Our first Member Spotlight for 2016 features Oregon members - Sue and Dan Hathaway of Tsunami Bunny.
If you didn't know Sue or Dan personally, anyone who attended the 2015 Convention in Portland, most assuredly recalls these two in pioneer/frontier garb strolling among the throngs of exhibitors! Sue and Dan both had their roots or "grassroots" in a down-home, back-to-basics upbringing. As a child, Sue raised rabbits along with a flock of chickens and working along side her grandparents in the garden.
According to Sue, her grandparents, who raised her, were born in 1899. They were "Old School" with pantries, root cellars, etc. - always full of food. She often accompanied her grandpa on fishing, crabbing, and clamming expeditions - all fond memories. Dan, though raised in town, was also taught to cook, fish, hunt, as well as to garden.
Tsunami Bunny is home to a successful herd of the largest of rabbits - Flemish Giants. When asked what first attracted her to the breed, Sue replied, "Well, I like animals either real big or real tiny." She saw her first Flemish at the Oregon State Fair about 10 years ago and immediately started to research the breed. She soon found herself purchasing a pair. It wasn't until she met her mentor - Mary Hammond in Weed, CA, that she became convinced to start showing them. While she was initially pushed into exhibiting, she finally relented and entered some of the excellent champion stock she had obtained from Mary and when Sue won her first Best of Breed, she was hooked! Though Mary currently raises German Angoras, she continues to provide excellent guidance and Sue gladly takes her advice. Sue affirms that she hasn't been wrong yet!
Dan appreciates Flemish because of their calm and gentle nature. They truly are BIG Gentle Giants! At one point, the Hathaways tried Netherland Dwarfs as well as Mini Lops, because they are SO CUTE, but in the long run, it didn't work out for them, so we went back to the BIG bunnies. Sue does admit that she also raises cavies and LOVES her TEXELS. She does offer pet cavies for sale often.
Tsunami Bunny is located in Bandon, on the beach, in Oregon about 85 miles southwest of Roseburg - between Port Orford and Coos Bay. The rabbits love the climate. They get the fresh ocean air, south wind in the winter and north wind in the summer. It almost never gets too cold or too hot, so they never lose their appetites, and Flemish eat a LOT. The Hathaways have HUGE cages for their Flemish. They recently bought their property and a house to put on it, so Dan is building a new rabbit barn. The barn is divided into sections -3 sections on each side, with 6 cages to a section and a dog kennel with runs for 3 rabbits at a time. The rabbits' time in the kennel is rotated so that each day the next 3 Flemish can have an opportunity to exercise. If Flemish are not kept in BIG cages, they don't grow to their full cabability. They are also more susceptible to sore hocks on wire because they are so heavy.
They do best on solid floors or on the ground. Another benefit of being located on the Oregon Coast is the sand. It helps keeps the fur clean and the rabbits don't dig far.
As a management practice, Sue and Dan always breed a least two does at the same time. Fostering is pretty easy with Flemish. If raised together, sisters will help raise each other's babies.
They also routinely treat with Ivomec and Corid.
They have never had sick rabbits or encountered bloat, mites, or other health issues.
They also firmly believe that their Flemish need to have all the Timothy hay in front of them they can eat every day. Once a week they pull pellets and feed hay ONLY.
The Flemish also get Calf Manna, oats, papaya, and dandelions. Lately, they have started feeding fodder with good results.
The Hathaway's most memorable experience was getting their first Best of Breed. In 2015 they were awarded Reserve in Show with their buck - "TSUNAMI DEFIANCE". He also received 3rd place Sandy Senior Buck at the Portland Convention. His sister was 4th in her class. It was all very exciting and was their first Convention!
Sue indicated that they love it when rabbits they sell or give to Youth or friends win. It actually is more gratifying than when they themselves win. Decorating the FLEMISH GIANT booth at Convention was fun. The Oregon Trail Wagon was a huge hit and they were very proud of their display.
Besides the Flemish Giants, Sue raised and showed American Eskimos for 20 years, as well as POA ponies. They have raised Curly Horses for the last 20 years. Both love to fish, hunt, trail ride and camp with their horses. They also like to go for rides on the beach. As one might guess, they are also involved in Living History - mostly 1830's Mountain Man and Native. They also participate in Wagon Train, Pioneer, and Renaissance Fairs. They rode 300 miles in 1993 with 3 different wagon trains for the Oregon Trail Sesquicentennial too.
Sue was a veterinarian technician for many years, and also was a jockey, horse groom/trainer with Thorobreds, Hunter/Jumpers, Arabians, Quarter Horses, Welsh Ponies, Saddlebreds, Paints, and Lippizaners. She also drove a forklift for 10 years, as well as worked as a CNC drill and laser machine operator. She has worked in the cannery industry for many years - currently Tuna and Salmon. Dan went to school for auto mechanics, but ended up in steel work; also working as a forklift driver and has worked with circuit boards, and glass lenses.
Though not blessed with children, their animals have always been part of the family. They are looking forward to retirement in order to spend more with them and of course...to show!