Monthly Archives: August 2012

What Can We Learn From This?

Not too long ago, I posted a video of the Show Dog world that was produced by the BBC entitled “Pedigree Dogs Exposed”.

Three years after, the follow up video was produced.

There are of course always two sides to the story and some may agree that it is a form of political unrest among breeders within their respective clubs and in my opinion, stuff like that happens in all Show world regardless of species and breed. Most often, it is due to “competitiveness” and the need for glory in winning. When watched with an open mind, these videos do make a lot of sense.

I can definitely relate when it is mentioned that badly inbred animals tend to be sterile. It finally answered the question why certain breed of rabbits are “difficult” to work with especially in the breeding department. I understand now that there is a limit to what Mother Nature will accept. There is a point when Mother Nature will stop producing animals that are totally unfit be it in captivity or in the wild.

I recently updated my pedigree software and there was a new field added to the application – COI%. At first I found this new field totally annoying but after watching the second video, I found that it means Coefficient Of Inbreeding. In short, it is an indicator in percentage how inbred my animals are. There is still much to learn on this part and I will definitely make full use of it in effort to ensure that what happened to the dog breeds will not happen in my rabbitry. I strongly believe that our pets deserve to be healthy and lead normal lives.

I can totally understand why as much as most would accept the concept put forth by these videos, there may be strong opposition by hard core breeders as well. Different individual will protect certain interest that they rely on to survive in life.

As for me, I learned that inbreeding does more harm than good to our animals and narrowing the gene pool is not the right way moving forward. Not to ruffle any feathers, I have no intention or whatsoever to change the breed standards. The breed standards can still be in place in my opinion and I rather take 100% full responsibility in my way of breeding. I have always taken pride in working my lines slowly and I applaud what the Dalmation breeder has done in fixing a genetic fault. This is a fine example of what “One Step Back, Two Steps Forward”. If it means that we can improve the future of the animal’s overall well being, we should take the step even if it means taking a longer time to achieve what we want to achieve. I am also glad to know that crossing two rabbits of different lineage is much better in the long run.

Like what Fiona’s owner  (the Dalmation dog in the second video) said, “When you breed healthy animals, you bring it to the FUTURE”, I cannot agree more!

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Filed under General Care, Rabbit Education

Just How Far Have We Come?

Lately, the oldest rabbit here Carmel has been getting quite a few admirer. At 6 years of age, she still looks like she is in her prime. The most elegant part is her “skirting”. Whenever I look at her, I am always reminded of how far my rabbits have come and the number of generations that has been produced in the last 5 years. I am really happy and grateful for the many people that has helped me along the way. Every kind word said about my rabbits is a form of encouragement and I am really thankful.

I am really glad that I am able to have this enjoyable hobby while living a demanding lifestyle. The most important part is that it has never strayed too far from being just a hobby. I am happy that it did not get commercialized but stayed as a very manageable past time. It is never my intention to keep hundreds of Holland Lops to speed up the improvement process. With the extremely low number of breeding and litters, I am so happy to be able to produce some nice babies. I really have to thank all those who have sent me the best genetics to help me start off this wonderful herd.

I just want to take some time to walk through the generation and the rabbits that has been produced starting from Carmel.

A recent picture of Carmel.

Clark is Carmel’s son and he is sorely missed. Wish I have access to Genesis Ultra Premium Rabbit Food back then and it could have saved Clark from leaving us too soon. He died due to feed problem.

Tru-Luv’s Balian was produced by Clark and have a lot of resemblance of his father. He is really massive. Balian is the first generation produced here in Malaysia.

Miracle is Balian’s son. Second generation produced here.

Then Miracle produced two handsome sons.

Clarkie was named after Clark because I miss my baby Clark a lot. Clarkie reminds me very much of Clark.

Murdoch is another special one. He won 1st BJB in one of the recent shows and I hope he continues to produce beautiful babies for me. Third generation produced here.

