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 beloging to the Clipsham Bros.. I cannot put into words how incredible this animal was, or how fantastic I perceived it to be - but hopefully once I have found the picture again, you will be able to see just why I was so bowled over by this rabbit.
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. Phil Wheeler had bred one or two in around 2002 but wasnt selling, Mona Cawdron (Secretary of the National English Lop) had a couple of does but hadnt managed to breed any from them and the only other person I could find with any did actually sell me a buck - which 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 has huge holes in his ears, then end missing from one also. There was a bite or abscess on his head and three further abscesses further down his ribcage 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. 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.
To say I was 'gobsmacked' would be an understatement. Thankfully, this person is no longer in the breed, as after my dealing with him, I decided to end more Foray into English Lops, at least for the time being.
Then 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. She had whites so I knew I would get from her Real Qaulity in the colour I most wanted. In due course a Trio did arrive - 2 REW Does and an Orange Butterfly Buck. Then, earlier this year I got a call saying that she was considering letting her stud of English Lops go. This was an opportuity that was too good to pass up. After intially 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.
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... So plenty of new hutches later I have a garage Full of them. And within days of them arriving I made my first mating’s between the new additions - litters now in the nest