I am looking towards the new year (more on that in my next blog next week) I would like to be more frequent here. So I am going to start with this Alpaca/Angora yarn. Besides straight angora this blend of alpaca and angora is my favorite to spin. It is so super soft and a dream to spin. This blend is brown alpaca that I ordered a few years ago and chocolate blend of angora from my chocolates Mishcka, Violet, and Stewart. I'm going to keep this blog post updated as I go along with this yarn to show you guys how it's coming along and any advice or tips or anything that happens along the way. So for those of you wondering what The Lazy Spinster is, it's my shop name. You can find it by going to store and clicking on any product, or going to www.lazyspinsterstudio.com.
There’s been a little bit going on here at Samollynn. The baby has been getting so big. He is a boy, which wasn’t what I wanted, but like so many things in life, things don’t always go as planned. But we are going to keep him to build our Vienna Marks. I love the look of Vienna Marks and I honestly think that it adds a little something to the fiber as well. His name is Patches and he is an opal.
For those of you who are wondering what an opal is, an opal is a coloring of agouti, which that is a banding of color and ear lacing. They have either cream or white around the eyes and on the stomach, neck, and tail. There are four (five), different agouti colors. First is Chestnut. Chestnuts when they are born look black with a white underside. The chestnut is the black phase of the agouti. The reason I put five in parentheses is because Copper is another agouti, but they are just high rufus chestnuts. High rufus is a lot of red in the coloring. The next color is the chocolate which is the chocolate phase of agouti. Next is the lynx which is the lilac coloring. And finally is the opal which is the blue phase of agouti. I personally love the opal. They are stunning. Patches makes my second opal here at Samollynn, but his color is stunning. He’ll make a great addition to my herd.
Next, a few girls have found new homes. One red-eyed white girl went to go be with two other angoras I sold earlier this summer. This woman is super nice and very excited to get into angoras and working with their fiber. I also had two sisters go to a new home yesterday to a fellow spinner. I love it when I have rabbits go to a home where they will be used for what they were intended for.
I did have a guy ask me about a rabbit this week for a pet. Now I don’t really sell my guys as pets. I have made a few exceptions, but not many. This guy didn’t realize the care and attention that they need for years. He said he’d get back to me after he did some research. Well it’s been about a week and I haven’t heard from him, so I am guessing that he’s not able to do the care that is required. I’m ok with this. I’d rather have someone not get back to me if they realize that they can’t care for an animal properly than think they can and either return it or worse send it to a shelter or have it suffer.
Any way. Fall is officially here in New Hampshire. The leaves are an array of different colors and we are getting ready for winter. I need to plastic up windows and doors. There’s a window that needs to be repaired before the snow hits. Other than that everyone should be good for the winter.
So I am off to get myself set up for the week. Including figuring out who is molting. I just harvested Billy, Blue, and Bear. I think Lavender will be next. I love her fiber. It’s so beautiful to look at and spin. Then Maggie will be harvested as well. This is her junior coat and it is stunning. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Well till next time.
So about two weeks ago I was surprised to find a little baby in the nest box. The breeding in itself wasn’t a surprise, I knew she was bred. Her being pregnant was the surprise. Lily has been touch and go with her breedings and this was my third attempt this year to breed her. She’s never given large litters so having the one wasn’t a surprise. She was late in giving birth, again not surprised. What was surprising was she’s an excellent nester. She makes beautiful nests and this was kind of like thrown together at the last minute. I honestly get it, when I had my last child, number 5, I threw things together and wasn’t meticulous about getting ready for her like I was the others. This little boy is a Vienna Mark opal. His coloring is coming through beautifully and his marking is wonderful. I think he’s going to take on more of the English look rather than the French. His head is already very fluffy and he’s getting really fluffy. He’s a kisser. Every time I see him he gives me kisses. He also loves to snuggle mommy. He cuddles right under her chin while she eats. i can’t wait to see how he grows and develops.
Teeth. Every rabbit has them. They are something that people don't think about when owning or buying a rabbit. Well teeth are very important to a rabbit. It is how they eat, without food they will die. Now why am I writing about rabbit teeth? We know they need them to eat, so what? Well before you buy a rabbit the teeth are something you need to consider. A rabbit's teeth should be even and straight. If you look into a rabbit's mouth and notice that the teeth are curved, one longer than the other, or crooked (more about this one topic in a second) then you have a problem. These problems cause problems for your fluff butt. They may not be able to eat properly due to bad teeth. The teeth could curve up (or keep growing down) and actually cut into the rabbit causing serious injury, infection, and eventually death.
