Lately I've been struggling with focusing on two breeds. I'm always working at perfecting the best in them, and with so many different things to focus on in both breeds, I'm not being able to keep up with both of them to the point that I'm wanting to.
As many of you readers know, I have both Dutch and English Angora rabbits. Both are considered to be 2 of the hardest breeds to perfect in markings, body, temperament, and a thousand other things. My Dutch are amazing pets, I love working with them, I love everything about them. My Angora's are the sweetest most loveable little cuddly bundles, and I love grooming them and caring for them. But doing both at the same time isn't quite working out. I'm running out of cage space, out of time for working on them, (I seriously spend about 2 hours per day, doing rabbit chores, updating the website, working through all the charts, keeping up with e-mails...everything) and out of budget. I'm currently going through a 50# bag of feed in one week, even when feeding hay and greens. And the bottom line is, it is too much for me. I'm dealing with many other things right now, and I'm having trouble keeping up with all of these different programs.
So right now here what my next decision is: cut back. Have less. This is hard for me to do, as I'm emotionally attached to all my bunnies. They are all my best little friends. But to keep working on getting to the Standard I want them to meet, to create a better bunny, I have to work with a little less. I hate it, I hate cutting back, but really, I can see long-term that it will benefit everyone. All my rabbits, me, my friends, other breeders, everyone.
Thus I made the hard decision: I'll sell a few of my Dutch. Don't fly off the handle, I'm not selling all my Dutch, I'm nowhere near that. ;) But, for now, I'm giving up my tortoise program. See, when you're raising a certain breed, and a certain color of that certain breed, you have to focus on the genetics. (when I say the word genetics, I'm meaning the bloodlines that each rabbit carries, that when bred to another rabbit, will result in another baby rabbit that carries its own unique genetics.) When perfecting a color in a breed, rabbit breeders dub this genetic linage, a "Program". In these Programs, for example the tort Program, you place certain rabbits that carry certain genetics. A tort is best only bred to a black or itself, which is tort. That is the only way to not end up with chocolate/lilac torts, bad markings, and many other DQ's. Recently I made a mistake, that ended up causing me several genetic problems. I didn't study enough to know better. I've figured my problem out, but to get my tort lines straightened out, I need much more budget, cage space, time, and patience. All of which I'm short on right now.
See, right now I raise 5 different colors of Dutch, chocolate, blue, Tort, Black, and Grey. Each color requires its own program. Same with my Angora's. Currently my programs are BEW/vienna, fawn, cream, and tort. And each color needs a separate program, which needs a substantial budget, time, cage space, and amount of patience. So the reason I'm letting my Dutch tortoises go, is because, although I like them very much, I currently can't continue to focus on it as much as I'd like. I'm always striving for the highest quality, and right now, I can't do that with my tortoises.
Another reason I'm cutting back is the weather. Now many of you may be raising your eyebrows thinking, the weather? Seriously? Well, for me it is a bigger deal than you might think. I have outdoor hutches, not a insulated heated barn, in which I can keep close tabs on everybody, and regulate temperature. No, I have outdoor exposure, no way of heating, and too many rabbits. Even though Dutch are very hardy rabbits, I worry. I worry too much. I shouldn't, but I do. All the "what if's" are too big and too real, especially with the fact that I've dealt with several large tragedies lately, 2 of them being "what if's". I'm hoping to get a barn soon, or at least a carport to help with regulating heat/cold. But, budget wise, I'm not there yet, and I probably won't be until March. This paragraph goes for both my EA's and my Dutch. I've been told that winter for English Angora's is Cheesecake, but right now, It is very far from that for me. What is summer going to be like if winter is this bad for me to deal with?
I'm looking at sticking with my Blue, my Chocolate, and my Grey/Black. I may even end up cutting back a bit more... It will take a bit more time and prayer for me to decide what my full capacity is to work with. I've dealt with several large tragedies lately, and I'm still trying to get back on my feet with a full recovery...
So if any of you would be interested in 2 tortoise does, Peaches and Leslie, let me know. With a lot of convincing I might part with Harmony as well, as her gold has turned out more tort. Although, I may just keep her, and sell her babies as pets. We'll see. :)
I would hope to pick up my Tortoise program at a latter date. I'm not ditching it altogether, just for now. Maybe next year or the year after, I'll have the patience, and the budget, and everything else to tackle it. But not now. I still feel confident, that painful as this is for me now, it will benefit everyone in the future. When I can put more time, love, and effort into it, the end result will be much more triumphant and promising.
In other fun news, Angel is due in just a couple weeks. I'm VERY excited to see what she has, and I hope she is having babies, although there is a slight chance she might not. But, I'm hoping!
Harmony is due with her 1st litter on the 30th, I'm excited for that as well.
Lisette is also due on the 30th.
Cicily's litter is doing amazing, their eyes just opened the last couple of days, and I'm really excited to see how they will turn out. (Of course I always am!) :)
Happy Thanksgiving!! We have some fun family plans, and I hope that you do to!!