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#1
05/06/12, 09:10 PM
 Join Date: Nov 2011 Location: East Windsor, CT Posts: 204
Meat rabbit weight calendar?

I am wondering if a sort of calendar or graph exists that says that if a rabbit is supposed to be 5 lbs by 10 weeks for instance, how much should that rabbit weight at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks etc? The reason that I am curious is that I have 4 kits that are 5 weeks old at a pound and a half. Their mother died when they were three weeks and I am curious as to how far behind they are. Also, would be a god reference to see which does I should cull or breed from based upon growth rates. Thanks!
#2
05/07/12, 08:07 PM
 Join Date: Nov 2011 Location: East Windsor, CT Posts: 204
Or if no calendar exists can someone tell me what weights meat rabbits should weigh at different intervals? Thanks, I appreciate it!
#3
05/07/12, 11:16 PM
 Join Date: Jun 2002 Location: Washington Posts: 1,387
There are simply way too many variables in order to establish such a "generic" calendar. Environment, feed, management, breed and genetics all play a part in the growth of rabbits. The best you can do is to develop and establish your OWN calendar for your own specific herd.

Pat Lamar
#4
05/07/12, 11:25 PM
 Join Date: Jul 2011 Posts: 2,062
It varies way too much. The smallest of the litter could be your first to make 5lbs or it could be the last. Even from week to week they can completely change their order of who is the heaviest. Weight doesn't level out until that 10-12week mark which is why it's not profitable to feed them past that point and why 5lbs has become the benchmark. Most people also don't bother weighing them except maybe a whole litter weight until 8 weeks since it means nothing to track individual weights before then.
#5
05/09/12, 11:39 AM
 Registered User Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 6
Rabbit weight calculator

It would be impossible to design a calculator that applied to all rabbits universally.

Not only is every breed of rabbit different, but different strains or lines within each breed are different.

Take the NZW for example. I've seen kits from weak lines that are less than 4 pounds by 10 weeks and I've seen kits from good lines that are 5 pounds by 8 weeks.

By numbers, New Zealand Whites and Californians are the two most commonly raised meat rabbits and by numbers, the NZW x CAL cross is the most hybrid breeding.

The unwritten standard most breeders strive for is to have babies hit 5 pounds somewhere between 8 and 10 weeks. The closer to 8 weeks the better.

If you cross a NZW doe with a terminal sire such as the Altex, you can get closer to 6 pounds by that time.

5 pounds by 8 weeks is about the absolute best that can be done with a basis NZW breeding. You can set that as a goal and improve your stock until you reach it. Who knows, you may end up with super bunnies that beat it
#6
05/09/12, 11:44 AM
 Registered User Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 6
Quote:
 Originally Posted by akane Most people also don't bother weighing them except maybe a whole litter weight until 8 weeks since it means nothing to track individual weights before then.
I weigh my kits individually while growing out and I know many others that do as well. There is value to it.

Not only will it help you to identify the biggest kit in the litter, which matters if you are seeking the biggest of the litter as replacement stock, but more importantly it can identify any sick kits that may need to be culled. If you weight the litter as a whole, you might not notice that kit xxx has not gained any weight in the last several days or worse, is losing weight. Only individual weighing can achieve that.
#7
05/09/12, 12:52 PM
 Join Date: Jul 2011 Posts: 2,062
Except I've seen the biggest kit be the smallest kit at the next weighing and somewhere in the middle later, etc.... I have never seen 1 kit consistently stay in the same range compared to the others. It just depends who got a good feeding over a couple days. I've also seen kits who were half the size of their siblings while nursing that I didn't get around to butchering turn out to be nearly twice as big as adults when on solid food. I don't put any stock in weights during nursing. Too many variables.
#8
05/09/12, 02:07 PM
 Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: Illinois (West Central) Posts: 437
I haven't seen anyone else mention it, at least in my experience, size of litter matters in growth also. I have 2 Does who are sisters, One has a litter of 8 and the other only has 3 surviving. At 3 weeks old the small litter is almost twice the size.

Dave
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#9
05/10/12, 12:53 PM
 Registered User Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 6
Quote:
 Originally Posted by akane Except I've seen the biggest kit be the smallest kit at the next weighing and somewhere in the middle later, etc.... I have never seen 1 kit consistently stay in the same range compared to the others.
Yes, the do go up and down throughout.
However, there are times that the biggest kit at birth is still the biggest kit at weaning time and still the biggest at slaughter. This indicates that the rabbit started off big, faught to have a selfish share during nursing and ate well during growout and that's the kind of rabbit you want as breeding stock.

Likewise, if the kit who is the smallest at birth and weaning is still the smallest at butcher, then it shouldn't be saved as breeding stock because its either genetically small, or wasn't a figher enough to get a good supply of milk and didn't fight hard enough to eat enough in growout - all signs of weakness.

It's not necessary to weight every day, but there is value in identifying each kit at birth and recording their birth weight and then way them every few days up to weaning. I've found it to be the best way to find those "super" kits that make excellent breeders.

Lisa L.
#10
05/10/12, 12:59 PM
 Registered User Join Date: Feb 2011 Posts: 6
Quote:
 Originally Posted by switchman62 I haven't seen anyone else mention it, at least in my experience, size of litter matters in growth also. I have 2 Does who are sisters, One has a litter of 8 and the other only has 3 surviving. At 3 weeks old the small litter is almost twice the size. Dave
Litter size plays a role, but not as much as one might think.
Milk is a supply and demand commodity. A rabbit nursing 3 kits will only make enough to feed those 3 kits. A rabbit nursing a dozen, will make as much milk as those dozen need. If the doe is an adequate nurser, she will make enough milk to support the litter size she has.

In very large litters, it gets more complicated because there can be twice as many kits as there are working teets. In this case the doe needs to stay in the nestbox long enough for everyone to get time to feed; if she leaves to quick some wont eat and those are the ones that usually wither away.
Regular weighing throughout is also helpful in this area. It the doe has 12 kits and lets say 3 of those kits remain the biggest throughout, then clearly those 3 pushed and shoved hard enough to get the amount of milk they wanted. These are the strong ones and usually, but not always, continue to be that way.

I have decades of data that supports the value of daily weighing. It's not the answer to everything, but its really useful in choosing replacement stock.

Lisa L.

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