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Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Discussion of specific breeds, breed standards and selection criteria for purebreds.
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Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#1  Unread postby SixGun » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:25 am


My husband and I are building a 15 hole rabbitry. Ideally we would like to enter into 3 breeds. I know that I want 3 English Angoras, so I'm just waiting until the National Convention to do some meet and greets and decide on a breeder. That leaves 12 holes for two breeds. My husband wants to raise a pet breed and I want a fur / meat breed. We have gone through every breed and talked about the pros and cons but have yet to come to a final decision on either breed. I would truly appreciate any insight or suggestions anyone may have. Here are our finalists in each category:

Pet Breed
Netherland Dwarf
Mini Satin
Lionhead
*We have a Netherland Dwarf house rabbit now. We truly love his size but my husband is concerned about the high kit mortality rates in the NDs. We have not been able to find similar stats with the Mini Satins or Lionheads. We do understand that you can offset peanuts by using false dwarf does but beyond culling parents that produce hippos there seem to be more genetic issues in the NDs than we really want to take on. Is this going to be the case with all of the super small breeds? Are Mini Satins and Lionheads genetically dwarves also? We do not want a lop eared pet rabbit and would prefer one that has many acceptable colors. Have we left a breed out of consideration?

Fur / Meat Breed
Standard Chinchilla
American Sable
Harlequin
Satin
Silver Marten
-and the-
Havana
*I am have a really difficult time narrowing down my list to one. I've raised the Standard Chinchilla back in high school. I love this breed, but, I plan on tanning hides, and I'd really like a different coloring pattern on occasion. I've raised the Harlequin, I also love this breed, and I don't mind the large amounts of culls, because I feed a raw diet to my dogs. I know much less about the American Sable, Satin and Silver Marten. I like their body size, their growth rates, and their coloring. Does anyone have any experience with these breeds? And finally, I have the Havana on my list. This is a smaller breed, but Ive read that they still have good growth rates, and can be just as economical as a larger breed. Again, does anyone have any opinions?

We will be traveling to Del Mar in October to the National Convention, so I'd like to narrow down even more before then.

Thank you everyone.

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Zass » Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:12 pm


One way to narrow down your list would be by looking at the stock from each breed available in your area, talking to breeders, and buying from the breeder who seems to have the most sucess with a method similar to how you intend to raise them. :)

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#3  Unread postby SixGun » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:27 pm


Zass wrote:One way to narrow down your list would be by looking at the stock from each breed available in your area, talking to breeders, and buying from the breeder who seems to have the most sucess with a method similar to how you intend to raise them. :)


There are a number of Netherland Dwarf breeders within a 5 hour drive, three of which I am in contact with and would consider buying from. I had plans to travel 7 hours this weekend to meet with a Mini Satin breeder, but the holiday weekend made it impossible. I have not been able to communicate with any Lionhead breeders as of yet.

I have not been able to find breeders of any of the meat rabbits within a 5 hour drive. I thought I finally found someone that had Silver Martens a few hours away, but they recently got out of the breed. The main reason given was that there was no competition in state at shows.

I live within walking distance of the Mexico border. That means that so far all my inquiries are to the north. I believe the National show in California will be a good starting point for narrowing down local (as good as that gets) breeders, but I really would like to know more about the breeds before then. I have to admit that some of the breed club sites are woefully out of date, with little to no information about the actual breed available. Facebook hasn't been all that helpful either, but, I've at least been able to make some contacts there.

I've tried some Homesteading sites to gather some contacts that tan, but, have yet to find someone concentrated there that also has pedigreed rabbits and intends to show.

I'm not disappointed or dissuaded by any means, and if our first choice doesn't work out, we can always switch, but, I believe that more effort put in at this time will save some bellyache later.

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#4  Unread postby AprilW » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:22 pm


Your meat breeds are all fairly rare so that may make it more difficult to locate breeders. Check the ARBA site and see if there are shows coming up before convention that you might be able to make. You could meet breeders that are closeish to you and possibly discover other breeds. I have American Chinchillas, it was not a breed I had really considered raising until I met some at a show.

What about French Angoras? They are apparently a good dual purpose fiber and meat breed. That would allow you more space (if desired) to work with the breed plus whichever pet breed you decide. As for pets, may I suggest Dutch? This is another breed that could be pets or meat and they don't have the dwarf issues. The peanuts will be in any dwarf breed (Netherland Dwarf, Holland Lop, Mini Satin, Mini rex, etc). I'm not sure if the other breeds have the additional defects that Nethies are prone to, but you will have greatly reduced litter size due to peanuts.
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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#5  Unread postby sunrise » Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:02 pm


Hi Six Gun. I live in very southern arizona also. I have quite a bit of experience with satins and mini satins if you want to message me.

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#6  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:02 pm


I was going to suggest Dutch as well - smaller, more compact, and a known pet choice as well as a potentially good meat rabbit (I have one doe that I am starting to experiment with - so far her offspring are growing out at what appears to be nearly the exact same rate as the Chinchillas that are the same age - she was paired with a Chin buck... curious to see the dress out percentages, if they differ at all).
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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#7  Unread postby foresthomemama » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:44 am


You probably don't want to travel all the way to Flagstaff, but there is a breeder there with several breeds. I can't remember all of them. I'm in AZ, too, but I'm up on the Mogollon Rim.
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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#8  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:09 pm


foresthomemama wrote:You probably don't want to travel all the way to Flagstaff, but there is a breeder there with several breeds. I can't remember all of them. I'm in AZ, too, but I'm up on the Mogollon Rim.



We were actually on our way up to the Coconino Fair (Flagstaff) and ARBA show this last week to meet with a Mini Satin breeder from Page, but our pet sitter fell through. Traveling is not a problem...

