Double steel drama(long and a smidge of a rant)

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Jowsi002

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Hello!
I have one line of purebred self/broken self rabbits that I have been working with for just about a year now. At the beginning of this year I added a mixed breed ermine doe to my barn, and bred her to my two purebred bucks.
Her first litter- bred to a broken black buck. Got black gold tipped steel, broken black gold tipped steel, and ruby eyed white.
Her second litter- bred to a self black buck, a son of the broken buck. Got 100% black gold tipped steel.
I bred the broken black buck to my purebred self black doe(who is also his daughter) and have gotten 3 litters, each a mix of black, broken black, broken blue and white. I am waiting to see what the self black buck will produce with the self black doe(his mom).
I talked to a few people just on the rabbit’s genetics and was told that the buck has to be responsible for the steels, that he would most likely be double steel, as his son.
Now for my confusion/issue; I found out all of this after picking up a white doe that’s strictly from red, broken red and white lines. With me being a newer breeder, I asked in my breed club’s chat that, if now suspecting double steel, if I should be looking for a buck that wouldn’t have steel genes. Steel isn’t showable in my pure breed and I’m not interested in putting a purebred doe’s energy into raising a litter that is going to make unrecognized varieties or make more work for me down the line. My question to the group was misconstrued as me “breeder shaming” and was then told that the breeder I bought my broken black buck and self black doe from, has clean lines and the steel must be from the ermine, therefore not an issue for my bucks.
Can someone please clarify? I thought ermine was recessive and not capable of carrying the steel gene. If it’s not going to be a mess, I would like to use the bucks I have now(they have nice type to them and I was excited about being able to get coppers from her) but if it’s going to be a mess...I’d rather not.

TL:DR - if an ermine is bred to a broken black and a black, and makes black gold tipped steels with no selfs twice, is the ermine the steel carrier, or the broken black and black bucks?
 

SableSteel

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Are you talking about NZ or Satin? I can't tell. Either way, steel is very, very common in both those breeds. Most self satins and almost all black/blue NZ are actually super steels. Super steels breed true (phenotypically as selfs) until you add in other colors (like you did crossing to an ermine here. You also see it a lot in the NZ breed when people cross black/blue x white, black/blue x red, or white x red). So the breeder was likely telling the truth about having clean lines, even though the steel did technically come from the buck, not from the ermine (ermine can't carry steel, it's recessive to steel). This is one of the reasons a lot of breeders in those breeds avoid crossing different colors.
 

Jowsi002

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Thank you SableSteel. I’m talking about satins.
I’ve read so much conflicting information about steel! Then when I asked in my breed’s group chat, I got even more confused. Especially about the ermine. Are steels taboo? I felt like I ruffled feathers when I asked. Do clean lines refer to not showing steel, or not having it? I’m used to the reference with english angoras, meaning that a particular rabbit/line has been free of the Vienna gene.

My biggest concern is, should I be picking up a new buck for the white doe that came from mostly red lines? I asked around for months looking for a new doe before I connected with her breeder, she wouldn’t have been my first choice (would’ve preferred to stick with selfs) but it seems more people are looking than selling right now, and I really wanted a backup for my black satin doe who’s gotten more chances than she should(mean rabbit, bad mom, afraid the daughter I kept would be the same). She’s just 5 months now so I’ve got time to look, if that’s the better option. Before my question in my breed group took a turn, one person suggested the doe could be used to “clean out” the steel. Is this true?
 

SableSteel

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The definition of "clean lines" depends on whoever you ask. A lot of the top self breeders just breed self x self, their selfs breed true (even if they are supersteels), so they focus on type & fur instead of breeding in other colors. Then people try to breed self into other colors to improve type and that's when you see steels pop up. The self breeders would probably call a supersteel line a clean line - after all, it breeds true. Somebody breeding otters, might not, because they keep getting steel otters when they breed to it (and those would be the people trying to "clean out" steel from a line, and I'm sure there are some self lines that don't have steel floating around out there, probably descended from color breeders trying to clean out those lines) ;). Personally I wouldn't worry about "clean lines" too much, and focus instead of type and fur. Steel IS dominant to copper and otter and red, so while it is hard to breed out of selfs and can be annoying when bred in to other colors, it is pretty easy to breed out of a copper or otter line, just takes 2 generations, though that first gen would be unshowable colors like steels and steel otters. That being said if you are wanting to avoid unshowable colors as much as possible, this black buck would probably not be the best one to breed to this white doe. A red, or white or even copper would probably get you more showable colors.
 

Jowsi002

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Thank you so much for clarifying all of this for me, SableSteel. I really appreciate it!! I feel like I understand what my options are now :D
 

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