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please explain show meat pens

775 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  seanmn
I am going to 2 rabbit shoiws (fairs with 4-h rabbits). What are the meat pens about?
Where do the rabbits come from? Do the 4-h's breed them or buy them to raise?
If there was a trio in the meat pen of a buck and 2 does would they be worthy of becoming a breeding trio? Are they usually pedigreed? Are they always pure bred?
Do they auction them off or can you offer to buy them?
Any thing else you can tell me would be appreciated. Is a fair even a good place to look for rabbits. Or at least make contacts to buy rabbits.

I found a web site that explained that they have to butcher the meat pen rabbits. So I guess you cannt buy them for breeding.
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Everything Linda said is correct, but I think you may have come to an incorrect conclusion.

At the county fair she mentioned, the Grand Champion meat pen was part of the auction, wherein many supporters of our youth buy these project animals not for breeding or even for eating -- but to help the kids pay for future projects, college funds, etc.... Thus, these fine benefactors bid up the price to extremely high levels all in the name of helping our youth.

Many of the folks showing animals at the fairs indeed have excellent stock and would be good contacts to potentially purchase stock from. I have seen rabbits range from a low of around $25 each to well over $100 each recently. Most breeders will give you a bit of a price break for 4-H kids, multiple sales, etc... when they quote you a price.

Folks can get involved in a rabbit project for a relatively modest outlay of cash, particularly in comparison to other animal projects. The principle costs will include cages and equipment, feed, and your rabbits. Expect to pay $15 - $40 per rabbit cage (adults should be kept in separate cages), including watering and feeding equipment. Feed typically runs between $8 and $14 per 50lb. bag.

Best of luck to you.

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Generally, a meat or market pen will consist of three rabbits of the same breed, each between three and five pounds and no more than 70 days old. Specific show rules sometimes are a bit different.

Uniformity is part of the point-schedule for judging meat pens. Ideally, you want your pen to weigh the same (and as near as possible to the upper weight limit), look the same and feel the same.

The point schedule is this:

Meat Type - 40 Points
Condition - 30 Points
Uniformity - 20 Points
Fur - 10 Points

Meat type refers to how the rabbit is put together and how well the body is filled out with flesh. Condition refers to whether the animal has nice firm flesh or is overweight and soft. Uniformity pulls together how each of the animals in the pen weighs/looks/feels, etc... in comparison to the others. Fur refers to how close to a prime coat the animals exhibit.

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