Thursday, September 12, 2013

Common Grooming Problems in the English Angora

Some common frustrations that people have with English Angoras are often solved when they get the correct knowledge.  Below are a few items that sometimes perplex the new and intermediate breeder unnecessarily.

Matted Feet.  Whenever I have an English Angora with wool on the feet that has become unmanageable, I simply trim the wool off.  It is best do do this a few weeks before the show, but in any event, once they become difficult, it is time for a trim.
The wool on the feet grows back quickly, so if you do this 3-4 weeks before a show, it will most likley not even make a difference.
In fact, I rarely hesitate to do this unless I am very close to a show. Matted Cheeks.  With matted cheeks that do not comb out, I try to trim a layer off if possible.  usually, the matt is occuring under the first layer of cheek furnishings.  I will trim the underlayer of cheeck wool once it becomes difficcult, making sure that what I am removing is unnoticable.
This can sometimes make the remaining cheek wool easier to groom. However, prevention is the best cure - make sure to groom the cheek wool once a week at least and you will hopefully avoid this problem.
Matted Behind the Ears.  If a bunny starts to matt right behind the base of the ears, I simply cut it off.  This does not apply to any wool that is located on the rabbits shoulders, that will meed to be groomed so as not to ruin the rabbits show apperance.  Once again, it is a far better practice to maintain the wool and keep it on the rabbit.

Dirty Bottoms.  fIf your english angora bottom is dirty, keep the area trimmed.  If the wool is dirty, it is in the way.
To prevent this, it is important to keep the area trimmed neatly, especially the wool behind the feet. In addition, taking hydrogen peroxide or white venigar, and quickly spraying the floor f the cage daily, and wiping down with a rag will save you ALOT of headaches.
Also, trimming the genital area is not a bad thing, and is something that I do commonly as routine maintence. If it does not detract from the look of the rabbit, it should not count against you on the show table as it is often necessary for the health of the rabbit. Webbed/Matted Wool on the Shoulders.  Unfortunately, difficult shoulders do not have an easy fix, and must be prevented in order to keep your show rabbit looking fabulous.  Be very diligent about applying spray or ivermectin to kill fur mites, as explained in a previous blog, and keep up with the maintainence grooming. If you have a problem you will need to get to work using two tactics - pulling the wool apart and blowing with the blower. Remeber, that your goal is to keep the wool on the rabbit! So, pull apart webbing, and then blow. Repeat, repeat, and repeat. Take it as punishment for not keeping up your maintenance which would have prevented the problem! As you can see, most of what I have written is saying that PREVENTING the issue is the best solution. In the long run, taking the small amount of time to PREVENT the probem and doing your normal maintenance grooming is a FAR better solution if you are trying to maintain a nice show English Angora. The tricks above will help you when things have gone wrong, but these areas will never look as good as if they were properly maintaned to beign with.

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