Need Help

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Sinenian, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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    I've decided not to start a new Angora breed (though the posts were very helpful) instead start a completely new breeding program once my twin does kindle and wean.

    I've decided I'd like to start a Pet or Meat breed. And I'd like some information and have some questions.

    Meat-

    Marketing Meat: I've been looking on websites, and cannot find any information on if there is a market for meat rabbits. Can anyone give me tips on to finding information on that?

    Prices: I know it varies alot, but can any meat breeders give me some of their averages per pound on their fryers? I've looked on websites and I've seen 50 cents thru 1 dollar a pound.

    Breed: I've narrowed it down to White New Zealand and Calafornian. Any preferences?


    Pet-

    Breed: This seems like a very diffacult choice. I'm looking for a Friendly and Good Looking breed. I've been considering Mini Lops and Dutch but I know there are a lot of breeds.

    Pet Stores: Is selling there a bad idea? My thought is yes. I think that they don't handle, or really care much about the rabbits. I also know alot of pet stores put their breeds through alot of stress, and I don't think knowing my rabbits will be through stress is worth it. Also I don't know who will re-buy from there, and the pet stores do not care.



    I plan to sell both breeds as show stock, and then sell the one's who have discualifacations (sp?) are won't make good placings as meat (meat breeds) and pets (pet breeds).

    I also plan maybe to start out with one just meat breeds or just pet breeds, since I still have my Angoras to take care of. Which one would you sugject to do?
     
  2. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Meat: Check the American Rabbit Breeders Association (www.arba.net) or the Professional Rabbit Meat Association (www.prma.org) for the current commercial meat rabbit market report. If I remember correctly, prices range from $0.75 to $1.25 a pound live for fryers. I'm selling to a small local guy who pays a bit more, but has certain requirements for "quality", no antibiotics, etc. There may be an ethnic market in your area: people who want to buy rabbits live and butcher themselves to ensure quality control. People in the sustainable ag movement often pay more for naturally raised meat.

    Pets: In my area, I believe there is a $500 limit on sales to pet shops. This could be different in your area. If you exceed that, then you have to be USDA licensed and inspected. Not all pet shops are horrible places, you just need to talk to the folks there and find out how bunny-savvy they are.

    There's also a bill in the works (PAWS, to amend the Animal Welfare Act) which is designed to regulate breeders who sell directly to pet owners. If PAWS passes in its current form, then you wouldn't be able to sell more than $500 of pet bunnies PERIOD without USDA licensing and inspection. (Be a real shame to build up a nice pet bunny business and get shut down by the gov.) If PAWS passes, you can bet your local SPCA will be calling people running ads for pets and trying to find out if they're abiding by the law.

    Best wishes,
    HB
     

  3. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Can't say much about the meat market, but as for pets...

    Rabbitgal, as always, is right. Not all pet shops are horrible. Check the stores around you to see if there are clean cages, what kind of bedding (remember cedar is bad) they use, the health of the rabbits, etc. etc., then go for it. Remember they will sell the rabbits for about twice as much.

    Also, remember not to advertise pets and meat animals in the same ad, and not to tell potential buyers what happens to your culls. That might turn them off.

    As for breed, I love my jersey wooly. They're very calm, cute, friendly little bunnies. American Fuzzy lops are another to consider, as are Netherland Dwarfs (look for a calm strain) and Holland lops. IIRC, Dutch are friendly and dress out well.
     
  4. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, that really helped.

    I am a member of ARBA, I will check that out. Do you sugject becoming part of the prma if I do decide to start raising meat raising rabbits?

    I know there is one pet-shop in the mall that has had some trouble with the law on abusing and starving animals. I will check out if there is good pet-shop around.

    I agree, that PAWS act sounds really bad.
     
  5. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Xandras.
    Yeah, from what I hear all Lops are really outgoing and friendly (not to mention cute :D ).
     
  6. tresieg3

    tresieg3 Active Member

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    FLORIDA
    We went to a pet store around here in florida to see how much a male and female rabbit would cost they had 2 little babby bunnies not sure what kind and they didnt know, they wanted $25 each is that alot to pay?
     
  7. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tre ,, Well I think so ,, $25 each ,, no pedigree ,, no breed info ,, age ?? ,, they probably aren't too sure of the sexes either ,, I'd advise no ,,

    you could probably contact your county's extension agent ,, find out local 4-H leaders or find out about shows ,, go buy a purebred from a breeder or 4-H kid ,, for the same price or less ,, and at least hope you are getting a decent healthy animal ..

    are you looking for a pair or trio of pet rabbits ?? you might could hookup with a breeder thru an online group .. I know on the yahoo group Meatrabbits there are members living in Fla who raise pet and show rabbits both ,,
     
  8. tresieg3

    tresieg3 Active Member

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    we are looking for a male and female for pets thanks alot

     
  9. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Well just in case ,, have you checked your local Humane Soc for rabbits needing adoption ??

    or if you are wanting two for pets ,, and if getting them both neutered , spayed is an expensive thing to think about ,,

    I'd advise getting two 5-7 week old does / possibley sisters ,, to raise up together as buddies ,, they 'might grow up tolerant enough of each other to keep together in a cage when grown ,, otherwise if you get a pair you will get babies ,,

    and even sisters might end up needing seperate cages to keep them from fighting ,,,

    2c's worth
     
  10. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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    Ok, alot of my questions have been answered. But here are some of my ones remaining.

    Meat:
    -Calafornian vs. White New Zealand?
    -I could not find much info on the market around here (though your info was good Rabbitgal)
    *Should I try free advertising to see if anyone buys market-ready fryers?
    *Should I ask local super-markets if they buy market-ready fryers?
    *Will my County Extention Agent have knowledge on the market?

    Pet:
    (Most of my questions have been answered - thanks!)
    -Breed: Is it true Dutch are difficult to get proper markings for Show-Quality rabbits? I enjoy selling to other 4-Hers', and if Lop breeds are easier to get Show-Quality, than would that be more a more disarable breed for me?
     
  11. Sinenian

    Sinenian Well-Known Member

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  12. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Yup, Xandra's right, look around and see how they keep their animals. One shop in my area isn't abusive, but I think they need to do some research on the needs of their species. There were two dwarf bunnies in an aquarium far too small for ONE rabbit. The other shop in our area has fewer animals, but seem to take very good care of them. USDA licensing & inspection is something you really should look into if you're serious about selling to pet shops.

    Tresieg3, yeah, think about adoption! $25 can also get you a pedigreed purebred in some areas if that floats your boat. :) (4-H/FFA rabbit projects anyone?) Not smashing pet shops, but you can get more bang for your buck if you know where to go. Just make sure the person you get them from is conscientious and ethical! I've seen purebreds given away or sold very cheap at some shows. Check the ARBA website at www.arba.net, click on "shows" in the left sidebar for a listing of upcoming events in your area.

    Sinenian, if you do decide to raise rabbits for meat to sell, then the PRMA is a wonderful resource! I've gotten a lot of useful info from them. Those on the board (Pat Lamar here is the president) are very active in the rabbit world, and on the PRMA Yahoo group you can talk with some of the most knowledgable people in the professional rabbit world.

    Cals vs. NZW: I'm biased for Cals, since we have them. :) Cals are slightly smaller and a little less popular than NZW, some say because they take longer to reach market weight. Mine are very muscular (they're from show lines), and appear to be finer boned than the NZ I've seen. A lot of it depends on the bloodline you purchase. You'd want to contact a commercial meat breeder to get the best breeding stock for a serious commercial operation. NZ White or Cals is what everyone recommends though. (Not every processor will accept colored rabbits and most pay less for them.) Again, the PRMA can get you in touch with commercial breeders.

    That aside, if you want to raise rabbits for your own use, or to butcher them yourselves and sell to friends and neighbors, then you have a few more choices. In that case, please consider working with a rare breed! The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, www.albc-usa.com or .org has a listing of rare rabbit breeds.

    Your supermarket will probably not buy processed rabbits from a private individual. As far as I know, rabbits have to be butchered in a licensed facilty if you're selling them to someone else for resale. That's why a lot of commercial producers/breeders sell their rabbits LIVE to a processor.

    That's my 10 cents. Sorry for the long post, and if anyone can answer these questions, please step in!