NZW/California cross

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by General Brown, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. General Brown

    General Brown Well-Known Member

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    I have seen many posts about using a New Zealand White buck on Californian does making the ultimate meat rabbit

    The Cal does has smaller litters, 7 - 9 kits probably the average. The NZW does have a much larger litter.
    Wouldnt it make more sence to use a Cal buck on the NZW does?

    Im missing something here...someone please enlighten me.
     
  2. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Larger litters are not always desirable. The larger the litter, the smaller the kits are at birth, which means slower growth rates. The ideal would be 8 to 10 kits per litter, but 7 is also satisfactory. In this case, "more" is not "better."

    Pat Lamar
     

  3. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure about the thought that Californians have smaller
    litters in every herd. I have 38 does kindling this week. So far, the
    average for the Cals is 10. The average for the NZW is 7.
    That may change as I have more NZ than Cals due to kindle.

    When I'm not breeding for 4H/FFA sales, I often breed Cal bucks to
    NZ does as well as NZ bucks to Cal does. I, personally, do
    not see that much difference in numbers kindled between either
    breed.

    Linda Welch
     
  4. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    I have 2 stacks of 3 does.
    Stack 1: NZW, Call , call
    Stack 2: nzw, nzw, nzw/Cali cross
    2 nzw, 1 cal buck are used to breed 3 of the does at a time.
    I have been rotating the pairs. so that a doe has crosses one time purebreds the next.
    Some of the does are the daughters of the other does. The cal cross is the daughter of my senior Cal doe.
    Here is what I have found. If the doe has good milk production the hybrid cross is productive.
    My cal cross doe even though she is from 2 good pedigreed rabbits of different breeds will be culled this month cause she is not capable of producing enough milk. While her purebred half sister is one of my favorites and did well when bred for her first litter to a NZW.
    All of the NZW does do very well when cross bred and I see a defiant improvement over pure bred pairings.
    So basically what I have found is that either cross is OK, but we will not save any more of the hybrids for breeding stock.
    i forgot to mention that the cross bred doe is huge. I am not looking forwrd to butchering her.
     
  5. General Brown

    General Brown Well-Known Member

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    So basically what you are saying is either cross will work, but dont breed the offsprings?
     
  6. rabbitgeek

    rabbitgeek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That sums up the general rule on using crosses for meat.

    The hybrid vigor of the cross tends to wane after the first generation, usually resulting in poor production if any of the crosses are saved for breeding.

    Many producers will simply pick one breed and keep line breeding it, selecting the best rabbits in size and consistency for breeding stock. This way the herd is continually improving. Replacements for the herd are being grown, not bought. And you only have to keep one breed instead of two or more for crosses.

    The crosses tend to produce a little better, but for homestead production, I think it's easier to work with one breed.

    Also, if you have a really good of line of consistent producing rabbits, people will hunt you down to buy breeding stock from you. You can charge $20 to $50 per rabbit for breeding stock, sometimes more if your stock is really good.

    When the breeding stock you sold works well for other people, word gets around and you will have even more demand. You don't get that with crosses.

    I know some people who get hundreds of dollars for their breeding stock. I can't afford it but those are some darn good rabbits.

    Have a good day!
    Franco Rios
     
  7. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    I completely aggree it would be better to have one breed, and breed to a better line than I have now. But the way I am looking at it, it is more economical to cross for the better meat rabbit while I work on getting a better pure bred.
    Here pure bred stock goes from $20 - $50 for a doe depending on size and age.
    Also most back yard breeders here want a trio of cali and NZW. So they can breed for hybryds. Because I have both I can provide that trio.
     
  8. rabbitgeek

    rabbitgeek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There is a rabbit judge in Calif who has an awesome pure bred NZ line. These little bucks and does are meat bricks. Solid from the shoulders all the way back.

    There is another rabbit judge who has two separate NZ lines. One is for show. One is for production. The production line is on the high side for size and there may be some lop ears or the heads are not quite right shape. But they are consistently good producers. These two lines have been kept separate for years and can be crossed for hybrids as if they were different breeds. Fascinating.

    If I did not have room to maintain two different breeds, I would certainly plan on having one breed and developing it to its full potential. I would "settle" for excellent NZ or Cali or American or Am Chins or Rex or Satins or any of the meat sized breeds. If I had to keep my rabbit herd to 6 breeders, I'd use two trios of all the same breed, instead of a trio of NZ and a trio of Cali.

    5 rabbits would should force me to think 2 bucks/3 does, one breed.
    Less than 5 rabbits, one breed.

    There are a lot of people who are looking for "super meat rabbits" to buy when they could do just as well to find excellent, reliable pure bred stock.

    For me, every litter contains a possible brood doe or buck or grand champion fryer. But I can't pick breeders out of a litter of crosses.

    Keeping track of two breeds for crossing seems like more work than necessary for a homestead situation.

    Maybe I am overthinking this. I often do.
    Your mileage may vary.

    Have a good day!
    Franco Rios
     
  9. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    At this point I don't need breeders out of every litter, I do however need good feed conversion. I am not yet getting that from my pure breds. Not like I do from the hybryds.
    I can honestly blame that on the original stock I bought. But like I have said many times, "breeders do not sell their best stock".
    When I have gotten to the point where my pure breds have improved to my higher expectation then maybe I'll breed just for those.
    I always make sure I breed enough pure breds so I don't miss a sale. Helps pay the feed bill.
    I understand you can save the cross breds and cross to a third breed to keep the hybryd vigor going, but I relly don't want to waste the cage space on my crossed doe to find out, it's not gonna improve her milk production.