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New Zealand meat rabbits breeding/genetics question

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just scored a beautiful black doe (breeder states non-showable Steel) and a Blue buck.  I'm wondering what their offspring colors might be?  
Thanks for any insight :bow

Edited by Dumb Kluck - 4/10/15 at 10:33pm
post #2 of 14
Do you have the pedigrees for either, or know the parents for either?

If the doe is a blue she's - aa B_ C_ dd E_ W_
Totally black Steel is - aa Ese, however we don't know the other genetics regarding it.

So... What's their lineage? Because you've got a lot of options here so far.
post #3 of 14

Hoo, boy! This could get nutsy!


Did the breeder also tell you that the blue is unshowable as well? I know there are people working on it, but to the best of my knowledge, blue still isn't a recognized color (I may be working with old data; that situation may have changed).


Steel is a weird color. The classic steel is Agouti-patterned, and looks like an extra-dark chestnut. The thing is, steel has a wide variety of ways it can be expressed. The critical combination is A_EsE (that's Agouti plus one copy of steel, and one copy of normal extension); that is your typical steel-colored rabbit. The problem is, you can get the steel gene in other combinations that don't look anything like a steel, and never know it's there. For example, I bred a NZW to a pedigreed Harlequin, and got solid black babies. Some of them developed a little bit of steel-type ticking as they got older, but none of them looked like a classic steel. Because the doe was a REW, I can't be sure what most of the other genes they got from her would have been, but I know beyond reasonable doubt that they got Agouti (A) and Harlequin (ej) from their sire. Obviously, they got steel from the the NZW - that's the only possible source; they would have to have been chestnuts otherwise.


A solid black NZ could have two self genes (aa), or it could have agouti (A) and one of the funky steel combinations going on in the E series. Even your blue buck might have self, or he might have Agouti and either two steel genes (EsEs) or a steel gene and a non-extension (Ese). As CBL said, pedigrees would go a long way toward narrowing down what genes these rabbits are likely to have. 


Without further information, of all the colors New Zealands are known to throw, about the only thing we can definitely rule out is Broken.:idunno 

Edited by Bunnylady - 4/11/15 at 1:32pm
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Oh boy,  that's a lot of info & possibilities! And what language you are speaking?  It looks a bit like English mixed with ???  LOL
I have no idea the exact parentage, only that the lady I got them from raises for county 4-H kids & show, and that she is breeding specifically for Blue and Steels in her New Zealand lines, but from the sounds of it, that may not be much of a clue.
I got them in trade for flowering plants. I might try to ask her more about them but I hesitate to be a pest over bartered bunnies...  I will add another reply if/when I know more.    
Thanks :thumbsup

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

okay, I stand corrected, the Steels pop up randomly and she isn't breeding specifically for them.  All pedigree parentage is Black or Blue, some broken in the lines but since neither parent is broken I won't get any broken.  She did mention a very slim probability of a REW but sounds like they should throw mostly black or blues (which is what I was hoping).  I think I'm most interested in selecting for blues as they begin to produce, it's such a lovely color for fur/pelts.

post #6 of 14
I have a REW for that I bred with a blue New Zealand buck. Her kit consisted of 4 whites, 3 black, and one black with white belly and inside ears. Was wondering if this is a possibility? I'm certain they are purebred New Zealand. Have never crossed these colors before, and am confused with the odd colored black and white bunny. Any help?
post #7 of 14

How old is this litter? 


If the kits are only a few days old, the odd colored one is pretty easy to explain.


There are several different genes that determine what color a rabbit's coat is, and it is the combination of the influence of all of them that determines what the rabbit looks like. It's sort of like putting several different filters in front of a spotlight - what color shows up where on the stage depends on what colors and shapes are on the filters. Well, Ruby-eyed White is kind of like the on/off switch on the spotlight - it says, "no pigment is produced." The other genes are still there, you just don't see what they code for because there is no pigment in the hair for them to act on.


Dark on the body and light on the belly and inside the ears is the pattern produced by  the Agouti gene. You must have the Agouti gene to get Red, and since Red is a New Zealand color, it is very common to find the Agouti gene in New Zealands of other colors. A REW could have self genes, or Agouti genes, and you'd never know, because there is no pigment to show the gene's influence. 


The most common Agouti pattern color is Chestnut - basically, the color of the wild rabbits. If you look at a single body hair from an Agouti patterned animal. you will see a dark tip, a lighter band in the middle, and a medium-dark band at the base closest to the skin. In the case of the Chestnut, the tips of the hairs are black, the band in the middle is yellowish, and the color at the base is sort of blue-gray. With a newborn rabbit, the color at the tip of the hair is the only thing you see - the other colored bands will only  become visible as the kit gets older and its hair grows longer. 


If this kit turns out to be a Chestnut, well, that is perfectly within the possibilities when crossing purebred New Zealand colors. I can think of a couple of other colors that might look black on the back and white on the belly as newborns, and they don't come from normal New Zealand genetics, but we won't worry about them for now. 

post #8 of 14
They are 8 days old as of today. I don't see and yellow color. Just light black/grey on the back. What is this other colors you can think of that don't come from normal nz genetics?
post #9 of 14
post #10 of 14

I went googling and found this picture; these are baby lops, but they show the colors really well:



They are Chestnut, Chinchilla, and Steel, in that order. Of the three, Chinchilla is the only color that you can't get from pure New Zealand breeding. Steels can vary quite a bit in shade (they can even appear to be solid black at this age), but their bellies are usually at least somewhat colored, and not completely white. At this age, there is just a little bit of the yellow color showing on the Chestnut; it is most visible in a triangle-shaped patch on the back of the head, just behind the ears. The Chinchilla has no yellow in its coat at all - even the triangle is creamy white.

Edited by Bunnylady - 3/30/16 at 4:51am
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