The entire last year has gone mostly to line breeding. It was a great learning experience because we saw immediate changes in the second generation. Being that we breed so few times a year, we are just barely making it to our third generation. It was in this line breeding that we were able to get a real feel for what our animals could produce. We have now narrowed it down to about 4 does we love and plan on using in the next phase of our program.
We have used our own home grown buck and produced 2 gorgeous offspring. They have much growing to do and we are awaiting his second litter to see if he is as nice as we are hoping. We have come to learn... that a rabbit that looks amazing, does not always produce that way.
In the mean time, we have a couple other bucks from our slowest growing line. We are slowly waiting for them to mature into what we hope will be some very balanced nice short bucks.
By years end we are possibly going to let go of our main herd bucks and bring in some new stock. This is such a scary step.
We have also decided to hang onto our dilute line for a bit and see where it takes us. We never really got attached to the sables like others have but the blues are trying hard to tempt us. Of course it follows suit for everything we secretly hope for. When we want broken black, they are the peanuts, and our first blue kit was of course also a peanut. We will attempt that again sometime this spring.
Another fun thing we are attempting, is to draw out the REW gene. Buddha carries it and one of our upcoming litters could possibly have produced it. Learning pedigrees and the art of drawing out beneficial traits has been fascinating and taught us so much.
In the process of learning we kind of hit a brick wall with Rudy. We thought he was smoke pearl as a kit, due to his typical grizzled coat. By the time he finished his junior molt, we started to get confused. He began to look more like a really light blue tort. Then he molted again, and again, and again. In and out of those phases he would look like a blue point, or a light blue tort. We finally gave in and took him to a show for input. Nate Burbidge instantly said he was a smoke pearl, held him up on the table and proclaimed his love of the color. We felt at ease to know at last. But then another experienced smoke pearl breeder, said he was most certainly a blue point. Then another long time breeder said he was smoke pearl. Then the last judge said he couldn't even tell what he was but for sure wasn't a smoke pearl, more like a blue tort or something similar. So we left still not knowing for certain. Now all we can do is test breed, however if we test breed to a tort carrying sable, there is the chance of producing blue points which we really don't want to do.