Question about fur texture

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MaggieJ, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am curious about a certain texture of fur. A few kits in every litter from one of my does have unusual fur. The doe has "normal" fur but these kits have somewhat longer, very soft, silky fur that gives them a fluffy look because it is a little bit fly-away. Fluffy but not fuzzy.

    I bred one of these kits back to his dam and in the new litter all have the silky fur and there is one with even longer fur which looks absurd but cute.

    It is not wool like an Angora... no crimp. It doesn't have the plush look of a Rex. Whatever it is, it's very pretty and strokable. The kits are either white with black markings like an English Spot or black with a touch of white on toes, foreheads or under chins.

    Anyone know what I mean? :shrug: Is there a term for it? I've been calling them silkies but of course that's chickens. LOL
     
  2. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What breed(s) are the doe and buck?

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
    Chairperson, ARBA Commercial Department Committee
     

  3. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    It could be satin fur. I've had a few crop up in my line of purebred Californians. Does the fur appear a bit more shiny than the normal-coated kits?
     
  4. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'll explain why I am asking about what breeds the sire and dam are:

    Many years ago, someone had the bright idea of crossing white Angora rabbits with New Zealand Whites. It must have been pretty popular at the time, because even now, it is not uncommon for "woolie" kits to pop up in litters of purebred NZW's. So, I'm thinking that these kits of yours may be "throwbacks" to something like that. If there is any NZW in their line at all, it is a possibility.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
    Chairperson, ARBA Commercial Department Committee
     
  5. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks so much Pat and Rabbitgal, for taking the time to explain some of the possibilities. It has been puzzling me for a long time.

    Maybe they are satins. The fur is very shiny but there is no hint of frosting. Does the translucency of the satin's fur change the colour or just the shine?

    These are mutt rabbits that Brian bought for $5 apiece at a yard sale about 14 month ago. The does and their offspring had been kept in an overcrowded community pen and were filthy. The buck was in better shape as he had his own cage. Not the rabbits I would have chosen, but I think Brian perhaps felt sorry for them... and given better care they perked up amazingly and always produce terrific litters.

    As far as I know there is no NZW in their background. All my rabbits have dark eyes, but sometimes there are smoky blue-grey kits whose eyes almost match their fur. They have the silky fur too, but it is not quite as long and and shiny as the black ones.

    My two senior does are full sisters, but look nothing alike. "Brindle" is a sort of salt and pepper mix of black and tan and is huge and long in the body. I suspect she is large-boned too... she reminds me of pictures I have seen of Flemish Giants. She does have nice big litters (8 - 12) and is an excellent mother.

    "Patches" (the mother of the kits I am talking about) is a bit smaller but still around ten pounds, white broken with black. She has a good chunky body shape and nice fur, but just the normal length.

    The senior buck ("Bucky") is completely unrelated. He is smaller but very chunky and seems to pass that on to his offspring. His fur is ordinary texture and shades of grey with a pale underbelly. He looks a bit like Thumper in the Bambi movie. LOL.

    "Tao" is a "tuxedo" patterned black and white buck from Patches' second litter by Bucky. He has a good body shape and the silky longish fur and a wonderful disposition, so I bred him back to his dam. Their six kits are the most promising I have seen so far.

    I know breeding mutts is not what most people want to do, but these are very nice rabbits and I am getting some interesting improvements in conformation, appearance and even disposition. We have even determined which are easier to skin during processing and I take that into account when choosing breeders. The fur is not really important because I don't have time to process pelts right now, but I do find these silky, satiny rabbits very pretty and it is a pleasure to look at them.

    As I have no money in the budget right now for purebred stock, I figure I may as well try a bit of line breeding with the rabbits I have and gain some experience. I will likely grow out the best ones in this litter and see how they shape as breeders.

    Keeping rabbits for meat is the most productive aspect of our homesteading activities so far. They are nice to work with and certainly keep us well supplied with excellent meat. And the garden is thriving on the bunny pellets. I am very grateful for all the wonderful information and advice that people on this board so generously share.
     
  6. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Like Pat sugggested, they could be "woolie" babies also.

    Satin fur is shinier than normal fur, and although the color appears slightly more intense (white rabbits appear ivory) , the gene alters the texture and structure of the fur more than anything else. I think it's a simple recessive gene, meaning both parents have to carry the gene for it to be expressed in the offspring.

    Here's some photos of Satin rabbits: http://www.asrba.com/
     
  7. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, I guess I'll keep a couple of the best ones around for a while and see what happens. Thanks for posting the link for the Satins, Rabbitgal. Hard to tell from the pictures much about the fur.

    Funny thing, though.... I was unpacking some vintage clothing for my little antique shop and came across a sweet little rabbit fur shoulder cape with fur of a similar texture. It was much thicker, of course, being from mature rabbits' prime fur, but it felt the same.

    If these are "woolies", will their fur possibly grow long like an angora's? I just love the surprises that pop up in some of these litters. :)
     
  8. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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  9. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Oh, that photo is of Angora-furred rabbits. If your bunnies look like that, then they're probably woolies.
     
  10. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with Rabbitgal.

    Pat Lamar
     
  11. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks Rabbitgal and Pat for the input. So it seems I have a two woolies in this litter. Cool. I'd never seen Angora-furred kits before and wasn't allowing for the fact that they have to grow those long luxuriant coats from nothing.

    I'll keep these two kits and see how they shape. As good luck would have it, they are also the two largest in a litter of nice plump kits. I've been reading up on their grooming needs and wool block.

    The funny thing is that I've been saying for months that I would like to have an Angora or two. I'm kind of interested in natural fibres. If I enjoy these buns as much as I think i will, who knows... maybe I'll save up for some purebred Angora stock.

    I really appreciate you both taking the time to help me sort this out!