Friday, February 6, 2015

First Attempt at Posing Rabbits

Posing rabbits is a great way to evaluate their conformational strengths and weaknesses. For a meat rabbit, you want a good commercial body type. Fullness and roundness throughout represents meaty-ness, which is what you want. Knowing where my rabbits need improvement will help me select replacement breeding stock.

I've been meaning to do this for awhile.

It was a nice afternoon, and the hubby was working a split shift so I was able to work toddler-free, for a little while.

Let me preface by saying this: posing rabbits is not easy.

My rabbits aren't wild by any means, but they also don't get handled nearly as much as I'd like.

I know from looking at pictures and diagrams what a properly posed commercial type rabbit is supposed to look like (this is a link that helped me out a lot), but getting them into that position is something I struggled with a little bit.

This is where I really need some rabbit friends nearby. I'm more of a hands on learner.

The light wasn't the best, and I can already see from my pictures where I need to improve my posing skills, but for the sake of education, I will still share my results......

I decided to start with my most easy-going bun, New Zealand buck Ichigo.

He is 8 months old, and weighs 9.5 pounds.


All of the rabbits wanted to flatten their heads on the mat, every time I tried to position them. I guess that's a submissive gesture.

We were temporarily interrupted by a nosy chicken....


Okay, attempt number two:


I'm thinking his hind feet are too far forward, in this one.

Hind view:

It's pretty obvious his feet aren't positioned evenly here, or for the top view, either:


I noticed a big difference between his body type and the Cremes. Ichigo just felt more solid, compact and meaty - just like a good New Zealand should. His sire was enormous, so I'm hoping he'll have good size when he finishes maturing.

Now for yearling Creme buck, Colbert (9.3 pounds):

He's especially bad to flatten out, so he was a challenge.


I quickly realized that posing a cream colored rabbit on white carpet isn't exactly ideal.

One thing I failed to do was flip the rabbits over and check their hocks. All three bucks were bad to press their hind legs together. I'm not sure if this was an anatomical problem, or just the fact that they weren't thrilled with all the handling.


Again, legs not lined up right.


Even if his legs were posed properly, I think it would still be apparent he is lacking in the loin.

Now for 6 month-old Creme doe, Babette (7.2 lbs):


I think her hind feet are too far forward and front feet too far back, in this one.

A couple of beauty shots, because I love to admire this little doe... :)



Just look at that dewlap! Okay, pose number 2:


It's kind of hard to tell where her feet are in this picture, lol. :)

Back:


Top:

They always seem to lean one way or another.

Lastly, Turn: 3 years, 8.3 pounds (I determined today he is a little on the thin side, so I will increase his feed, some.)

I ran out of time with him, so I really wasn't able to get a good pose:


He was also the least cooperative. Come on, dude - you're the show rabbit, around here! 

So yeah, there is pretty much everything wrong with his leg placement (to be fair, he does remember he's supposed to keep his ears up). It was about this time that I needed to resume my mothering role, so I left it at that.


Alright, my rabbit savvy friends! Tips? Critiques?

Obviously my lapine posing skills could use some work. I am open to all suggestions!

5 comments:

  1. Great pictures! I think you did a fantastic job and I'm not just saying that- much better than my first tries. For posing, I usually try to put them up on the mat and set them up immediately to evaluate or snap a pic. I found that mine are usually less fussy before they are comfortable and trying to explore everything. For the pose, you want the rear toes in line with the point on their knee if that makes any sense. I usually aim for back feet first and then ensure their front toes like up with their eye as best you can (like with Ichigo). I know it can be really challenging to get their cooperation sometimes. If it helps, you can lean a pencil against the knee to see if you are lined up for the evaluation after they are done wriggling around.

    Overall your rabbits look beautiful with good fur and condition. I like how solid they all look, particularly since meat is a goal with offspring. Shoulders are pretty good, though some look a bit narrow. I thought at first they were low, but I think it is partially pose and partially that their overall topline isn't as high as some of the show lines. As far as things to improve on, I actually think our herds have a lot of things that are the same- long/low rise and some pinched/hollow/undercut hindquarters. I'm working on improving these traits in my herd by selecting offspring with big full butts and overall width that will equal more meat. If I'm lucky, I'll also find those traits on a rabbit with a higher rise, but even just improving in one area is still an improvement and the next area can follow in a future generation. With popular breeds, it is easier to start off with all the right puzzle pieces, but we both have less common ones so we have to just select for the traits we want to see continuing forward. I just makes it more rewarding though because I think homesteader mindset is the best way to get something right is to do it ourselves anyway. :)

    Off topic a little, but have you looked into tanning your hides at all? Those pelts.. ohmigosh! <3

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    1. Thank you so much for your input, Hendricks Hearth!

      I had to make the most of my limited time, so I REALLY studied proper poses beforehand.

      I'm glad their shoulders aren't as bad as I thought they were going to be. I know the Creme breeder worked to improve that somewhat in her herd. I believe she even introduced Palomino in some of her lines, to help improve type. It's good to know I'm not in that bad of a starting off point.

      It will be exciting to work on the same goals, together! :)

      Yes, I LOVE their pelts, especially the Cremes. We definitely want to try our hand at tanning, eventually.

      Thanks again, so much!

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  2. You did great! Seriously, my first time posing was atrocious- I had back legs all the way under because I had seen people squishing them together and thought that was how they were posed. All it did was make every single rabbit I had look super chopped and undercut even when they were full all the way around in person, lol. I really think you have a nice group to work with. From what I see, many, many rabbits (not just commercial) have issues with being pinched, narrow, and low. It is hard to juggle so many traits because show folks are looking at the SOP, but we are also looking at mothering ability, growth, temperament, etc. I've seen so many show rabbits with good type that are biters, always have to have their kits fostered to someone else, need to be constantly supplemented to stay in condition, etc., but they would be culled here. I guess what I am trying to say in my not-so-eloquent way is that you are doing great. :) Also, I think a Creme blanket would be sooooooo cozy and lovely. I'm hoping to learn how to tan some hides for crafts as soon as we have enough to make it worthwhile.

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  3. They are beautiful! Rabbits are very hard to pose!! I like to just try to feel the type!

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    1. Thanks! I don't blame you, there. :)

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