Sunday, July 3, 2011

eight naked souls

This is what rabbits look like when they are born.

English Angora Rabbit Kits in the nest.

My super Mom Tahoe, the English Angora, kindled during the wee hours of the morning. There were no dead, no missing parts, no signs of birth. Just a neat and tidy nest fulled with her own wool that she plucked from her belly. All the kits were in the nest, nobody was on the wire, and everybody looks good. There are some runts, but I am sure Tahoe will get them fat and big in no time.

Rabbits are born blind, and deaf and have no hair. They are pretty defenseless. But they have an instinct to "pop" up when they sense that Mom might be near. It is really quite cute. I was checking her nest, and chopping up her wool that she pulled when the kits started to pop like popcorn. I cut the wool so it doesn't wrap around any necks. Rabbits, aren't affected by a human touching their kits. Tahoe and I have done this before.

Why breed rabbits? I know there are animal activist who think there are enough unwanted rabbits in the world. I have to agree. But these rabbits have a home. Here. They will produce wool, (angora) the warmest and softest wool there is, which I will harvest from them about 3 times a year. I will have to show you  one of my rabbits when they are at prime, and an after picture when they have had a hair cut. It is amazing. The grooming, I believe, is an art form.

My rabbits get a specialty diet, (that is not cheap) fresh water at all times, and premium hay to aid in digestion. They get exercise, and plenty of human contact.  I have to groom them once a week to keep their wool debris free and tangle free. This is done by blowing (with a shop vac) the wool and combing (lightly) any tangles. Their nails get trimmed regularly, and they are examined for any health concerns on a regular basis.

The English Angoras are part of my sustainable living plan here on our farm in WV. Even their poo pellets get used in the garden. They are perfect for cold climates, because of their wool.

I will sell some of rabbits to help support the rabbit program. But only to responsible breeders or owners. English Angoras are labor intensive. Many fiber artists keep them so they have a supply of the soft wool. All rabbits will have a place here if they ever need to be re-homed by their new owners. My rabbits are not cheap. I wont sell at Easter, when some folks like to buy a bunny, then later down the road lose interest in it. These are pedigreed, purebred and are responsibly bred. Meaning: if they have any unwanted features or attributes, they will be used as wool-ers or pets only. They are not in-bred, or over bred.

I think I made a good choice for a small farm operation. I know it sounds like quite a bit of work, but the rewards, are plentiful.



  1. I can't wait to see them grow up. Rabbits are so adorable.

  2. I learned so much from this post, Crow...thanks for sharing...:)JP

  3. they are remarkable... we used to have a few rabbits - 4H projects, and I adored them. Great post!

  4. Another connection - my parents raised rabbits when I was growing up. Once I realized the meat was being sold I never ventured to the hutches again [I had already stopped eating 'fried chicken' because of the Easter chicks] It was just a sad necessity. I believe they were New Zealand and . . Dutch Girl?
    I loved the photos of the baby Angora's in the basket. I'm glad these babies have you as their second momma :-)

  5. ...and here's my blog:

    Jess, from All Faiths Created Equal.

    Did you know that angora fibers are hollow on the inside? I have a picture I'll send you if you remind me.

  6. That DOES sound like a lot of work!

    We actually have 2 rabbits, they are my daughter's mini lop bunnies, Fluffy and Percy. We love them :)

  7. Wow - I've never known anyone that bred rabbits for the fur - very interesting! I tried to get a pet rabbit in college. It was the sweetest little thing and so so soft, but my eyes swelled shut - turns out I'm allergic.

  8. I think it is an excellent choice for a small farm operation. I think anything done properly is labor intensive, so it all boils down to what one loves to do. There is just something wonderful about rabbits. I still miss mine!


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