Flemish Giant good meat rabbit?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Thales, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Thales

    Thales ...Force Multiplier...

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Location:
    Gulf Shores, AL
    My wife has her heart set on raising Flemish Giants for meat, though I think she'll be far too attached, but I'm leaning for toward New Zealand rabbits for meat. My question is do Flemish Giants make good meat rabbits?

    Thanks!
    Thales
     
  2. bbkaren

    bbkaren Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    104
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    From what I understand Flems have heavy bones and more feed goes toward bone production. So bone is a higher percentage of their weight so they're not as cheap to convert feed to "food" as NZ's or Cal's which (I hear) have lighter bones.

    That said, I have Flemish/NZ mixes so we'll see what happens with that :)
     

  3. Thales

    Thales ...Force Multiplier...

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Location:
    Gulf Shores, AL
    I'm thinking she may just get a Flemish Giant as a pet, then we'll get some NZ for meat rabbits.

    Thanks for the information!

    -Thales
     
  4. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,277
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    WI
    bbkaren is right.
     
  5. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    Flemish go thru this gawky stage right at whats considered prime fryer time, they grow frame instead of meat, and really aren't meat rabbits at all.
     
  6. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,431
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    The flemish will need a pound or more of food a day just to maintain them with out breeding or lactating.
     
  7. micsminnie

    micsminnie Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    I breed Flemish and Flemish New Zealand crosses. They prob are a lil more expensive to feed than a pure New Zealand as far as feed ratio goes, but one rabbit feeds my family of five quite well boiled up and shredded and when cooking in pieces it usually takes 2 rabbits to feed us all if that helps you.
     
  8. Lilandra

    Lilandra talk little, listen much

    Messages:
    1,696
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Location:
    IOWA
    I second the no-go for flemish.
    we raise them as show rabbits and at a mixed show like our county fair, the kids always take a hit in judging the young ones. most of our judges are looking at meatiness in the young ages and not breed standards :(
    they make great pets tho

    we have mixed nz/flemish that do great in the meat pen and mixed breed shows
    get a nice nz buck (one big for his breed) and a stocky flemish - stay away from black flemish, traditionally they are smaller than the grey and reds.
    personally for breeding crosses, I'd go with the white nz buck to a light grey/chinchilla flemish and you should get some very nice meat from them
     
  9. cnvh

    cnvh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    213
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    We raise Flemish/mutt crosses for meat (Flemish doe, mutt buck). At just under 12 weeks, our fryers dressed out between 2 1/2-3 lbs, and they seem to be quite meaty. We're very satisfied with this cross for our freezer. :)
     
  10. notasnowballs

    notasnowballs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    197
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    I just sent over a buck to a friend for butcher at 4 months. He was a Flemish Giant crossed with Checkered giant. They said he was "kind of tough". He had been kind of small for the longest time, then in the space of about a week or so, he just filled out and got big, close to five lbs or somthing like that. You know, the size of eating. Anyway, my friend, that had had a rabbitry for meat before took a look at him and said "Ya, he's ready to eat, the right size" but they said he was kind of tough. I freerange as much as I can, but due to escapees, this little guy spent about two months in the cage just eating 19% protien feed. I was trying to make him grow and get meaty in his legs. I was wondering what made him tough? Was it is his age, the fact that he is mostly Flemish, or was it the freerange? I still haven't yet had a chance to EAT one of my own rabbits, so I'm curious. Mostly I am breeding Flemish crossed with NZ mutts or a Rex, with some purebreds thrown in because people keep wanting to buy them. They seem very popular around here. Your thoughts? I like the big rabbit, and I am trying for a big meat rabbit. I also have big dogs, so I thought maybe the RAW food diet might be an option, trying to find a compromise between feeding us people nicely and feeding my Rott/Husky/Lab(s) nicely.
     
  11. Backfourty,MI.

    Backfourty,MI. Katie Supporter

    Messages:
    19,965
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    Twining, Mi.
    I have a flemish doe & my buck is a chinchilla mix & together I think they make a great fryer for the freezer. At 12 weeks my flemish does' kits dress out at about 3 1/2 pounds & some will come close to 4 pounds alot of time.

    I don't think my flemish doe as an adult eats that much more than any of my other meat breeds or meat mutts. She's an excellent mother & very calm & easy to handle.
     
  12. boundarybunnyco

    boundarybunnyco Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    997
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    Idaho Panhandle
    I'm breeding the flemish and nz cross for meat. the kits are nice sized and grow really fast. I will be butchering my first rabbits in a few weeks. some for the family and some for dog food. I have a new litter now of california/flemish cross that will be meat rabbits and I will sell a few. so I'm experimenting with these crosses to see how they do.
     
