Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Betty the bunny

Meet Betty, a new to us and new to us breed of bunny. She is a 7 week old Silver Fox. The Silver Fox is a rare breed of domestic rabbit native to the United States. They were developed by Walter B. Garland of North Canton, Ohio, and bred for meat and fur. The breed is recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association and was originally registered under the name American Heavyweight Silver in 1925. In 1929 the name was changed to the American Silver Fox and later to Silver Fox. The Silver Fox is a part of Slow Food USA's Ark of Taste, the catalog of US foods in danger of extinction.

Silver Fox are a large, docile breed weighing 11-12 pounds for an adult female, and is named for its thick blue-gray or silver fur. The Silver Fox is one of the rarest rabbit breeds in America, and is considered critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Babies are born either solid black or blue and begin to show silvering of their fur at about 6 weeks. The silvering process takes 4 months to complete. The fur of a Silver Fox is extremely dense and 1-1/2 to 2 inches in length. When the fur is stroked from tail to head, it will stand straight up until stroked in the opposite direction. This trait is found in no other breed and greatly resembles the pelt of the silver fox of the Arctic.

Even though they are a large breed, they are very gentle, easy to handle, and love attention. They have been dubbed the Teddy Bear of the rabbit family. Does are easy breeders, high milk-producers, are excellent mothers and make great foster mothers. They adapt well to any climate and sudden changes in temperature do not appear to bother them. Direct, long term sunlight will, however, burn their fur to a rust color.

The Silver Fox make a good pet or meat animal. They have a deep loin that provides good meat proportions on the carcass. They are known for their very high meat percentage, dressing out at 65% of live weight. The taste of its meat is considered high quality with fine texture and taste. For a much more detailed history on the Silver Fox, check out the link below.

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