National English Rabbit Club
Mr Phil Shaw
Take a journey over the QE2 bridge in Kent, the Garden of England and also the home of Kent Park Stud. Taking this journey I made my way to Sittingbourne, to the home of Bob Searle, lord and master of Kent Park Stud.
I was greeted at the door by Bob and five small dogs it’s hard with only two hands to make a fuss of five happy to see you dogs I tried my best, first thing a cup of tea, one dog took a real shine to me or it was the bacon roll in my hand. On finishing the tea and roll Bob and I made our way to the bottom of the garden where the shed housing the rabbits stood, by now my four legged friend had deserted me, so it was the bacon roll.
The rabbits are house in a 16’ X 18’ shed which is split in to two parts, electric light is available when required but the shed is blessed with plenty of natural light. There are 16 hutches coming in various sizes ranging from 5 at 5’ X 2’, 3 at 6’ X 2’, 4 at 4’ X 2’ and 4 at 3’ X 2’. Most of the hutches are made by Bob, each hutch is made with a solid frame then play panels are fitted then painted white inside and out. The shed floor has a covering of lino and the grooming table is positioned in the front part of the shed where most of the natural light enters.
Time to look at the rabbits and what rabbits they are, if Bob entered any of his five blue bucks in a sow he would be pushing any English all the way. Bob likes his bucks to have spots, strong tails, good heads, no stray spots, with the lamb chop pattern and it goes without saying coat and colour. The stud is made yp of mainly blues with the odd black brought in to keep the colour required. Bob is always on the lookout for a blue or black doe which he feels will improve the stud and his is not against using a self doe paired up with a marked buck. It works for Bob.
Bob is grateful to Brian Marsh, Brain Turrell and Dave Walker for stock that has come his way from their studs over the years, which works out around 75% Marsh & 25% Turrell/Walker, with a bit of Bernard double black to aid colour, and with an additional bit of Alan Lakin it all adds up to a stud of excellent blues ad Bo is most grateful to them all. I didn’t see a rabbit I would not take home with me.
Feed is Rabbit Royal along with clean hay and straw which was in abundant supply, green food is fed on a regular basis, magic and cider vinegar is added to the water which is supplied in bottles.
Two people Bob is very grateful to are Bob and Gill bushel for all their help and for taking hi to the shows. Without them Bo may not get to so many shows ad he takes this opportunity to say thank you to Bob and Gill.
One thing that bob did make a point of was that he will “always keep the English fancy flag flying” and that if he was the last man on Earth there would be English rabbits in his shed.
I did not that the rabbits were calm and relaxed all the time I was in the rabbit shed, me a stranger, and with one or two dogs popping in as well. Bob doesn’t play Class FM to his rabbits but he does play frank Sinatra, I did like the blue bucks’ rendition of New York, New York.
Time to make my way home, a goodbye to Bob’s wife Lyn and my five new friends with their wagging tails.
Thanks Bob for the tour and the insight in to one of our leading studs. May the Kent Park Stud flag be flying for many years to come.