10 Sep 2018 2 Comments
These cuties are ready to go to new homes!
10 Sep 2018 2 Comments
These cuties are ready to go to new homes!
Six little baby Belgian hares couldn’t be wrong. Bouncy rubber is fun! I found a better solution to plywood on the hare runs. They are not supposed to be on wire at all but we had to give away all our wooden hare hutches when we moved. This’ll do for now! Bunny approved.
Posted by Trickster Hares Farm on Friday, August 24, 2018
by Trickster Hares in Belgian Hare
06 Oct 2017 6 Comments
We have Belgian Hare babies! Probably the last litters until sometime next summer. I have a couple show quality and a few pet quality – meaning their tan factor markings may not be orange enough, or any other conformational issues that means they should not be used in breeding but would make terrific pets. Belgian Hares are particularly wonderful housepets! Very interactive, lively, and affectionate. Hares need room to roam, so these will not do well in a standard rabbit hutch.
05 Mar 2017 No Comments
There has been a ton of activity here at the farm, and mostly its been selling off the rabbits, far and wide across the United States. Its been very enjoyable participating in a nationwide rare breed revival project. Afterall, rabbits are one of the easiest sources for home grown food, easy to keep and feed. These heritage breeds have very different qualities than standard commercial rabbits bred for today’s market. We had the room so we grew to include quite a few different breeds. What we didn’t anticipate was needing to move. Changing circumstances with our landlady’s family means we have to vacate our home and farm of the past 9 years. While we’ve been looking where that new home will be, it hasn’t materialized yet. So, with much regret, we’ve been selling off almost all our livestock.
I’m out of Americans and Silver Fox, and Blanc de Hotot except for a few nestbox babies, who will be sold when weaned. I am selling off all Harlequins, fun and delightful as they are. Photos of animals for sale here.
Moving forward, we’ll be a much smaller rabbit farm, keeping it simple. We’ll be staying with a few Belgian Hares and Beveren. (and some curly Beveren!) Due to not knowing where we are going to land, we’re having to downsize drastically, taking only my very favorites to float with us as we look for home.
That means its March Madness at the farm and its an excellent time to purchase breeding stock on these rare breeds!
Beveren are now on sale for $50 apiece (pictures of animals for sale here), down from $75-100.
Harlequin are now on sale for $40 apiece, down from $60.
We also have cages for sale – single 36″ cages for $30 and 12 foot rows for $125, and runs for $25. Everything must go! Including the pasture pens, if you prefer to raise yours colony style.
What I know is I put time, effort and love into helping these breeds survive and thrive, and have gotten many people involved over the past few years. Each of these breeds will continue to grow and thrive, even as I pass them on to new people to pick up.
The majority of my French import Hotot stock went to Barbara Blankenship in WA, while some also went to California breeders – Jo Carroll in Central CA, Mandy Lott, and Michael Pollack of Lupin Lapin, both in Northern CA. Feel free to chase down my purebred lines through any of these folks. I have also sent stock to Kristin Renk in NE, and Mattea Lear in OK. I highly recommend working with purebred lines for higher percentages of correct markings, best mothering instincts, and calmer, more friendly personalities.
Blanc de Hotot are an excellent breed for many reasons but given our circumstances, and how much we have to downsize, we’ve opted to keep our big teddy bear Beveren – who are downright cuddly – and our elegant wild-ish Belgian Hares. It also made perfect sense that I naturally gravitated towards two breeds from Belgium, where my ancestors originated too. So there might be some affinity between us that at the end of the day, we couldn’t be parted.
Let me know if I can help you get started with one of these breeds!
26 Nov 2015 No Comments
I get questions about colony raising all the time, frequently from people who are also interested in Beveren. Since I raise 6 different breeds of rabbits its been interesting to note which ones do well co-housed in rabbit herds.
Surprisingly, its the American. They are hands-down the most laid back and willing to get along with each other with very little scuffling. Its not to be said I haven’t had some roughed up does from a dominance struggle, I do, but they’re more willing to go along with the social order once established.
Beveren are not what I’d recommend for a beginner. Mixing a few Beveren in there like I do might work but I notice when they ovulate they get cranky and can pick on the other rabbits. Not all the Beveren, just some. Beveren can be cage territorial sometimes too – an indication they have less tolerance for lots of competition.
My Americans on the other hand seem to thrive in the social setting. Do not put your show animals into a colony and don’t ever introduce adults. In the colony there are sometimes scuffles – particularly if you take the lead doe or second in command out for breeding – the other does will quickly box each other to see who will take her place! A torn ear and mouthfuls of ripped fur do happen.