Now crooked teeth. I would caution on judging crooked teeth. I have some buns who chew on the wire on their cages and the teeth wear crooked because of it. I know they are caused by this because I check teeth all the time and the teeth were straight once upon a time. If you are looking at getting a but who's teeth are crooked then ask the breeder. They should have an idea if the bunny has been chewing on the wire or not. If the breeder has no idea, I'd be leery about buying from them due to not knowing what their bunnies do and possibly not inspecting them regularly.
With that said, if you are buying a rabbit and you don't happen to check their teeth at the time of purchase, but you notice when you get home PLEASE CONTACT THE BREEDER. A responsible breeder shouldn't be trying to sell a rabbit with bad teeth, if they are or you had arrangements to get a specific bunny and it ended up with bad teeth, the breeder should disclose any health issues including teeth and leave the decision up to you on if you would like to proceed on purchasing the rabbit or choose a different rabbit or breeder.
As a breeder we need to make sure we are selling nothing short of excellent bunnies. This includes health and teeth. Bad teeth can be managed, but why give a new owner anything other than excellent. Your name is attached to that rabbit and you don't want to be known for selling bad rabbits. So what do you do with bad teeth that you shouldn't sell. Well that's honestly up to you. If the teeth are so bad that they risk harm to the rabbit, like cutting into their mouth or they can't eat, you may decide that the most humane thing to do is cull the rabbit. It's okay if this is your decision. If they have a crooked tooth that doesn't inhibit their eating or way of life, then you can keep it but make sure you don't breed it. Bad teeth produce babies with bad teeth. Don't spread bad teeth! Again your name is attached to these rabbits, you don't want to be known as the breeder with bad teeth.
I had this happen to me twice here at Samollynn. I had someone ready to meet me to pick up a beautiful blue eyed white girl. So I cleaned her up and made her all pretty and did a tooth check. I've never had to deal with bad teeth with my angoras, so it wasn't even a thought. But as I had her on her back I noticed something off with her mouth. So I looked at her teeth and sure enough her teeth were crooked and one was infront of the other. I was mortified. I contacted the customer immediatly and they chose to get a bunny somewhere else. I obviously understood.
Then again today, I had someone meeting me to see the bunnies I have available. I have a beautiful chocolate chinchilla, but his teeth are aweful, so unfortunatly he's not able to be sold. It's the reality of breeding. But we as breeders need to be wise and honest with people when we happen to miss a bunny with bad teeth and not just say sure you can have this bunny and give the new owner a huge problem that could end up costing them a ton of money or their rabbit.
Here at Samollynn I breed mix angoras. They are 100% angora, but not pure English or French etc. Since posting these last kits for sale I have gotten a lot of why. Why do you mix the pure breeds. There is one simple answer. I honestly love their fiber more than the pures. Yes I have started having pure Satins and I love them, but my mixed are by far my favorite, especially my English/French/Satins, their fiber is absolutely amazing and so easy to care for. The color I get from them is so much richer than the English/French as well due to Satins being rich in color. Their personalities are also very sweet. I know the temperament is all genetic, but it just seems my mixes have a sweeter temperament than the pure angoras.
Now grooming is also a bonus. Their coats are that of a French that is so easy to maintain. I get a lot of nips and small mats on the English and Satins. But my mixes I can get away with grooming every 3 weeks. I still groom once a week to check them over and blow out any dander and dirt they get.
As a spinner quality fiber is everything. It has to be strong to hold and soft enough to be worn and desirable. I believe that these mixes have that fiber that people need. Everyone who has bought fiber from me has loved it's softness and color and has made beautiful things from it.
So before you dismiss a mixed angora, ask questions. I honestly don't mind answering them. I will be honest and if your up for the challenge I will send you a sample of their fiber so you can see how beautiful it is.
Ermine...what the heck is an ermine?! Some freak alien bunny!? Actually I had this question last year, but it wasn't what is an ermine, it's how do I classify this white that has neither blue or red eyes? I did some research and asked around, and the answer was you have an ermine. Ok, so now what do I do with this ermine? I actually had three of them and no idea of what to do with them. So I sold them because I didn't want them interfering with my Vienna mark project. Well two of them came back to me. I fell in love with these girls. They are so sweet and loving, so I decided they would be my new spinsters. I had one pass away a few years ago, and the other I just lost this month.
