deal with, so I figured it was best to just focus on one color at the time. The reds, oranges & tris are GORGEOUS colors and I would really like to get back into them. I hope to get some reds later this year and start working with them again. The reds are one of my most favorite colors and probably always will be :).

"I have a buck who has orange in his pedigree, I just need to get a doe to breed him to now."

You’ll want to get a doe who has orange, or tort (and is an agouti color herself) in her close background to breed to your REW buck. If there is orange way back where in the pedigree, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will carry orange. So, if you don’t have the color you want to work with, it can be tricky getting it. Especially when it is a color that is rare & recessive.

"Is there such a thing as an orange pointed white?"

The genetics of an orange pointed white (“technically” referred to as a flame or red point) are kind of a debate. That color doesn’t exist typically and there is debate as to whether you could even get a pointed white that color. The cross with the pointed white gene (c(h)) and the non-extension gene may not create red points/may not be possible.

"Why did you choose to work with the colors you work with?"

I chose to work with chocolates & lilacs because they were (& somewhat are still) rare out here in the states. Especially chocolates & lilacs with GOOD type AND color. The first chocolates I got had horrible type and horrible color. So, I had to bring nice chocolate & lilac stock in from a couple states away to get a good start in the chocolates. It has paid off, since I am one of the main breeders with nice chocolates and lilacs right now. A true, deep, colored chocolate is one of my favorite colors as well, so that was a plus to working with them. *If you're interested in seeing pictures of our progress, I have it laid out on our about us page*

I decided to start working with the pointed whites because I like the variety, but mainly they are extremely rare out here. When I first got them, 2 ½ years ago, there was ONE other breeder who had them. There are several more now, because I’ve started working with them. All these other breeders who are working with them got their start from my herd of pointed whites. The pointed whites need a lot more work than the chocolates & lilacs did, but they are coming along well. The pointed whites are also a bit interesting & challenging to breed as far as the genetics go. Shadeds are an interesting variety to work with!

"Do you have any tips for someone wanting to start working with rare colors?"

I would try to find a rare variety that at least some breeder works with already. That way you can get good starter stock in that particular color already and go from there and develop your own line. It’s MUCH easier to start with the color you want to work with, than to try and get that color through animals that carry it or *might* carry it.