Unexpected color in the nestbox...steel or something else??

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rockyhillrabbits

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The doe is white New Zealand, buck is a light grey Flemish Giant with only white and light grey in his pedigree. The babies are white and this color. Steel?? In the past when I bred white New Zealands to my light grey Flemish I would get white and light grey so this was unexpected lol.20230106_121210.jpg
 

rockyhillrabbits

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Now that they are older....

Gold-tipped steel or just chestnut? I had assumed the doe would just have white in her background and there's only light grey in the buck's pedigree. Unexpected for sure, but they are cute.
 

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Now that they are older....

Gold-tipped steel or just chestnut? I had assumed the doe would just have white in her background and there's only light grey in the buck's pedigree. Unexpected for sure, but they are cute.
I'd call them gold-tipped steel (GTS), at least the two in the nest box - they are dark and their inner ears are not agouti. The one in the food bowl is less clear.

A good way to tell chestnut from GTS is to look at the belly. Usually the steels have a belly about the same color as the rest of the body, while a chestnut will always have a cream belly. Once in a while a steel with have a pale belly but it's not common.

Your NZ white (NZW) doe could have almost any color in her background. You can think of the allele for REW (ruby-eyed white) as spray-painting white over the top of the color/pattern that rabbit would be otherwise. If you breed REWs you get only REWs. But as soon as you cross a REW with any other color, you'll see all kinds of surprises, even possibly including brokens.

I've had numerous breeders tell me that NZW rabbits very often have steel in their background. Steel is a dominant allele so anything crossed with steel tends to produce steels.

Steel is also kind of unpredictable, so when a rabbit gets two copies of the steel allele, or a steel and certain other genes, it can look like a solid black. Similarly, the chinchilla allele combined with the one for self can make rabbits that look black. So, with your particular rabbits, you may end up with a lot of blacks that aren't actually black (genetically, anyway). :)
 

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