Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bunny Baby photos and Angora Bunny History and Care, 1

"It's been a hard day at work and stretching out is sooooo good! When is dinner?"
Gorby the 8 week old dark silver grey English angora bunny
"Do not disturb me for another photoshoot, pleeeeease! I am eating!"
Goldy, the 8 week old biggest English angora baby bunny out of the litter....

Flopsy: the super model of the litter, enjoys being photographed ...I swear she strikes a pose everytime! She is all better now and gained lots of weight after the scare she gave us a couple of weeks ago, when she had the floppy bunny syndrome....

"Oy, what ya lookin at, eh? Lookin at"
Wombat, our black 8 week old english angora

"Okay then....I'll just Yawn...aaawh!"
Wombat loves to yawn or...pretending it's a Lion? hmmmmm

"Do not make me look fat! I am NOT fat!"
Goldy "ignoring" the camera and eyeing off the food.....

"Ain't I soooooo cute? gimme a hug...pwetty pwease?".... Flopsy

Angora Bunny History
There is much controversy regarding the story of the Angora rabbit, however according to generally accepted theory, angoras date back to the early 18th century, around 1723. As the story goes, there were some sightseeing sailors who pulled into a Turkish port called Angora, now known as Ankara . It was in this town where they saw native women wearing very beautiful shawls that were like no other that they had seen. The fineness and silkiness quite surpassed the shawls in their country of France . They inquired about the fine wool in the shawls and much to their surprise found it to be from the Angora rabbit. Thus the sailors secured some of the rabbits to take back to France .
Some French authorities dispute the claim of Turkish origin of the Angora rabbit, claiming they were the first to record Angora rabbits. The French point to the Encyclopaedia of 1765 for substantiating data to this effect. The French believe the Angora rabbit had been concurrently produced in various rabbit breeding countries, France among them. The French insisted the long, silky coats due to the proper conditions for growth. This theory seems to be born out by M├ęgnin’s report on donkeys kept in the coal mines of France without ever seeing daylight. It was in the coal mines where these animals grew very long, silky coats in the sultry darkness. With this in mind, it is interesting why animals working in a hot atmosphere should develop a long coat. Does nature provide them as insulation against heat as it does against cold? At any rate, the French without a doubt are given credit for seeing the commercial possibilities of the Angora wool into yarn. France was not the only country to visualize the possibilities of this excellent fibre. England very shortly followed suit. England probably did the most transporting of the Angoras to other countries including Germany, Spain, Japan , and various European countries.
It was probably not until around the 1920's that there were any Angora rabbits in Australia and those were by fanciers or people interested in showing the animals. There are Angora bunny lovers in Australia, who have small herds of Angoras for wool production and exhibition, and the Ixchel Fibre farm is one of them.
Now the biggest producer of Angora fibres is China, who pushed South America and Europe out of the market with their cheaper production methods. When you love angora fibres and products, think about where it comes from though and how it is produced. Our little Ixchel Fibre farm believes in organic, pesticide free and animal friendly keeping of animals. The animals come first: only when you have a happy bunny, you will have good and ethical fibre.
Angora Bunny Care and more
A good English Angora rabbit does not look very much like a rabbit, mainly because of his head furnishings: long tassels on the ears, big head bangs and side trimmings with the eyes hidden under all of the furnishings. The face should be short, flat and wide. With these kind of facial characteristics, no wonder people are confused about whether they are seeing a rabbit or a fluffy dog!
In addition to a good face, an English Angora rabbit's body should be short and cobby; legs and feet should have good wool coverage. Last, but not least, the wool quality should be dense, silky and long. 57 percent of the points in judging English Angora rabbits are allocated to wool. Of these 57 points, 25 points are on density, 20 points are on texture and 12 points are on length. Though one does not want to keep an English Angora rabbit in show coat at all times, a good quality rabbit should be capable of putting on a good coat.
An English Angora in top condition is one of the most beautiful animals in the world. A neglected one, however, is the saddest thing one can ever see: it can mat in no time. I have seen sooo many animals neglected who haven't been groomd in months and not been clipped for a year! They couldn;t move properly anymore because their legs were so matted to their body!
Due to the time, knowledge, love and discipline required to care for them, English Angora rabbits are not for everyone. It is necessary to understand that taking on the task of raising English Angoras is a long term commitment of feeding, watering, grooming, and prevention of woolblock. In return, English Angora rabbits will give you back love, affection, companionship and luxurious fibre for spinning!

The Angora Bunny House
When starting with Angoras, the first thing for the beginner to decide is approximately how many angoras one wishes to raise. Are you going to have one or two angoras for pets? Do you plan on doing any breeding? How many does do you plan to breed in a year? What is the maximum number of angoras the space you have will permit you to raise?
Every breeder will have their own idea as to the style and design of the perfect rabbit hutch or cage system. All of this will depend upon the amount of space you have for the cages and if the rabbits are going to be housed inside or outside. Regardless of what you decide, it is important to keep in mind the hutches or cages must be dry, well lit, have good ventilation but free from drafts, as well as the temperature where the rabbits will be housed. Several people have asked if a barn, chicken coup, garage or other unused building could be adapted for housing Angoras. All of these buildings can be suitable so long as you consider the factors listed above.
There are many different types of hutches and cages that can be used. Some are made of wood and wire while others are all wire. If you are going to have several Angoras in a small area, I would suggest purchasing or making the wire cages. When deciding what type of hutch or cage you want to use you need to consider the following: comfort of the rabbit, ease of cleaning and handling of stock, ease of dismantling for thorough disinfecting, resistance to vermin and the escape of the rabbits.
The comfort of the Angora in the cage is very important. I prefer to use cages that are bigger than th elegal requirements. We have larger cages we use for does when the babies come out of the nestbox to give the doe more room. Paul has spent a lot of time making the cages himself and if you have any questions or want a cage built, just email him for information: he will be more than happy to help.
Next week, I am going to give you information on feeding your angora and preventing "woolblock".
On Monday please check this blog again: I am going to post some new organic Cashmerino laceweight yarns ! and a new product from the Ixchel Fibre Farm : the "Money Bunny Scarf!"
Have a great weekend and see you online or at the Arts Centre Market on Sunday!


Sharon said...

Thanks for the very informative post! Oh, the babies are so cute!

Veronica said...

The Babies are so adorable...well done Charly.

varun said...

nice range!!Shawls and Scarves

rrj said...

Your article really useful & Nice see your rabbit.