Meat Rabbit Breeds

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by drgnldy71, Oct 5, 2005.

  1. drgnldy71

    drgnldy71 Serene Dragon Farm

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    Can anyone suggest some other meat rabbit breeds? I've seen a lot of New Zealand on the post's but was wondering what others might work well also. We are just wanting a few to raise for our own meat here at home.
     
  2. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I've been looking seriously at Silver Fox. Good size, nice temperaments, good mothers, good dress-out percentage, make weight in good time.

    I don't have any yet, but when I do, it will be Silver Fox in all likelihood.
     

  3. BeatrixP

    BeatrixP Active Member

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    I breed broken standard rexes for home meat use. They are smaller than NZWs and take a little longer to make weight. The trade off is beautiful pelts.
     
  4. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Lets see theres A breed called Califorians ,Thats A meat rabbit also.And then you have the AlTex terminal Sire breed,Avalible from Texas A & M Kingsville..And there are several others to.
     
  5. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    There are Satins... they have nice fur, as well. We're in the process of getting out of them, however, since we've found that the French Lops better suit our current needs. They mature a bit faster, are absolute sweethearts, and have a pelt that's to die for - which is a good thing, since I'm looking at learning how to tan, and have been saving the pelts off of our processed rabbits.

    We also heard once, from an elderly gentleman who raised them, that if you have a fully-grown French Lop you've processed, you can stuff it like a turkey and cook it as such. We have yet to try it, but ... I'll let you know how it goes. ;)
     
  6. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    The Californian and NZW are the most popular with commercial rabbitries, because the processors want white (albino) rabbits. Because of this they are the most developed for growth rate, feed efficiency, consistant litters, etc. However, there are several other breeds that can serve the purpose of keeping the family fed. These are mostly breeds that were developed for meat and fur but are no longer desired by processors because they are colored. These breeds may or may not produce/grow as well as Cal./NZW depending on blood lines and management style. Pictures of many breeds are available at www.arba.net. Look for the link "breed photo's". We have Californian, Champagne D' Argente, Silver Fox and crosses of each. We have also raised Standard Chinchilla, Standard Rex and their crosses. The fastest growth rates have been from crosses of Californian or Champagne with anything else. The best dress out and lowest feed intake have come from the Silver Fox and their crosses. The best temperments have been the Standard Chinchilla and the Californians. The heaviest milkers have been the Silver Fox, Standard Chinchilla, Califormian X Champagne and Californian X Silver Fox. As you can see, just about any of the meat breeds can be developed into a good producer of family meat. It's just a matter of choosing something that appeals to you. What I would do is obtain two unrelated Californian bucks and then whatever meat breed does are available in your area. For replacements, I would pick the best of the offspring and breed back to the Californian. I'd replace one Cal buck every other year and maybe replace a couple does with fresh blood, every 3 -4 years. This is just an example, you may not need to replace your stock this often. Just producing for your family, you may be able to go a long time between generations. Whatever you choose, have fun!

    Good luck,
    MikeL
     
  7. trnubian

    trnubian Twin-Reflection Nubians

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    I've read that English Spots are a dual purpose rabbit. They make wonderful mothers (will foster other bunnies willlingly). and are used for meat and show and pets.
     
  8. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Welll, English Spots are pretty, but they are more for showing than anything else. They have a different body type than what is best for meat production. Not that you couldn't eat them, but they can't compare in meat producing efficiency to other breeds. Of course, if you love the breed and aren't concerned with growth rates and feed conversion, go for it!

    If you just want to raise rabbits for home meat use, and feed efficiency/growth rates aren't important, then please consider an endangered or rare breed. Several are listed on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy website (www.albc-usa.org). The ARBA website (someone already posted the link) has photos of all recognized breeds.

    I raise Californians and got into Creme D'Argents basically because I was looking for a fun breed to show. Something to just "play around with" if you will. Well, they stole my heart! They are just beautiful rabbits, and they aren't too common either. They have the basic "meat" body type, but aren't as efficient at making meat as a Cal because Cremes were originally bred for their fur. That little photo up by my username is a Creme, BTW.
     
  9. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    My english spot doe is the best doe I've had of all the rabbits I've owned ,, she is a great mom ,, fosters easily ,, great milker , friendly attitude ,,

    and by useing a californian buck and a new zealand buck as sires ,, she has produced some great fryers ,, makes weight by 8 - 9 weeks cause shes such a milker ,,

    she might be unusual but when she has a litter she drinks twice as much water as other does w litters ,, it does make a difference with the size of the fryers ,,
     
  10. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    I just want to lend my support to rabbitgals' suggestion. :clap: People who raise rabbits for commercial purpose simply can not afford to keep rabbits that don't turn a profit. If we are to keep some breeds from disappearing forever, someone is going to have to breed them. It would be nice if folks who are only raising for their own table would choose from the more rare breeds. I know that I would appreciate it. These rabbits are like pieces of art and it would be a shame if we could no longer see them. Also, people like me use them to bring new blood into our meat heards and it would be nice to find someone who is developing them for better meat production. We plan on raising some of these breeds ourselves in the future. We just hope they are still around when the day comes that we can afford too.

    MikeL
     
  11. drgnldy71

    drgnldy71 Serene Dragon Farm

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    Thanks everyone loads for all the imput, I think I'm going to go with New Zealand does because I know I can get those from around here. And the ones I can find aren't the pure white so we have some color in there that the kids like. Then I just need to find a buck may look into finding a California if I can.
    Thanks again :bow:
     
  12. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    It's interesting what Micheal Leferink was saying about his Silver Foxes, I've heard they have an awesome dressout, but it's nice to hear from someone who's actually raised them.

