Friday, February 25, 2011

ANGORA RABBITS

Since it is the Year of the Rabbit, I thought I would tell you about some special kinds of rabbits, just like I told you about special kinds of tigers during the Year of the Tiger.  So today's blog is about Angora Rabbits.

These rabbits have lots and lots of hair, and it is very soft and grows really long, so you can shear the rabbits, kind of like you would shear a sheep.  Then you can use their wool to spin yarn and knit something nice to wear.  Angora rabbit wool is very light in weight, and it is eight times warmer than sheep wool.  This is why it makes good sweaters for people who like sweaters.  But I think if I had a doggy sweater made of Angora wool, I would probably chew it up because I don't like sweaters.


Anyway, Angora rabbits come from Ankara, which is in Turkey, and which used to be called Angora.  Angora goats and Angora cats come from the same place.  In the middle of the 18th century, French royalty started keeping Angora rabbits as pets.  Then by the end of that century, other people in Europe had also figured out that these rabbits made good pets.  In the early part of the 20th century, Angora rabbits first came to the United States, and now lots of people here also have them.



Angora rabbits are usually very calm and easy to handle, which is a good thing, because they have to be groomed a lot.  If you don't keep their fur combed out, it gets matted, which is painful for the rabbit.  Also the rabbits groom themselves just like cats do, and they swallow the loose hair.  When cats do this, they get a hairball, which they can usually cough up.  But rabbits can't cough up the hair they swallow, so it gets stuck inside them, and this is called wool block.

If rabbits get wool block, they will stop eating because they already feel full, and then they can starve to death.  So to keep this from happening, rabbits need to eat lots of fiber, like for instance, hay.  Or special rabbit food that has a lot of fiber in it.  Also they need to drink lots of water to help keep everything moving along.

Some Angora rabbits are so furry that you can hardly even tell they are rabbits.  They remind me of those Pekingese dogs at the dog shows, where all you can see is a tiny bit of their face, and the rest of them is just hair.  Angora rabbits are very social bunnies, and they like being with other rabbits and with people.  They also like playing with toys, like for example a pine cone or a plastic ball or a stuffed sock.  They have lots of personality, and they are just friendly and fun to have around, so that's why people like to have them as pets.


There are four types of Angora rabbits that are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA), and these types are:  English, French, Giant, and Satin.

The English Angora is the smallest breed, and it usually weighs between 4.5 and 7.5 pounds.  This rabbit has very thick wool, and it needs to be groomed twice a week.  It is the only type of Angora that has fur on its ears and face, and even covering its eyes.  This picture and also the two rabbit pictures before this one are all English Angoras.  And maybe the one that has been sheared is the same type, but I don't know for sure.



French Angoras are bigger, and weigh between 7.5 and 10 pounds.  They have a layer of guard hairs with a wool undercoat, so they need less grooming that other Angora breeds.  The French Angora has short hair on its face and front feet, with only a little bit of tufting on the hind legs.

The Giant Angora is a breed that was created especially to produce lots of wool for commercial use.  It is 10 pounds or larger in weight.  The coat of this rabbit has three types of wool:  soft under wool, awn fluff, and awn hair.  "Awn" wool is a type of wool that only exists on the Giant and the German Angora breeds.  Giant Angoras make lots more wool than the English, French, or Satin Angoras.  They have to be shorn at least every 90 days.



The Satin Angora is pretty new as a breed.  They've been recognized by the ARBA for about 15 years.  Their average weight is 8.5 pounds, and they got their name because their wool is very soft and shiny, like satin.  Also their wool is stronger for spinning than the wool of other types of Angora rabbits.




There are shows for Angora rabbits, just like there are for dogs.  Except that I don't think the rabbits have to run around a ring, the way dogs do.  Mostly I guess they just sit there and look really pretty and rabbit-like for the judge.  But I've never been to a rabbit show, so I could be wrong about this.




Anyway, I think it would be fun to have some pet rabbits here at our house, but Mom says that is not a good idea because of all the dogs here who might want to eat the rabbits.  Well, duh!  Of course, we'd want to eat the rabbits!  Why else would we have them around?  But if we were going to have pet rabbits, I think it might be better to get a kind that doesn't have as much hair as Angoras have, because who wants to bite into a rabbit and just get a mouthful of hair?

19 comments:

  1. Sorry, Piper - I'm with your mom on this one. No rabbits for you!!!

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  2. Well, I guess it's not nice of me to think about eating fancy rabbits, but I really did enjoy eating a little bit of the rabbit that Gabe caught in our back yard one time.

