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Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Discussion of fur breeds, tanning pelts, using the furs, marketing.
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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#16  Unread postby GBov » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:12 am


Interesting enough, if you are not feeding lots of people (like my three teenagers :roll: ) rabbit meat, lion heads make fantastic fur. As I work through my backlog of dried hides I keep coming across the odd LH and they always make me go ooooooooooooh lovely!

And they are a chunky little beast with a nice dress out rate.

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#17  Unread postby Sagebrush » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:06 pm


Just my 2 bits as well. I used to cross out Rex with Dutch for both meat and fur. The two breeds would make the densest fur I have come across and a 5 lb rabbit at 10 weeks had an average dress out of 4.5 lbs. I miss my little meat bricks. Once we are more settled where we have a bit of land, I am so going to get some more Rex does and a Dutch buck. I found that made the best cross for me.

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#18  Unread postby GBov » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:30 pm


Sagebrush wrote:Just my 2 bits as well. I used to cross out Rex with Dutch for both meat and fur. The two breeds would make the densest fur I have come across and a 5 lb rabbit at 10 weeks had an average dress out of 4.5 lbs. I miss my little meat bricks. Once we are more settled where we have a bit of land, I am so going to get some more Rex does and a Dutch buck. I found that made the best cross for me.


You are right about the outcrossing Rex making thick fur, they go great with New Zealand as well, nice dress out and fantastic fur.

It was funny with my Rex, I had a problem with longer guard hair on the shoulders of some of mine and while I managed to cull that fault out, I have a NZ Rex hide from that period that has the normal length fur for NZ, with the ultra thick fur from the Rex cross AND with extra long guard hairs on the shoulder areas. It's a funny hide, that one. :lol:

Another fantastic cross for meat is Angora x Rex. First generation gives ultra thick fur and a huge loin, much wider than any other I have ever produced.

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#19  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:15 am


Following up on this a year later...

Thanks again on all the good answers and advice.

I still haven't gotten my stock. In the process of moving out of a tightly-controlled neighborhood to a place with space for rabbits and chickens. Still thinking Silver Fox, but one of the later comments about out-crossing made me wonder if maintaining two different breeds and using the crosses for production animals would make more sense.

I love the Rex fur, but I'm concerned about its length, as well as the longer grow-out time. I'm not looking to do this commercially, so the longer time frame is less of a concern than getting really good fur from a meat rabbit. What I would really love is fur with the denseness of a Rex, but the length of a Silver Fox.

Sagebrush crosses Rex does with Dutch bucks. GBov crosses Angora x Rex, NZ x Rex.

Has anyone crossed (or seen a cross of) Silver Fox and Rex?

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#20  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:15 am


I have found... there is as many differences in lines of rabbits of the same breed, as there is between breeds.. Rex rabbits do not "always grow slow", or have "troublesome feet issues". Neither do Rex rabbits "always have prime fur" quality .

When choosing rabbits for your breed stock, be sure of the genetics of those rabbits. Check the weaning litter size, and growth rate . Also,closely check the parents and siblings of the stock you are considering, ..just to make sure you are not buying one exceptional rabbit, from a line of mediocre stock.

With all that said.. if you have great breed stock, with great fur... the crosses will grow faster, and most will have good fur quality.. but not consistent color, or fur type...
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#21  Unread postby GBov » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:07 pm


I have two lines of Rex right now, both have good feet. One line has mega great fur, very nice indeed and the other has OK fur but has the colors I have hunted so long for, harlequin and tricolor so should be able to mix and match to produce the excellent fur quality with the color AND the good feets.

Having a goal makes breeding more fun somehow. :D

So what M4G said about finding good stock is good advice, ask questions of the breeder and if you don't like something about the rabbits you find, keep looking. Healthy mutts cheap are a better deal than high priced flawed purebred stock.

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#22  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:37 am


GBov wrote:Sorry to be a bit late to add my two cents worth but if you are totally new to rabbits, get all your equipment and then get the cheapest rabbits you can get your hands on. Go for every color you like the look of, either off Craigslist or a local livestock sale.

Breed them and work with them for a year or two and then step up into pure bloodstock.

Your stress levels will be waaaaay down and it will be more fun for you and once you feel really comfortable with rabbits, get what you really want then.

Even then the learning curve will throw you problems but at least it won't be a straight upward journey, learning on rabbits that cost lots each.

That way you can start NOW instead of in a few years time. Mwahahahaaaaaaa! ;)


Just to follow up on this.

I had decided on Silver Fox, but the local source for that closed up their rabbitry. By the time I could look farther, we were in COVID lockdown.

This was great advice. I now have two NZW does, which I bought pre-bred from a local breeder. He was very helpful, and gave me an excellent price. The does both kindled, four kits each. I'm learning, and yes, it's a lot of fun. My rabbitry has eight cages in two rows, each cage 2'x3'x18". It'll be a while before I process any of them, but the kits are growing fast.

One reason why I said it was great advice was sheltering the animals from the heat. The NZWs clearly have trouble when it gets very hot (predicting 91F today,) and I think Silver Foxes would have been in much worse trouble. I've hung tarps to shade them from the direct sun.

Thank you all for your support.

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#23  Unread postby hotzcatz » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:22 am


DoozyWombat wrote:Great answers all!

Nymphadora (great name!) and MaggieJ, good idea. I am going to my county fair this weekend, and there are three ARBA RCBA shows this Fall that I can fit in my schedule. I'm still a year or two out from getting breeding stock, but I wanted to get ideas directly from online experts before asking questions at a show where people might be very busy.

I'm also aware that I'll need to be cautious in what I say. I've run into a couple of people with very strong opinions about killing fluffy bunnies. Strangely, neither were vegetarians.

Shazza, excellent thoughts on variety in the pelts. You have some beautiful animals in your website gallery page. I haven't read all the way through this forum yet, but I assume there are several threads about where to sell pelts. I'll have to think more on uniformity for larger projects vs. variety for more interesting single pelts and variegated larger projects.

SableSteel, thanks for the comments on the different varieties. You have shown a LOT of different breeds! I'm looking forward to seeing more of what you have learned.

Thanks again to all!


Well, you already have some rabbits, but when speaking to breeders later, it's always best to find out their opinions on the edibility of rabbits before mentioning you want the different colors for pelts. If you're at a rabbit show (they will hopefully happen again at some point) you can always mention you're interested in show rabbits. Note: being interested in show rabbits isn't the same thing as showing rabbits. Then you'd have a reason to ask about various coat colors and such.

Some breeders get whacko about signing a 'non-breeding' contract and other oddball things. Even if they have great stock, it's probably best to leave them alone unless they live far away from you.
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