breed choices

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Meg Z, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I'm looking for breed suggestions.

    Currently, I raise a few French Angoras, for fiber, pelts, meat, and a few for sale as pets. Hubby would prefer they all went for pets, but I am hesitant to put too many 'high-maintence' rabbits on the general pet market. However, I love the rabbits; they are the easiest care animals here. They provide good stuff for the garden, too. So, we've discussed getting trios of a couple other breeds more suitable for the pet market. I also insist they be breeds suitable for meat. Everything here must have at least two uses!

    I do want to get some Rex rabbits, since I can't find anyone around here with them. Any suggestions for a third breed? Lops are everywhere here, so I'm not interested in them. All suggestions entertained and researched!

    Thanks,
    Meg
     
  2. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    I like the dutch myself as a good multible pourpose animal. I show, so the young dutch can be culled out very early on markings. What doesn't make the pet trade can go to a meat pen. You won't get a very large rabbit, 5#, but I am also exploring the reptile feeder trade, in which a 5# rabbit is a great size. My mini rex also meet about 4 pounds rather quickly, usually within about 3 months. They are fast growers, or mine are.
     

  3. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    AAhhhhhh....I hadn't considered the reptile market! I don't know why I didn't, as my culls now go to my son's snakes! I had looked at the Dutch, as a rabbit appealing to pet owners, and without the coat care the Angoras need, but I had rejected it because of the size. Same with the mini-Rex. I see I'll have to review my market better. I know there's a large amount of reptile owners around here, and few places that even sell jumbo rats. No pet stores around here will sell rabbits as feeders. Maybe that's my local niche.

    Thanks for making me think....

    Meg
     
  4. BeatrixP

    BeatrixP Active Member

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    Hope you can find some rex. I am really happy with mine. Good meat production, great pelts, and good pets. Here is a breeder in NC I found on the rex club site. Good luck.

    Hurricane Alley Rabbitry
    Jeanie Lozada-Dome
    Eastern, NC
    White, Chocolate, Lilac, Black, Blue & Broken's
    Email: jen_tara@hotmail.com
     
  5. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest Harlequins; however, when searching out your early Harlequin stock, you need to talk with the breeder and find out what their focus is. As Harlequins are more of a "markings" breed, with less emphasis on type, some breeders breed only for markings, ignoring type completely.

    However, there are a handful of breeders who try to focus on type as well, and of one who uses her stock as meat rabbits. I am currently trying to incorporate her lines into mine, in order to improve meat type, as that is one of the reasons we have rabbits. :rolleyes:

    Anyway -- Harlequins come in two "groups" of colors. Each group has four basic colors - black, blue, chocolate, and lilac. In the Japanese group, one of these colors is paired with a golden-fawn color. In the Magpie group, one of these colors is paired with white. We only raise the Magpie variety, as the Japanese can be harder to get a showable rabbit produced from, as white toes disqualifies them. :no:

    There is, of course, a standard of perfection as far as their markings go. Have I ever seen a perfect Harlequin? No. Their markings vary so greatly, and I've only ever had two that were extremely similar in my rabbitry, and I think that they were an aunt and niece.

    Their personalities are also great; many of mine love face rubs, and I've placed three in indoor home situations and got rave reviews. Of course, there's always the exception, as there is with any breed.

    So, the coloration is different on every rabbit, they tend to have good personalities, and if you develop from the right line, they make good meat rabbits. One tip, if you're not looking to show, just to produce meat rabbits and pets, is to perhaps get a nice NZ rabbit and breed it into the Harlequin lines. You'll get the occasionall ruby-eyed white due to genetics, but it may help to produce a meatier rabbit, and once you're past the first generation, of breeding the offspring back to your Harlequins, you'll end up with some Harlequin-marked babies.

    Good luck on your endeavor!
     
  6. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    Another note on the Harlequins, as I hadn't seen this post before, is that it's rather easy early-on to figure out which are your culls, if you are going to try to produce markings close to the standard of perfection, as you can see the markings very early on in their lives.

