California buck...breed or freezer?Newbie Q!

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Terri, Oct 4, 2003.

  1. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have, on occasion, kept chicks with my male rabbit for short times for the sake of convenience.

    I had to give it up. Peter rabbit started trying to breed the chicks, if you would believe it! 8O
     
  2. poultryprincess

    poultryprincess Well-Known Member

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    :D Hi y'all. This is my 1st time with rabbits, so please excuse the lack of knowledge. :oops: I have 2 bucks, one which resembles a California (tinged ears & tail & getting big) plus a solid white buck with smaller frame. I "thought" I had 2 females & 1 buck....seems I only have 1 female. A friend is giving me 2 females with an offer to "process" the male of my choice for the freezer. He said in his experience a larger buck does not breed as well as a smaller one. I have read both of my rabbit books & could find nothing to support that.I was under the impression that the California rabbit was one of the best for meat.* I also don;t know for sure if the 2 solid white rabbits (1 doe,1 buck) are related.**The last point for the "californian" is he is so luvable ((danger/danger)) Does anyone have any opinions or experiences breeding these big guys. My friends rabbits are smoke or multicolored, so he doesn't have any California's. PS/ does anyone keep their rabbits with the chickens? I have 2 small silkies that wouldn't hurt the rabbits...is it do-able? I was hoping to let the does run free in a small inside coop ( 7 ft x 16 ft)until it's time for breeding next spring.It is too cold here for a winter litter. THANXXX 8)
     

  3. Hotel Californian

    Hotel Californian Member

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    To my knowledge, your friend's experience is unsubstanciated.

    You answer your own question; the Cal has better type, better temperment, and unrelated to the doe. Further, cals were developed for increased meat production with minimal offal. I too have read that Cal meat is superior but all domestic rabbit is good as far as I am concerned.

    Keeping rabbits and chickens together is not a good idea from a hygiene standpoint.
     
  4. Robin Pundzak

    Robin Pundzak Active Member

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    I would keep the Califorinian buck. Californians and New Zealands are the best meat rabbits. Larger bucks will help to breed larger kits and a good temperament is a very desirable trait to breed into your herd.

    As to the rabbits being kept with the rabbits, probably not. Rabbits stay healthier when they're kept off the ground, and they can pick up diseases from chickens, especially if kept in the same coop together.

    Robin
     
  5. poultryprincess

    poultryprincess Well-Known Member

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    :D Thanx sooo much for the quick reply....I had to choose which buck I was keeping by Sat. I am very pleased to hear that the California buck is OK to keep.( he really is a sweetie) * :rolleyes: could I ask if you "ever" let the females live together? Since I won't be breeding until the spring, I would like them to co-exist. Do you join cages or give them a room of their own? My friend keeps his all together (about 30 does) but the buck is in a single cage. I would just think that the rabbits would have a more fufilling life together.....or is that another silly Newbie thought? Again, thank you. I appreciate your opinions! :D
     
  6. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits will start fighting once they become mature. Some younger does can be housed together but not always. I would keep them seperate.

    I let my chcickens and ducks free range in my barn with the rabbits. The rabbits are all in hung cages off the floor. The chcikens and ducks do a great job cleaning up any spilled feed. I also keep hay on top of my cages. This gives the rabbits something to do as they will pull down hay to eat. It also helps to keep chicken manure from getting on the cages if they decide to roost on them. It is very easy to discard the yucky hay and keep the cages clean.

    As far as not breeding till spring. Unless the does are to young you are risking them getting to fat not keeping them on a regular breeding schedule and then when you do try to breed may have problems. I breed my does at 5 months and they are consistently bred back 11 days after kindle. Doing this intensive breed back will give you about 2 years on each doe and then you need to have replacements ready. Good record keeping is a must.
     
  7. poultryprincess

    poultryprincess Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tracy, do you breed them even in cold weather? I was under the impression that the young have a poor survival rate if they are not in a heated barn....do you live in an area with mild winters? Up here in the Great White North, it can get pretty bad with the wind & snow.I am in an open area, with no other houses to act as a windbreak. I must cart water for the chickens & there is always a problem with the water freezing. I am very interested in how you keep the offspring warm.*** by the way--I kept the Californian & sent the other buck to the pearly gates.....I felt guilty! DH kept saying "are you Really gonna take him to slaughter?" He said that because we had petted the rabbits, he didn't think I would eat them.I told him if he can't handle it, he better tell me now - Before I breed them....'cause I ain't cooking two different suppers!!! :twisted: ( I picked up 2 more does, 1 is a Californian...yippee!)
     
  8. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

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    I am in NW PA. It is cold here and very snowy in the winter. Yes, you will lose some kits due to the cold but in my opinion heat will kill a rabbit faster then the cold. My rabbits are housed in an unheated barn but do have shelter from the wind.

    Find snake markets for any kits you do loose in the winter months.

    Also to keep your rabbits bred during the winter months you MUST supplement them with extra light. I keep my rabbits under lights 16 hours a day. A cheap timer will do the trick but I also have just left the lights on in the barn 24/7. Never had a problem.

    Save extra fur from overzelous does that pull a lot of hair at kindling. A brown paper bag is best for storing. You can use that with does that kindle in the winter and dont pull a lot of fur.

    As far as lugging water. I have water in the barn but have to deal with the crocks or water bottles freezing. I use a 5 gallon bucket heater. You can find these in the equine section of a farm supply store. You can plug in the heater and in about 10 minutes have steaming hot water. I add this to the frozen crocks and it will thaw them out. For water bottles I take the entire bottle and put it in the bucket of hot water and it will thaw them. Has worked very well for me.

    This is my business so not breeding in the winter is not an option. By good record keeping and keeping kits out of the best does will get you a good hardy stock that will produce bven in the worst weather.