If I were never to know a Holland I would look at them and think they were heavy chunky rabbits. A correctly built Holland looks like a little tank. With their giant heads and their their almost bulldog bodies. But the reality is, they are usually under 4 pounds. I find this even more amusing when I am working with Juniors. I don't know how it's possible but just tiny little 2 pound rabbits manage to look so large to me. This girl is one of our new favorites. She has incredible temperment. She never struggles any time you take her out or put her back. She is happy to play and happy to return. Her coat is heavenly. Possibly our best rollback so far. On top of that she has great bone, and I really love her H/E/C. I think hers is the best we have produced. She is such a nice compact little girl.
Kait watches all of her litters carefully. I don't even know what it is that she judges but she picks one usually within 2 weeks. By 4 weeks she decides if that is the one she likes or not. I can try to suggest other picks but her mind is made up and there is no changing it. So far she has done pretty well, considering we are still in a very long learning process. So she picked this little girl, who is almost 12 weeks now. She has the cutest look to her that I dont' think pictures can capture. She isn't content just staring straight ahead, she always has to look coyly at the camera. So cute. I am loving her big round head and cute big eyes. She still has a lot of growing to do so time will tell if she is something Kait wants to hold onto.
From the first time we bring a Holland home it becomes a part of our lives. A part of our mornings, our routine. We love them deeply. Naturally some have more personality than others so we get more attached to some. And it hasn't really made a difference from bringing home a senior holland, than pulling out a newborn from the nest box for the first time. Our love is the same for them. Which has of course led us to a sad part of raising Hollands for show quality and to meet the Standard. This means saying goodbye. We have been fortunate that our goodbyes have been to amazing people who will also love them. However today, I chose to say goodbye to my sweetest doe. She was our first to give us a litter. She was so timid when we first brought her home. She quit eating and wouldn't interact so I brought her inside and spent countless hours with her. It wasn't long before she warmed up and her sweet personality began to shine through. She would hop all around in her cage all playful and adorable. She loved toilet paper rolls and when I would go out in the morning she would hurry and pick it up and begin hoping in circles. She was my little goofball every morning. But the reality was she had definitely outproduced herself with Zilla. She had longer shoulders which, with a small buck was okay, but not with Buddah. So as a last minute decision we decided to let her go today. It is a sadness for me but also helps me to gain even more appreciation for the top breeders who work so hard to keep the Holland Standard. It isn't always about breeding tons of cute babies. It's about making tough choices and always working to improve.
Here at AceHops we get very acquainted with our Juniors. They are not pre-sold and we do not ship them off when they are just barely weaned. We observe them and love them and patiently spend countless hours with them. By doing so we get to observe every little change. It has been kind of amusing because in our first litter, it was a very gradual transition from babies into juniors. Then we dealt with Lucys litter that stayed like babies forever, we felt like they would never molt and transition. Then with our sweet Maeve, she never seemed to have an ulgy day or even molt, she was just one day a beautiful junior. This poor rabbit though is the extreme example of going through the uglies and what a molt can look like. This cute tiny chubby little tort first started to become fluffy. Then her fur got lighter and lighter. The fluff was so annoying that I gently plucked it away from her face... making her look even sillier. Then a nice patch by her shoulders has started to grow in with her real coat, while the rest just looks well... undesirable. I bring her in and suprise Kait and say "Hi Mommy,, why don't you love me." She cringes when she sees her right now. I like to spend time with them brushing them to help get some of the hair out. This helps prevent any hair blockage and for sure helps them get through this age quicker. I guess in times like this it's best to have a sense of humor. I will have to post a pic after this little one has molted completely.
We were so sad that we couldn't attend the June show. This means our amazing junior does that we were so excited to bring, will now have to wait until they are seniors. Sigh. Much harder for them to compete against senior stock. Good thing they are so amazing that they still stand a pretty good chance. (A little Positive thinking never hurt anyone.)
However we were beyond excited and proud and happy to hear of the great wins by Little Rascal's Rabbitry. We have been lucky enough to own one of their rabbits and even luckier to consider them as great friends and confidants in our small rabbit world. This win was equally as exciting as if we had taken home the ribbons ourselves. When you know how much work and time someone has put into something you can't help but be so proud and pleased when they are finally rewarded for their efforts! Thank you for being such a great example of showmanship and Holland Lop Standard!
