**** Latest English Lop News ****
It was the National English Lop young stock show yesterday at the West Midlands Championship Show along with the YSS & Adult SSS for the Midland Lop Circle. We took a team of 4 English Lops and managed to win the following.
Best in Show NELC YSS - Ruskin's Thomasina (O/White doe) (judge R. Marsden)
Best in Show NELC Adult section - Soulbywoods Ginger Thomas at Ruskin (O/Wite buck) (judge R Marsden)
Best English Lop and RU BIS Midland Lop Circle YSS - Ruskin's Thomasina (O/White doe) (judge Peter Faint)
Best English Lop Midland Lop Circle ASSS - Soublywoods Ginger Thomas (O/White buck) (judge Esther Ferro)
Best English Lop and Runner Up Best Lop West Midland Champ Show - Soulbywood's Walter at Ruskin (Tort/White-buck)
Judge Lisa Morris
Ruskin's Silas also won his Length Classes in All stock shows (Sooty buck)
Thomasina is still a baby and has been shown twice so far. Taking Best u/5 in Show at the Scottish Lop Club Show 2 weeks ago, and then today (12/8/18)
winning the CC, BEST LOP AND BEST IN SHOW
at Carlisle & District RC
New Judges Show
Julia Marie Scott - Lops
Vicky Egerton - Fancy
James Hutchinson Fur /Rex
She is shaping into a beautiful creature, with substance and width to die for
On Saturday 28th July we made a trip into the Scottish Borders to show. The Border Union Agricultural Show held at Kelso (incoporating the Scottish Lop Rabbit Club Summer Stock Show)
we took a team of Three English Lops (REW Adult, Sooty Adult and an Orange Butterfly u/5)
WHAT A GREAT DAY WE HAD
Best Lop and BiS in the Border Union AS underthe Well Respected All Rounder Judge - Garry Richardson (REW doe)
also - Best In Show in the Scottish Lop Club Show under Peter Liddle (English Specialist) - (Sooty buck)
and not to be outdone, the young Orange Butterfly took
Best u/5 in Show and Runner up BIS in the Scottish Lop Club and Best Young Lop and Runner up Best u/5 in Show in BUAS
this takes the tally of Best In Show wins for Silas (sooty buck) and Ruby (REW doe) who are litter brother and sister
to EIGHT between them since May 2018
and waiting in the wings, still to come out to be shown,
Ruskin's Paularama (Sooty Doe) and Ruskin's Kirky (Black Butterfly Buck)
(and coming on behind them is Ruskin English Rose - REW and Ruskin's Englsih Sunset - Orange B/Fly)
I have also mated up some does so I have under 5's to show Bradford Champ Show in January 2019
I will be unable to show and English Lop in the main 5* show due to me judging a selection of Lops and Fancy Breeds in the main show
In 2017 I decided to bring a breed back to Ruskin which I had a few years ago. I had always admired the breed ever since seeing the BoB Bradford winner from 1979 in and edition of Fur & Feather. It was a White Buck belonging to the Clipsham Bros.. I cannot put into words how incredible this animal was, or how fantastic I perceived it to be at that time.
With my love of REW's and that rabbit being a REW - REW's were the obvious choice for me in the breed. But where to find one? They were like hens teeth when I first decided to take the breed on. Phil Wheeler had bred one or two in around 2002 but wasn't selling, Mona Cawdron (Secretary of the National English Lop) had a couple of does but hadn't managed to breed any from them and the only other person I could find with any said they would be able to sell me a buck, which just about made my whole year - HOWEVER, this feeling was soon about to change and rapidly, for when it arrived I was mortified.
It was long awaited and the AMTRAK delivery van couldn't arrive fast enough for me. When he did eventually make it up north, I opened the box to be greeted by a very sorry animal. Her had huge holes in his ears, the end was missing from one also. There was a bite or abscess on his head and three further abscesses further down his rib cage and over his body. On top of this shock, this was the first ever time I had seen FLEAS on a rabbit - and he was jumping with them. They were flying out the box and onto me and you could clearly see the little dark beasts making furrows in his fur.
After I contacted the breeder and told him, he very nonchalantly told me that Yes, they were bites and that the buck had been attacked by RATS but they weren’t that bad and as I wanted a buck so badly, he sent it anyway, and as for the fleas he didn’t seem surprised and told me how to treat the rabbit for them. To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement.
