READ FIRST BEFORE ASKING ABOUT RABBIT SALES
I have been asked what is different about Angoras than other breeds?
What makes them harder to care for and all the “warnings” from breeders. I am starting a list of some of the things I have observed- I may yet add to, and edit this list- so this is my "start" at the bottom of this list will be some of my personal rules about selling my own English Angoras.
Quite simply the wool affects the care of them in more ways than a person originally thinks. And I am going to be leaving the grooming of the wool itself to the last. Admittedly some of these will be with the show owner in mind- but really only a few.
1. Body Condition- An ordinary rabbit with normal fur, it is pretty easy to see changes in body weight. If a rabbit’s weight/body condition starts changing it is one of the first signs they are not feeling good. Wool makes it very hard to see subtle changes. If their wool has started webbing at all even a quick rub over with the hand is not going to let you feel how much fat is on the backbone.
2. Wool Block- Rabbits groom themselves like cats. UNLIKE cats they cannot puke up any hairballs that form in their systems. This is something that the angora owner has to be ever aware of and alert to. Impacted masses of hair in the digestive system will mean a painful death for bunny.
3. Short “show life” If you are planning to show angoras realize that at least for English angoras, while you might show an animal that has been shorn at a local show and do ok- most serious competitors do not dream of putting an animal on the show table that has past its first coat. So from the time they are around 5 months old, to if you are lucky and very diligent about upkeep of a show coat, about 15 months old is the last show they will attend.
4. Fur mites- treating an angora once for fur mites is likely NOT going to be a one time process. I recommend treatment every 3-4 months, and if you have an issue you may need to treat, and treat again in two weeks. Plan to buy a $50 bottle of injectable ivomec cattle solution, and a 1ml syringe. The reason I do not recommend the horse paste is that the paste is not intended for tiny amounts, and is blended with that in mind. You may be giving the animal medications that is not enough to work properly, or overdosing the bunny with the very same amount of paste.
5. Fleas- If you want an angora as a pet keep in mind the safe treatments for fleas are not the cheapest ones out there. I use Advantage which is the active ingredient Imidacloprid. NOT Advantix or Advantage II- you ONLY want the SINGLE active ingredient. The other safe flea treatment is Revolution with the active ingredient of Selamectin.
6. Feed- Wool is protein. An angora has to have a reasonable amount of protein to produce a good coat. While an average pet bunny might “get by” on whatever food you decide upon, you will need to be very attentive to the diet of your angora. Part of this will be making sure they have a good balance of fiber(to help prevent wool block) and protein (so they can produce a nice coat) This is the same for most show animals to be competitive, but really is honestly important to pets and fiber angoras as well. A rabbit cannot choose to stop producing wool. You may not feed it properly to produce a good coat, but remember the animal will be robbing nutrients from somewhere if it hasn’t got the stuff it needs to produce the coat it was bred for. Choosing a quality food is not the cheapest route- ever. Just PLAN on paying around $20 for a 50 lb bag.
7. Cages- size To grow a coat you need plenty of space around the bunny so it does not wear. When they are shorn they may get by in a smaller cage, as an English angora is only about a 6 lb bunny without wool. Once that coat starts growing in you can expand your rabbits size from 4 inches across the back to closer to 20 inches. Plan for large enough cages to house all the fluff. You will find even a 30” x 30” cage feels small for a rabbit in full coat.
8. Cages- cleaning They shed, hair goes everywhere, it gets caught on stuff, it goes through their system and strings the poop together so that it hangs up on even wire bottom cage. A metal grill, or welding brush and a propane torch are your friends. In our barn we save the English lop cages for last on cleaning day because we know they will be the easiest to clean. Two years ago I saved all the spiderwebs in the top of one barn for a fiber arts friend of mine because they had caught so much shed angora wool it was like pre-blended spidersilk/angora AND he actually spun it and made something. (Ok, it was a small something, but my point remains. Hair. Everywhere.)
9. Equipment- most rabbits don’t take a lot of equipment, which makes them good project for a 4-H kid on a budget. The English angora in particular REALLY needs a blower to be able to groom for a competitive rabbit. It also helps cut the grooming time down and is much gentler on the rabbit than having to brush them. A shop vac will not put out the air volume to actually “groom” a rabbit. It can “fluff them up” but won’t knock out loose hair that causes webbing, or blow out forming tangles without removing wool. I personally have the grooming blower I purchased over 35 years ago for my show sheep. It was very expensive at that point, but as I have only had to replace a cord, filters and a hose- in the long run it has been a great investment. It is a Circuiteer and they run somewhere around $400 new now. Metro makes a good reliable blower- plan on paying in the range of $150-175 for one. Metro does make a smaller blower- but you will be happier in the long run if you get something that isn’t just for fluffing a 1.7 HP is the least powerful you should consider as your main blower. Add to your blower cost a good table to groom on that is at a comfortable height for you to work. The top needs to be skid proof (carpeted) so your bunny feels secure. Portability is very nice because I groom outside only because of the dust involved, and like to move as the shade in my yard moves. OH yeah, you might want to consider dust mask and goggles.