    Our Harlequin culls go to a local reptile owner... he used to pre-kill them, but now we do, simply for economics reasons, so that they aren't "wasting" feed once they're up to the size he wants them.

    We occasionally eat an adult, but as I said, we're only just starting to incorporate a "meatier" line into ours, so the younger stock are more suitable for snake food than for meat consumption at this point in time. Anyway.
     
  7. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    i vote for satins, they are eay to sell for pets because of the fur, and get big enough for a decent family meal for the excess and the hides tan just fine for your own personal craft use
     
  8. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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  9. Washkeeton

    Washkeeton New Member

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    Is there any one out there that raises Standard Rex. I am more interested in the meat/pelt side of this breed. I am not looking for show quality. I live in Alaska and all of the folks that I have spoken to raise mini rex. I have yet to meet a breader for standard up here. Also for those of you that are raising standards how big will they dress out??? Thank you for any advise any of you can offer.
     
  10. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Wow!! Thanks for all the suggestions...and that great contact in NC.

    I had looked at Harlequins, but I think they may be a bit more complicated that I can handle right now. I want to get my purpose out of the rabbits, but I don't want to do a disservice to any breed while getting it!

    I'll take a closer look at the other suggested breeds. Research, research, research.....

    Thanks again!
    Meg
     
  11. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    OK, you sound very hard to please...lol I am going to write about some breeds I have had or know people who have had. I am thinking mixes may be for you at this point...lol

    Lilac are also a very nice breed, but very rare. They are in the 5-6 ound range.

    English Spots are a very nice breed to work with as well. Being a full arch type, they are a taller rabbit. If a di-color spotted coat appeals to you, they would be great. They are in the 6-7 pound range(I think, std not in front of me, but I believe bucks are 6 does 7)

    As someone mentioned, harlequin are also there, in the 7-9 pound range. These are not my favorite, but I am thinking of getting them again. I like to keep several different breeds for different means. My dutch are great as reptile feeders in the smaller sizes, but I like to have some bigger for human consumption.

    I also currently have Florida whites now. Although new to me, they seem like a great rabbit for the smaller person. Same type as your commercial breeds(NZ, Cal, etc) in a smaller size. These are 4-6 pounds, and are all white with ruby eyes.

    If a little larger is your liking, the Creme D'Argent is in the 8-10 pound range. These are a nice breed with a sandy color. I am not too keep on the flatter backed breeds, but they are OK.

    Heading the rear are the Champagne D'Argent. They are a larger breed, weighing in at up to 11 pounds. A silvery color, not much experience with these guys.

    I'd still advise you to give the dutch a try. I am getting a pair of harli dutch soon myself, I llike their looks. Bob Whitman is no longer raising them to whomever gave his link above.
     
  12. Kumi_Ori

    Kumi_Ori Active Member

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    I raise Rex and love them. I am not aware of anyone with Rex in Alaska though. I usually butcher around 10-12 weeks and the fryers run about 4.25-5.0lbs at that time. Dressed is anywhere from 2.0-2.75lbs. I have a habbit of keeping several for show to see how they develope. If they remain exceptional they are kept for breeding replacements. If not I wait for a good jr prime (5mos or so) to butcher, that way I have a very nice pelt. I always wait for a prime coat in an older animal that is being butchered. I would recomend Rex to anyone. They have great temperments and personalities. I have been blessed with good stock to begin with so my weights and coats are very nice. The ideal weight for Rex bucks is 8lbs and does is 9lbs. Most of my stock is very close to the ideals. Anyway, I don't think you can beat them.
     
  13. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Oooh Cremes! Go with the Cremes! Just check out the color, they're gorgeous.

