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Hillside Farm English Angora Rabbitry

Tortoiseshell English angora   
Micro Farming with Micro Sheep!

Hillside Farm is a small backyard "Micro-Farm" with angora "Micro-Sheep" on the Island of Hawaii.  These "micro-sheep" are English angora rabbits which provide soft luscious fiber for spinning into yarn.   These gentle and friendly fiber bunnies provide fiber just like sheep three or four times a year.  Their "wool" is either combed, plucked or sheared off and they seem to enjoy haircuts and bounce around afterwards although they quickly settle in to growing more fiber soon enough.  After the fiber is "harvested" from the bunny it can be spun into yarn immediately or carded a little before spinning into yarn.  A light drop spindle works well for angora wool or a traditional spinning wheel will spin it up much quicker.  Since the bunnies stay clean and dry, their fiber does too so it doesn't need to be washed before spinning, unlike other fibers.

Each of these bunnies will produce about a pound of spinnable fiber each year and they weigh about five pounds.  So, these little critters produce their own body weight of fiber every five years.   Busy bunnies, indeed!

bunny eating orange leaf
You can contact us at  
HillsideFarmHawaii@Yahoo.com if you have any inquiries about bunnies or spinning.  We usual
ly have assorted fibers, English angora bunnies and yarn available.  The yarn is m
ade from island fibers although the fibers are sometimes alpaca or sheep's wool as well as the angora bunny fiber.  

We've been getting in more sheep's fleeces than we can spin, if you are interested in a whole sheep's fleece, just drop us a line.

We now have Hillside Farm's yarn available at "Vera's Treasures & Mall" along main street in Honokaa.  It is in the old red Rice building near the post office end of town.   

New Rabbit News

  • Babies getting bigger Tootsie is already starting the 'sit on the nest box' routine.  Generally, mom rabbits will do this when they're weaning the litter, although she's a few days early since the babies are still less than three weeks old.  Usually they get weaned around four weeks old.  Tootsie is looking a little ragged and in need of grooming, but she's got enough stress taking care of the litter so she will get combed out in a week or two.The babies are not quite three weeks old in this picture.  If you look carefully, you can just barely make out all eight of them.  One outside the nest box and the other seven nestled inside.  A little bit ...
    Posted May 5, 2016, 12:58 AM by Niele DaKine
  • Herd Reorganization Well, looking at the bunnies and the colors of fiber we need for Hula Bunny Yarn, it's probably time to sort bunnies again.  The three 'standard' colors of Hula Bunny yarn are the three on the right side of the picture.  The creamy white "Coconut Dream', the light tan 'Beach Bunny' and the silvery gray 'Moonlit Dance'.   The other colors are made from Coconut Dream or Beach Bunny colors of yarn and dyed with either natural indigo (not shown in the picture) or commercial dyes, usually either Greener Shades or Jacquard.We need about thirty to maybe thirty six bunnies here to provide fiber for the yarn.  Twelve to fourteen of whom should be white to provide fiber for ...
    Posted Apr 21, 2016, 4:14 PM by Niele DaKine
  • Officially Counted Well, they are Officially Counted, at least, for now.  The two tiniest ones don't seem to be there anymore.  Where they went, I don't know, there's nothing left to show and it's probably best.  There's one more of the really small ones, maybe that one will make it, maybe not.  I can't do a better job than the mom bunny so if she can't keep them around, I'm not going to be any better at it.  I've tried before, with less than positive results so I just leave it up to the mum bunny.  So, they've now been officially counted and their colors noted.  There is one who I think ...
    Posted Apr 19, 2016, 3:37 PM by Niele DaKine
  • They're multiplying! Well, I was pretty sure there were seven in Tootsie's litter.  I'd thought seven for sure, maybe eight.  If there were eight plus the two that didn't survive the birthing process, that would have brought the total number up to ten which is a huge litter size for English angoras so we couldn't really expect more than maybe eight.Tootsie is using one of the old fashioned 'standard' nesting boxes, which is a flat bottomed wooden box with sides and we usually cover the entire top so the mom bun has a place to jump up away from the babies when it's time to wean them.  Since the bottom of the nesting box is flat ...
    Posted Apr 17, 2016, 3:23 PM by Niele DaKine
  • Yay, Sydney! Finally, a litter from Sydney!  Woot!They were born a couple hours ago and Tootsie did a fine job.  They are in the nest, there's wool to keep them warm and they are all nice and wiggly.  I'm not quite sure how many there are, I didn't do much other than uncover them and take a picture or two.  Toots is looking a little astonished at the whole thing, but she's doing great.The little gray one will be a standard agouti and we now have agouti back in the herd again.  Woot!  Not quite sure what everyone else is.  Some either chocolates or chocolate torts?  Maybe a tort and fawn?  Not quite sure what the ...
    Posted Apr 14, 2016, 3:37 PM by Niele DaKine
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 361. View more »

Here is a handy book for new bunny owners:
The Nervous New Owners Guide to Angora Rabbits :
Click  here!
Hope the link works, otherwise google the name and it will be listed on Amazon.

Here are some other interesting rabbit sites:

Rabbit Medicine webpage
This is a list of toxic plants.  Always check to see if something is good for your rabbit before introducing new plants into their diet.

This is a website about general rabbit keeping:

The Rabbit - Husbandry, Health and Production

And here are some sites for Angora bunnies:
 This page is on how to groom an angora rabbit and is written by Betty Chu who is one of the foremost angora breeders:

A discussion of the different angora breeds and the fiber from eachhttp://www.hjsstudio.com/angora.html

This one has lots of information abo
ut English Angoras:

They also have a good page on angora bunny shearing listed a little bit further down, but here's their page on angora bunny care:

What Color is that Rabbit!
Here are some useful sites on rabbit color genetics:

This one is probably the most useful for deciphering genetic color codes:

These are the allowable show colors:

This one isn't specific to English Angoras, but it might be of some interest:

Punnett Square Calculator:

How to Get the Hair Off the Bunny:

Okay, you have a very fuzzy bunny, that's their job, to grow hair.  And they do it well.  Now, to be useful, you need to get the hair off the bunny.  It's hard to make the fiber into yarn while the bunny is still wearing it.  Here's a few links on shearing:
I personally don't own these clippers, but most folks who do really enthuse about them:  http://www.germanredclipper.com/centix/en/shop/clipper/37.html
If you do buy a pair of these, let me know how they work!  

The International Association of German Angora Rabbit Breeders (usually referred to as "IAGARB") promotes the red clippers, too:

These are the clippers we have here which came from Del's in Hilo, but call to see if Del's has them in stock before you make a special trip:  http://www.osterpro.com/Product.aspx?id=vet&cid=929&scid=0&pid=6384
We also use the #40 blade which is a very fine blade.  Works in un-matted wool, if there's mats, it doesn't do so very well but the little embroidery snips take care of mats.

Natural fiber colors and blue from fresh indigo leaves