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COD Holder - Regina Mayhugh
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1) My name is Regina Mayhugh. I am from Circleville, OH. I have been raising rabbits since I was three years old. We started with mix breeds that my dad raised for meat and Mom and Dad said that when dad was wanting to get rid of them I would not let him and I would take care of them. Obviously I do not remember that but I do not remember my life without rabbits. When I was ten I started showing in 4-H and ARBA shows. I became very active in 4-H and when I was in high school I was also very active in FFA. My rabbits were both my 4-H and FFA projects. I won rabbit showmanship every year I showed at our county fair, won my rabbit project either every year or pretty close to it and even had Grand Champion Market Rabbit twice with bunnies that I raised, both were very proud moments for me. As part of my FFA project I won the State Proficiency Award in Specialty Animal and FFA State Degree through my rabbit project. As you can see I have had rabbits forever and they have been a huge part of my life. I have had almost every breed in my barn as some point or another.
I was able to keep my rabbits while in college and after I got married and commuted to take care of them. In 2004 we built a house and was able to move the rabbits over and into a shed. I am now happy to say that this summer my husband built a barn for them and we are finishing the barn so they can be moved in this winter.
I have been married for seven years to Sean Mayhugh. We have two wonderful little girls, Samantha- 3 and Sylvia-1. Sean has standardbred race horses (harness horses) and I have the rabbits. The girls enjoy both. Samantha has a few Dutch that she adores. Sylvia likes them all but has a lionhead that lets her hold him.
2) I got my first lionhead Feb 2003 at the show in Lima, OH. He was a SM Seal buck who I called Scruffy as he really did not have much mane. I think this show was the first time I had seen them. I bred him to a holland doe as I only had him and got two cute SM broken does that I remember keeping (I do not remember what else was in the litter). One had lopped ears and one did not. Since then I started buying stock from Kathy Denman, Tiara Farm Rabbitry and Dawn Guth, Bastets Bunnies.
Besides that first cross I did just to get some lionheads, I have also used Netherland Dwarfs in the mix. Of course doing this you are known to get some NMs if you breed to a SM and the funny thing is so of the rabbits that produced really nice stuff for me were NMs or from NMs in other herds. Most of my herd in the beginning were SMs, then it went to mostly DMs. I still have a few SMs, but DMs tend to dominate my barn. My goal however is to have competitive SMs. Some of my SMs (even my F1 crosses) grow nice manes back after they molt. And some of my best DMs are from either a NM or a SM.
4) I received my COD April 2008. I have talked about it for the past couple of years. I remember talking about doing it when I was pregnant with Samantha, but since I had drastically cut the herd due to having my first child, I never got around to it. My goal originally was to get a COD in otters, and I had some nice ones before she was born but sold them all and never really decided again to try it until this past spring, and I am glad I did. The worse part was trying to decide which other colors to pull besides otter. My original COD colors were Blue, Chocolate, Otter, Sable Marten and Smoke Pearl. My reason for Sable Marten is that I loved that color years ago when I was getting them. Smoke Pearl I went with because my hopes was to change that to Smoke Pearl Marten when I got them later, but as I was applying for this COD, I had smoke pearl martens pop up in the nest box. I decided blue and chocolate were too many colors to focus on so I decided to just stick with the three. My herd is also strong in siamese sable and smoke pearl as I will be working with them with my martens.
5) The hardest part of raising this breed I think is determining who to keep and who to move on. They can change so much as they grow and mature. The fuzzy bunny who is extremely fuzzy as a junior, you want to move him as he can't show as a junior but as a senior, once he sheds the baby fur he becomes that clean adult who keeps his mane. With limited cage space and the price of feed it is hard to keep them all until they become seniors just to see what they will do. This is probably also the most frustrating part. The next frustrating and challenging part besides trying to decide what to keep is deciding what to buy. I have spent lots of money on juniors with awesome manes only to find them molt them out and my own animals have better manes than the purchased one that I spent good money on. I tend to worry when I sell an animal, will it keep its mane, how will it turn out? Though I have been lucky with a couple breeders to see that the stock they have received from my herd went on to either show well for them or in most cases littered good show bunnies, so this makes me feel better. I don't show much at all with the girls being as young as they are, but when I hear that either my rabbits or offspring from my rabbits have done well, it makes all the frustration and challenges worth it.
6) The major changes I have seen are the improved body type, head and ears and of course manes. My preference is a well rounded bunny with short clean ears and a rump that is free from wool.
7) Richardson's Alabaster Jr (Prideland's Alabaster x Prideland's Lilth) - a sable point marten teddy- was definitely the first influential rabbit. Dawn Guth had purchased him and sold him to me- and I thank Dawn very much for letting me purchase him! Not only did he help with my manes (especially generations later) but he also sparked my interest in otters and martens years ago. I will never forget breeding him to Tiara's Topsey and I got lots of colors of martens and otters, That is when I fell in love with lionheads in the otter and marten varities. Unfortanely I let him go years ago, and I sure could use him now. He pulled the coolest colors. We even found out he was a chocolate carrier. Another animal that has produced some stuff for me was Bastet's Martini, a REW buck who I would also call a teddy. He has put some nice bodies on my animals. I do still have one baby that I kept from Alabaster Jr from one of my early litters using him, RRH's Alvin, and he has also been throwing some nice animals.