    PS Those dutch/ harlequins are pretty darn cool
     
  14. Washkeeton

    Washkeeton New Member

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    I will keep looking for breeders in AK. All of the people I have spoken to in the lower 48 will not send to ak. A lot of them are frustrated when I tell them I want them for other reasons than show. Thank you for the reply. Wash
     
  15. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Hard to please? Gee, am I being picky? :haha:

    Thanks for all the suggestions! I will research every suggested breed. I'm a bit of a research nut, and have a tendency to over-do it sometimes, but, it never really hurts anything.

    I do think the Harlequins are one of the prettiest rabbits out there, but the genetics involved in the coat colors/patterns is more than I want to spend time working with. If I bred them anyway, without considering that, I'd be the rabbit equivalent of the puppy mill breeder who breeds anything with papers, regardless of it's attributes.

    I'm sure (yeah, right :rolleyes: ) there's another breed out there that will suit my needs. I just have to figure out what it is!

    In the meantime, I get to drive you nuts! :D

    You guys are great....thanks!
    Meg
     
  16. inc

    inc Well-Known Member

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    rooman- you have exp with lots of breeds.
    of all the breeds that youhave had and know of, which are friendly-easygoing with people- and other rabbits?
    have had rabbits that were mean before, and coudl say that the angora are calm, the netherland dwarfs of many years ago were the meanest ornery things, and the orange rex uset to be aggressive.
    so- friendly- just the harlequin, or are other breeds nice to each other?
    also- you have florida whites- do they compare favorably with the NZ except smaller, or are they just some glorified show bunny? are they thrifty eaters selected for production traits? are they nicer tempered than the NZ?
     
  17. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    From what I see in the FW's, I have had them only a few weeks mind you(and no litters yet), they are the mini NZ in every way. A rabbit decides it's own personality as does a human. I have never had a problem with my ND's, others have. Many view Checkers to be the worse, I liked them as they were big and very tame. I liked the French Lop as a calmer breed, as well as the holland. I got 4 dutch in the mix of the last buyout. I didn't touch them nor did the other owner. They are the tamest things you could immagine. Some Floridas I have aren't very tame(usually bucks), but the most are very tame.
     
  18. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    =========

    Try the Yahoo group : Meatrabbits I know I remember posts from one or two people :haha: that live and raise rabbits in Alaska ,,, quite a few members are from Canada ,, I don't know if you could go over into there for rabbits or not ??

    Depends on where you live and the border I would guess ,,, :)
     
  19. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Netherland Dwarfs :) I raised them for 12 years...what an awesome breed! They come in many colors and they do make great pets. They are very small and don't require a lot of room, can easily be litter box trained, and they don't require a lot of food. Some of our ruby-eyed white were sold to a local magaician's shop. The doe only has 2-4 babies so you won't be overrun with them. They are a friendly, quiet breed. See if you have a local breeder...or contact your local rabbit breeders organization to find a good breeder in your area. :dance:
     
  20. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Considered some of the rarer breeds? I'm looking for basically the same thing: a smallish rabbit with a potential pet market that also has a fairly decent carcass. I've looked at a bunch of different breeds and I like Standard Chinchillas and Thriantas the best. Standard Chinchillas are ARBA recognized, rare, smallish, and beautiful (fur colored like a real chinchilla). Thriantas are not ARBA recognized yet (will be in two years if everything goes well), VERY RARE, 4.5 to 6.5 lbs., and have the orangest coat you've ever seen. The best way I can describe it is like living flame...They are something else. Go to http://www.centralpets.com/critterpages/mammals/rabbits/RBT1489.shtml --or-- http://www.centralpets.com/pages/photopages/mammals/rabbits/PHOTO_RBT1489.shtml for pics.

    Lair-eb Rabbitry: rare breeds like Belgian Hares, Hotot, Sable, American, Thrianta, etc.
    http://www.endangeredbreeds.com/index.html

    Rare Bits and Pieces Rabbitry: more rare breeds, mainly non-ARBA recognized. Has Thriantas
    http://www.rarebitsandpieces.com/