Max Factors

by Sharon Kirby
(Nampa, Idaho, US)

You asked about Max factor kits.

I had a litter that contained 2 of them in 93. I don't have pictures but I did make detailed drawings.

One interesting thing about them was how color developed in Agouti patterned ones. It came in looking at first like they were going to be tan patterned and then like a saddle marked dog and finally a near normal chestnut. It was very like the color progression of German Shepherd pups.

A friend had an unrelated litter of max factor kits that were chinchilla and went through the same odd pattern of color progression. Anybody else mention that?

I am familiar with a Rad's Max A Million, a black silver martin, that was in the pedigree of my friend's max factors. As I recall he himself was not an import though his dam was out of a German Import.

My max factor litter was totally unrelated to this Max A Million but did go back to an un-named black 1988 English Import buck. Though not closely related, both does who where the mothers of these litters went back to Cottontail breeding though I don't see any imports in either of their pedigrees. Perhaps the max factor gene is more widespread than just the import, Max, it was named after.

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Apr 29, 2014
Environmental (Max) Factors
by: Kerry - Just Rabbits

'Hole in Ones' - very apt name. Poor wee thing.

The issue of raised copper levels in feed is truly amazing. While I myself am not a vet or a Doctor I do have friends in these professions who have reported findings that are consistent with diet being the key factor in death, disease and deformity. Not just in rabbits but also in human beings!

It makes sense of course. However, rabbits are slightly different. Their metabolic and digestive systems are very different to ours and I have not heard of a human dying from an overdose of copper. In fact I think copper is good for keeping the grey hairs away (a strange link to the hair/fur again perhaps Sharon).

It makes sense that the mineral content in feed for a dwarf breed be rather more precise than in that of a normal sized rabbit. It makes you think though. Perhaps a recommended copper level review should be in order.

One thing is certain - we all need to keep an eye on those ingredient/content labels!

Sharon, if you'd like to post your pictures just go back to the main page and submit a new post. You can upload the pics there.

Thanks again

Apr 29, 2014
Environmental (Max) Factors
by: Sharon Kirby

Hi Kerry,
Regarding the max factor kits, it's interesting you should think of environmental factors.

Look at copper levels and see if you can see any correlation with max kits or even other types of abnormalities.

Just before the appearance of max kits in my area there was an issue with the feed we were all using. The company had added more copper to the mix. Fine for non dwarf breeds but it had a devastating effect on dwarfs. Evidently they don't metabolize nutrients in a normal way which makes sense given the issue with peanut mortality is some kind of non functioning of the digestive system.

The extra copper was lethal to a lot of our bunnies, particularly does under the extra stress of pregnancy; so many had dead litters and does dying when they kindled. Deceased bunnies were sent to U.C. Davis who confirmed high levels of copper in the bunnies tissues. (though they stopped short of saying it was from the feed--that would have opened up lawsuits.)

This could be a coincidence. There were other abnormalities around the same time.

One breeder sent me a bunny because she couldn't sex it. It defecated every time she tried and it spooked her. It did the same for me, so I withheld food for a day and tried. It was a buck, but..... It was defecating from it's penis. He seemed happy and healthy, but we decided he probably had an increased risk of urinary infection so we put him down.

I did the necropsy. Everything was normal until the last bit when his intestines connected to and emptied into his bladder rather than going on to his anus. His anus didn't even have an opening. I nick named him "hole in one" much to his breeders chagrin. His parents were both very nice rabbits and were bred again and two more of these appeared in the litter. At that point their breeder was so shaken that she put down the whole litter and both parents. If she had not, and bred these parent rabbits to other mates and kept the whole thing hush hush, would we now be seeing "hole in one" kits spread throughout the breed?

The max factor deformity could have begun that way and been widely dispersed as a defective gene before it started to generally appear making it hard to determine where it originally came from.

If anybody is still doing research on the max gene and where it may have started, I do have 5 generation pedigrees on a couple of max litters I'd be willing to scan and send them.

The drawings I made of my max kits don't show anything new as to fur type and extra toes claws etc., but did capture the color progression.

Apr 29, 2014
Interesting Observations!
by: Kerry - Just Rabbits

Your observation of the colour pattern and the transition as the Max factors grew was really interesting - It would be good to know if others observed this too.

It's wonderful that you can actually trace your line back to 1988!

With unrelated bucks having the 'Max' gene it seems that something is occurring 'naturally' in the DNA and we shouldn't assume that the 'deformities' come from one source.

Perhaps instead we should look at other 'causes'. As we have seen in human conditions, rabbits could be affected by the chemicals in modern cleaning solutions or even GM or synthetic foods etc.

The concept raises more questions than answers unfortunately.

Thank you so much for your observations - It truly is fascinating to me.

Thanks again Sharon - brilliant info!

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