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What color is my rabbit and a couple other questions?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

This is Poppy.  I am trying to figure out if he is considered Chestnut, Castor, Otter etc.  He is a New Zealand, dam is black and sire is white.  Poppy has what I have seen listed as chestnut in his coloring (black tip, then yellow/tan, then blue/gray banded fur), but then about half of his fur is yellow tipped instead of black and a reddish gold at the back of his neck.  He also has a fine white trim on the inside edge of his ear, tan around his eyes, around parts of his nose, tan under his chin, tan belly and white on the underside of his tail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am new to the rabbit business.  Is there any recommendations on reading material (book, internet etc) for figuring out what colors you have in your litter of kits besides the basic black, blue, white and the broken.  I think I finally have it figured out that chestnut classification in one breed is considered castor in another.  I only have New Zealands.  And, also reading material on what constitutes show quality as opposed to pet quality.  All I know for New Zealands is that Black, White, Red, and the broken are the only showable colors with possibly blue being recognized next year.

 

Also, I recently got a white buck (Poppy's sire), and a white doe.  The people who had them before I got them have had successful litters from the pair.  The doe giving birth and successfully raising 11 kits.  Our first breeding of the pair produced 9 kits, but all died between  3 and 5 days (day three is when I got an accurate count and there were 9 living...day five all were dead).  Two of the 9 seemed to have lived a little longer then the rest since they actually had the start of the white fur on them and were a little bigger then the rest.  Any suggestions on what may have happened to the litter?

 

Thank you in advance for all help you can give to this confused bunny momma.

owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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post #2 of 7
Poppy is a Chestnut. Castor is a special variation on Chestnut that is seen in Rex breeds. There is a sort of "helper" gene (called a rufous modifier) that put a lot more of the yellow/red pigment into the coats of Castors, that makes for a deeper, richer, redder shade than your basic Chestnut.

New Zealand Reds need those rufous modifiers to be that really rich, brick red color on the body, rather than a sort of orangey shade. But even with all of the modifiers doing their best (there are about 4, we think), the belly fur would still not be red. To get the red color on the belly, you need another gene, called the wide-band gene. The wide-band gene makes the light colored band on the body hairs wider than it normally is (hence the name), and allows some of the yellow/red pigment to color areas where it usually doesn't appear. Since your rabbit seems to have some yellow pigment showing up on his belly, but doesn't have an unusual amount on his body, I'm guessing he has wide-band genes, but not the rufous modifiers.

I don't think your doe neglected her litter; any doe that could raise 11 is a good mother! What have your temperatures been like? If a kit or two died and weren't removed from the nest, their dead bodies can draw warmth from the rest of the litter. If the weather is cool enough, that could doom the whole litter. I have had a few litters that couldn't seem to stay warm in spite of everything I could think to do, and I wound up losing them when other litters born at the same time were fine.
Edited by Bunnylady - 11/17/15 at 7:05am
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you Bunnylady.  Without you even knowing it you already helped me think chestnut over castor which someone else told me Poppy was when he was still a baby.  I saw a post a few days ago where a year or so ago someone else had posted a question about the coloring or something of their rabbit on this site and you responded to them.  You put down the description of the chestnut (which is what I paraphrasd in my original question) and the description for steel which goes along with the chestnut, but more black at the tip so it nearly covers the lighter band in the middle etc.  You mentioned a book that you had about 15 years ago which someone borrowed and never returned so you were running on memory.  I loved your descriptions.  They were detailed to where I would be confident enough to say yay or nay to those colorings (but not overly done to confuse me) to where I was pretty sure Poppy was more of a chestnut, except his yellowish/tanish belly and the yellow on the back of his neck was throwing me.  I wish I could find more of those types of descriptions.

 

As for Miss Moose's litter.  She is actually in the basement, out of the last month and a half we've had the heat on to maintain 68 degrees in the house for a month of it.  Our doe with the litter outside that was born the same day is doing great, and she's had to go through rain, wind storms, and temperature fluctuations (40's-70's during day, 30's-50's during night).

 

The kit or two dying prior to the rest could be possible.  Because this was our first time with Moose and her litter I didn't know how protective she would be or upset with someone touching her young to where she would hurt them etc.  So on the day they were born (during middle of night 11/6/15 to morning of 11/7/15) I did a quick count of them on the evening of 11/7/15 and counted 5-6.  It was quick in and out with my hand.  Two days later, when I went down after work (around 4:30 - 5 pm) to check on food and water, and give their daily veggie/fruit treat she was in the box nursing and jumped out for her treat.  With her occupied, I pulled the nest box closer to get a better count.  This was when I saw 9 and I'm pretty sure all moved when I touched them.  Again, I tried to be quick to not upset Moose.  When I went down again after work on the 12th she jumped out of the nest box and I noticed that it was all flattened out like a rabbit just using it to play around in by jumping in and out.  I immediately pulled it out and found them all dead. And like I mentioned in the original post two were a bit bigger and actually had some white fur on them as opposed to the other 7, and those might have died a little sooner since their sides were sunk in and you could see rib definition.  I do want to mention that I am downstairs and outside feeding the rabbits twice a day...before and after work.  Everything I noticed or doing head counts just happened to fall in the after work category.

owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Also...is chestnut and agouti the same thing (on the one post of yours...I actually still have it up in another browser and it is from 2/10/14....I was a little confused on that).  Below is a picture that I just saw on the web and the heading is Chestnut: Chestnut Agouti New Zealand Rabbit.  This is Poppy almost to a T.  It has the markings on face that I was thinking were otter markings, and the alternating yellow tipped to black tipped fur (which on closer inspection last night was yellow tipped, then a black, then a little wider yellow/tan, then the wider blue gray fur).  The only thing is the picture isn't showing the yellowish section of fur behind the neck, can see the belly color on the picture, and the picture seems to have a bit of a reddish hue to fur (which could be from lighting or not).

 

http://pocketpause.com/birdsong-farm/img_4843-2/

owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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post #5 of 7

I'm glad to know I have helped your understanding, I always worry that I'm just adding to the confusion! I have seen a lot of people's eyes glaze over when they get anywhere near a genetics discussion, and I'm like, "oh, come on, it's not that bad when you know what to look for!"

 

If there was something upsetting your doe, it's possible that she might have been jumping in and out of the nest box and wound up trampling her kits to death. If she was just sitting in the box a lot, while she might have been pee'ing in the bedding and making it nasty that way, the kits are active enough at that age to crawl into the corners and get away if they need to.  This doe successfully raised a litter, so you know she has milk; besides, you'd most likely have noticed that the kits were scrawny and dying when you saw them at day 3 (it takes about 3 days for kits to starve to death). IDK, sometimes, all you can do is try again.:idunno

 

In rabbits, "Agouti" refers to a pattern of colors in the rabbit's coat. On the body hairs, the agouti patterned rabbit has bands of color, with a dark tip, then a lighter middle band, and usually a medium-gray color at the base. Agouti patterned rabbits have light colored hair inside their ears, light rings around their eyes, and light colored hair around their nostrils, under the jaw, on the belly, and on the underside of the tail. There is a lighter-colored "triangle" of hair right behind the agouti-patterned rabbit's ears. The gene that causes the agouti pattern is found in the "A" series, and as it is the most dominant gene in the series, it is given the capital letter A.

 

Also in the A series is a gene known as the "self" gene. Self patterned rabbits are basically one solid color from nose to tail. Think of it this way - a rabbit has the ability to make two different pigments, black/brown and yellow/red. The Agouti gene restricts the black to only certain parts of the hairs, while the self gene lets the black wash through the hair completely unrestricted. Self is the most recessive gene in the series, so it gets designated with the lower-case a.

 

The third gene in the A series is the Tan gene. A tan-patterned rabbit is perhaps best described as having the body color of a self, and the light-colored "trim" of an agouti.The body hairs are solid colored, but you have the light eye circles, belly, etc, like an agouti, including the "triangle" at the base of the ears. In appearance, a tan is halfway between a self and an agouti, and that's how things stack up in terms of dominance, too - tan is dominant to self, but recessive to agouti. Since this makes a third member of the A series, it gets designated at.

 

Chestnut is the "classic" agouti color, but there are others - Chinchilla, Opal, Squirrel and Lynx are just a few. In most breeds we simply call a full-color agouti patterned rabbit a Chestnut, though there are a few breeds where it is called a Chestnut Agouti. In Great Britain, a rabbit of that color may simply be called Agouti (as if things weren't confusing enough, right?)


Edited by Bunnylady - 11/17/15 at 9:35pm
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

You are wonderful!​! :celebrate  I am copying and pasting any information I find from you in a document to save for my reference chart.  I also saw the information that you were giving Wolfbane who lost the 3.4 week olds.  Wolfbane might not have been too interested in what you had to say, but I found it helpful and useful.  I will be copying that too.  If you have the time, and only if you want to, I will gladly take more genetics lessons with color descriptions from you for my reference chart.  I have figured out that what one calls a color in one breed is considered a different color/name in another breed like castor and chestnut.  We just have NZ's so I'd like to stick with that color classification if possible, but if not possible, I will take any and all info and go from there.

owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Also, we did rebreed Moose yesterday so we will see how it goes.  We did find out from first hand experience about something scaring a doe really bad can cause her to kill her litter.  A raccoon scared one of our does (Baby) in the past that she killed and mutilated (ate) 3 of her 6 kits, and took a rear leg off the fourth (Thumper).  Baby, Thumper, and other two kits came into the house after that until kits were 8 weeks. All did great.  She is on her 2nd litter since that happened and all has been fine.  She is the one that had this last litter the same day as Moose, and she's the one that is outside and they are going strong.

owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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owned by 60 chickens, 6 ducks, 1 peahen, 16 rabbits, 2 cats, and 1 dog.
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