First Time Rabbit Breeder

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by EricaD, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. EricaD

    EricaD New Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    Hello Everyone,

    We are planning a rabbit colony, and I was wondering if someone experienced could give some advise? They will be for meat for us and the dog... and possible pet market. We are a family of 5, with one dog... another dog added next year maybe. Both are med/large breeds.

    I've picked three breeds (New Zealand, Californian, and Flemish Giants). My plan is to do a cross-breeding program. 1st crosses for meat/pet and kept to breed to the third purebred. All 2nd cross for meat/pet.

    My Questions:

    Which of the three purebreds should be used as does/bucks?
    How many rabbits will provide enough meat for 5 people and 2 dogs?
    How many should be does?
    How many should be bucks?

    Thanks so much. I'm enjoying reading the posts.
    ~ EricaD
  2. moonkitten

    moonkitten Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2005
    Hi Erica!

    Since no one has responded, I'll jump in here. It's hard to tell you how many rabbits you need for 5 people and 2 dogs without knowing how often you intend to eat/feed rabbits. Like if you want to feed rabbits to your dogs once a week, you need to produce 8 rabbits a month, but if you want to feed every day, then you need 60/month.

    First you need to figure out how many rabbits your family and dogs will eat each month, and then we can help you calculate how many breeding bunnies to start with :)

    My personal suggestion would be a purebred buck of one of the smaller breeds (Cal or NZ) and larger does. That way you avoid the potential problem of birthing babies too big for the doe. Some people do it just fine the other way, but I prefer to put a smaller buck to a larger doe.

    Another suggestion is to have at least 2 bucks. I started with just one buck since I was told a buck can service up to 10 does, but when he started to molt, I had no backup stud to service the girls and we were 6 months without babies. Now I always have 2 studs just in case there is a problem with one.

    hope this helps...

  3. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    Richmond, BC, Canada
    You'll need the dressed weight to calculate the number of bunnies you eat each month- I believe for a 10-week-old (the age you butcher) they're about 2lbs. DRESSED. Someone correct me if I'm wrong....
  4. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    As the others said you will have to figure out how much rabbit you will want to eat and then figure from there.

    As far as the crossbreeds, I had a friend a few years back who had a large commercial rabbitry. She bred Californian bucks to NZW does, then took the does from those breedings and bred them to a Flemish giant buck as a terminal cross. She had good success with that program.
  5. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

    Feb 11, 2005
    Well, I'd say go for the NZ's and Cals. While Flemish Giants are great bunnies, they just aren't as efficient in converting feed to meat as NZ and Cals (which means it's going to cost you more to raise a fryer to butchering age). Their body structure is totally different and they tend to be bony while the NZ and Cal are like big "basketballs" of meat. A 4 lb. NZ or Cal fryer has more meat on less bone than a 4 lb. Flemish just because the Flemish get a whole lot bigger.
  6. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

    May 10, 2002
    If you raise colony style how will you stop them from crossbreeding? One colony per breed?

    colony raising is a grab and that is the one we are having for dinner? how will you know who your breeders are and are not? how will you know which is the older rabbits that need to be butchered and the younger ones? which one is pregnant and which are not?

    How will you know if a doe is breeding and producing and which ones are eating and costing you money? How will you know if a doe has mastitis or not or producing enough milk for her litters? How will you know a doe isn't eating her babies? or perhaps a buck is eating them?
  7. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2004
    western pa
    I said I would get back after I tried my colony scheme.So this looks like a good time since colony was brought up!
    My old doe made a good nest and raised ten for Easter 10 $ apiece. The 8 younger does did nothing right, no pulled fur, not using nest boxes,ect. Plus we had our coldest weather then, 10 to 20 below.The buck would be setting on top of a nest of squashed babies.He's outa there!The new buck now is great so far,and now am starting to get lots of babies.I will either have to tatoo or keep trading bucks.
    It's been fun being able to get in with my rabbits and play during the bad winter months.I use a 2 gal chicken waterer and one feeder that holds one coffee can of pellets a day, and one slice of hay, one 4 lb.block of mineralized salt,and trim my apple trees to let them chew on the bark.
    Cleaning is a snap now.
    In the summer I will have the ones I'm going to butcher in moveable pens on the grass.Same as we do with our goats and chickens. No feed, just lots of water.
    The fat will be more yellow with carotin and higher in omega three, the good cholesteral.
    I have medium sized really colorfull part satins/nzw/rex.The wilder the colors the more sales I seem to make.The white bunny with pink eyes hardly sell any more???