It's a question that is being more commonly thought as the process of developing my base of colored Jersey Woolies & American Fuzzy Lops. As I humble along, I only have so much base stock of a certain variety, when is the time to venture further? Do I even combine color stock with my 'main' herd? What are the pros & cons and this can develop quite some controversy when it comes to developing a color and showing rabbits.
Developing Tri-Color Jersey Woolies & American Fuzzy Lops has so far been a longer road, especially trying to get babies of these varieties on the ground. To succeed with this color I will need to focus on my color combinations to produce the variety I am aiming at. Though, with every case, a color of a kit will always be a gamble, depending on the colors of the parents, what they carry, and what we do not know they carry. I cannot breed two of the same color together and expect just that. It simply isn't that easy, and especially when you are trying to genetically target a color you want, the Bunny Gods aren't that nice! ;)
As this adventure develops there are a few common questions I am being asked. There are a handful of people interested, and quite a bit of support in my determination in the development of this color. Let me get question 1 out of the way;
My main Tri-color project Jersey Wooly buck, a Harlequin from The Maki Family (DTL Rabbitry) in Northern California.
1) Are you getting the COD (Color of Development) on this variety?
Ans: Unfortunately at this time, I do not have too much of a core of this variety developed quite yet. I must admit my starter animals for both breeds are quite define in type and I think that they will get me further for what I am beginning with. Until then I do not feel it is appropriate to hurry and get the COD on this variety for these breeds just yet until I am a little more 'set'. Once if I do obtain the COD, I won't have much time to waste, so I'd rather not rush into something while aiming at the hip.
This color may only take a couple years to develop or it could possibly take 8. Either way, I feel very strongly into taking it a tad slower than some may want by making careful decisions for my own main show herd and my color projects. A dilemma I face now is weather or not I want to breed into some of my main show herd. This could raise conflict in how another breeder feels about my decisions in the development of this variety or ethics as a show breeder. Here are a few reasons why...
a) Breeding a 'stray' unshowable color into a showable color is wrong if you get showable colored kits, and wrong to sell these kits.
Breeding a Harlequin colored rabbit is my given choice if I want to breed into my main string. With being, there will have to be a much more strict selection in my culling process into taking these second generation kits back into color, for color. As for selling these kits, I have decided if I do take this route, they will not be available to the public for my own protection of my breeding ethics.
b) I might be genetically manufacturing colors with incorrect genotypes (or something along those lines).
Yes, if I breed a Tri-color to a Sable, I could very well get some weird colors, a strange variety, and rabbits whom may be the correct color I want, but carry the wrong or unwanted genes. This will again resort in a stronger culling process needed. However, I think there are some good advantages of this. I believe it may be a decent start to a beginning of a project, as it could advance type easier or faster. It could also add genetic diversity, and a wider span of choices to breed stock to for second, third, fourth, and so on generations. As it will take many generations, anyways.
c) ...and again genetic experts think it is wrong.
Now, I do not consider myself a genetic expert but I can put two and two together and make some sense of it. I think this comes down personal genetic ethics, because ultimately at the end of the day the rabbits are my personal hobby, and my choices and decisions are my own in how I take up advancing my herd and/or color project. Oh, and they are just rabbits (and colors!)
My primary buck for the American Fuzzy Lops, a Harlequin Fuzzy Holland buck from LeAnn Caraway & Melanie Price (Lil' Bit Farms) in Oklahoma.
I am just as serious as I am realistic with the color project. I feel very obligated to think out and spread what knowledge I obtain in this process, and it is a long way from here. Too many times I have seen many disappointments from fellow COD holders by not putting in their best, or trying to venture off and gain some sense of individuality and heroism by developing a color themselves. Sadly, you'll see them sink when they won't take offered help, or easy precautions before final presentation. I could honestly say this will be a team effort and I already have a couple of well trusted, strong minded, determined breeders who are willing to take part and are on this case, too. It can't get any sweeter than that!
2) Where did your stock originate from the start?
I cannot 100% answer this question correctly as far as my Jersey Woolies go. I obtained my starter herd from DTL Rabbitry in Northern California who had a litter of mystery colors. A pedigree only goes back so many generations, and the lineage shown makes the pedigree questionable on what it "really" goes back to as far as it's 'purebred' status. We suspect possibly Lionhead. But I also cannot deny I have seen a couple of Tri-color Dwarfs in my time, and also "in the day" (WAAAYYY back y'all!) there was a breeder who DID raise Tri-color Woolies! Genes can be hid back several generations.
When it comes to the American Fuzzy Lops, I have been ever so lucky to be hooked up with Fuzzy Hollands of these varieties to build base. Who's to say it wasn't Tri-color Holland Lops to be crossed into Jersey Woolies? Who really knows! :P
3) I would love to obtain this variety & would love to purchase one of from you.
Right now the project is in the midst of emerging, and while I am holding a subtle waiting list, the only animals from this project I'd be offering for sale will be strictly pets (if any) until I feel comfortable enough to get my supporters involved. This is another protection towards my ethics of breeding. Rabbits deemed unworthy to the breeding program will be culled, this is a project and will be a process folks, I don't want to screw myself out of this & don't want anybody to think this a scam for money or attention. (as sometimes animal breeders try to do).
I'd be happy to help answer any further questions or information regarding this and continue to post the progress, I won't forget pictures either. ;)
Susie Cederlof :)
Haute Wooly Couture
P.S. We have a new website link; http://www.hautewoolycouture.com/