Best Information About Rabbit Hair ( Tips & Guide )
The normal fur of the rabbit hair consists of two types of hair, the undercoat which is soft and varies in different breeds, between about I and RI inches, and the guard hairs which are stronger and longer. The diameter of the undercoat hairs varies between four and eight-thousandths of an inch, whilst the guard hairs may be as much as sixteen-thousandths of an inch in diameter or even more.
These typical rabbit hair have been modified in different breeds. For example in the Rex, the guard hairs have been shortened until they are about the same length or slightly less than the undercoat hairs, whilst in the angora, both types of hairs are much increased in lengths.
All hairs consist of a medulla, a series of cells in the centre of the hair, a cortex, which surrounds the medulla, and the cuticle scales, which overlap each other. In the undercoat hairs, the scales cover the entire hair, but they are not present on the tips of the guard hairs which are swollen slightly to form a bulb.
Facts About Rabbit Hairs
The normal undercoat hairs of the rabbit hair are slightly waved, but in the Angora, the wool fibres forming the undercoat are crimped. In all cases, the undercoat hairs are approximately uniform in diameter throughout their lengths, but guard hairs Each rabbit hair grows from a deep pit in the skin, known as hair follicle, and growth from each hair follicle is more or less continuous.
The first hairs to grow on the newborn rabbit are the guard hairs, but the growth of the undercoat quickly follows and hair is well developed after a few days. This first baby coat persists for between four and six weeks and is much softer than the later coats of the same rabbit hair. The intermediate coat starts to replace the baby coat at five or six weeks of age and is completed usually between 41-51 months.
On the completion of the growth of the intermediate coat, the pelt may be free of both loose hairs and new growth, that is to say, that it is in tight ‘ coat and free from moult. This occurs in the Chinchilla when the intermediate pelt may be betaken for fur work.
After completion of the intermediate coat, the growth of the adult coat begins. There are marry factors which affect the growth and moulting of the hair and depending on these, the adult coat may be completed at between six and eight months of age or even later. From this period onwards the rabbit hair will usually have one main moult a year, although this is very variable and there are many exceptions.
Moult normally starts on the head and proceeds backwards and downwards. The areas of the flanks (in the region of the tail) and belly are thus the last places to be cleared of moult, and it is here that signs of moulting should be sought when the animal is being examined to determine whether it is in tight coat and therefore suitable for pelting.
The annual moult of the adult animal is really a continuous process, although the severity of loss of hair and growth of nest hair varies considerably. The loss of some hairs may be started in early spring, but it may not be until the autumn that the animal sheds an appreciable number of hairs and the moult is apparent. In some cases, a very severe loss of hair and rapid growth of new hair may occur, when the appreciable moult period may be very short. In other cases, the moulting period may be very long.
Apart from what may be termed the normal moult, several other types of moult may occur. In the pregnant doc, there is a loosening of the hair on the belly and chest, and she is thus able to pluck out fur easily to line her nest. The same loosening, which is due to the effects of hormones produced during pregnancy, occurs when the doc is pseudo-pregnant.
There may be a double moult: that is to say, the rabbit hair may start and complete a moult immediately after a first moulting. This process may be further extended until the rabbit moults again immediately following the growth of new hair, and indeed several such moults may occur during the year.
Although the fineness of the hairs, the rapidity of its growth, and the length of moult period are determined basically by the inheritance of the rabbit hair (and this inheritance is by no means a simple nature), these characteristics are much affected by environment, of which feeding and temperature are the two most important.
A high level of nutrition will tend to produce a thicker fibre, but the increased density of the pelt(which is slightly increased by the thicker fibre) will not be so apparent as the animal will be rather larger, and the actual density of the hairs thus slightly reduced. ‘There is some relationship between size of animal and weight of hair grown, although this is not strictly correlated. Thus in the Angora, selection should be based on a weight of the wool weight of animal basis rather than on the basis of wool yield only.
The growth of an entire coat will impose some additional strain on the rabbit hair, and to assist it to overcome this strain, its nutrition should be good. The hair itself is composed very largely of protein, and rations designed to help in this way should, therefore, be adequately balanced.
There are several abnormalities in growth and moult. In the Angora areas of retarded wool, growth may occur. These are usually small, the wool on the area remaining short. In certain cases of skin troubles, irregular falling away of the hair may also be caused.