AprilW wrote:Your meat breeds are all fairly rare so that may make it more difficult to locate breeders. Check the ARBA site and see if there are shows coming up before convention that you might be able to make. You could meet breeders that are closeish to you and possibly discover other breeds. I have American Chinchillas, it was not a breed I had really considered raising until I met some at a show.


Is there a more popular meat breed that has some color to it? I dont want NZW or a full solid color. I like variety and I like color genetics.
Unfortunately there are no shows in AZ before the Nationals. Thats why we figure that is really our next chance.

AprilW wrote:What about French Angoras? They are apparently a good dual purpose fiber and meat breed. That would allow you more space (if desired) to work with the breed plus whichever pet breed you decide. As for pets, may I suggest Dutch? This is another breed that could be pets or meat and they don't have the dwarf issues. The peanuts will be in any dwarf breed (Netherland Dwarf, Holland Lop, Mini Satin, Mini rex, etc). I'm not sure if the other breeds have the additional defects that Nethies are prone to, but you will have greatly reduced litter size due to peanuts.


Hmm... Dutch...

heritage wrote:I was going to suggest Dutch as well - smaller, more compact, and a known pet choice as well as a potentially good meat rabbit (I have one doe that I am starting to experiment with - so far her offspring are growing out at what appears to be nearly the exact same rate as the Chinchillas that are the same age - she was paired with a Chin buck... curious to see the dress out percentages, if they differ at all).


I've heard that show quality Dutch can be quite challenging. Is there any truth to that?

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#9  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:42 pm


SixGun wrote:
heritage wrote:I was going to suggest Dutch as well - smaller, more compact, and a known pet choice as well as a potentially good meat rabbit (I have one doe that I am starting to experiment with - so far her offspring are growing out at what appears to be nearly the exact same rate as the Chinchillas that are the same age - she was paired with a Chin buck... curious to see the dress out percentages, if they differ at all).


I've heard that show quality Dutch can be quite challenging. Is there any truth to that?


I don't know about specific show standards, I am guessing a good chunk of the challenge would be the markings. I, personally, would see it as a fun challenge 8-) .

There are fun color options as well - I had no idea harlequin was an option until I started looking around! I just assumed solid color was it!

Here's mine - her markings aren't great, but that's no why I got her so I didn't care. They also aren't horrible... (just ignore the hutch she's in... it's the quarantine spot and the existing wire was pretty bad so I had to get something in there... there was a tile for a resting spot).

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#10  Unread postby SixGun » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:19 pm


A challenge can always be fun.... given the right starter flock.

Does anyone know if Polish are a dwarf gene rabbit?

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#11  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:47 pm


SixGun

Have you considered just chatting with other mut meat breeders around your area?
I have a shed with mixed breed mutts....

My main doe is a NZ mix (chin, Harley, NZ all in there) other does consist of Chin mixes, Harley, NZ/Chin etc... I have great fun with colour! I have gotten Dalmatian spots, tri colours, chestnuts, reds....

I have more bucks than I need, but If I want a litter of tris, I breed the broken NZ red to the NZ/chin Dalmatian marked doe.... etc....

If you don't want to show, just get one of each! LOL
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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#12  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:15 pm


Have you considered Standard Rex as a meat and fur breed? Gorgeous fur and lots of different colours. Some people say they are a bit slower than NZW to reach butchering size, but I don't think the difference is enough to matter if the meat is for family use.

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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#13  Unread postby AprilW » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:20 pm


If you start with Dutch of good size and body type, the biggest issue is getting correct markings. Breeds with commercial or compact body type could be used as meat rabbits. Many of the large breeds are less common. If you look at the Livestock Conservancy's list of endangered breeds, it is full of large breeds. Aside from breeds such as the NZ, Florida White, and Flemish Giant the other big breeds aren't as common. Silver Fox have made an impressive come back. Several colors are being worked on and some of those may be recognized now. The Creme and Champagne D'Argent might be worth your consideration. They come in 1 color each, but the color is interesting. Cremes have a beautiful silvery-peach color and Champagnes are a gorgeous silvery-gray.

Yes, Polish are subjected to the dwarf gene. I'm fairly sure any of the little breeds like that are.
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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#14  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:29 am


MaggieJ wrote:Have you considered Standard Rex as a meat and fur breed? Gorgeous fur and lots of different colours. Some people say they are a bit slower than NZW to reach butchering size, but I don't think the difference is enough to matter if the meat is for family use.


One of my Rabbit friends here raises and shows REX. Beautiful rabbits. Good duel purpose breed. A bit slower on the growth rate, but respectable. (I butcher at 4 months, she does 6months...they are comparable size)
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Re: Filling a Rabbitry: Final Decision

Post Number:#15  Unread postby SixGun » Sun Oct 02, 2016 1:07 pm


SarniaTricia wrote:SixGun

Have you considered just chatting with other mut meat breeders around your area?
I have a shed with mixed breed mutts....

My main doe is a NZ mix (chin, Harley, NZ all in there) other does consist of Chin mixes, Harley, NZ/Chin etc... I have great fun with colour! I have gotten Dalmatian spots, tri colours, chestnuts, reds....

I have more bucks than I need, but If I want a litter of tris, I breed the broken NZ red to the NZ/chin Dalmatian marked doe.... etc....

If you don't want to show, just get one of each! LOL



I'm not against meat mutts in any way, but I really do want to show. I'll be keeping the small breed in the show ring, so perhaps I could let the meat size be unregistered, but, getting back into rabbits is my compromise with my family to leave the show dog world behind. I'll miss it, but, the dogs and that lifestyle are just so darn expensive and our little human is the bigger priority now.

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