I have run into a situation that I feel should be brought to the attention of fellow Flemish breeders. A very interested teen, who had a few Flemish and had purchased a “Sandy” doe, showed me her pedigree, and I saw that it had Fawn and White parents. The White parent had in its background Lt. Grays, Blacks and Steels.
I have no idea if the breeder of this doe knew a Flemish mixture of this sort should not be sold with papers. This is not the first Flemish breeder I have encountered who is doing this.
This very promising girl is not the first to purchase a cheap, worthless (as far as breeding stock is concerned) rabbit, and unless some of the more principled and concerned breeders step in and try to help and educate these people, she won’t be the last.
Hopefully, the vast majority of us aren’t in it for only the money and prestige of winning, but to help others learn about and enjoy these beautiful rabbits. In particular, we need to be encouraging the younger people, for without them the future of this great breed is doomed.
The prospective new buyer of any age, should ask about and be educated in the seven colors of the Flemish. It should be explained to him/her the colors that can be crossed and those that should not be. They should be told what potential results can be expected if any of the colors are mixed, such as Sandy and Fawn, or Black, Lt. Gray, Steel, and White. It should be explained that Blues should only be crossed with Black and only those with as little of the other colors as possible. And that Sandys and Fawns should NOT be mixed with ANY of the others.
A prospective buyer should be informed if the rabbit he/she is buying has a variety in it that isn’t obvious from the color, such as a Fawn in a Sandy or vice-versa, or in the Steel-Light.Gray-Blacks-Whites and Blues. The novice buyer interested in this latter group may not realize the variety he is purchasing is very likely to have any one or more of the colors in his litters.
If Flemish breeders want to play with colors, that is their choice, but it should be done intelligently, and the offspring should NOT be sold with pedigree papers or for breeding stock. We have had enough problems in the past keeping the colors correct to have to go back and start again. It takes much longer to correct the mistakes than to avoid them in the first place. We hate to lose new breeders because of a bad experience they would not have made if they had been educated in the colors.
On a much more pleasant note, the young girl went home with a nice Sandy buck and bred Sandy doe, who, subsequently, had a nice litter. Maybe someday she will become a great promoter of our precious GIANTS!