The Harlequin do ok out there too but they sure are feisty. When the pecking order is established things seem to simmer down to peaceful. A boxing Harlequin is a sight to behold – enormous leaps in the air – they are the acrobats out of all my breeds. With their splashy colors, they’re natural performers. If Harlequins were people they’d be the gymnasts, Olympic track runners, and Cirque du Soleil performers. I kid you not.
My mixed blood Belgians actually do excellent in the colony. I have not put my full blooded Belgian Hares into a colony setting. I will as my numbers recover from our crash last year. They’re pretty social and non-aggressive. My Belgian buck Jack had a particular fondness for the colony, and did really well in there. Unfortunately I didn’t PUT him in there!! He was a naughty boy.
I stopped putting Hotots into the colony pen as they kept disappearing. I do not know why. They simply may not have run from overhead predators, I am really not sure. Rabbits have to be smart to thrive in the colony. We do not put bird netting over the entire rabbit pasture, just the core home area where the babies sometimes pop out of the ground.
We have a new breed in our mix, the Silver Fox, so in the year to come will see how that breed does in the colony setting too. So far, they seem like a very laid back personality.
by Trickster Hares in Americans, Belgian Hare, Beveren, Blanc d'Hotots, Harlequin, Raising in Colonies Tags: backyard rabbit meat, best rabbit breed for colony, colony pen, rabbit colony, rabbit housing
03 May 2015 10 Comments
Sharing this conversation from an inquiry on these two breeds.
Belgian Hares can make wonderful pets – if you have ones with gentle dispositions. I too have heard about lines here in the US with cranky dispositions including biting. I’d be very selective where your hares comes from. My hares are not like that. They are sweet cuddle bugs. (yes, cuddle bugs- and people say hares aren’t cuddly!) I have a hare that lives full time indoors they are wonderful house pets!!
They are smart, easy to litter box train (usually), and just incredibly fun to watch and interact with. I can’t help you with show stock as I have off-colors from UK imports. I am helping a COD on getting one of the colors recognized, the black & tan, I also have black.
My stock comes from someone who did an import from the UK and only bred nice rabbits. If you are looking for show stock in the rufus color, I can try to point you in the right direction depending where you live.
Here’s one of my sweeties: (that’s my partner washing dishes and talking to Finn in the background, not knowing I was filming!! lol)
The Harlequin are wonderful. They have a sunny, interactive disposition, and are very athletic rabbits. I had one indoors for awhile when I was taming her, she’d just leap up into my lap for petting while I was at my computer. Overall they are very sweet. I do find them to be too clever for their own good (they’re really hard for me to control if I put them out into my pasture – always finding ways to escape while everyone else is happy to be in the pasture!)
The million dollar question, why are they rare. I surmise the Belgians are rare as they were popular late 1800’s and early 1900’s as a meat rabbit, and were much heftier, and they were replaced with the “newer” meat breeds like the Beveren and American (both on the endangered list), which were a more compact easier to keep meat breed. The Belgians are not for most folks. They are racy, lanky, and need room to move. I recommend 8 ft hutches with wood bottom floors. They cannot be on wire due to the structure of their feet. Now you see why they are rare? They need space, exercise even outside an 8 ft pen, to really run and stretch their long legs.
Harlequins I am going to guess are rare because they are a marked breed, and the markings are pretty random each litter you don’t know what you are going to get. Its hard to get a perfectly marked animal. Some people (and judges) have focused on markings too much and the type of this compact meat breed has suffered. Sometimes breeders focus too much on points and not enough on the practical side of what this breed of rabbit is used for and forget type is its actual function. And on that note, larger “meat breeds” seem to have fallen out of favor compared to fancy small breeds on the show table. They are a more popular breed on the East Coast but are much more uncommon on the West Coast for some reason. Perhaps because those interested in heritage endangered breeds have picked up the larger breeds such as the Beveren, American, or American Chinchilla.
I hope this helps answer some questions out there!
14 May 2014 No Comments
Isn’t she a beauty? This is Misty’s Firebird. Spotted her at West Coast Classic and decided to branch into rufus! Hope to have some offspring with my Black Otter buck ready in Fall. My Black Otter, Jack, comes out of a dam with deep red coloring… I’ve been waiting for an appropriately red doe to complement his genes 🙂
17 Aug 2013 4 Comments
The guy who started it all… my first (and still, only) Belgian Hare. He’s a wonderful creature, smart, agile, funny. I love this little guy. We used to let him roam our whole 2-acre property, he considered it his job to run up to greet visitors. After he caught a respiratory illness from the wild rabbits,we had to revoke his priviledges… now he mostly keeps to his 8′ x 4′ run with only occasional supervised release time. I am still waiting for a genetically unrelated Black & Tan Belgian doe.