We’ve grown by one heritage breed! A true American heritage breed – developed right here in America. I didn’t really think about it until it was pointed out to me, most rabbit breeds were imported originally. The Silver Fox was developed here, a hundred years ago. Its also on the endangered list by the Livestock Conservancy.
It was bred to provide an inexpensive knockoff of Silver Fox fur (the fox). I am opposed to the fur trade – when it involves raising animals for slaughter just for their fur – like minks or foxes, intelligent wild species. On the other hand, rabbit is dual purpose fur and meat and I’d very much like to see a comeback in the rabbit fur trade in America. The fur breeds have really suffered and are on the verge of extinction due to the shifting politics around fur – and yet these breeds took many decades to develop. It is possible someday we may need them again. Perhaps when the glorification of petroleum based synthetic clothing and faux fur blows over. Now, mind you, I have nothing against faux fur but come on. People are wearing synthetic cloth and there is no comparison to natural fibers in texture, quality, breathability and warmth.
Beveren is another fur breed I focus on improving the unique qualities of the fur, and now the Silver Fox. Not at the expense of other qualities, but I do select for fur. I tan my pelts. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all these pelts but I now have an industrial sewing machine in my art studio, so that is a step in the right direction.
So, I’d been leaning towards the Champagnes for quite some time, they are just gorgeous, I love their changing fur color. However, every breeder I spoke to said not heat tolerant above the 90’s. Well its been 106 this summer in our coastal town. Hotter and hotter every year its never been this hot. If this is the way of the world, I’m going to need to invest in rabbits with good heat tolerance. (And my other breeds do fit that bill, have not lost one to heat yet). I’ll have to leave the Champagnes for those in cooler climes.
So that is how I ended up bringing home my one Silver Fox from National Convention, who is expecting, and is very gentle and inquisitive. She enjoys being rubbed and greets me in the front of the cage – more interested in rubs than food, like many of my Beveren. I am delighted to have brought home another gentle breed with personality. I don’t like a dull rabbit, and I don’t like them hard to handle. So far the Silver Fox is gentle, curious, interactive, and has dual purpose of meat and fur, so they’re pretty much on par with Beveren, although I think the weight gain on a Beveren is much faster. We’ll see. I’ll report back later after some litters!