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I am cinsidering staring home rabbit raising, its been a long time since i have done this, i am planning, i think on 2 does and 1 buck , i am hoping for about 30-40 harvestable meat animals a year, does this sound right considering loss due to who knows what kind of causes ....
i am thinking of Rex rabbits, since an important side product for the rabbits is the fur ( i tan my own hides to use)
but i also want some spotted rabbits, , wondering what breeds i should try . keeping in mind i will be in arkansas, and heat stress will be a factor
i dont want all white rabbits ( the stains are a pain to clean out orf a palt)

thanks !!!
Beth
 

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bethlaf said:
"I am cinsidering staring home rabbit raising, its been a long time since i have done this, i am planning, i think on 2 does and 1 buck , i am hoping for about 30-40 harvestable meat animals a year, does this sound right considering loss due to who knows what kind of causes ...."

It's going to depend on your breeding schedule, conception rate, avg. kits per litter, and kit mortality rate. Using the 42 day rebreeding schedule you should get between 30 & 40 kits per doe per year. Provided you get 100% conception, 6 - 8 kits per litter and 0% kit mortality. Allowing that nothings perfect in the real world and if all you need is 30 - 40 total kits per year, 1 buck & 2 does should be more than enough. Of course, you will have no backups if one dies. You probably will want to keep replacements on hand just in case.

"i am thinking of Rex rabbits, since an important side product for the rabbits is the fur ( i tan my own hides to use)
but i also want some spotted rabbits,"

There are spotted Rex's, they are called "Broken".

"wondering what breeds i should try . keeping in mind i will be in arkansas, and heat stress will be a factor
i dont want all white rabbits ( the stains are a pain to clean out orf a palt)"

In our small herd, the white rabbits seem to handle the heat better than the colored rabbits. We are in Louisiana and it's pretty hot here too! We also have Champagne D'Argent and Silver Fox. They both have beautiful pelts. You might also try the American Chinchilla and the Satin. These are all four fur/meat breeds and might fit your needs.

You might also like the English Spot.

Good luck,

MikeL
 

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Beth,
I just started raising Rex. I began in April and with 1 buck and 2 does I already have 29 rabbits! Well, not that many now as some are already in the freezer.
The "Broken" group Rex come in 2 patterns "blanket" and "spotted". If you get a solid and a broken you should get both broken and solid varieties. I like the variety! Try to stay with like colors though or you may end up with some really ugly colors. I love my Rex's and encourage people to give them a try. Good luck.
Kristi
 

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bethlaf said:
i am thinking of Rex rabbits, since an important side product for the rabbits is the fur ( i tan my own hides to use)
Beth
Beth,
How do you tan your hides? My husband is dying to learn. What formula do you use and what are the steps from beging to end?
Info would be great!
Thank you,
Kristi
 

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Beth - I am raising broken rex for much the same reasons you are considering. Meat and nice pelts. I am in NW AR and have not had major problems with the heat. Rabbits are in cages which are in a hutch outside, mostly shaded. I do provide them with a frozen 2 liter pop bottles on days when it gets up to 85 and above. I haven't really bred them in the hottest summer months, so I I'm not really sure about the problems with heat and sterility here. I have had problems with sore hock though and I would recommend that you do some research on the internet and through a search on this board before deciding on rex. Seems as though they are more susceptible than some other breeds. I just recently had to get rid of my doe after she developed some pretty bad problems with it after her last litter. But, most of that was my mistake in the kind of cage I had her in. I'm not trying to steer you away from them though because I love my rexes also and the pelts are beautiful. Meat production certainly doesn't equal that of New Zealands, but I find it adequate for home use. If you do decide to go with them, I know a breeder in Rogers who sells his "culls" for a reasonable price. Beautiful rabbits, just not show quality markings.

Kristi - Here is a link that has some information on tanning. I have not tanned any of mine yet, so I can't tell you if the processes are good or not. Hope someone else has some good ideas on tanning.
 

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That's what I have read about heat and sterility Ozarkin'it. Does it take about 2 months to recover from the heat? I have a new buck and doe that will be 6 mos. old around the first of October. We've had a pretty mild summer, but several days well into the 90s a week or so ago. Think it would be o.k. to try them then, or should I wait another month? I'm not very good at palpating, so I would just have to wait 30 days to see if they were successful and I don't want to get too far into cold weather when the kits are born. And... does a young buck recover more quickly than an older one? (like a two years old) Thanks.
 

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I guess I really dont know the answer to that question. I just stop breeding when it gets hot to give them a break. Then I usually rebreed mid september. Kindof hard to say if theyve recovered fully, because I never have a 100% conception rate anyway.
However, I wouldnt worry about breeding in the cold. Except for bringing the does in when they are due for a few days in freezing weather, my highest conception times are january and march.
 

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I know that you mentioned spotted pelts -- have you ever considered the Harlequin rabbit? They are not spotted, per say, but their coat patterns are beautiful nonetheless, and they tend to be very tractable.

Depending on what lines you acquire from, they can also be a very good meat rabbit. I know that Judi Corbett of Canada has more of a "meat stock" type Harlequin, and I've incorporated some of her bloodline into my stock to help raise the size.

--Hannah
 
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