  13. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,431
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    I was going to try a flemish doe, but was afraid the NZW and cal sized cages would work for it.
     
  14. boundarybunnyco

    boundarybunnyco Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    997
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    Idaho Panhandle
    squashnut, I think the champagne d argent rabbits are beautiful. how is their tempermant?
     
  15. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,431
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    they are big teddy bears
     
  16. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,387
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Location:
    Washington
    @notassnowballs: At 4 months, the rabbit was a roaster, not a fryer, which would likely explain the toughness. 12 weeks is the maximum age for fryers.

    Pat Lamar
     
  17. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

    Messages:
    5,317
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Location:
    South Dakota
    what is a good meat rabbit?

    A lot depends on what you plan on doing. If you need to really watch the bottom line, then a flemish may not be the best choice.

    If you are doing it for personal consumption, then as long as you are spending less to raise the meat than it would cost you to purchase in the store, you are head of the game. And even if it costs you more, you are still ahead because you have control of what goes into the meat you are eating, and control of the source for making more.

    One really yummy way to fix a roaster is to split it and lay it flat, marinade it (I've found fruit based marinades give a good flavor, not so overpowering as tomato/bbq based)

    Then put in in the smoker for 3 hours.

    If you don't have a smoker, I think putting in in the oven at around 200 - 225 would work about the same, and put a pan of water underneath (like in the smoker) to keep things moist. You won't get the smoke taste. I use applewood because I don't like a heavy smoke taste with the rabbits.
     
  18. notasnowballs

    notasnowballs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    197
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Thanks Pat Lamar for taking a look at that tough meat issue specifically. And the posts from everyone else, very very helpful. So, now I am reading in my endless Google searches for "fryer weight of Flemish Giants" that in the industry they are ready for fryer weight at 2 months old? Uh oh... those cute little babies out there are ready to eat now? That's it. I KNEW I was going to have to raise the ugly, big, red eyed white ones to get by. Those babies are adorable! I can't do it! My mutt crosses with Flemish are about a third of the size of the purebred bucks I have left. I need to go buy a scale. The purebreds are two months old and 4-5 lbs, I think. The size of a grown pet rabbit. The same size as the adult mama of the other litter, and she is NZ, Flem G., lionhead and who knows what else. LOL But she's my best doe in temperment, mothering, and number of kits, so I keep her. I guess my thinking in breeding BIG rabbits, aside from the fact that hubby just thinks the sire Bam Bam is just totally cool, is that I thought a bigger rabbit would produce enough meat for me to eat to justify the killing process, which I hate. Hubby hates it even more than me, so much so that after doing the roosters last winter, he made me promise I would do the rabbits. HE is the one out there petting and snuggling those rabbits, the big softie! I keep telling him "Don't hug that one, that one's dinner. Here, hug this doe..." but he won't listen.

    If Flemish giants are fryer size and meatwise doing good at 2 months old, then truly they produce meat FAST. But I feel their little legs and while they are BIG rabbits, they don't feel as "fat" in their little thighs as for instance, my Rex of the same age. Or the mutts. Perhaps if I only want roasters, then I will do ok. We have a crockpot. We can do that. Plus, there's the dogbones.

    I think I may have to go get some big ugly white ones and get to work breeding some actual meat, though. LOL
     
  19. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

    Messages:
    1,735
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    PA
    You misunderstand, Flemish at 2 months cannot compare to fryers of other breeds, they put all their energy into growing frame not meat, and a two month old Flemish is all bone and ears. That is why they are not a good meat rabbit, between the heavy bone, big heads and growing frame not meat they aren't anywhere near as meaty as most other meat breeds. Flemish also go thru a gangly stage, and finally start putting on some muscle between 4 and 5 months, thats not a fryer, thats a roaster, and you've poured a great deal of food down their throat at that point. I wouldn't even butcher a 8-10 week old Flemish, it would be a waste.
     
  20. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

    Messages:
    5,317
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Location:
    South Dakota
    um - at 8-9 weeks you'd expect a NZ rabbit fed on pellets to be 4-5 lbs, and that is butcher weight. I feed mostly greens in the summer, and it takes about 3-4 weeks longer to reach that size. I've butchered some at 16 weeks because I got behind. Cooked some up in the smoker and it was grand - the rest got cubed up and canned, also a good way to get real tender meat out of a not so tender rabbit.

    It's also important to check the meat to bone ratio. With NZW there is not that much bone in that 5lb rabbit. Flemish have bigger bones so a rabbit the same weight will have less meat on it.

    Also, you don't need "big ugly white" rabbits to raise good meat. Mine are cross bred but all meat types (Standard Rex, satin and NZ) and I don't have a white one in the breeding shed. I like color!
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011