    Sometimes popular commercial breeds CAN be beaten in meat production by a more obscure breed. Don't certain lines of commercial Cals and NZW tend to be lanky and less meaty?

    Another thing to keep in mind: raising a rare breed for food could be a niche market. Some people will buy meat from a rare breed of livestock just to support the farmer and help preserve the breed.
     
  13. Caelma

    Caelma Well-Known Member

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    Palominos are considered a meat breed.
    Although I like mine and they sure have nice temperment
    I am not impresed with how long it takes them to grow out.
    I'm experimenting and seeing if the hybrid vigor will make a better meat rabbit and bred a pal buck to a NZ doe.
     
  14. Kazahleenah

    Kazahleenah Disgruntled citizen

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    I myself like the French Lops.... raised them in the past, and would hate to see the breed die out, so is looking for a Trio to get back into them with. They dress out nice, and have nice large, wonderful pelts... I once made a quilt from hides... it was VERY warm. lol Flemish Giants are also a breed that always held my fancy. Any Michiganders with these breeds?

    Kaza
     
  15. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, having bred most large breeds, I can say that the best growout I have seen has come from Florida Whites. Grown animals are only 4-6 pounds(mine are a little larger sometimes), but they eat much less feed, mine always have 6-8 kits, and most often growout is 100%. Usually you have butcher sized rabbits at 12 weeks. When you look at how much your stock are consuming feed wise, they are awesome rabbits.

    MikeL, what part of the state are you in? I'm in the SE part, right around NO.

    Lance
    BTW-NZW's are not albino, nor are any geneticlly ruby eyed whites. They are just that, a REW. It is, however, a great masker, and will cover many things easily.
     
  16. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    We are raising NZW's because we can raise them very efficiently to market weight. Even if we were raising them just for our own use, I'd still want an efficient rabbit- why do I want to spend more to raise my own meat? I do like the idea of preserving rare/heritage breeds, but that goes beyond the scope of simply raising meat for table use.

    We don't have a lot of experience with rabbits, but I think I have seen enough to stick with the breeds which have been developed for production. Of course, that is assuming one can find good stock of one of those breeds. We have been selling rabbit meat to BARF feeders for several months, but we stopped breeding our does recently because we are anticipating a move in the next month and did not want to try to move a bunch of pregnant does or does with litters. Our customers, however, really liked the product we supplied and asked for more this month than we could provide. So, we bought some rabbits from an old man and his wife who no longer wanted to take care of them. We butchered them today, and they were the most horrid looking things! I would not have thought there would be so much difference in the carcasses, but there really was. Granted, these were not fryers, but we have butchered some of our older does and they were really nice compared to these. I don't even know what breed they were- the guy started out with NZW's and Satins, so I guess these were some combination of those 2 breeds, but they were not very nice. There were 2 NZW's in the batch, but I am guessing the guy had been inbreeding pretty heavily because they were not nice at all- I think that somehow we got really lucky and wound up with some really nice breeding stock when we started because ours are so much better looking than any other rabbits we have seen around here.

    My advice to anyone starting out with rabbits would be to start with good stock from a production herd of a good commercial breed- then as you learn, later on, experiment with other breeds, hybrids, etc. But learn first what a good meat carcass looks like, what it takes to raise them to market size, etc., so that you will be able to compare costs, etc.

    Of course, that is if producing meat is your main objective. If you have a market for pets or show rabbits of other breeds, go for it. Just realize that you might be spending a lot more $$$ for the meat you consume than you would with the meat breeds.
     
  17. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    Hi RooMaN,

    We are not far from Lafayette, but we are looking for a place in North Central/North West Louisiana. It's too populated around here and we are tired of the storms.

    MikeL
     
  18. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    LOL, your story gave me a chuckle. I'm not going to go into details about my little grade bunny experience. :rolleyes:

    Yes, I agree with you, but fancy rabbits aren't the only breeds facing extinction. Some of the original "commercial" breeds (American, Silver Fox, etc.) are also rare. Even if they are slightly less efficient in feed conversion, they can make up for that in other areas: disease resistance, dress out (more edible meat on less bone and less offal to deal with), etc. Each breed has it's advantages and disadvantages.

    Pays to decide what's important to you in your rabbit project and then choose a breed and bloodline that will fit your needs. Rare breeds don't work for everyone, I know. Quality livestock WILL be more economical in the long run than carelessly-bred grade animals though. :)
     
  19. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Yes I agree with RGal 1000% ,, while there will be exceptions ,, it does pay to start out with the best stock you can afford ,,

    I started out with an impulse buy of a young trio (pair ES 1NZ) at the fleamarket ,, :p Boy does hubby regret ever saying to me "Honey I'd like to eat some home raised rabbit" ........ and I had these empty cages at home :angel:

    got home with everything ,, all happy thinking I could raise our own homegrown meat ,, started researching and well ;) many moons later ,,,, Its been an education ,,

    While I still have Spotty (the origional FM ESdoe) she's been my best producer :rock: go figure ,, I have bred her w Cal or NZ bucks and she is such a good milker / mother her fryers are always meaty ,, :p that origional ESbuck grew into such a mean biting sob :viking: I enjoyed BBQing him ,,,


    I found that the 'purebred' rabbits NZ's & Californians I later bought were the better quality meat producers ,, the Cals 'seem' to have 'meatier' bodies and decent sized litters and the NZ does I had all had a habit of having 9 - 12 kits and raiseing them all :rock: (the large litters took a little longer to make 'weight' but that was ok with me lol)

    and crossing the 2 breeds makes great fryers in my opinion ,, course I like having colors in the cages too ,, I was checking out the ARBA's site and went to the Rex site ,,, you should check out the color of the red Rexes !! wow !! if a person knew how to tan hides and raised those ,, I bet blankets made from those hides would comand a high $$ price ,,