Sunday, January 25, 2009


Banjo says the Steelers will eat the Cardinals for breakfast! :)

It's no longer the Steeler Nation, Steeler fandom has gone beyond international even, and into space:

Steeler fans in Space


Sunday, January 18, 2009


USDA Publishes Proposed Rule on NAIS

Liberty Ark Alert: January 16, 2009

USDA Publishes Proposed Rule on NAIS

USDA has published a proposed rule that would mandate NAIS premises registration and animal identification for several key animal disease programs. This includes scrapie, brucellosis, tuberculosis, and Johne’s. If this rule is adopted, hundreds of thousands of people who own cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs will be forced to register their property and use only tags approved by the USDA for NAIS.

This proves, yet again, that NAIS is NOT a voluntary program at the Federal level. Participation in these disease control programs are often mandatory, or necessary for economic reasons, for farmers to stay in business. Converting the programs to mandate NAIS Premises Registration effectively makes NAIS an involuntary program, contradicting USDA’s continued claims that NAIS is voluntary.

Submit comments on the proposed rule. You can submit comments on the proposed rule through March 16, 2009, using either the online portal or regular mail:

1. Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal to submit or view comments, as well as related materials.

2. If you mail your comments, send two copies of your comment to:

Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD APHIS Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

You should clearly state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS- 2007-0096.

We will send out sample talking points to help people in submitting comments as soon as possible.

Here are some of the key points of the proposed rule:

1. If the rule is adopted, the NAIS Premises ID Number (PIN) would be the ONLY form of premises identification allowed for official uses such as federal disease control programs.

2. The proposed rule states that it will still allow the use of the National Uniform Eartagging System, but it would be linked to the NAIS PIN.

3. USDA claims that it has determined that the proposed rule is "not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866," which requires a cost-benefit analysis of federal regulations. But the agency never completed a cost/benefit analysis (and refuses to release its draft analysis). So it has no proof that the proposed rule’s benefits outweigh the costs to be inflicted on the animal owners.

4. The bottom line: The proposed rule would mandate portions of NAIS though official federal regulations.

Excerpts from the Proposed Rule

Below are a few excerpts from USDA's explanation of its proposed rule. The full notice and proposed rule can be found here.

From p.1635:

"[W]e are ... requiring that all PINs issued on or after the date on which this proposed rule becomes effective would have to use the seven-character alphanumeric code format." [Ed. note: the NAIS PIN]

"Identification eartags, as well as other devices or means of official identification, such as backtags and tattoos, that employ a premises-based numbering system that include a PIN could not be applied to animals 1 year or later after the date on which this proposed rule in finalized if the PIN does not employ the seven-character form."

"[T]his proposed rule would not require the use of the AIN. Other animal identification numbering systems currently recognized in the regulations for use on official eartags, such as the National Uniform Eartagging System and premises-based numbering systems that combine a PIN with a producer's livestock production numbering system, will continue to be so recognized. If the AIN is used, however, on an official eartag or other device (currently, it is only used on eartags and implants), only the format with the 840 prefix would be acceptable for use on animals tagged 1 year or more after the date on which this proposed rule in finalized."

From p.1636:

"Our proposed definition of official eartag would also require such eartags, including those that use the National Uniform Eartagging System, if issued or distributed in conjunction with a Federal disease program, to be correlated with the PINs of the premises to which they are issued, by means of the Animal Identification Number Management System (AINMS) or other recordkeeping systems approved by the Administrator. (Both the National Uniform Eartagging System and the AINMS are discussed in greater detail later in this document.) For this proposed requirement to be met, official eartags used in animal disease programs could only be issued, going forward, to registered premises that have PINs."

"Our proposed definition of official eartag would also require that when AIN eartags are used, the AINs would have to be correlated with the PINs of the premises to which they are issued, meaning that AIN eartags could only be issued to registered premises that have PINs."

From p.1637:

"The definition of official eartag in Sec. 79.1 would be amended to remove the option of using the National Uniform Eartagging System in the NSEP [National Scrapie Eradication Program]."

Online Voting

The official website of the President-elect has set up a section where people can vote on ideas, and the top ideas will be presented to President Obama after he is sworn in.

Several suggestions to stop NAIS have been posted. The one that has garnered the most votes so far is Eliminate NAIS.

You can find all the ideas that mention NAIS by searching the citizens briefing book. Please go vote for eliminating NAIS.

For more information on NAIS, visit and support

No babies...

I guess the does thought it was too cold. I bred 4 does, and I could swear 3 of them took. But, no babies. :(

I'm going to wait now until after the PA Convention to breed again. Plus, I'm going to forget about, at least for now, trying to breed a purebred chocolate German. All my energy is going to be focused on producing the perfect Giant, colored or otherwise. To that end, some stock will be leaving here. Donna has hit her third strike, she'll be sold as a wooler. I can't keep feeding a doe who won't produce babies. It's a shame, she has a spectacular coat, but if she can't or won't pass those genes on, she's useless to me. Oscar will be camping out at a friend's rabbitry for awhile, making purebred German babies. :) Garritt, my little French buck, will be re-homed. He is a cute little fella, but doesn't make senior weight even for a French, so I'll find a spinning home for him. Sunrise will move on to a pet home. She has done her part here and deserves a comfortable retirement. Lizzie might be sold at Convention, if not, she'll be bred to Louis.

