Remember When: How to Start the Wrong Way
Betty has encountered the question of "How did you start in English Angora?" many many times in the last 20+ years.
Here is the beginning of the story.
In July 1982, Betty wrote down the name of an exhibitor who advertised English Angora bunnies for sale in the Santa Clara County Fair and called her. In August, Betty received a call back and said there's a litter of English Angora bunnies ready to go, so Betty drove to the Santa Cruz mountains to look at them. It was a narrow winding road, a very difficult drive. Betty arrived in a small cabin with a barn next to it. The residence had no water, no electricity, no ... Betty did not even know that there were places like that in the modern time. Anyway, there were litters of little bunnies, 4 weeks old ones, at a very low price. Though it's not a good idea to buy 4-week-old bunnies, the price was right and the drive was hard. Betty bought an English Angora bunny and a French Lop bunny of the same age to keep each other company. The breeder told Betty that the rooster that just came back from the Santa Clara Fair would be chicken soup the next day, so Betty bought the rooster as well.
Here are two pictures taken in 1982. In the top picture, Betty was seen with the 4 week old bunny, Angelina. At 2 months old one of Angelina's ears dropped. One up ear and one down ear. Betty took Angelina to the show for the first time in the fall, the down ear went back up and stayed up for the rest of her life. At five months old, Angelina won a BOB in a very small show and got her first leg. Betty was really excited. The second picture was taken when Angelina was at her prime at 5 months old.
Two weeks later, Angelina gave birth to seven dark bunnies, a total surprise. Angelina was the only English Angora that Betty owned then. Well, it was a chestnut agouti French Lop junior buck that did the job. The mixed breed bunnies were some of the ugliest thing one would've ever seen. Their ears were going every direction, all chestnut agouti, all with very pointed faces. Luckily Betty found pet homes for all of them.
Then Angelina was taken back to shows and was able to get two more legs and became a Grand Champion. The GC really does not mean much if the genes are not good. Betty bought a white English Angora buck out of the same line from another breeder. The bunnies from the pair were pretty when they were young, but all became big, long and narrow with long ears when they grew up; some had floppy ear problems.
Finally Betty realized that this was not a line to be extended. She stopped breeding Angelina and Angelina lived out her natural life and passed on at about 6 years old. Nothing from Angelina stayed in Betty's breeding program. Betty started with a different line. Story to continue.
What happened to the French Lop bunny and the rooster that came with Angelina? The French Lop doe was later sold to another French Lop breeder as Betty had switched from French Lop to English Angora. Betty bought several hens for the rooster as his wives. He had a good life for over 9 years until a raccoon got into the chicken coop and destroyed his entire family.