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The Holland Lop Breed Standards Past & Present

Much has been mentioned about the Standard Of Perfection or SOP in short. It is a booklet published by the ARBA containing very comprehensive descriptions how each of the 47 rabbit breeds that it recognizes suppose to be. Though sometimes it is fairly difficult to interpret and put a physical imagination to the wordy descriptions, it is no surprise that different judges have dissimilar ideas. Though I am far from being a judge, I am guilty of favoring certain physical traits in my idea or version of a perfect Holland Lop.

As of late, I have been a little more than confused than I have ever have been seeing and reading about what is desirable or undesirable in the Holland Lop. My attention is particularly on what “bone” is and how the “stumps” are desirable – I am indeed referring to the Holland Lop’s front feet.

Nowadays, we are so in love with the little “4 studs LEGO bricks” as front legs of our Holland Lops. Having stumps for front legs do look good but if we are not careful, we may overlook the problem of low head mount.

An example of a 4 studs LEGO brick.

Just before I continue sharing my thoughts, I would like to talk a little more about the Standard Of Perfection and show you some pictures to support my observation.

A few months ago, a friend of mine shared a photo of the 1981 to 1985 Holland Lop Standard of Perfection. It was a shocker to me looking at that picture and realizing how much change these animals have gone through. The changes were beyond massive! Let’s take a look at how Holland Lops used to look like in the 80s.

A picture from the ARBA archive/vault.

And as time goes by and with many improvements and upgrades done to the Standard of Perfection, a Holland Lop is now listed as one of the compact breeds. When posed, the front feet must be aligned with the eyes and when that happens, it is said that a Holland Lop “sits up” in an “upright” position. If you have the ARBA SOP, you will find that the Holland Lop looks totally different from the above.

The current 2011 to 2015 ARBA SOP of the Holland Lop breed.

Did the difference shock you as much as it did me?

When I first saw the difference, I was like WOW (or a silent WTF?)!

Alright, let’s come back to the confusion that I have. In one of the recent shows, I hear a lot about the Holland Lops having very long front legs and those that placed well at a particular show have their chest stuck to the “stumps”.

That made me start thinking and imagining how things should really look like. My thoughts were often contradicting and in the end I got an idea to use some pictures to illustrate the concept. I must first admit that my rabbits are no way near perfect and whatever I have done with the graphic tool is solely for the reason of achieving clarity and understanding.

So today I took one of my juniors and started posing her. Of course there are still much improvement needed and nonetheless, I started to pose her like how a Holland Lop should.

This is the best pose I got out of her. She’s a nice Broken Sable Point that I am totally in love with right now.

Then I started imagining “chopping” parts of her front feet off so that I get two “4 studs LEGO brick stumps”. And the outcome…

I hope it wasn’t painful but it does look pretty good…

Alright, here’s a picture of her again before the “chop” off.

She already have nice bone to begin with, don’t you think?

Though it looks pretty good having those “stumps”, there is an adverse effect when you view her from the side (logically, that is). Remembering that when posed properly, a Holland Lop should have its front feet aligned to its eye as stated in the Standard.

This is the best pose I can get with a reasonable alignment.

Another thing that we should remember is that another desirable trait is the 1/3 rule – which is the 1 part head : 2 parts body ratio. Meaning to say, the Holland Lop’s head should make up 1/3 of the body length. Even this little Holland Lop of mine falls short of that by a couple of centimeters as depicted.

Am I seeing 3 heads?

And when I chop off the front feet to achieve the “stumps”, how do you think my little bunny will look like?

My Holland Lop starts feeling lazy and begins to slouch…

More obvious, I no longer can align the front feet with the eye and of course, the length of the body starts to increase, naturally.

Now I am seeing red…

And if we are not careful, we might feel as though we’re in the movie “Back To The Future” and produce our 1981 – 1985 Holland Lop…

A picture from the ARBA archive/vault.

The question is, who is judge and which standard do we follow?

If you have not already notice, like many in the hobby, I am not overly zealous about chasing after these impossible tweak of nature feats. Each rabbit deserves a life just like any other.

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Filed under Rabbit Show, Thoughts

Bunny Biology Part II

So the 2 different litters of bunnies continue to grow and the differences are quite apparent and obvious. At this point, genetics is playing a huge role in their physical appearances and it is very easy to identify which is has the potential to grow up as a promising show Holland Lop. Still there is no guarantee and we all know the story of ugly duckling.

