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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

  • Yay, Suzie & Syd! Sydney is again a daddybunny and there's six (?) new babies.  This time Suzie is the proud mumbun and she's done a great job.  She pulled a LOT of wool to keep the babies warm.  Which is a good thing, they seem a little smaller than usual.  Maybe it's just in comparison to the other older babies around here, though.Here they are at one day old, if even that old.  There's two more (at least) hiding in the wool.  In this picture are two agouti, at least I think those two dark ones are going to be agouti, they may be blacks.  Their ears look lighter inside than black, so if they have lighter ears, they ...
    Posted May 16, 2016, 8:11 PM by Niele DaKine
  • Three Weeks & Five Days Three weeks and five days old and they're already hopping around and eating grasses.  Twenty six days can make a lot of changes when you're a baby bunny.Tootsie is still feeding them some, but they are also eating alfalfa pellets and forage.  Today's forage is grasses, although yesterday they got bean leaves, ti leaves and parsley.  There's a lot of tongue sticking out when they eat parsley.  They eat a little, then kinda chew, chew, chew, put their tongue out to either side and then eat more.  They like it, though, they'll pile into until it's all gone and eat it first.I think it's time to start building the next hutch ...
    Posted May 10, 2016, 12:57 PM by Niele DaKine
  • 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
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 363. 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