It's funny in a rabbitry how it has the same Ebb and Flow as all things and life. Some days you are a little overwhelmed and wonder what exactly you are working for. Other days you just can't wait to play with them. Some days you just want to work on posing. Some days it seems less exciting than others. But this week, perhaps out of need of bunny therapy in general... our rabbits are looking so amazing! Almost so great that it scares me. I am in panic mode, a little, wondering how we will be able to keep them all. usually we hope for one good on in a litter. But since we started using Buddah as our new herd buck, every baby is looking awesome. They aren't entering uglies. They just keep getting better and better. It thrills me. We have most definitely corrected many flaws with Buddah. Our one and only change is that he is a big big boy. This means we had to say goodbye to a couple of our brood girls that we so loved and looked forward to raising. Luckily they are in an amazing home with a beautiful family that loves rabbits just as much as we do.
So Zilla has produced 3 handsome bucks. They all look amazing. Every time I walk out they pose and just blow me away. I can't believe how nice they look. Going to be a tough tough call as to who will stay with us. Maeve and Clover look so incredible and we were so sad we didn't get a chance to enter them in the last show. Nixie has for sure out done herself with Clover. And Maeve may very well have our best HEC in the herd. Then we have a new litter from Nixie and I am already in love. Hers have a way of being either really really good, or just okay... but her bred to Buddah seems to have created something amazing. We try not to name any too young but we couldn't resist with one little dark tort. Boy is she full of attitude. And last but not least is our little sable suprise. Kait has not been as attached to any of the babies as she is to this little girl. She spends more time in Kaits arms than she does in her cage I think.
While reading on rabbits awhile back I came across several comments stating that bucks are much nicer than does especially when considering a pet. Well, I took that to be true in the beginning. I took a lot of things to be true in the beginning until I eventually learned otherwise.
However when I talk to people wanting a rabbit, many of them prefer a buck specifically because they have read the exact same thing. I recently had a man wanting a rabbit for his daughter and had several breeders tell him to never buy a doe. It's very hard to explain to someone that isn't always the case.
Now I must admit, we have a couple extremely adorable bucks who love to run around the yard and interact with you. They are beyond adorable. But at the same time, for the most part our does are all just as sweet. In the morning it is actually my does who beg for head pats over and over and over. They just hang their head out and down just waiting and never want it to end.
I can't attest for all rabbitries but I can attest for ours that our does are very snuggly and love cuddles as much as the others. And hormones have not really played a role. We did purchase one doe who was pretty high strung to begin with, but as long as she has no babies she guards, she licks your nose and enjoys love as much as the others. Even my sweetest doe does get a little reclusive when pregnant, but never agressive or mean. I think it's important to just pay attention to what they want. If they are leaning their head out for snuggles then comply and if they back away then leave them alone that day. Respecting them seems to keep them more calm. And teaching young children to read what they are trying to express is pretty simple.
Well, we have been raising our Hollands officially for over one solid year. We had them longer but it has been just over a year since our first litter was born. We began with the advice of some very good breeders, with a couple of brood does. Granted our one brood doe did take first place at one of the shows, she was still a little longer than your more typey Hollands, which in turn is better for breeding. So we bred 2 litters out of each doe to produce our show stock. So now we are using our show stock for our first round of breedings. So far I must say I am in love. Growing them out has it's downs, especially because it is a good solid 3-4 months before you can truly evaluate what you have. This is our first litter where every single baby looks great! We are crossing our fingers and have a long road ahead of us but it looks promising. We are hoping to do a fun photoshoot with them later today.
So yesterday we had the neatest thing happen. We bred our sable point buck with a cute little tort doe. The tort doe shows no sable in her pedigree so we were expecting a litter of torts. She was a first time mom, so our expectations were limited. Well to our surprise she had a litter of sables!
So this has of course made me think about recessive genes and the importance of buying from reputable breeders. Sable was not shown for 3 generations, which means it is somewhere even further back. Had we purchased this rabbit from just anyone and based it off pedigree alone who knows what could have happened. My worst fear is VC showing up in my lines anywhere. That wouldn't have shown on this pedigree and yet it could have happened. However, I feel safe in knowing the breeders who I have purchased from will have reliable genes that may show themselves later on down the road.
We took this photo just about a year ago. We were so excited with our first little Holland litter. The one on the right grew up to be Zilla. We loved her from day one. We had so much fun playing around with them. I don't think we have done anything this fun since! Perhaps we will have to get motivated for a new summer photo.
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