At 12 days old. I can hardly hold the kit on the left with just one palm while the one of the right fits easily.

After 16 days. The kit on the left have a rounder head while the kit on the right is a little narrower. At this point, I prefer to have their ears still up but as can be seen here, the kit on the right has already started lopping.

It is rather interesting to observe closely the development of these youngsters. Having a smaller herd allows me to make better judgment and observation as I take the time to grow them out. Also, I get to learn more about the herd’s compatibility among the bucks and does.

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Filed under In The Nestbox, Rabbit Education, Rabbit Genetics

Season 1 Episode 1: So What?

I won the race last weekend

So what? Does your canon ball poops smell any better?

hihihihi

hohohoho

gagagagaga

hahahahaha

bwahehehehe

tehee!

tehee

I see trees are green….red roses too……
I see them bloom….all thanks to your poo….
And I think to myself……
What a wonderful world…..
Oh YeaaahhhHHHhhh…

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Filed under 8 Hollands & MR.

8 Hollands & MR

Hello there, welcome to Meadow Haven – a place that knows no grammatical mistakes and cares no offense. This is the story of 8 Hollands & Mr. Here are us and a little introductions of bunselves…

My name is Dimsdale and I am the Kingbun here at Meadow Haven. I come from a bunland faraway and part of my name reminds me of a stout human I used to know!

Moi name is Roscoe. I am the gentlebun with the booty. Now shake that thing! Oh La La come to me buns..

I am Blaze and after I smoke em’ it is Hasta La Vista Bun Honey. Wanna get steamy with me?

Murdoch will smooch you and murrRrrrrtiply. What do you say, buhny huhny?

I am Faith from the bunland faraway. I have the curves those husbuns die for! Bon Appetit!

Don’t take my Kindness for granted or else you will be feel my wrath! GrrRRrr

I am Byss and I am the Byscuit factory. I am good at popping those bunchilds. Are you game?

Ziero knows not what they all are talking about. Ziero is big and nice!

That is all the 8 Hollands have got to say. Now who is the Mr.?

Ehem, my name is Drogo and I am the keeper of peace here in Meadow Haven. I like to think of myself as the wisest of them all. You know that grey old wizard with the pointy hat? Oh well, I do have pointy ears and crooked whiskers. I swear that they are handy when casting spells…
Oh well, I sometimes narrate the stories here in Meadow Haven and I like what I have to say for now and forever.

We address everybun at Meadow Haven by either Miss or Sir. We seldom hear someone being called Missus because we do not usually have just one husbun. If there should be a missus at all, Missus Carmel is the only bunny here worthy of that title though she have had her fair share of husbuns before she turned 6 years old. Now she is just growing up gracefully into her golden years. I do not quite agree that we are promiscuous beings nor has there been anything mentioned about laws pertaining to monogamy or polygamy here at Meadow Haven. We are but a truly free nation.

One thing is for sure, we always forget who we dated and even after spending a few days with our husbuns, the next Sir that comes along looks just the same or better. We can hardly remember our bunchilds when they leave our side.

As you can see, it is quite a complicated story this is and perhaps, it can only be understood by those who read with both mind and heart…

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Genesis Rolled Oat Hand Made Cookies

For most of us keeping large number of rabbits, we purchase the Genesis Ultra Premium Rabbit Food in a 15kg bagful. And for those of you who are using these breeder packs, do you know that there is a bonus waiting for you at the very end of every bag of feed?

Some of you may have discarded the powder at the bottom of the bag and this post is to enlighten you how you can achieve “no wastage” with Genesis. Thanks to our friends over at Golden Pines Rabbitry, who shared with us this great idea of turning powder into Genesis Hand Made Cookies!

You can now make two (2) types of cookies – the soft and hard baked cookies. Let me tell you how. The first is the simplest and the illustration is as follows (pictures courtesy of Golden Pines Rabbitry).

 

The second type of the cookies needs to be oven baked and this is how I do it:-

I first gather all the ingredients:

Genesis Powder

Premium Quality Rolled Oats

 

For extra kicks! A couple of Acidophilus powder from the capsule. I would love to try using some yogurt in the next batch of cookies.

