So what are the best meat breeds anyway?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by kidsngarden, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

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    Someone asked this on my "wanted" thread. What are the best meat breeds? I would love some opinions!

    kids
     
  2. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    New Zealand White.
     

  3. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    How do you define best? What's best for one person may not be best for another. What are your needs?

    MikeL
     
  4. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

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    To be honest - I don't know! I know this from other people's experiences. - Rabbits are easier to butcher than chickens, but taste a lot like chicken (which is why we are raising them). They are lean so can be dry. There are some "large boned" breeds that you get less meat. I want to grow them for my table and if I can, others as well.

    So I'm looking for the closest thing to chicken, as far as the dryness goes and most meat per pound . And I would like the breed that are the best breeders, as well. Biggest bang for the buck.

    kids
     
  5. seanmn

    seanmn Well-Known Member

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    The best meat breeds: New Zealands, Californians, Satins, Champanges, Silver Fox, Creme D' Argents. If you sell to a processor they usually always prefer white rabbits, some wont even take colored rabbits. The one I've sold to pays .10 to .20 less per pound for colored fryers and wont take any bucks over 6 pounds, he also wont take anything that looks like it has Flemish in it, and wont take anything that has Rex fur.
     
  6. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

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    Why is it that they don't like colored rabbits? And how do you find a processor?

    kids
     
  7. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    The "commercial-type" breeds are the best meat animals and within that catagory, New Zealand White and Californian rabbits are usually considered to be the best choice for meat, because a good Cal/NZ will produce meat more efficiently than most other breeds. In addition, their albinistic white coats make them desired by commercial processors...white pelts can be dyed in a variety of colors and white hairs don't show up as readily on a carcass. White Satins and White Rex also have a reputation as meat animals, although some processors won't take Rex.

    If color doesn't matter to you, then you have many more breeds to choose from...I like Creme d'Argents because they have such lovely fur...they aren't as efficient as our Cals, but because of their long history I'm willing to work with them and try to improve their meat production qualities.

    I'm also impressed with Silver Foxes because they have a reputation for good dressout, sweet temperaments, and great mothering ability. (Oh, and they were one of the first truly American breeds.) I just got some...we'll see how they work!
     
  8. boren

    boren Well-Known Member

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    Best, is what's best for you. I've been playing around with Silver Foxes for the last year and I like them a lot. For a home person I think they have a lot to offer.

    Pro's:

    Sweet Tempered (not hyper, easy to work with, gentle)
    Rare (sell breeding stock for good money, few to compete with)
    Breed fairly well
    Good dress out
    Awesome coat

    Con's
    Don't grow as fast as my Cals. (12 weeks vs 7-8)
    Not white, since they are black (or blue)
    Rare, can't count on local 4-h demand for fryer pens
    I can't breed them on a 6 week breed back they lose to much weight.


    I love my foxes though, and I think I'm going to stick to Blue Silver foxes, they are really really pretty, and even more rare.
     
  9. Carrie C

    Carrie C Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Boren. I LOVE my rexes, standard, not mini. I have nothing but praise for the lines I have, the smaller lines, however, are a different story.
    Look at the lines, the parents, even if you aren't into the whole pedigree thing, it's good to look at the family tree of your potential dinner-producers. Ask about past litter sizes and growth rates and the same of the parents and grandparents, especially if your potential stock is young.
    Best wishes!
     
  10. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I like the Silver Foxes, too. You just can't BEAT their temperament. That alone is a good reason to have them. I'm just getting started with them and hope to have my first litters sometime in the fall.

    Rexes are another fun rabbit for meat, and Harlequins are really neat, too.

    However, you have to go quite a ways to beat a New Zealand for fast growing. White is preferred by processors because the white coat can be dyed, and also their blood is more in demand for labs since they are albinos. Somehow or other it affects their blood as well.

    Jennifer
     
  11. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    Hey Jennifer could you give some more input on the harlequins? I just got a pair I'd like to breed for meat and was wondering how they compare
     
  12. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    Kids,

    Perhaps you can see by all the geat answers you've received why I answered your question with a question. Any breed that fits your needs will do. If your planning on sell to a processor you will probably stick with NZW, Cal's or both. If your only suppling yourself and friends/family, there are several breeds that will meet your needs quite well. FWIW, We started with the following:

    3 Bucks: 1 - Cal., 1 - S.F, - 1 Champagne D'Argente

    4 Does: 3 - Cals., 1 - S.F

    Our breeding program is designed to give us 3/4 Cal's. The goal is to produce Cal. marked fryers with better market qualities than pure Cal's. More in line with the better NZW herds, but with the carcuss qualities of the Cal. So far it's working, but it takes time.

    Another thing to remember, not all blood lines, in the same breed, will produce equally. Genetics as well as environment are key.

    Good luck,

    MikeL
     
  13. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    I only have a Harliquin doe and a Californian buck ,,

    ... the fryers are nice and meaty ,,

    just as nice as my NZ/Cal crosses were and the ES / Cal cross fryers I get are meaty too :)
     
  14. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Another idea if you have the interest in harvesting and selling fiber as well as meat is to use REW French Angora does and a NZW or Cal buck. The 1/2 crosses with have normal length fur, so no problems with selling to a processor.
    Be sure to select the FA does from lines that are fast growing and have good meat qualities.

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  15. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hmmmm.... sorry, but I would *NEVER* recommend crossbreeding with Angoras *UNLESS* the person can guarantee that none of the live rabbits will EVER be sold or given to others! This did happen many years ago, and the NZW breeders are still plagued with "woolie" kits that the processors won't accept.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.og/
    Chairperson, ARBA Commercial Department Committee