Let me back up for a second before I move forward. What exactly is an ermine. Well Webster's defines it as; any of several weasels whose coats become white in the winter usually with black on the tip of the tail. (Ok, doesn't help much. We are talking about rabbits here, not their natural preditor). Dictionary.com has it as again; a stout (weasel) especially when in its white winter coat.
So let me get this straight, a ermine is a weasel with a white winter coat with black tips, kinda like a ermine bunny is a white bunny with color tips. But one more type of white bunny falls under this catagory too, any white bunny with other than blue or red eyes. This too is known as an ermine.
Now I am a part of a lot of angora rabbit groups like many of you I'm sure, and they have a lot of show people there. Ermine is not one that is looked highly upon. It is useless in the show ring, and for any blue eyed white program you are trying to have, trust me I know. BUT as a spinner who raises angoras strictly for wool, they are beautiful and have their uses. As I mentioned earlier, I have two girls, Lavender and Daffodil. Lavender is white as the snow, but she has gray eyes, and Daffodil is this gorgeous white with lilac ticking, her yarn makes a gorgeous cream color. These girls have also given me my first chinchilla colors. Lavender gave me a very handsome chocolate chinchilla buck and Daffodil gave me three stunning chinchillas, one chocolate and two amazing lilacs.
So the next time you hear someone mention an ermine, first, now you know what the heck it is, and second, don't shy away. They have a lot in them to offer, and some of the sweetest rabbits I have seen.
*Please note: Angora rabbits require regular care and grooming.*
This is what I put on every ad I post and I tell every one who is interested in an angora rabbit. Why? Well because it's true. Many people think that angoras are like every other rabbit that you can stick in a cage and look at, at your convenience and touch and pet when you feel like it. NOT ANGORAS. Besides the fact that they have a long coat that obviously needs regular grooming or else they will get matted and sick and injured because of the matting.
Angoras need to be handled regularly to keep their sweet demeaner. Yes there are those, just like people who are crabby and will never be lovable cuddly bunnies, but you need to make sure you are handling them so that they aren't a nightmare to groom. Also handling them regularly will make sure that you are feeling your animal for any abnormalities. But above all handling your angora will build a bond with it. It will learn that you are not going to eat it and trust you. Remember these animals are natural pray animals, they think that everything is out to eat them, so naturally they are untrusting of everything until you build a relationship with them. Then you have a partner for life.
I sold two females about a month ago and the new owner called me and told me that she thought she had a boy and wanted to exchange him. So I met with her and asked her if I could check myself on if it was a male or female. They were new to rabbits, but were learning and have done so much research on angoras and how to care for them. So I checked and she was a girl. I handed her back to the husband and she curled right up into his arms and was completely relaxed. Keep in mind they only had them for a day. She bonded with him that quickly, he was her home. I was so happy she was a girl, because to leave her family that she decided was HER family would have been devastating to her. Don't think I am adding personality traits of humans onto my rabbits, I'm not. I had four girls returned to me a last year after living with a wonderful family who couldn't take care of them anymore. It took a long time for them to trust me again. They were so content in the situation that they were in that to leave their family was heartbreaking. When I rehomed two of them I had to make sure that their new owners understood that this is it. This will be their last home because they will get to a point where they won't trust anyone.
Grooming, as I mentioned above. Grooming is so important to their health. Angoras regulate their body temperatures, but if their coats are matted they can't regulate their body temperature. They will also develop sores under the mats, and then flies will lay eggs in the sores, maggots will hatch and eat the dead tissue, etc. All of this equals bad. Additionally if you are raising your angora as a fiber animal so you can make yarn you want quality groomed wool. Nobody can spin with knots and mats or webbing.
Always keep this in mind: Happy bunnies equals happy wool. It doesn't take much to keep most angoras happy, food, hay, loves and that's it. Yes you have diva bunnies who aren't happy no matter what you do, but that's normal too, as long as you are doing your end.
I am so excited to announce that you soon will be able to make purchases here! You'll be able to purchase wool, yarn, products made by me. I am super excited to be able to offer this to you guys. So keep an eye out for available products.
I can't believe it's only one week till these 11 babies are ready for their new homes. Three babies already have good homes to go to. One I am keeping here. That makes seven babies left for good homes to go to. These guys already have so much crimp in their wool, and sweet attitudes to top it off. If you are interested in any kits, just head over to babies available and see who is still available.
I am Amanda Fontaine, I run Samollynn Angoras and have been doing so for about five years now. I hope to spread not only the lovely fiber that they share with me, but the knowledge that I have learned over the years from others, and my own experience.