Blue Eyed White Angora Myths – some misunderstandings
By Kim Gay
These are a few things I am hearing other breeders say about the wonderful and very rare Blue Eyed White Angora Rabbits. The BEW’s take a little more time to produce than other Angoras because they are VERY RARE and have not been built upon through breeding like other angoras. You need to decide first if Blue Eyed White Angora rabbits are right for you. They need to be treated like a separate breed in your angora breeding program be it English, French, Satin or Giant Angoras. I will be adding to this article a little along as I run into things that need to be said about Blue Eyed White Angora myths.
Myth 1 –
Blue Eyed White Angoras are the cause of weak ears………Absolutely not! Weak ears are caused by many factors and NOT by the Vienna Gene. Weak ears can be caused by summer heat. The bunny’s ears grow very quickly in the heat of summer, as the ears are the cooling mechanism for the rabbits like panting is for dogs. The ears grow faster than the bunny’s head and sometimes the cartilage gets weak. The ear becomes heavy due to increased blood flow in the ear and it will flop. The ear can come back up when the growth spurt catches up with the ears and gets stronger. Occasionally the ear will stay down or they can have “airplane ears”. Sometimes litter mates laying on each other will damage the ear cartilage and cause the ear to drop. Again this may or may not be permanent, as it depends on the bunny. There are some things you can do to help the ear go back to normal upright position. Some lines are subject to have genetically weak ear carriage. You can determine this by having litters in the cold months. If you get a lot of weak ears in the dead of winter then your weak ears could be caused by a genetic predisposition to weak ear carriage. A long, narrow head could also cause poor ear carriage. To help prevent this, breed rabbits with nice wide heads so your ears have a good support base to build upon.
Myth 2 –
I have a Blue Eyed White baby just appear in a litter with no Vienna gene….. This will not be a true Blue Eyed White. A baby like this is actually a Chinchilla colored rabbit genetically even though it appears white. Normally it will have ear lacing but can be pure white and will have blue-gray eyes not sky blue like a true Blue Eyed White rabbit with the Vienna gene but as a baby could be mistaken as BEW. Their eyes will darken to a more blue-gray as they get older. This color is called Ermine and is not a showable color by ARBA standards. Ermine’s can have gray, blue-gray, or brown eyes just like a normal Chinchilla colored rabbit.
Myth 3 –
I want to improve my Blue Eyed Whites but am told this just won’t happen…. False ! Just like with all the other colors and breeds of Angora Rabbits the Blue Eyed Whites can be improved through selectively breeding. Because the BEW’s are so rare they have not been taken to the extent as the other colors in the Angora breeds. The Blue Eyed Whites take a little more time to work with but the end result will be fantastic. The more people who breed for BEW’s the better they will become.
Myth 3 –
Blue Eyed White Angoras are always small….. Nope! The BEW’s I have were developed from Beveron rabbits which are a large rabbit! Sometimes as with other rabbits different lines develop faster or slower than others. Try to breed larger rabbits together if you want larger offspring. Not all babies will make weight and that is true with any breed of rabbit. You need to keep the best of your litters for your breeding stock.
Myth 4 –
Blue Eyed Rabbits can’t see as good as other rabbits– LOL BEW Rabbits have no problem with seeing. They are just like other white rabbits except with beautiful blue eyes instead of red ones. I am not aware of any problems what so ever with the Vienna gene.
Myth 5 –
Avoid BEW rabbits because they cause problems – Problems???? Ok what problems? If you do your research as to what to expect with the Vienna gene you will not have any problems. The Vienna gene will produce Vienna Marked (dutch marked) bunnies as well as Blue Eyed Whites. Just like with any other breeding program you need to decide what to do with bunnies that you don’t want to keep. The Vienna Marked babies make super pets and they have a face that is soooooooo cute!! The dutch marked ones are usually the first to sell……. They have that “too cute” appeal. Be a responsible breeder and make sure your customers know if the bunny you are selling has the Vienna gene or not. It will cause problems later if a breeder gets several Vienna marked babies unexpectedly!
Myth 6 –
All white spots are caused by the blue eyed white gene – False, Most white spots on colored rabbits are caused by the random spot modifier gene. This gene is completely separate from the Vienna gene but both can cause white spots.