I just got back from the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (www.saffsite.org). I had a blast and I met lots of interesting people and learned lots of new things. For those of you who are not familiar with SAFF it is probably the biggest fair for all things fiber related (yarn, spinning, weaving, felting, etc.) in the south. The products being sold were all lovely and it was hard to walk away without spending a fortune but I had to exercise a little restraint since I still have a stash I am spinning through at home. If you would like to learn new skills or improve your own you can try some of the classes they offer – usually the best classes are on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The IAGARB had a booth setup and I had a chance to chat with Erin Maclean and Leslie Samson (the author of Completely Angora) who are some of the foremost experts in the German Angora breed in North America. I have to admit it was quite humbling to realize how much I have yet to learn. I also had a chance to look at some of the Germans they brought and they were magnificent – dense, full coats, soft texture and so calm! Lynn over at Moss Hollowe Farm (http://www.mosshollowe.com) also brought her pure colored German who is amazing – I am hoping she starts breeding this spring so I can get ahold of one of his babies.
Leslie had a wonderful class on how to shear your rabbits which was very informative, even for someone who has been shearing a while. We also discussed how to tell whether your rabbits have synchronized wool. The IAGARB has a nice write-up on it at http://iagarb.com/german-angora-wool/understanding-the-differences-between-synchronized-and-non-synchronized-growth-of-angora-wool . I am going to try to make it my priority to eliminate the non-synchronized wool in my herd, but for right now I cannot guarantee that any of my babies are synchronized. I can guarantee my Juniors, but most of next year’s synchronized Juniors are going to stay to improve my own herd. If it is important to you that your animal is synchronized I recommend that you go with a full (i.e. completely imported bloodlines) German. Unfortunately I do not know of anyone who has full colored Germans available in the region. I hope to have some available in 2015 and Lynn at Moss Hollowe has said that she is planning on breeding hers this spring so you can contact her to get on her waiting list. If you are breeding to try to eliminate non-synchronized coats, please keep records! Right now one of the biggest roadblocks to eliminating it is how little is understood about the inheritance of the trait. The more records that are kept and shared, the easier it will be to breed it out.