Saturday, August 20, 2005

Busy busy busy...

I got a lot accomplished in the past week. The white bunnies are moved into the bunny room, now that they are out of the weather (good thing, we got pounded today) I can get them ready for some shows this season. I had hoped to be at the Michigan Fiber Festival today, but it turns out I needed to get health certs for the bunns, and there was no way that was happening, my vet is very expensive.

So my plans are for September: Hamburg, NY on the 17th, Washington, PA on the 18th, then October: Marietta, OH on the 1st, Lebanon, PA on the 8th, and then Convention the week of the 23rd.

Meanwhile, I dyed a pound of Dumpling's wool today in anticipation of using it in the Dingo sweater. This is the first time I've dyed anything other than Easter eggs, so it was an adventure. So far, I have 1/2 pound of Dingo hair, 1/4 pound of tort angora, 1 pound of mahogany dyed angora, and 1 pound of chocolate-gray shetland wool. Dingo has dark chocolate tips to his fur, making him a dutch cocoa color on the surface, and buff underneath. So I plan to do a 2-ply yarn, one ply of the shetland and mahogany angora blended, and one ply of Dingo, tort angora and... ?
I need more material for the buff ply. I have at my disposal 1/2 pound of tussah silk, and/or I can use yearling mohair, or some lincoln/merino cross, or border leicester. I'm leaning toward the yearling mohair, for the softness factor. I can even brush it for fuzziness. Any thoughts?

Monday, August 08, 2005


... Storybook Dreams Snowman!

He is from 100% recently imported bloodlines and will be taking over in the Spring as our German herdsire.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Wideband, Tans, and Otters

Well, I did the best I could with photos. It is difficult to hold a squirming bunny, aim the camera, and part the belly fur all at the same time!

Elaine (congrats on becoming a Grandma!) had asked how to tell if an Otter carries double wideband. Technically, an Otter can't, if it does it is genetically a Tan. However, at this early stage of development, I refer to all of them as Otters because of the poor color development. Tans have firey red markings, and I have a way to go before I achieve that, if ever, because Angora hair by its nature dilutes whatever color it has. Too bad I'm not trying to develop Tans and Otters in Satin angoras, I'd have better color!

At any rate, the Wideband gene that controls the belly color in reds and tan pattern rabbits is represented by W for the dominant and w for the recessive. The recessive wideband gene is what affects the belly color. However, its dominant partner is an incomplete dominant. So, 3 tan pattern rabbits with ww, Ww, and WW can be told apart by close examination of the coloring of the belly fur.

The recessive wideband gene has several effects on the Tan markings. It extends the tan markings and increases the ticking along the sides. It also removes the undercolor from the belly so that the belly is white, cream, fawn, or red to the skin, depending upon the amount of rufus modifiers present. I have found that with the angoras, the most reliable indicator of wideband is the presence and amount of slate blue undercolor on the belly.

Here are some examples, although I acknowledge that the photos aren't that great:

double wideband

This little girl is a Chocolate Tan angora with 2 recessive wideband genes. You will note that where her belly fur is parted, it is cream colored to the skin, there is no slate blue undercolor at all. She does have some undercolor in her lap marks, but that is permissible.

single wideband

This little lilac otter buck is short haired. He does have some slate blue undercolor, but it is pale and confined to the lower 1/3 of the hair shaft. He has only 1 recessive wideband gene.

no wideband

This little chocolate otter doe is also shorthaired, but you can easily spot her undercolor. It extends much further up the hair shaft. She has no recessive wideband genes.

Someday when I have three tan pattern angoras at the same stage of development I will repost photos that show the undercolor differences better than these do.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Too hot!

... to do much of anything. Whew! My first priority for the blog is to get the pics of the otters up. The second is to finish up posts on a couple of subjects near and dear to my heart. I had a wonderful telephone conversation last night with an old mentor. He had some eye-opening points which changed my position somewhat on a belief that I had about certain genetic terms. I promise, it will be an interesting post, and will no doubt stir up some more debate.

Meanwhile, I need to make more cage space.