Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Mission Statement"

I decided to come up with a sort-of mission statement for my rabbitry. There are a couple of people out there who claim to know what I "really" mean when I say something straight -forward and in plain English, and what they claim I "really" mean bears little resemblance to what I actually say, but here goes anyway. I'm sure some folks will have a field day with it, but I don't care.

The goal of Jan's Giants is to promote the Giant/German Angora to its fullest. I want to produce a true all-around workhorse of a wool rabbit, who is robust and healthy, and meets Louise Walsh's vision of an economically housed and fed rabbit. I want to breed a non-molting wool producer that can be shorn every 90 days, every 120 days, or whatever suits the owner, much like today's English Angoras, but with faster wool growth and more density. This rabbit should not require more special care or diet than any other angora, in fact it should require very little in the way of grooming, apart from a monthly nail trim and a trim around the vent area. It's wool should withstand mill production but still be soft, not scratchy.

Angora wool typically is 12 - 16 microns:

http://www.apparelsearch.com/Definitions/Fiber/Angora_Wool_definition.htm

Fine sheep wool can be as high as 22 microns:

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/sheep/as989-8.htm

I want rabbits whose wool measures no more than 20 microns, preferably less, who can produce 12 ounces every 90 days, and who reproduce - well, like rabbits. Specifically, I expect my does to be able, ready, and willing to produce 3 litters a year. That's a month to be pregnant, 8 weeks to raise the kits, and a month to re-condition. I expect my bucks to get the does bred in 9 out of 10 attempts.

These rabbits should reach 10 pounds of weight by 8 months of age, and should have a good commercial body type. They should come in other colors besides REW.

They should also be friendly, laid-back, and easy to handle. They should perform just as well on the show table as they do in wool production and reproduction. They should also make great pets.

That's what I'm shooting for. That's my idea of the perfect Giant/German Angora. It might not be yours.

4 comments:

livingwaterfarm said...

Amen, sister!

Jan said...

Thanks, Terri! :)

AngoraBunny said...

I would agree with all of this Jan. These are the goals I had when trying to cross Eng and German. I believe the softenss factor has for too long been given the short shrift. After all, why else would we keep angora rabbits? When the micron factor goes up as high as fine sheep, there is no point to raising angora, imo. I also agree that there should be no special grooming or dietary upkeep to the ideal wool rabbit. I'm glad you are continuing this work, but getting people to recognize it when the clubs sweet these important considerations under the rug is going to be an uphill battle. I quit trying. But I applaud you for fighting on.
Donna

Jan said...

Hi Donna,

Thank you for your comment. Other people have also sent me private emails basically agreeing with us.

I have access to an optical comparator, with which I have had wool samples measured, and I have had guard hairs come in at 27 microns! That's medium, not fine wool!

Anything can be taken to extremes, to the detriment of a breed. There are numerous examples throughout the animal kingdom. Sometimes less is more.