Need color help

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judymac

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I have a problem in my herd that I need help with. A number of rabbits are developing great color, but only on the outer inch or so, the rest of the fiber is plain white. It's not because they are angoras, I have plenty of rabbits with correct color down to the skin. I've seen it in self black, self chocolate, chestnut agouti, fawn agouti and harlequin over the years. I do have a lot of chocolate in the pedigrees, in case it is the culprit, as well as fawn 'ee'. Any ideas?

The photo is of fiber off of a junior dark harlequin. She looked nice and dark from the outside, but when I removed some of the molting fiber last night, I was amazed how little color was actually in the fiber.angora english harlies quinn x nemo snowball fiber dark harlie 19 jul 22.JPG
 

judymac

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No, adult stock. I just did a two year old chinchilla today, totally different line, less than an inch of dark gray on the end of the fiber, white the rest of the way down (5" fiber). I have other rabbits with beautiful dark color to the skin, but a lot of others have this white fiber base problem. There is no dilute in the herd, no sable, no BEW, no tan or steel. There is red, fawn, harlequin, chinchilla, chocolate and chestnut agouti, Himalayan, REW and self colors (I try to keep the chin, harlie, agouti and self lines separate.)
 

Robochelle

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Isn't it normal, in the Angoras that molt, to have a limited stretch of color? Are your previous angoras the kind that you trim?
 

judymac

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Good question. All of my angoras for the last forty years have been the old-fashioned molting variety. No, while the color is often lighter, it is ideally as even in color as possible. If it does fade as it grows, it should be a lighter shade, not totally white. The photo is of a self black junior, it shows the type of fiber I aim for, good crimp, and while the color is a little lighter past the tip, it is still a nice rich gray.angora english coal x obsidian 6 wks 2 fiber 29 may 22.JPG
 

Secuono

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I may be totally offbase, but in sheep, goats and other livestock, lack of minerals can cause sudden pale sections of hair/fiber. Once the missing mineral is added, the color returns.
Is it at all possible this is the case for some of yours?
Some animals don't absorb minerals properly or other things they eat inhibit absorption. But it should be possible to test these rabbits with a diet change or suppliment and see some or total improvement in a few months if that's the cause.
Could also just be genetic. In sheep, there's colorloss, early greying & regular greying genes.
Trying to keep a black sheep black is almost impossible between genetics, the sun & minerals playing games with the fiber.
FB_IMG_1659468617434.jpg
 

kusanar314

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I may be totally offbase, but in sheep, goats and other livestock, lack of minerals can cause sudden pale sections of hair/fiber. Once the missing mineral is added, the color returns.
Is it at all possible this is the case for some of yours?
Some animals don't absorb minerals properly or other things they eat inhibit absorption. But it should be possible to test these rabbits with a diet change or suppliment and see some or total improvement in a few months if that's the cause.
Could also just be genetic. In sheep, there's colorloss, early greying & regular greying genes.
Trying to keep a black sheep black is almost impossible between genetics, the sun & minerals playing games with the fiber.
View attachment 30868
To add to this, in horses and sheep the issue tends to be copper. I know sheep are very sensitive to copper so playing with the levels can be dangerous, but excessive iron in the water can cause the copper to be bound and not accessible to the animals causing them to need more than normal and in sheep can actually push them to need potentially lethal levels provided just to get them to a normal level.

I don't know how sensitive rabbits are to copper, but if you have a lot of iron in the water, maybe check sensitivities and if safe, try supplementing a little and see if that helps.
 

judymac

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Fascinating thought. I raised colored sheep for forty years, I do recognize the challenges in keeping a good dark fleece. Mineral absorption could indeed be an issue, and it could indeed be genetic. Do you have any clue what minerals might be involved?
 

judymac

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We do have high iron content in the well water around here, but we only water the rabbits with rain water. Might be interesting to have the rain barrel water tested.
 

Robochelle

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Do let me know when you have kits, I'm looking at that fiber and I COVET IT!!!
 
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