Diluted Rabbit Nutri-Drops for extra power nutrients

Once I have all the ingredients ready, I will start mixing and kneading them together.

Add Rolled Oats into Genesis Powder and add diluted Nutri-Drops

Add all the other ingredients and mix them well together

 

Place them all on the baking tray.

Warm up the oven for 5 minutes before baking starts.

Bake the cookies under the temperature of 130 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

 

And Tadaa! Delicious Genesis Rolled Oats Hand Made Cookies!

The house smells so good after baking these! And what did the bunnies think of the cookies?

Byscuit says, “Smells awesome!”

 

Byscuit says, “Can I have the entire piece?”

Sniff….

 

CHOMP!

KRUK!

 

YUM! and DIGGED!

Every month, I used look forward to the last pellet in the bag of feed knowing very well that another bagful has been consumed with great results. Now, I have another thing to look forward to – baking Genesis bunny cookies!

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Filed under Bunny DIY, Rabbit Diet

Bunny Biology

Biology is the word given to the study of living things and very often, we are unaware that throughout our lives, we have engaged in some form of biology work. I just realized that I have been working on Rabbit Biology since I more than 20 years ago. I believe getting to know the rabbit’s proper diet and other needs in itself can be considered a study of the animal.

Sometimes we study our pets alone and other times, we exchange notes with a fellow enthusiast as well. There is just so much to learn about rabbits that we all are unable to experience everything alone.

During one of our discussions and knowledge sharing sessions, a bunny friend told me that he was able to see “promising rabbits” on the day it is born. I have come across this statement from the past but I was still surprised by his statement. It was indeed a revelation hearing such comments. Later did I find out that it is not difficult to identify the “X-Factor” in newborn bunnies. I learned that you only need to spend enough time observing, just like any other studies done on other animals. Observation remain a large part of conservation efforts throughout the world. We must first gather as much information as we can through observation.

With all the resources I have at hand, I embarked on a journey to proof this concept. I also hope that this post will act as a proof of concept regarding the matter of Genetics (not Genesis but FYI, they are all on Genesis feed).

We are often told that a good Buck makes a lot of difference in a breeding program. My observation actually tells me that a good Doe is also an important part of the equation.

My journey started with breeding the same buck to two different does. When they share the same due date, I will be able to get kits of the same age to perform an apple to apple observation.

I chose Tru-Luv’s Miracle to be the buck in question and the does are Tru-Luv’s Sibylla & Tru-Luv’s Byss. The good thing about this combination is that, Miracle is related to Sibylla on his sire side and is related to Byss on his dam side. In other words, they are compatible based on papers.

In case you do not know how they look like, here are their pictures:

Tru-Luv’s Miracle

Tru-Luv’s Byss

The outcome of the breedings are 2 kits from each of the does. I have chosen one from each litter for the comparison.

Byss’ kit

Sibylla’s kit

At this moment, it is quite obvious that Sibylla’s kit is a little narrow compared to Byss’ kit. Byss’ kit look slightly chunkier than Sibylla’s kit.

Then I proceeded to take the head shots of both of these kits.

Byss’ kit

Sibylla’s kit

Looking at the shapes drawn in red and blue, we can see that Sibylla’s kit has a narrower muzzle compared to Byss’ kit. And there is a slight difference in the head shapes on both of them as well.

Honestly, there are still young and I will not make a concrete conclusion out of my observation so far. Their physical appearance will change drastically as time goes by. There are just so many factors to consider before we make a final conclusion. Genetics are so diverse and tricky in nature.

We shall continue with this observation from time to time. I shall keep everyone posted with pictures as well.

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Filed under Bucks, Does, In The Nestbox, Rabbit Education, Rabbit Genetics

High Five & High Jumpers!

It’s Olympic fever here at Tru-Luv Rabbitry!

As you will notice the many high fives given between team players in team events and the many attempts in the high jump events, we have these two things aplenty here lately.

