However, I am most pleased with the “German Red Clippers” from Aesculap in Germany that I got this week. These really speed up the work of getting a coat off of an English Angora rabbit that has a fine, full, long elite show coat. Some degree of technique is still required in order for the clippers not to choke up on the finest, thickest parts of the coat, but with a little practice, this is not hard to figure out. These clippers are everything that we expect from legendary German engineering.
I ordered my Aesculap clippers from the company website at GermanRedClipper.com. However, I ran into a couple of issues. First of all, the order tracking system on the site simply does not work. Second, no one answers emails sent via the site. Third, the package was not properly identified and got hung up in American Customs. I found a voice message from UPS to that effect, after I was about to dispute the charge to my credit card for merchandise not received. Once that issue was dealt with, I received the clippers the next day. My advice would be to purchase the clippers from an American dealer who has them in stock, if possible. You can find them on eBay. The Cherrybrook pet supplies company in New Jersey carries them. There are probably other domestic companies that have them also, but I have not taken the time to search.
The 2014 ARBA Convention judging begins tomorrow in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. As I type that, I get a little tugging feeling on my heart, because I had been so focused on going, until a few weeks ago. I decided that because I am caring for a sick friend’s rabbits this year, in addition to my own herd, that it would be better if I stayed home. Another factor was that I had a sinus infection for about a month, and that really set me back on my rabbit grooming. On the plus side, we are having lovely weather here in northeastern Kansas, and I like getting work done in the rabbitry during this period where the outdoor temperatures are just right.
I have a few litters of baby rabbits. Most show breeders like to plan their rabbit breeding so that they have seniors in prime show coat for the ARBA Convention each fall, and for the NARBC Angora National each spring. However, I probably will not go to the ARBA Convention in Portland, Oregon next year, or if I do go, it will be without rabbits. I might go to the NARBC National, which is likely to be at the Mini Convention in Ohio, but it isn’t a firm commitment yet. So, I decided just to breed rabbits for the purpose of improving my herd, and to put breeding for specific shows on the back burner. As a result, I find that I much prefer having baby rabbits when the weather is not freezing! Even with a heated rabbitry, cold weather makes winter babies more hazardous. By the time December rolls around this year, while other breeders are beginning their breeding for 2015 show rabbits, I will already have my litters weaned and on the way. I will be focusing on grooming instead of nest boxes.
Something else I want to write about today is mucoid enteritis. It is a very mysterious illness that is more often a problem in rabbits that are from 4 to 14 weeks of age. Last winter, I lost several kits in the 4-6 week range to it. A couple of weeks ago, I lost two 8 week old weanlings to it. I had treated the herd for coccidiosis, using Di-Methox, and I give each rabbit some plain grass hay daily. I was not expecting more problems with enteritis. There are no definitive, firm answers as to what brings it on. Trying to save rabbits that turn up with it is folly; they are going to die, with few exceptions. I even took rabbits to the vet and had them given subQ fluids, but they still died. After my recent cases, I found a couple of blog posts on the internet wherein a couple of rabbitry owners found their incidences of enteritis greatly reduced after treating their herds with fenbendazole (aka Panacur, Safeguard) to prevent e. cuniculi infection.
A lot of rabbit breeders include treatment with fenbendazole as part of routine maintenance in their rabbitries, along with biannual or quarterly treatments with coccidiastats. It is a good deworming medication, given three days in row. However, as a prophylactic against e. cuniculi, which is a protozoan, it should be given to the rabbits for 9 days in a row. To treat acute infections, it should be given for 28 days. “Head-tilt,” or “wry neck” might also be prevented with fenbendazole, as e. cuniculi is believed to be one major cause of that. So, I am treating my young kits ages 4 weeks and up, with this, to see if it helps: Liquid Durvet Safeguard Goat Dewormer. TSC stores and Orscheln stores carry the liquid Safeguard and the feed crumbles. The feed crumbles are useful for treating a large herd of adult rabbits that are housed individually.
Fenbendazole is safe for pregnant does. Alfred J. Mina DVM offers this information about dosage for top-dressing, feed crumbles 0.5% Fenbendazole, “If the dose is 10 mg Fenbendazole/pound Rabbit and the concentration is 5 mg Fenbendazole/gram pellets:”
1 lb. 2 g pellets=> 1/2 tsp
2 lb. 4 g pellets =>approx 1 tsp
3 lb. 6 g pellets =>approx 1 tsp
4 lb. 8 g pellets => approx 2 tsp
5 lb. 10 g pellets=> 2 tsp
6 lb. 12 g pellets=> approx 2 tsp
7 lb. 14 g pellets=> 3 tsp or 1 tbsp
8 lb. 16 g pellets=>approx 3 tsp
9 lb. 18 g pellets=> approx 4 tsp
10 lb. 20 g pellets=> 4 tsp
Regarding my fall litters of English Angora kits, I find that I am beginning to see the results of the selection process now. My litters are much more uniform and of better type than any previous litters. I don’t have one single long bodied or flat topline now. Most of them have hocks that squarely support their hindquarters.