Questions about meat rabbits

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. 1) What’s you favorite meat rabbit for meat quality / flavor?

    New Zealand White
    Californian
    Flemish Giant
    Large Rex

    2) What’s you favorite meat rabbit for meat quantity / food conversion?

    New Zealand White
    Californian
    Flemish Giant
    Large Rex

    3) What meat rabbit is the best forager, has the best survivability if released into a wood lot to survive on it’s own? (for hunting)

    New Zealand White
    Californian
    Flemish Giant
    Large Rex

    I know the Californian and New Zealand White are preferred to sell because the white color and good meat conversion, but considering the above what meat rabbit do you like best? Order the breads from best to worst for each category please. Thanks. :)
     
  2. Denise K.

    Denise K. Well-Known Member

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    A domestic rabbit like you have listed will just end up dead!! They have been domesticated to the point they will not forage well. Yes they can learn but you will have a poor weight gain. Why not just have 2-3 does and a buck and raise your own?? Turning a domestic rabbit loose is cruel. They don't have near the flight response that a cottontail has. You would be better off to raise your own if you want rabbit for dinner.
    Denise
     

  3. Denise K.

    Denise K. Well-Known Member

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    and by the way what fun is it to hunt a "white colored" rabbit! They are rather obvious sitting there!
    Denise
     
  4. kskountrygirl

    kskountrygirl New Member

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    The New Zealand White or Black or Red are great meat rabbits. The California White is also a great meat rabbit. They both have good feed to meat conversions. The does have nice litters and are good mothers.
    I would not recommend putting any domesticated rabbit out in the woods to try to survive. It is pretty much bred out of them. They would just become prey to all the predators.
     
  5. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    I had a pregnant NZW get loose. I put her down to get some exercise because she was refusing to be bred. I didn't know a Holland lop buck was loose in the rabbitry until it was too late. She didn't refuse him. Someone opened the door and out she went. We didn't see her for weeks so we assumed she'd died. She kindled outside. Two years later we're still occasionally shooting them. She had kits that grew up and had kits, that grew up and had kits, that grew up......you get the idea. Because of the lop mix they're brown, black and occasionally white.

    They're hardy animals. In late February last year a doe kindled under the hen house. I live in Maine. It was still very cold. She must have dragged straw out of the pig barn to make a good warm nest with. At the end of March little brown and black bunnies dotted the snow. Adorable but not a good situation. They stop being cute fast. We're usually able to catch most of a litter and cage them til they're big enough to eat. The one or two that are too fast grow up and add to the problem.

    They get into the gardens. They eat the bark off trees and shrubs in the winter. If the hen house door is open they go in and scrabble in the feeder. They drive the farmcollies nuts when they go under the hen house out of the collies' reach. When they were living close to the house they'd go into the grain room and chew holes in the bottom of bags.

    Rabbits are low on the food chain. They've encouraged bobcats and coyotes to hunt here. I don't need predators around to bother the animals and poultry.

    We've raised thousands of rabbits in cages and had at least one hundred outside. I wouldn't ever have loose rabbits outside by choice. Caged rabbits are more work but less hassle. I love rabbits but will be glad when these last two are out in the open a second too long so that we can put an end to this for good.
     
  6. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    I have a similar story to MainFarmMom. TheGrandkids opened up a cage with 4 week old kits in it, took one out to play with it and forgot to close cage. Out goes 8 kits and the doe. Several generations have survived just fine... unfortunately. This doesn't mean that the coyotes, owels, bob cats, mountain lions, domestic cats or stray dogs haven't had many a rabbit dinner but they didn't get them all. I have shot a few when I can but they make their marks in my vegetable and flower garden, and even chewed an electrical cord I had outside (to bad it wasn't plugged in).

    Do domestic rabbits survive in the wild...yep mine do! they find water and food. Would I pruposely let domestic rabbits loose? of course not.

    I raise New Zealands, Rex, Satins and Jesery Woolys (pet market) I can not tell the difference in meat flavor.
    The best one to raise, is a rabbit that comes awesome meat genetics! you find those in the Rabbit discussion group further down on the main page.
     
  7. swamptiger

    swamptiger Active Member

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    I have a neighbor who has had domestic rabbits loose around his place for years. I think they can get to be a nuisance, though.
     
  8. wabbitswayer

    wabbitswayer Active Member

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    A subject I actually know a little about! :D Anyway, I raise satins for meat consumption. None of them are registerable as they are mixed colors. That said, I have sold some as pets, some as pet food (snake food), and others as frozen consumables. I really like the satins that I have as they are not aggressive like some other breeds I have been around, very limited exposure to those other ones. I think the meat to bone ratio is very good and from what I understand, Flemish Giants have a very low meat to bone ratio even though they are larger. My rabbits get to be about 8-10 pounds each. I feed them all sorts of things like semi-fresh veggies, weeds in the summer, cattle cakes, alfalfa cubes, corn, and rabbit pellets. They seem to do well and produce well. I get from 8-10 kits per litter and I am having them all year long. Granted, I have heat lamps on them in the winter though.

    And with the taste thing, it depends on how long you cure the meat AND how you cook it. I let mine cure for three days before a meal in the fridge. I often chicken fry mine and it tastes really good.

    And with the kids, I told them from the beginning that they were for eating. The only ones they could really get attached to were the breeding stock but even then, sometimes those had to go away as well. The kids are learning to process the meat so that they can continue on this path.
     
  9. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    I raise NZ, Cal, Flemish crosses, and a few high producing mutts. My favorite, hands down- no comparison for serving at our table, is the Flemish crossed with NZ or Cal (25 - 50% Flemish). The feed conversion is supposed to be less favorable but it doesn't matter to me. I would like to experiment with Champagne D'Argents someday.
    As for foraging- I think technically, without predators or disease, any of them can survive. If we have escapees- it happened twice with a stubborn grow out pen- I 'll spend the time to catch them. The two that I've been unable to catch I asked my son to shoot. He got practice on a moving target and we had an unexpected dinner. With my dogs, the rabbits would get a far more gruesome death in short order.
     
  10. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    We like the california for meat best, just because of the fast grow out factor.

    We did have one dutch buck get out of a cage about 2 months ago, and since it was one of the kids pet and looked so darn cute running around inside the rabbitry we let it be free. It took maybe 2 days for it to stop eating the pellets on the ground that fell thru the cages and burrow out of the rabbitry. We thought for sure it would run off and get eaten by a coyote. Nope, that fat little thing is all over our property. When someone drives up our driveway it hops out to stand in the road to greet them! It was very funny when my sister in law came over and the rabbit ran up to her (she's a city gal) she started running back to her car yelling for my husband to help her. She thought the rabbit MUST have rabies to be charging her like that! We had to explain to her that it was our kids pet and very friendly.....after we stopped laughing.

    As for taste, rabbit meat is rabbit meat to me. We have ate california, NZ, dutch. The grow out rate is the only difference.

    mljjranch