I spend a lot of time with my pregnant does as their due dates draw closer. I will normally feel their tummy gently just to make sure the babies in the tummy are moving, a sign that they are alive. Two days ago, I did the same with Byss and I felt a tiny paw jutting out at one of her side. I placed my finger gently against it and to my surprise, that little paw kicked my finger hard!

I took that as a little high five from the little kit and with a soft voice I said, “I’ll see you soon little one”. I got a little worried yesterday when Byss did not kindle and feared for the worst. And to my surprise, she gave birth to two beautiful kits this morning at approximately 10 am. They are not only alive but they were kicking hard too! Both of them were practically popping out of the nest box!

After about half a day, I found them both with huge bellies and when I turned them over, it was rather clear that they have been fed. To be honest, this is something that I have never witness before. It takes some time for does to produce that much milk and I attribute this amazing supply to the feed – Genesis Ultra Premium Rabbit Food!

Nothing beats a beautiful Saturday morning with pinkies in the nest box! Here are some photos that I would love to share:

Beautiful sight!

The only way to know if the doe has been feeding her babies is to look at their transparent tummy and ensure their tummies are filled with white milk!

Got Milk?

Cute baby!

I guess this is the sort of things that I am trying to emphasize in my previous blog post. I am able to finally have the time for the details. The little details that exclusively belong to each and every one of the bunnies.

This is the feed I highly recommend all rabbit owners!

These 2 kits are born on such a special day because they share the same birthday as one of my daughters. And the best part is, their dam was born on the same day as my other daughter! I believe Byss waited for the right time so that we can celebrate their birthdays together.

Another happy thing worth mentioning is that, Carmel the matriarch of Tru-Luv Rabbitry became the brand ambassador for Genesis showing off her beauty at The Pet Family pet store.

Photo courtesy of En. Norisyam Bin Mohd Aris. Thank you very much.

Carmel is almost 6 years old and still looking pretty on Genesis Ultra Premium Rabbit Food. She is a good testimony to this LIFE ENHANCEMENT FORMULA! I hope that Carmel will have many more years ahead of her.

And Carmel happens to be the GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER of the 2 kits above. WOW!

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Filed under In The Nestbox

Value

I am very excited to announce my debut as a featured writer on PetFinder.my’s newly launched online magazine – WAGazine!!! If you have not already read it, click here to read. This is part 1 of a series of articles that I will be writing all about rabbits! I hope everyone enjoys the article as they are written based on my experiences raising rabbits in Malaysia.

On the other hand, most of you might have heard that Tru-Luv Rabbitry is going through a major herd reduction. I will post pictures of rabbits available. I have also sold a set of 3 feet cages together with the shelf unit. What a hot item it was.

Please do not misunderstand this for a sell out. I am not selling out of rabbits but instead it is a downsizing exercise. I shall explain the reason why I am downsizing and also why I will never sell out.

I am sure some of you might have experienced the “light bulb” moment. A sudden surge of awareness or sometimes referred to as wake up call. I experienced not only once but a few “wake up calls” during the past few months. Many incidents that took place somehow enlightened me and I shall share them with you.

All these wake up calls evolved around the word VALUE and thus, the title of this post.

Back in the days when I first started raising my first pet rabbit, I only had one rabbit and we both became best buddies. Somehow when you have just one pet, you tend to get very attached and the pet will also be very attached to you. I believe most breeders will tell you that somewhere among the many rabbits that they have, there is sure to be one “heart” bunny. The special one that we all get attached to.

My first wake up call came a couple of weeks before the rabbit show in June. The rabbit show was organized in conjunction with the pet fair. One of the pet product supplier approached me and asked if I can loan him my “smartest” rabbit. That caught me off guard and made me think for a while. What should we expect from a smart rabbit? Must it be able to solve puzzles?

Now, I am sure that if a rabbit spend enough time, get enough attention and training, it can do some sort of tricks. I did train chickens to fly unto my hands when I stretch them out when I was just 9 years old. Chickens have the brain and I strongly believe rabbits do too. Looking at the rate how the rabbit hopping hobby is growing there is no doubt that rabbits are trainable. I did mention about Tinga and Tridus being habitual “food beggars” in my article as well.

