A Peek into the Rabbit Hutch.....

4:46 PM

We have been busy these past few weeks as our little herd of angoras were showing signs of molting and that meant it was time to harvest some fiber!

One of Elaina's Holland Lops
 A little history of our rabbit experience before we get into todays story. When my now 20 year old daughter was 11 she started raising Holland Lop bunnies. We were not lucky enough to have a 4H group near us so I actually got her the courses that 4H puts out and we went through them and she raised and showed very successfully on her own for quite a few years. She even had a few angoras at one time but I was not spinning at the time. She made enough money to keep her little rabbitry going and had a lot of fun doing it. She eventually moved away from the rabbits as she got interested in horses and that took over her life.

Mr. Happy Jackals the day we brought him home
 So there have been no bunnies for a few years. Now last year my son who is 12 accompanied me to many fiber festivals. He loves to weave and he also loves the animals. There were many cute bunnies at these festivals. So of course we brought home one. He is a sweet bunny with gorgeous crimpy locks and while I let Christopher think this was his bunny I knew it was mine! Or at least his fiber was mine! Mr. Happy Jackals as he is known by.....has not dissapointed us and over the past year has produced amazing fiber while also continuing to steal everyone's heart.

And right before a plucking session
Mr. Happy Jackals is a german and satin mix
 Then as luck would have it we were able to adopt a group of Angora's from a family wanting to find them good homes. So we ended up with a german and 3 satin angora's. And then last fall I brought home my newest and  sweetest boy Asch who is a English angora. So we pretty much have a representation of most of the popular angora breeds now.

Snow Flake our German Angora

Cinna Bun a satin angora
  This past week it was time to harvest their fiber. Most angora's molt their coats. If you talk to different people they will tell you it's best to shear.....it's best to hand scissor......it's best to pluck. But one ladies advice has stayed with me. She said to do what is right for the rabbit and you. Some of them have coats that lend to hand plucking, some to scissoring and some to clipping. Do what makes you and the rabbit comfortable. So we have experimented with different ways of getting that fiber off over the past year.

Hand Plucking

Here you can see where the fiber has been plucked

Freshly plucked locks lined up and ready for spinning

Ember sporting her new coat of fleece
  I tend to hand pluck the backs and sides of my rabbits. As a hand spinner this is the prime way of getting the best fiber for spinning. I pluck and lay the locks in a box aligning them as I go so I can spin straight from the box when I am ready. Angora fiber is very clean and does not need any washing before spinning. I will then scissor some of the longer locks around the neck and bottom. And I finish with shaving the underside and any matting. They look pretty funny when I'm done but we put cute little fleece coats on them and in a week the new coat is already coming in.

Hand  plucking Snow Flake

This is what works for me. Everyone you talk to is different and will tell you what works for them. I am also a newer Angora owner and am learning as I go. I love the rhythm of hand plucking and our rabbits seem to as well. It does not hurt them as the hair is molting and loose. They love getting rid of that extra coat and I think they feel good after a session of plucking.
Asch my English Angora after a blowing session
To keep their coats tangle free we blow them with an animal dryer once a week. This is good for their skin and their coats. By doing this we have not had to comb ours at all. I think it also depends on the angora. Some are just bred to have less matting. We have found these weekly grooming sessions work well for us.

Since we have had the angoras I have been experimenting with their fiber. Spinning 100% angora and also making blends. It is an amazing fiber and a lot of fun to work with. If you are interested in hand spinning angora I highly recommend Angora A Hand Book for Spinners by Erica Lynne. It is out of print but I found mine used on Amazon.

If you are interested my son and I will be opening an Etsy shop very soon. We will be selling our fibers and other fiber related items. There will even be my hand spun blends. It is in the works and I will let you know when we are up and running. I want a shop that caters to the hand spinner and we are keeping that as our focus.

I hope you enjoyed peeking into our rabbit hutch. Which by the way will be growing soon as my son has developed a breeding plan and Mr. Happy Jackals will be a Daddy very soon!! We will keep you posted!!

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  1. That's so interesting, Alisa. I'm completely in love with your bunnies now!


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