Okay, so I sat here struggling. Do I talk with you about Holland lops or about hand-raising babies? Both would fit, could I make one or the other fit a different letter of the alphabet? I decided I could put off hand-raising babies. Leaving me with Holland Lops.
In my rabbitry I predominately raise Hollands Lops. I always have something else around, but 95% is Holland lops. Those floppy ears and good attitudes make them winners. 🙂
General Body Type of Holland Lops
Holland lops are considered a fancy breed as opposed to a utility or commercial breed. They mature to around 4 lbs. They have short lopped ears that kinda look like a flat spoon. Shown in an upright posture to enhance their thick bone and massive heads. The image below tells you what the ideal holland lop should look like.
They are the smallest of the lop-eared breeds of rabbits. Others being the English Lop, French Lop, Mini Lop, and Velveteen Lop.
My holland lops are a work in progress. Pond (pictured below) is the closest example I have to the above. She still isn’t quite what she should be, but at least I’m getting closer. 🙂
Double Dwarf Gene in Holland Lops
Holland lops are a dwarf breed of rabbit which makes them subject to the double dwarf gene. The dwarf gene keeps the rabbit small, but if a rabbit receives two copies it is usually lethal within three days. There have been reports of some surviving until six months old. I am admittedly somewhat skeptical about those reports as I’ve never had a peanut born that was able to eat. (Hence dying within three days).
I currently have a kit that I am keeping an eye on. I suspect it’s a very small runt as opposed to a peanut. It’s ears aren’t the ears of a peanut, and yet it’s hind end is somewhat weak. Time will tell for sure. One day I will check the box and it will either look like a well fed kit or it will simply be gone.
If you look at the difference in the kits above you will note the round tummies on all the kits but the small one. Another indicator that something isn’t quite right. I’m not giving up hope yet as it’s stronger than expected at day three and the ears are more normal than not, the head isn’t as domed as with a peanut. It does show that Pond has the dwarf gene and that’s a good thing. 🙂 One needs to look for the positive even in the midst of potential dismay.
I love the blockiness I see in this young doe. Her ears are too long but she has good width to her body and to her head. Gives me hope that I am doing something right in my breeding! 🙂
I remember how I got into breeding loppies. I helped a fellow locate some meat rabbits. As a thank you he gave me two lop rabbits he no longer wished to keep. Those two torts opened my eyes to the fun that a holland lop can be. Now almost 15 years later, their blood is still a distant part of my loppies today. I love that continuity, to be able to see where a rabbit gets some of it’s personality and type from. It’s a big reason why I continue to breed the fancy Holland Lop. A wonderful animal.
Letter H Link Up
Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.