cont. from previous post: Introducing………..

Color is enticing. The REW germans are beautiful, the pure white wool can be dyed any color………..but who can resist bunnies in a rainbow of colors, and the naturally colored spinning fiber they produce? I couldn’t, obviously.

Angora rabbits have been carefully bred for generations in Germany. The REW (ruby-eyed-white – albino) German angora population here in the United States are descendants of imported German stock that was bred for commercial wool production. They are known for their sweet, gentle temperaments (so important at shearing time!) and high wool yields – characteristics that make the German Angora my breed of choice! (click here for a brief history of development  of the German Angora)

Two black German does were imported in 2006. They were 9 and 10 generations after the original color cross. Whatever that cross may have been (proprietary information, I was told), there hasn’t been sufficient generations to completely weed out coat issues and bring the black Germans up to the same quality as our ’02 and’06 import REW stock here in the US.

To date, a percentage of the young from black German backgrounds manifest non synchronous wool growth, for example a coat containing 3″ fiber and another layer of 1/2″ fiber. I’ve also been told that sometimes you see non synchronicity in younger animals (these black lines anyway), and then it goes away as they age.

I’m new to the black Germans. This is the first colored litter I’ve raised. But I know I’ve learned a lot since I got my first black purebed German over a year ago. I don’t think I realised then, how the black Germans have not been worked with long enough to bring them up to the same standard as the REW germans. Though indeed they are Purebred Germans, (because they are descended from 100% imported stock), I think it is more accurate, at least for the novice, to think of them as german hybrids and treat them accordingly.

While I think Lette probably showed non synchronous growth as a youngster, (her breeder shears kits often as they are growing, which I think kept her from noticing the non sync.) Lette has given me an adult coat that I am pleased with. Non-sync issues are often a matter of degree. And if she has it, I’m thinking so far, it may be very slight; I will be continuing to watch her coat. I am spinning up her adult coat right now, and it has been wonderful. In my current litter from her and Odell at 9 weeks, I’ve seen a second layer of growth coming in. While I’m disappointed to see that, I’m also hoping that they will develop into adults as good as their dam –  better hopefully, due to their REW sire. In regards to whether the kits will show coat synchronicity or no, we may not be able to tell much until the rabbit is at least 6 months old.  Ideally it will have been sheared twice by them, which will help to synchronize the coat.

So all that to say that yes, SWA Blueberry is special, but she and the black German population as a whole, still have a ways to go. I am retaining her and hope to breed her back to a good REW buck and hopefully contribute to the work of improving those wonderful colored Germans!

Bungalow Farm's Lette - Black Purebred German Angora Doe

Endnotes:

Leslie Samson, co- importer of the two black German does, wrote a good article about coat synchroncity and the black Germans for the December 2010 IAGARB newsletter. I hope that article gets included in the iagarb.com website, but until then, email me, and I will gladly share a copy.

While I would hate to scare anyone away from the colored purebred Germans, I feel it is part of full disclosure to explain that, as a whole, they have not yet reached the high standard of the regular REW German stock. Coat non synchronicity and texture issues still need to be worked out. This needs to be taken into consideration when purchasing bunnies, (whether colored or albino), with black german heritage.

Also, I would be interested in hearing from anyone else who is working with the purebred colored Germans, and especially updates from those who adopt these kits. I will be eager to hear how Blueberry’s siblings continue to develop.

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