So, the only purebred Germans will be Nino and Joy. The rest will be Giants.

Germans certainly have left their stamp here, Louis, Guin, and Lizzie are 3/4 German and 1/4 French Lop. Their offspring will produce Giants with clean pedigrees. The German in their background is a blend of old lines and 2002 import lines. In my opinion, they have perfect texture and density. Special Dark, my young Black Otter Giant doe, is a daughter of Oscar. Her mother is a blend of Giant, French, Tan, and Thrianta (talk about genetic diversity!) Dark inherited her dad's wonderful wool and her mom's rufous. She'll be bred to Crosby, my Black Tan Giant buck. Crosby is heavily inbred back to my original Giant/Tan cross. He lacks texture (needs frequent grooming) but has a nice body, nice furnishings, and has every color gene I want (atat Bb C? Dd EE ww). Cadbury, my Chocolate Otter Giant doe, is a blend of Giant, German, French, and Tan. She has a wonderful little body and decent wool, and will be bred to Nino.

So, most of my breedings will be back to my own lines. Louis will be bred to either Lizzie or Guin, depending on whether Lizzie sells. Guin will be bred to either Louis or Nino. Nino and Cadbury will be bred together, and Crosby and Dark.

I have special plans for Joy . Those of you who attend the PA Convention will get to see those plans. :)

PS - please check out the Save Handmade image (it links to an article you will appreciate) at the bottom of the blog.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Make yourself heard

"Top 10 Ideas for America"

The private website,, will present the "Top 10 Ideas for America" to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day. "Stop NAIS" has made it to the second round of voting! It is competing against 86 other ideas to see if it can make it into the Top 10. The second round of voting will end at 5 pm next Thursday, January 15.


STEP 1: If you are not already signed up for the site, register at:

STEP 2: Go to Be sure to click the box labeled "vote!" to the left of the Protect Our Food Supply -- Stop NAIS! Simply leaving a comment does not count as a vote. The box should change color and the text will change to "voted." You may have to try a couple of times.

STEP 3: Email all your friends, and ask them to vote also!

STEP 4 (optional): The most important thing is the number of VOTES that the idea gets. If you want to leave a comment after you have voted, think in terms of what will encourage other people to vote to stop NAIS. Keep your comment short and clear.

Remember that Stop NAIS! is competing against all of the other ideas for one of the Top 10 slots. Only the Top 10 will be presented to the transition team.


In the first round of voting, almost 300,000 votes were cast. So this is a great opportunity for us to get the NAIS issue in front of a broad audience during the voting process! And if Stop NAIS! makes it to the Top 10, it will be among the ideas presented at an event at the National Press Club on January 16, followed by a press release. The organizers of have committed to supporting advocacy campaigns for each of the Top 10 ideas, including encouraging their 200,000 members to support the effort.

This is a very quick, easy way to help us raise awareness about NAIS and potentially get significant new resources for this fight! Please go to and vote now!

For more information on NAIS, visit and support

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fibre3 continued...

So after considerable research, I've decided to stay with the Fibre3 and will probably use an additional supplement - Doc's Rabbit Enhancer. It is only 14% protein, so it will be safe to add without upsetting the protein balance. It also has Vit C, which is believed to help prevent digestive upsets in rabbits and has other benefits as well.

If my local feed store (a Purina dealer) can't get it, I'll have to order it over the internet.

We'll see how it goes. I'll probably mix it with Calf Manna and feed it in the mornings with the bunns' hay. That way the protein will be more balanced throughout the day - helpful for maintaining proper gut flora.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My thoughts so far on Purina Fibre3

It's been about 6 weeks since I switched everyone over, and I have mixed feelings about the results. The bunns all like it, and made the switch easily, which is good. It is a no-corn formula, which is good mainly because of corn's ability to harbor toxins from mold. It is relatively low-starch (
which has it's benefits and its disadvantages. Benefits are that harmful bacteria have less starch to use for food, and so have lower potential for harm.
( One should see less incidence of enteritis, for example.

However, one thing I have noticed is that my rabbits have become leaner. Not a bad thing for breeding, especially for does, but not quite so desireable for showing them. Essentially, Fibre3 seems to be the Atkins Diet for rabbits. If I had Tans or another running breed, I think I'd be estatic. I do think it had a positive impact on the breedabilty of two of my (hard to breed) does. BUT everyone's pin bones are more apparent, so performance on the show table may suffer. I am also wondering how milk production will fare when said does deliver. It is nice to know, however, that with this feed I can put a rabbit on a diet without withholding feed.

I could feed one feed for show animals (Complete Plus looks good: and the other (Fibre3) for brood animals. Or, I could keep using the Fibre3 and add a starchy supplement like whole oats to the show animals' feed. I used to mix oats, Calf Manna (or Sunshine Plus) and sunflower seeds (1 part Calf Manna, one part sunflower seeds, and 2 parts oats) and give that to the bunns with their hay in the morning, I could go back to that, and adjust amounts of the mix to the requirements of the individual rabbits. I'm using Calf Manna anyway.

But all this is way more complicated than I want to be. I'd like feeding to be a simple one or two-step process, easily replicated by other care-givers when I am traveling. In other words, I'd like one feed that covers all the bases.

I'm going to have to think on this. Complete Plus may be the answer.