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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, today we cleaned everyone's nestboxes and counted kits. Here goes:
Cage #1: weird birth, two "peanut" dead kits....3 FAT LIVE born 11/4
Cage #2: 8 LIVE born 10/14
Cage #3: 9 LIVE so far, one runt born 11/5
Cage #4: overdue, 5 dead, then one died....2 FAT FAT Sumo kits born 10/16
Cage #7: 7 live on wire....at count, 7 LIVE with one "blue" born 11/7
So, I have 29 live kits so far...now I need an expert to help me judge to see if any are show quality when they get a bit bigger. At what age can one start to see good versus cull?

PS Mix doe has 7 live kits that just weaned...they'll be meat
 

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Lots of silver popples! :bouncy: Some of them just have to be good ones.

I suppose study the breed standard and look at lots of pictures of top-notch silvers and a pattern will start to form in your head of what to watch for.
 

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Joan, you might contact the ag extension agent for your area, and see if they can put you in touch with anyone who has judged rabbits, or who is a good show breeder. (I know a lady who is both, but she's pretty far from you.)

Kathleen
 

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Good idea; Elaine Fenton is a close neighbor who raises show Satins; I think she judges and while I don't even really know her, I did take my 4-H group over there for a tour last year. I think I'll wait until my dear brother puts up my rabbit shed so I won't die of embarrassment at my PWT rabbits out under the apple trees. Everyone is healthy and clean, but we definitely look "special" with our blue tarps and recycled greenhouse walls for cover.
 

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Do you have a breeder close by, or one that goes to the shows? Barring that, you can haul the entire litter off to a show to get a judges opinion, LOL but ya don't REALLY want to feed 29 kits til then, do ya?

Okay, so here is how I cull, feel free to PM me if you want to send me pics to help you evaluate them later.

I don't cull until 12 weeks, but you can start eariler if you want.

Take the entire litter out, stick in a rubbermaid tub and go over the litter. I find this is easier to pick the "best of" out of the litter, since then you don't forget which one you already looked at!

Check for obvious DQ's, white spots, teeth, toenails. Cull any of those, chances are good though, that hardly any will have those, I get very few with DQ's here.

Next, check them for type, you're looking for a good solid commercial type, its hard to explain what to look for, I have the Rabbit Tutor CD, that and hands on experiance will help you there. At this point, eyeball them and try to figure out how much they should weigh. Then weigh them. Cull anything that LOOKS heavy, but isn't. Thats how I cull for heavier boned animals anyways.

Okay, so now out of a litter of 8, you should have about 4 left. Check the sex on them. If you have 4 bucks, pick the best one, cull the rest. 4 does? I'd pick the best two. If its split, try to pick the best two to grow out. This is when I check the silvering and fur. I cull for silvering and fur, I won't keep a rabbit with crappy fur, no matter how nice a type it is. Check for Rollback or Flyback fur. Don't save anything with Flyback, I'd hesitate to save Rollback too, unless you think you can go back and fix the fur later. I'd only save it IF it was a doe, and if it had Fabulous type and silvering.

So, by my count, you now have about 10 Jrs left after you get done culling. Well, you 'should', for some reason, I always have a couple "extras" at this point! :eek: These I would grow out for another month, at 16 weeks, pull them out again. Now you're checking for growth, how are they growing? How is the silvering finishing out? At this point, I usually cull out anything that is incredibly heavily silvered, since it will only get worse! Unless it is a doe, and Fabulous, of course! :D

At this point, I usually haul the remaining Jrs off to a show and see how they do. After a show or two, I cull any show rejects (that first off the table doe/buck) You can sell them to other Homesteaders for meat projects, or as brood stock.

At this point, I try to see how many I have left, then I decide if anything is good enough to sell. I'm very very picky though! :D I also try to NOT save too many bucks, since bucks are harder to sell than does. Keep this in mind when you're culling, in my barn, does get the edge!
 

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Beaniemom, do you take litter size and mothering characteristics of the mother of the litter into consideration? I'm just wondering, because in my case, I'm raising rabbits primarily for meat, so those are things I'll be looking at (even with pedigreed Silver Foxes!).

Kathleen
 

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Nope, because mine are all fabulous Moms! :p Well, the Silver Fox are anyways, the Rex can be iffy, I don't even bother to count on their first litter, I figure they'll mess it up somehow! But if I culled all of them, I'd have no Rex left! They seem to get a clue after the first litter it seems, I wish they were easier breeders, seems like it takes enourmous effort to get them to breed, wonder if Rex need more Vit A than normal rabbits or something?

I don't really worry about litter size either, I actually prefer smaller litters of about 5, they seem to grow better.

I don't think I've actually culled anything for bad mothering skills, well, I take that back...I had a Rex who was iffy, and a SA too. The Rex managed to loose half her litter, the SA I had to keep rescuing her kits daily for about two weeks! Was that a factor in deciding to cull them? Yep, it wasn't the only thing though, had they not had other "strikes" I would have bred them again more than likely.
 
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