The 2nd wake up call came when I was asked to judge the fun show at the recent rabbit gathering. I did mention the interesting judging criteria i.e. creative movement, obedience, following instructions and etc. These are possible although I do not think I will make an effort to do all that.

And that got me wondering what is lacking in my hobby. The problem I realize lies in the number of rabbits that I have to care for. There is not enough time to bond with my pets. With so many, it has become a chore more than an enjoyable past time. How in the world did I get to this point? Simply because I was trying so hard to produce that one “perfect” rabbit according to the standard. And that made me miss out on the fun of truly enjoying my pets. I spend more time cleaning up than interacting with my pets.

If you look around you, there is something that you will surely notice – DIVERSITY. In a litter of rabbits, every kit is different for that reason. And unfortunately, by subscribing to adhere to strive for the one “perfect” standard, we are discarding what we are taught to be undesirable. I have learned to accept that this “perfection” will never come about simply because how mother nature intends to be diverse. Going against mother nature is like trying to make earth turn the other direction. I am not only referring to the case of rabbits but any pets in the “show” world in general.

When I look at show animals in general, this image comes to my mind…

A goldfish?

The goldfish is a type of ornamental fish. The ornamental fish market makes up quite a huge percentage in the pet industry. Fishes in a well decorated tank can be a very relaxing sight to behold after a hard day’s work. If you ask a fish to swim on command, most probably you will get much disappointment.

That is how it is when you have too many rabbits in cages. They just look like ornamental rabbits and sit in cages looking pretty. I believe that when we keep animal as pets, there should be interaction.

Thinking back about how things used to be, I was able to share on this blog the different personalities that I see in my rabbits. I no longer able to do that because I realized that I do not spend enough time to notice them anymore. That is not how it suppose to be.

It is funny how sometimes we contradict ourselves. I am sure you have come across “REASONS NOT TO BREED YOUR …” articles and one of the DON’T is not to breed if you think your pet is the best and you want to produce another one like it. But if you take a step back and think about it, that’s exactly what most breeders are doing. They are trying to produce that “best” to replace the “bests” before the “best”.

Now the question is, will I still breed? Of course I will but I shall breed for what I like in terms of health and general disposition.

What about wanting to win at show?

I have come to realize that my pets are LARGER than the shows. They are much more valuable than the fee I pay to enter them into shows and have a judge or two spending just 2 minutes looking at them and conclude they are worthless! I am very contented that I have produced show worthy rabbits.

And do allow me tell you how valuable my rabbits are. Each time I decide to cut the numbers down in my rabbitry, those left behind are the old barren does or the 3 years old bucks that I have grown to love. Why do I keep those that have no “production” value and pass along those that can still produce? That really boils down as to what is the objective of you wanting to keep these animals as pets.

The hardest decisions for me really is when I have to pass along the imports. These rabbits have sentimental values that I hold dearly to my heart. Each time I look at them, it reminds me of those who sent them to me. I have met each one of them and have hugged them in person. Having these rabbits with me is the closest I can be with these lovely people. This is the only reason why I will never sell out. Perhaps when all my favorite bunnies have left for rainbow bridge, that could be the day I will declare that I am done.

What I am trying to say is that, you can never put a price tag on a rabbit that means a lot to you. They are not just soft toys on the shelves that you can pick and pay at the counter. Each and every one of my rabbits are invaluable to me.

It is sure nice to obtain a Grand Champion leg or two in this lifetime but Grand Champion rabbits come and go in droves. Even the best bunnies will have to die eventually. What do you make out of all the papers?

How much we lose ourselves when we lose focus on what matters.

For me, what matters most is being able to share unique bunnies to individuals who truly appreciates the joy of having them as pets. Being able to build friendships that last a lifetime. Being able to travel across the globe to hug a bunny friend. Going through life’s ups and downs encouraging each other and sharing the joy.

The truth to the matter is, there will be no rabbits without the people to share with. And the value of things is in where we prefer value is to be placed.

The following rabbits are available and please email me at truluvrabbitry@gmail.com for more information. Thank you!

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Filed under Community Service, For Sale, Rabbit Education, Thoughts