10. Climate control- Some rabbits might be ok in a hutch outside year around. Hot days you can put a mister on them, or give them ice bottles. Cold days you can stuff their nestboxes full of straw. Neither of these things works for an angora. We live in Oklahoma where the summers can get in triple digits, and winters can be ice storms. I have insulated barns equipped with heaters, and evaporative coolers, and super size fans. MANY breeders I know have air-conditioning. Water on a fleece/coat can really mess it up, as can straw/hay in the coat. Closing up a barn means more maintenance on trays to keep ammonia down in the barn which can be bad for the rabbit’s lungs. Planning on keeping bunny in your house? Get used to pet hair on everything.
11. More Grooming and Shearing Ok so you are planning to keep your bunny shorn down- you don’t NEED a grooming blower. You will likely get bitten, scratched and frustrated. Anything past about 30 days growth will take grooming. The top side of bunny isn’t TOO bad to groom, but there are places that are a nightmare. Front armpits are the worst. Under the chin is pain. The back of the neck behind the ears ALWAYS is hard to get without catching a wrinkle of skin. Don’t poke the bunny in the eyes getting the cheeks shorn, and OH yes, be careful around that tail… There is a bone in there somewhere. English angoras are BRED to have equal density everywhere. Look it up- it’s in the standard, (You did buy your ARBA Standard of Perfection so you know what you are shopping for didn’t you?https://www.arba.net/store/store.php… ) Grooming clippers that will work on a English angora are very expensive. Scissors will have to be replaced or sharpened often. I use scissors and have the fiskar ones with the sharpener that are dedicated to the bunny barn. I sharpen between shearing every 1-2 rabbits. Some people are a lot better at this than others. If you are expecting the rabbit to just sit quietly while you do this you are incorrect. The faster you can learn to do this without injuring the rabbit, the easier it is on both you and the bunny. You can not handle the rabbit in the same way you can a dog or cat to groom it. Because of the structure of the rabbit and the power in its own back legs, a rabbit can actually break its own back pushing up. There are ways a rabbit’s leg will not extend, that might be used for a dog groomer safely. They are much more delicate of bone. It takes patience and determination, ESPECIALLY when learning to shear your own bunnies, and teaching the rabbit the routine the first few times. Some rabbits NEVER want to hold still to be shorn no matter how many times they have been through it.
12. Brushing a rabbit- if you can’t get over restraining a rabbit to brush it in certain places, an Angora is not likely a good breed for you. I already mentioned front armpits. This is one of a rabbits main hinge points- the points where the animal’s movement causes the fiber/wool to rub against itself and matt worse. Angoras grow hair in their armpits. English angoras grow hair EVERYWHERE!!! A rabbit’s natural tendencies are to rub their faces on things to “claim them”, we call this behavior Chinning. This causes matting around delicate places like under the chin, around the eyes, and on the cheeks. Most rabbits do NOT LIKE for this area to be brushed. Sometimes it’s like trying to brush the long hair of a 3 year old in the middle of a temper tantrum. You CAN NOT expect the rabbit to just sit there calmly and be brushed everywhere. SOME older animals might. Babies have to be trained to accept grooming. This takes patience. IN our barn we start off just holding babies upside down several times a day to get them used to the motion. That does not mean that they will hold still when we start grooming undersides, that means we have started prepping them for being in that unnatural position.
CLASS ACT ANGORA SELLING RULES
1. No Pet quality rabbits leave the barn.
2. No decisions are made before at LEAST 12 weeks old- I may decide later as I am choosing my own breeding stock first.
3. No reserved bunnies- no marking babies on hold
4. You must own a grooming blower of at least 1.7 hp
5. You must be able to provide adequate shelter from extremes of heat or cold (below freezing and above 85 degrees)
6. I do not ship. Sorry, I live in Oklahoma in the middle of nowhere. Its a nearly 4 hour round trip for me to drive to the nearest capable airport and back. If you want to find a person to arrange transport with I might be able to do that- but I will not be putting them on a plane.
7. These aren't cheap pet bunnies. I paid good money to try to get decent quality breeding stock. I have raised them, fed them, ferreted out coat colors, groomed them and culled them. Expect to pay anywhere from $150-300
I reserve the right to add to these as I see fit.
Please go to our facebook page to see our newest litters and babies.