    Your friend, Piper

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  3. Thanks for the info; and I must say I find rabbits very cute and I think Angora Rabbits are just plain interesting and pretty. Once my dog, Chickie, got in a fight with a rabbie (not an Angora kind) and the rabbit WON!! In fact, the rabbit nearly tore off one of Chickie's ears. So...if you see any rabbits...beware!! :)
    Love, AP
    P.S. I'm a bit behind, so have made some "late" comments. I'm sorry!

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  4. Dear Aunt Patty,
    Thanks for the warning about vicious rabbits. I hope if I run into any rabbits, they will be the kind I can bite, and not the kind that bite me. I don't want to brag, but I think I am bigger than Chickie was, and I could probably win a fight with a rabbit!
    Love, Piper

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  5. mmmm rabbits. although i think it would be better to have bunnies without all that fur. i mean who wants a furry hamburger. but mom says it's nice to have fur from animals. she has lots of sheep wool, some llama, lots of alpaca and even some buffalo fiber, but i don't think she has any bunny fiber. you can see one of her woolies here:
    http://www.artshowatthedogshow.com/SCOT.html

    she is very proud that her little woolie was accepted because there is such a high quality of work there. But who can resist a smiling basenjis???

    Your friend
    Zest, superstar still in training

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  6. Dear Zest,
    I really like your mom's woolie basenji. I think you should be very proud of her for making such a nice piece of artwork. My mom has a sweater that she bought in Peru that is made out of alpaca wool, and she has some sweaters made out of sheep wool. She doesn't make anything with wool, though, she just wears stuff that somebody else made.
    Your friend, Piper

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  7. Dear Piper,
    I like bunnies but some of them are a little TOO woolly!!!! I think that 6th bunny(the brown one was ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!!! Plus I never knew that bunnies had wool I thought that was only sheep. So it is kind of a surprise for me I would rather call them sheep bunnies or bunny sheep, Either way would be fine. Any way interesting blog! Keep on writing
    Love,
    Tas

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  8. Dear Tas,
    I agree that most of these bunnies are way too wooly. I like more meat and less fur on my rabbits! LOL I didn't know rabbits had wool either until I started learning about different kinds of rabbits. I like the name "sheep bunnies." Maybe we should start calling them that.
    Love, Piper

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  9. dude,that's disgusting! Maybe just cause I have a pet rabbit, but to eat a rabbit seems so cruel!!! I mean, you said it yourself, they have great personalities and you should look a bunny in the eye and say. "I'm going to maliciously kill you just so I can have a tasty breakfast" without bursting into tears.

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    1. I have had pet rabbits for many years. I don't eat meat anymore, thanks to them. Would you really eat them? Aren't they pets? Do you give them names? They have personalities. They grieve when they lose another rabbit they've bonded with. They are social animals and become lonely. They love. All animals deserve love.
      If the animal kingdom had turned out differently, what would we think about animals taking us away from our families, slaughtering us, packaging us and selling us for meat?
      I'm not trying to be mean to you, I'm just trying to explain where humanity begins. Best wishes for a very happy life!

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    2. Dear Anonymous,

      My mom, who is a human, would not eat a bunny, but I am Piper the dog, and we dogs eat all kinds of things. We eat squirrels and mice and rabbits. We even eat blankets, which is why I had to have surgery last week to get some pieces of a blanket out of my stomach that were stuck there. At least if I ate a rabbit, it probably wouldn't have got stuck in my tummy! LOL

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      Sincerely, Piper

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  10. I love seeing these ANGORA RABBITS! I hope to have one like that on my rabbit pets collection. keep posting!

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  11. I have a thing for angora rabbits and felting too, so I really really want one. A friend of mine had a couple and they were so calm and they would stand still while she cut the fur off them with scissors - that is why I am a bit surprised to see the picture of the shaved one all strapped in.

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    1. It looks like they shaved it with clippers, and maybe that made it freak out, so they had to restrain it. Seems like if you started trimming them at a young age, they would get used to either scissors or clippers. I hope you can get an angora of your very own!

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  12. have to do a report on angoras so thanks

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  13. I assume you don't maintain this blog anymore, but really, except for some horror stories in China, I have yet to meet one angora breeder who straps their bunnies down. Most have pluckable bunnies and the wool comes out in clumps just like a dog sheds. The others clip or shave, I do mine with the bunny in my lap.

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    1. I am very glad to know that the bunnies don't have to be strapped down to be sheared or plucked or whatever. Thanks for the information!

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