Old School Oorang Airedales (from Internet)
I sold some rabbits today, a breeding pair to be specific: a nice little nine-week-old broken buck with a heavy red pattern and a nice twelve-week-old red doe. The gentleman had called before to make an appointment. I erroneously thought this was the man and son who asked for my business card at the January KRBA show. Instead, a man and his wife drove up the driveway to buy some New Zealand reds and talk rabbits for a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon.
It is people like this couple that remind me why I breed rabbits. Yes, I enjoy producing home grown meat; I even enjoy sitting back and watching my rabbits kick up their heels in the exercise pen. But the rabbits also serve as a way to meet new people and share ideas about a hobby that we enjoy.
Ramon was full of knowledge about breeding rabbits and I learned much from him. He had also purchased his foundation stock from Manuel Hidalgo. I listened as he told me about his adventures in breeding Manuel’s whites with a broken red and getting babies with all sorts of colors. One topic led to another rabbit related topic: from stacking cages to gardening with rabbit pellet compost. Like Manuel, he suggested I breed year around through the Valley heat and utilize a forty-one day breed back calendar. But the story I enjoyed most was about how he uses the red worms from his garden to go fishing. The joy in his voice was evident when he talked about taking his worms to Texas, so he could go fishing with his grandchildren.
People often ask me if I ship my rabbits via airlines. Yes, I do. But to me, the joy in purchasing a new rabbit is the road trip itself. I want to hit the road; try new restaurants; see new country; meet new people. Ramon agreed. It is not a chore, but fun to hop into the car and drive to Northern California or Oregon and visit with some breeders and have a chance to share ideas about our hobby. I used to make it a family adventure to take my Mammoth Donkey to Las Vegas so she could visit her boyfriend. After we dropped her off at the West Farm Mule Ranch, the Vegas buffets and shopping awaited. I guess I owe this love of animal road trips to my dad, who once drove the family in a Dodge Chinook Plus from California to Sparta, Tennessee so we could bring home an eight week old Oorang Airedale puppy from the legendary Mooreland Kennels . That puppy grew into the king of the neighborhood: the bear like dog who battled the brown UPS truck on a daily basis.
At work, I often hide in my classroom so I do not have to debate the virtues of the latest reinvention in education. On TV, the nation is at war: Trump vs. anti-Trump. But when I talk rabbits with people, we are just people who share the enjoyment of breeding these funny, long eared critters. I anxiously await the next Hackett family road trip to Reno for the West Coast Classic. My students always ask, what do I do at these rabbit shows. I say it is simple: I talk rabbits.