I spent the next week nurturing the animal and trying to bring him back to some kind of better health, but sadly he lasted another 10 days before I lost him. I got back in contact with the breeder and told him I wasn't happy and I wanted my money back - He refused to give me a full refund, but instead offered me 50% back as a good will gesture. You can imagine that this was no where near going to placate me and in fact I felt it was just an insult, and refused to have any further contact with them.
Thankfully, this person is no longer in the breed, and after my dealing with him, I decided to end more Foray into English Lops, at least for the time being.
In 2017 I decided to have a word with a good friend of mine, Paula Kirman of Soulbywood Stud who was having a real run of success with her English Lops, about buying a Trio. I had seen some of Paula's English Lops a few years earlier and had admired them, and when she was trying to make a decision about letting a breed go, not shortly after I had seen them for the first time, I had to have very strong words with her against getting rid of the English Lops. I hadn't seen any of the quality like she had and felt that if she were to let them go, especially if she were to split the stud up, it would be a huge set back for the breed in the UK. Well, Paula made her mind up and instead of taking my advice and parting with the French Lops, it was the English Lops she decided to let go.
What I said (and the manner I said it to her in) must have been playing on her mind over the next few months tho and after a little while Paula made the decision to try and get them all back, or at least majority of them. Within about a year of them returning to her she had won Best Lop and Runner Up Best In Show at London Championship Show - what a great result, for Paula, and for the Breed. She said to me afterwards that had I not been so Vocal (rude) & forceful with her in my opposition to her letting them go, she would have never reconsidered.
By now, Paula was breeding some superb specimen's, and she had exactly what I was after - REW's so I asked her if she wouldn't mind letting me have a trio. I knew I would get from her Real Quality in the colour I most wanted, and sure enough, in due course a Trio did arrive - 2 REW Does and an Orange Butterfly Buck.I was over the moon. Paula explained that the Orange Butterfly was split for white and as she didn't have a REW buck to let go at that time, this was the best other option. I was chuffed to bits at finally getting a good start in a breed I had loved and longed to own and breed for many years.
Then, earlier this year I got a call saying that she was considering letting her stud of English Lops go. As I had become quite close with Paula in recent months I knew that this time there would be no changing her mind, or coaxing her into thinking about it for a little longer. She was determined and her mind was made up.
I was now left with a bit of a quandary however. One the one hand this was an opportunity that was too good to pass up, but on the other I was thinking it was a massive change to make to my own rabbit life. I am and always have been set up for keeping Mini Lops and the odd other breed, but was I really wanting to take on a large stud of big rabbits, with very special and and sometimes unusual requirements.? I would need to buy all new hutches. I would need to find space at home to house them (luckily I had a massive garage at the side of the house, used to store junk which would make the perfect English Lop building (especially as it had the added bonus of running water, an adjoining outhouse to the rear for feed/shavings storage etc and best of all, direct access into the house.
After initially talking to Paula about if this was the right thing to do - realising that she was not for changing her mind, I arranged to go down to her house and see what I could bring back to Ruskin. and I did this within just a quick couple of days of hearing they were to go.
I managed to bring up here with me, quite a large number, in an array of different colours - more than I originally first wanted, but when the breed is so genetically so poor for diversity and an opportunity like this arises, you find a way to make it work for you. No matter the cost, no matter the logistics, even if the timing isn't quite right.... it is something that for the sake of the breed has to be done.
Splitting this stud up would have had so many implications for the English Lop in the UK. Had it have been broken down in to smaller saleable unit of rabbits - even right down to just pairs - the genetic strength this stud possessed would have been lost, and unless everyone who bought those 'bit's worked together (almost an impossible task I would say in today's fancy) the breed would be almost lost for good .
So within just a few days of me agreeing to do this, I had a garage full of them. I had already placed orders for new hutches - purchased some others, brand new from manufacturers where the buyers had changed their minds about wanting them (talk about luck or chance being on your sided when you need it most) and had began to convert some almost new, but unused hutches I had already into something more than suitable for the English Lops.
We have since started showing some of my first home bred youngsters, with great success and since the introduction of the extra stock from Paula, there are now a number of litters running around, with even more hopefuls waiting to hit the show tables.