Monday, October 5, 2009

Color Projects

On a rabbit breeder forum I am on, the topic of adding a new variety into someone's herd came up. This particular breeder who was considering doing this is very new to raising rabbits and already has one interesting variety in her breed. So, I thought I would give a little bit of information from my experience in working with colors for years now.

Shortly after starting raising my mini lops, I chose a color project - chocolates & lilacs. I also, not really by choice, had reds & tri colors going (a whole different project). Having both those projects going at the same time and both of them needing much work in their body type, it was way too much and way too overwhelming working with both right away.

I had to sell out of the reds and tris to focus on getting the type there on my herd and the one color I had chose. It was one of the best decisions I have made in my years of breeding. I strictly focused on that one project for a couple years and made A LOT of progress before I even *considered* bringing in another project. And, even that new project that I brought in (pointed whites), I brought in on a small, slow scale. I had wanted to work with the pointed whites for awhile, but it was not feasible for sometime for several reasons.

My main herd (largely consisting of chocolates & lilacs) needed a lot of work in their line. They needed help in establishing consistency in the barn. I needed to bring in other good reputable lines (regardless of color) to help get their type better. Working with two hugely different varieties (chocolates & tris) at the same time, with both needing LOADS of work on their type, was just too crazy to do. They couldn't really be bred together because they both had so many faults and both needed too much work.

I finally did bring in the pointed whites, but like said above, on a small, slow scale. I would still really like to bring back in reds, but I will not do it until I have adequate cage space and I feel it would be good for my herd. Over the years I have frequently considered bringing in the tri colors again, but everytime I come back to the same conclusion: it would be way too much, with my small rabbitry, and other color projects, to bring them in. They aren't compatible with several of the colors I currently have in my barn, so it just would not work. Reds, on the other hand, are compatible with MOST of the colors in my barn.

For new breeders, it is very important that you get the type on your herd first, see consistency, get your line & type defined before you consider adding in too many color projects. Color projects, which are very fun & rewarding, often times take a lot of patience, diligence and work to get them where they are able to compete with the "main" varieties in a particular breed.

Thankfully, I can say that the work it has taken to get the chocolates & lilacs with great type over the past 5 years is paying off and has been for a couple years. I just received word from a youth breeder in California that the broken chocolate buck, Hoppin's Java Chip, she got from me as a baby last December granded this past weekend! Congrats Allison!

But, some color varieties take a lot more work to get them to where they need to be. Like the pointed whites. In December it'll be 3 years since I started this project. Their type has come A LONG ways, but there is still a lot that needs help.



Sunny Brook Rabbitry said...

Hi Qadoshyah;

Is there anyone raising Red mini lops in the US or Canada that you know of ? I have never seen one! Would love to see a picture!

Kim :- )

Qadoshyah said...

Yep, there sure is. Jody Rosnik (Alpine Rabbitry - ARBA Judge) has reds. She's in Colorado. She has nice reds (she's who I got my reds from before)! I have a picture of one of her reds on my color guide:


Leah Spring said...

Hey! Haven't seen you around in a long time! Color genetics are fascinating. We're trying to get our hands on a double phantom poodle stud to use in our Goldendoodle lines. They're TOUGH to find, but the only way to get an F1 phantom goldendoole. And so, we continue the search....