Rabbits (which ones?)

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by seedspreader, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Ok, as we prepare to move to our homestead, I want to get some meat rabbits. A buck and a doe to begin with that will also be a project for my daughter and "pets" for her. These two will not be butchered. But I am looking for a good meat breed that is also fairly healthy. Any suggestions? New Zealand Whites, Californians, others?
     
  2. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Hey Bob,

    First of all, drop a copy of your question down in the rabbit forum. Pat can give you some better ideas.

    I have French Angora rabbits. I keep them for fiber and meat (they are a dual purpose breed). They also make good pets, since they have to be bred for temperament as well (You have to have calm rabbits to clip them every couple months), but they are more work than other breeds, with the grooming and all. Not the rabbit for everyone.

    I've been looking at adding another breed or two, again for meat, but also a bit better for the pet market. I'm currently looking at what's out there...that isn't here! You have to drive at least two hours to find another person with French Angoras, and I'd like it to be even further away for the next breed or two, if I want to sell on the pet market.

    Out of all the critters we have, the rabbits are easiest. The cages hang, I have open worm beds underneath, the garden right next door to move the excess to. The chickens like the extra worms. Water bottles are easy to carry and replace in the winter, and feed is cheap. Plus, I love having them standing on their hind legs wanting some petting along with breakfast.

    I don't have breed suggestions for you. The NZ and Californians are the standard meat rabbits, as you suggested. If you're wanting the breeding stock to be pets for your daughter as well, perhaps you can make a list of possible breeds and variations on the breed (such as white or red NZ) and let her make the final pick based on what she thinks is a pretty rabbit. (I don't know how old she is, and that can be a factor there, too) Then choose the individual breeding stock on temperament as well as body type and conformation. If they're gonna be pets, you want her to be able to actually pet them!

    Good luck. I hope you enjoy the rabbits!
     

  3. CountryGoalie

    CountryGoalie Well-Known Member

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    If you're looking for rabbits to be a pet for your daughter as well - I know that they aren't usually looked upon as a meat breed, but the vast majority of Harlequins that I've known have had excellent personalities. Some lines from certain breeders are definitely not meat rabbits, but some other breeders focus more on the meat and type aspect of the breed. Research on the rabbits you see if definitely a good idea. I'm not sure where you're located, but I know of a breeder in Ontario who raises New Zealands and Harlequins and both breeds are meat rabbits for her. If you'd like, I can get her email to you and you can find out if she knows of any "meat" Harlequin breeders in your area.

    Also, another thing - are you looking to show? If not, a good cross between two different breeds might be a good thing. I've heard of folks crossing New Zealands and Californians for a nice cross. Perhaps a nice, solidly-built Harlequin buck could be crossed to some bigger, meatier does? We cross our Satins and Harlequins for some "meat-only" babies - though a couple have been cute enough that they stayed as "meat-producers". :rolleyes:
     
  4. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Ha, thanks Meg, I thought I remembered a rabbit forum, but couldn't find it when I posted, I was one level too deep in the HT forum and it didn't show up, so stupid of me! :eek: