Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bucket Lists and the Fibber Cup

ARBA National Convention, San Diego

Bucket Lists and the Fibber Cup

Before leaving for San Diego and the ARBA Convention, I asked my senior English students to make slideshows for their bucket list projects. They were asked to come up with about ten items they would like to experience, see, or achieve before they died. The intent was to help them think about their futures and what they would enjoy doing in their adult lives. I made an example slideshow and demonstrated to them what my expectations were for their projects. I had one slide showing my desire to witness the Aurora Borealis. I also made a slide that examined my desire to win a class in New Zealand reds at the ARBA Convention.

Upon returning to the classroom, I informed my students that I would not be able to cross off an item from my bucket list. My daughter and I had earned a second, a third, a fourth, and a fifth, but no firsts. A first would have to wait until the ARBA convention comes west once again. But we were happy: all of our winners had come from just two litters. Our success was proof that we could keep our rabbitry small (8-10 litters per year) and still compete at the national level. With our San Joaquin Valley summer heat, raising rabbits is confined to the air-conditioned garage, with limited space; however, this year we are jumping from three to six does and we will use five bucks.

Now that we are back home, it is time to start breeding again for the 2017 season. We hope to show at the Kern County Rabbit Breeders Association show and the West Coast Classic in Reno. Our first litters should be ready for new homes around Christmas time. Hopefully, we will have some juniors that will be competitive in Reno. We were lucky to start our breeding program with quality foundation stock from Manuel Hidalgo. We quickly learned that reds were well-known with ARBA judges for having weak shoulders, so that became our priority. A heavily patterned red broken buck from Manuel has solved our shoulder problems. We are now producing reds with good body length, big butts, and full shoulders.We have also received comments on our reds’ good color. Another goal for this breeding season is to try and select brokens for breeding stock that are as calm as our reds. For some reason our broken reds like to run in circles and squeal like pigs. Does anyone else have this problem?

On a personal note, it was fun to meet Wendall Tisher. I had read articles about his famous New Zealand reds and how he travels to rabbit shows throughout the Midwest. It was nice to talk to someone else about breeding reds. I also learned it is a small world and that Mr. Tisher was also from the world of education.

Lastly, My family would like to thank everyone involved in putting on the ARBA Convention. It was smooth running and a fun experience. We didn’t know about the RabbitCon until after we had made reservations, but next time, RabbitCon will be the goal.

Once again, we cannot update our website due to lost files on a computer that crashed. We will rebuild over Christmas vacation.