Monday, February 23, 2009

Angora Rabbit colours

Our Spring litters are beginning to arrive. We've had two litters of baby French Angora rabbits so far.

I thought you'd like to see the colours and learn how to discern a colour in the nest box.

Baby rabbits are born naked, with their eyes closed. They begin to grow fur right away and in a few days you can begin to see the colours. They open their eyes on the 10th day and by 3 weeks are vigorously active and hopping out of the nest. They begin to eat their mother's food right away.

The rabbit colours change a bit as the fibre grows out. Self rabbits -- those that are genetically solid coloured -- Black, Chocolate, Blue or Lilac are identifiable within a week of birth. Their stomachs are the same colour as their backs. Ruby eyed whites can usually be identified as soon as their eyes open at 10 day.

The mother of this litter, Crystal, is a ruby eyed white rabbit. The sire was a Chocolate rabbit. Crystals dam was a black. This tells us that these are all self rabbits -- 1 chocolate, 5 lilacs and 2 Ruby Eyed whites carrying a chocolate gene and possibly the dilute gene that makes chocolate express itself as lilac.

The Tortes need some time to grow before you can tell if they are a Torte, a blue torte, chocolate torte or lilac torte. Their self colour genetics show up in the shading of their face, ears, and flanks. Genetically a torte is a self rabbit with a dilute gene that shows the torte features. A fawn rabbit could be mistaken for a torte but the fawn rabbit is an agouti rabbit and the torte is a self rabbit genetically. The agouti colours all have paler stomach fur than the fur on their backs.

Honey's litter is another self litter. Honey is a ruby eyed white rabbit. Her babies are chocolate, 2 chocolate torte, and 3 ruby eyed whites. These baby bunnies are 4 weeks old.

Here is an adult lilac torte rabbit -- Topaz. You can see the shading on her face and ears. Her sides have a very slight shading. This shading is more pronounced in chocolate tortes and regular torte rabbits.

Fawn rabbits are genetically black rabbits with an agouti gene and a dilute gene. Their colouring is a bit redder than the torte rabbit since they lack the shading on the flank. Fawn rabbits have a paler, cream coloured underbelly.

I love fawn angora fiber for its colour -- the tips are reddish and the length of the fiber is cream coloured. The halo looks stunning with a fair complexion.

I'm spinning fawn angora right now. I've got 8 bobbins of singles yarn spun so far.

1 comment: