Posed Correctly?

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I have recently gotten a trio of Silver Martens. I’m having trouble figuring out if I’m posing them right. Let me know please.

The two does want to suck in the stomach and tense up which makes it difficult. They don’t tense up like that in the cage when I touch them. Any tips on how to make them calmer on the table as well?

Doe 1:
6.6 months

Do her front feet need to be up further?
51AE69DD-67A5-4B02-93D7-3BAD40504D33.jpeg

Doe 2:
6.3 months

08C8489F-DF62-43E6-90D3-2CCDE5315EAE.jpeg

Buck:
6.6 months81C2FEE8-A3B7-4CE3-91CB-47F54FFFE406.jpeg

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :) Thank you
 
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I have recently gotten a trio of Silver Martens. I’m having trouble figuring out if I’m posing them right. Let me know please.

The two does want to suck in the stomach and tense up which makes it difficult. They don’t tense up like that in the cage when I touch them. Any tips on how to make them calmer on the table as well?

Doe 1:
6.6 months

Do her front feet need to be up further?
View attachment 32730

Doe 2:
6.3 months

View attachment 32731

Buck:
6.6 monthsView attachment 32732

Any help would be greatly appreciated. :) Thank you
Pretty bunnies! I love the breed. Your posing is on the right track; some slight adjustments will make them look even better! :)

Doe #1 would benefit from having her back feet further back, so that her toes line up with her knee (1). She might be called "overposed" which is when her hind feet are pushed too far forward - that makes her look a little "chopped" rather than her hindquarters looking nicely full to the table (4).
She needs her front feet forward, or actually I would just push her head back a bit, to line her front toes up with her eyes (2). With her head forward like it is, it makes her look like there what's called a "hesitation at the shoulder," meaning the smooth curve of her topline does not start immediately behind her head (3).
With these adjustments, I think she would present as a nicely rounded doe.
InkedInkedInked Doe 1.jpg

Doe #2 looks properly posed in the front (2); with her front end properly posed, you can see that the curve of her topline starts directly behind her head, with no hesitation. Her profile does look like she's overall longer than Doe 1 (in commercial types, longer length is not a good thing unless it's matched by greater depth as well).
She may be posed correctly in the back too, but it's hard to tell exactly where her back toes are. This might be because she's a little "pinched" (3) and has closer-set back legs, or it could be because she's fighting you.
Inked Doe 2.jpg

The buck looks well-placed in front (2); he may have a very slight hesitation at the shoulder. He looks just a bit tucked up/overposed in back (1). Ideally a rabbit's back feet, knee, and "peak" (the point at which the rise from the should starts to curve back downward to the hind end) should all line up. This buck's back feet are under his peak (long blue line); however, if you moved his feet back to line up with his knee (medium blue line), you would find that he "peaks early." Rabbits that peak early often end up looking rather flat and long in body, or in other words there is a long space between their shoulder and where they start rounding down (4).
InkedInked Buck.jpg

Regarding their fighting you, that will probably improve as you get used to posing them, and they get used to being posed - it takes teamwork. :) Just be gentle in moving their parts into place, over and over (not necessarily for hours straight, of course - even rabbits have a point at which they've had enough). Sometimes you can gently touch/poke at their hind end around the base of their tail - kind of goose them - and that will help them relax their midsection.

Frequently, rabbits that do well on the judging table are the ones that have been worked with so much that they are basically trained to pose, or that pose automatically. And a well-built rabbit will often pose naturally, as long as it's relaxed. It does seem like some breeds are more prone to fighting it than others: Mini Rex always seem inclined to lean into my hands, whereas most Himalayans I've handled are almost like putty - they stay however you place them!

Rabbits that have structural faults can fight a pose because it is uncomfortable for them, for instance if they're pinched, have a weak midsection, or have an improper head mount. Something else that can interfere with posing, especially in does, is when they are feeling amorous; then it can be hard to keep them from stretching out flat and lifting (pretty funny to watch on a show table!). Another thing that can be problematic is when a rabbit has an especially dominant personality - that rabbit will not want you to hold its head down. This is a case, though, where training will overcome the problem; it may just take longer than usual.
 
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Pretty bunnies! I love the breed. Your posing is on the right track; some slight adjustments will make them look even better! :)

Doe #1 would benefit from having her back feet further back, so that her toes line up with her knee (1). She might be called "overposed" which is when her hind feet are pushed too far forward - that makes her look a little "chopped" rather than her hindquarters looking nicely full to the table (4).
She needs her front feet forward, or actually I would just push her head back a bit, to line her front toes up with her eyes (2). With her head forward like it is, it makes her look like there what's called a "hesitation at the shoulder," meaning the smooth curve of her topline does not start immediately behind her head (3).
With these adjustments, I think she would present as a nicely rounded doe.
View attachment 32758

Doe #2 looks properly posed in the front (2); with her front end properly posed, you can see that the curve of her topline starts directly behind her head, with no hesitation. Her profile does look like she's overall longer than Doe 1 (in commercial types, longer length is not a good thing unless it's matched by greater depth as well).
She may be posed correctly in the back too, but it's hard to tell exactly where her back toes are. This might be because she's a little "pinched" (3) and has closer-set back legs, or it could be because she's fighting you.
View attachment 32751

The buck looks well-placed in front (2); he may have a very slight hesitation at the shoulder. He looks just a bit tucked up/overposed in back (1). Ideally a rabbit's back feet, knee, and "peak" (the point at which the rise from the should starts to curve back downward to the hind end) should all line up. This buck's back feet are under his peak (long blue line); however, if you moved his feet back to line up with his knee (medium blue line), you would find that he "peaks early." Rabbits that peak early often end up looking rather flat and long in body, or in other words there is a long space between their shoulder and where they start rounding down (4).
View attachment 32757

Regarding their fighting you, that will probably improve as you get used to posing them, and they get used to being posed - it takes teamwork. :) Just be gentle in moving their parts into place, over and over (not necessarily for hours straight, of course - even rabbits have a point at which they've had enough). Sometimes you can gently touch/poke at their hind end around the base of their tail - kind of goose them - and that will help them relax their midsection.

Frequently, rabbits that do well on the judging table are the ones that have been worked with so much that they are basically trained to pose, or that pose automatically. And a well-built rabbit will often pose naturally, as long as it's relaxed. It does seem like some breeds are more prone to fighting it than others: Mini Rex always seem inclined to lean into my hands, whereas most Himalayans I've handled are almost like putty - they stay however you place them!

Rabbits that have structural faults can fight a pose because it is uncomfortable for them, for instance if they're pinched, have a weak midsection, or have an improper head mount. Something else that can interfere with posing, especially in does, is when they are feeling amorous; then it can be hard to keep them from stretching out flat and lifting (pretty funny to watch on a show table!). Another thing that can be problematic is when a rabbit has an especially dominant personality - that rabbit will not want you to hold its head down. This is a case, though, where training will overcome the problem; it may just take longer than usual.
Thank you very much for all the information. Definitely needed!! :) What age would you recommend breeding them?
 
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I think MnCanary gave good advice.

I think that within certain limits, the age of first breeding goes up with the size of the rabbit. I wait to breed my Satin does (ideal weight 9lbs) till they're 6 months old, though the bucks are usually game by 5 mos, while we sometimes breed our Mini Rex does (ideal weight 4-1/2lbs) at 5mos. A friend who raises Flemish Giants (14 lbs and over) says she breeds at 8-10 months. Since Silver Marten does' ideal weight is 8.5lbs with a minimum of 7lbs, I'd probably want them to be at least 5.5 lbs, unless I already knew they were going to be smaller than ideal.

Theoretically, rabbits can breed at 12 weeks (and I have proof that's true of bucks!), so basically I just make sure the doe gets to somewhere close to adult weight before breeding; too young could stunt her. I will say, though, that as long as they are mature, the bigger breeds can keep growing after having their first litter. A friend of mine who bred national-class Satins always said she had to breed her does to get them to make weight.
 
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Hello again!!
Is this any better lol
This is the buck:

View attachment 32948

View attachment 32947

Overposed?View attachment 32949

Also, when should they finish filling out? You

In Photo #1 he is a bit stretched in front and back. His back feet align with his peak, but his knee is further back (1). Similarly, his front toes are behind his eye (2). This makes him look long in the shoulder, and while he looks well-rounded in his hindquarters, he looks like he has a long shoulder with a somewhat flat topline.
Inked SM Buck 1.jpg

In Photo #2, his hind feet are below his knee, but he is a bit stretched out in front, which pulls his peak forward (arrow). I can't tell where the eye is exactly but it looks like it's probably just slightly ahead of his front feet. Overall effect is of a long, flat rabbit which slopes off over the hindquarters.
Inked SM Buck.jpg

In Photo #3 he is posed nicely! His hind feet, knee, and peak are all aligned, and it looks like his front feet are properly placed as well. He looks full to the table in back, instead of having a longer distance between his tail and hock. In the correct pose, his rise starts directly behind the neck, and he is smooth, peaks correctly, and rounds off nicely over the hindquarters - a nice-looking rabbit!
Inked SM Buck 3.jpg

Ideally, he could probably use a bit more depth (nothing you can do about that) and maybe fill in a bit through his loin, but that's hard to say for sure from a photo and without getting my hands on the rabbit. He does present as a nice smooth animal.

Filling out may come with continued development. Different genetic lines can have different developmental phases, so you'll have to watch your rabbits to know whether you can expect them to fill out more as they grow. With my Satins, they have the hindquarters they'll always have by 12 weeks, but they can really fill in through the shoulder over the next few months. The other thing is that if you got these rabbits recently, you may see a temporary drop in condition as they get used to their new home.

Silver Martins are considered seniors at 6 mos, but it wouldn't surprise me if they kept growing for a while after that age. They will probably also get "bulkier." What are your rabbits' current weights?
 
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Thank you, just weighed them and the buck is 5.12 lbs and the does are 6.2 and 7.2. Just realized the buck and one of the does was underweight, the buck tends to scratch the food out of bowl but has unlimited hay anything I can do to get their weight up?
 
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Thank you, just weighed them and the buck is 5.12 lbs and the does are 6.2 and 7.2. Just realized the buck and one of the does was underweight, the buck tends to scratch the food out of bowl but has unlimited hay anything I can do to get their weight up?
First, check to see if they're underweight because they're undernourished, or if it's more likely that they're just small. In the photos they look smooth and healthy, but without touching them it's hard to say.

Pose him correctly and then put your hand over his shoulders, thumb on one side and pointer finger on the other. Now run your hand smoothly all the way from the shoulder to the tail. You should be feeling the rabbit with the web of skin between your thumb and pointer finger. If you can distinctly feel the spine, the ribs, the hips ("pin bones"), or all of them as your hand passes over the rabbit, he is probably undernourished or otherwise lacking in condition. (Some rabbits, especially crosses of certain breeds, can be pretty boney without being compromised, but a well-bred Silver Martin should feel firm and smooth.)

If you can feel his bones, the first thing I'd do is think about why he may be scratching food out of the bowl. Are you feeding him what he was being fed when you bought him, or have you transitioned him to a new pelleted food? He may not like the new ration if he was switched suddenly. Or, sometimes people transition rabbits to a new feed by mixing new and old food together. Over time, I've noticed that that's when I've had "scratchers." Now I give new rabbits both new and old food for a week or two, but I put the two types of feed in different feeders, so that if the rabbit prefers one to the other, he won't empty a feeder looking for his favorite bites.

Whether or not the feed is a problem, I'd replace his bowl with a feeder he can't dump or scratch out, if only because I hate paying for feed that is wasted or ends up feeding mice. J-feeders are pretty good in that regard. It can be tricky with bucks because their heads tend to broaden with age and they can't always fit their faces into the smaller J-feeders, but you're not going to have that problem at the moment.

If he is malnourished, free-feeding his ration and maybe adding a tiny bit (about 1 tsp/day for a rabbit this size) of BOSS, oatmeal, or Calf Manna could help him get back into condition. Once he gets to a healthy weight (which may still be less than the standard), I'd restrict the feed to what he'll consume in a day and eliminate the BOSS etc. You don't want to get him fat, you just want to build up his muscle mass and tone. Give him as much hay as he wants, but hay's not going to bulk him up no matter how much he eats; it is helpful for its high fiber, though, which will help his system process his feed that much better.

If his bones are not prominent, it may be that he is just small, or that he is a slow grower and will take longer to get to senior weight. He's not that old yet, just past the minimum age for senior, so once he settles in he may do just fine. Slower growth is not ideal, since his kits may inherit that tendency, and slow growth is not desirable for show or meat rabbits, but if you like him otherwise, you can work with it in the future by breeding him to bigger does. My Satins used to take a year or more to reach senior weight, but that is something that definitely responds to selective breeding. Now most of my does - and some of my bucks! - hit 9 pounds by 6-7 months (Satins are considered seniors at 8 months).

Finally, your rabbits look sleek and healthy, so I'd say you probably don't need to be concerned, but once in a while I have a rabbit that I just can't get into prime condition no matter what I do. Their flesh condition is soft, their coats look faintly rough, they're uninterested in breeding, and they persist like this for weeks or months. I raise meat rabbits so I don't rush to use chemical treatments, but at that point I usually try giving them a spot of fenbendazole, sold as Safegaurd dewormer paste for horses, the size of a small pea for rabbits yours' size. I was given this advice by an ARBA judge, and it has worked well for me. (Fenbendazole has been around for a long time and has a very good safety profile, but I still don't use it on butcher growouts.) I don't know whether the rabbits have had worms or not - certainly none that I could see - but frequently they are blooming in health again a few weeks later.
 
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Hello again, I was wondering if there is any way to tell when a rabbit has stopped growing. I’m referring to the buck in this post he hasn’t really gained much weight since I said his weight. He now weighs 6.1 lbs. I also need to wait til he is filled out to breed, Correct? He is also 8 months now. How much longer should I wait?
I was looking back on their pedigrees and I think they have just came from a lightweight line of rabbits lol. His sire was 7 pounds and his dam was 7.8 lbs.

Thank you!!
 
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Hello again, I was wondering if there is any way to tell when a rabbit has stopped growing. I’m referring to the buck in this post he hasn’t really gained much weight since I said his weight. He now weighs 6.1 lbs. I also need to wait til he is filled out to breed, Correct? He is also 8 months now. How much longer should I wait?
I was looking back on their pedigrees and I think they have just came from a lightweight line of rabbits lol. His sire was 7 pounds and his dam was 7.8 lbs.

Thank you!!
I'm sorry, I should have been more clear - it's the does I wait to breed if they're not near senior weight. I don't think it takes too much out of a buck to breed, the way it would a doe, who might be stunted if bred very young/small.

I'd go ahead and breed your buck with no worries. He may keep growing; different breeds and lines within breeds have different growth rates and adult weights. When I started with my Satins, some of the bucks took almost 2 years to reach senior weight! The good news is that that's a characteristic that responds very well to selection. Now they grow so fast that I often have to show my intermediates as seniors.

It was smart to look at the pedigree - I'm betting you're right about small rabbits. Since Martens are a meat breed, you probably want to select for faster/larger as you go forward, but I can't imagine you're going to hurt your buck by breeding him now!
 
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I would expect him to, since minimum senior weight for SM bucks is only 6.5lb, and he has only been a senior for a little while. It may just take longer than you want. If both parents are 7+ lbs, he'll probably get there eventually. :)
 

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