Register

Mini Rex for meat?

Discussion of all aspects of rabbits as meat animals. If this subject is offensive to you, please do not visit.
7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 921
Joined: May 24, 2012
Location: OR
Female
Thanks: 29
Thanked: 89 in 74 posts
BunnyBucks: 5,840.00

Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Nyctra » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:28 am


Thought I'd stick my nose in here, where it's not so overwhelming...

Curious for any thoughts on or experience with small breeds for meat? Are they really as chunky as they look/feel? Do their feed:meat and dressouts usually compare decent to their larger counterparts?

I'm really disheartened with what I have now, and toying with the idea of scrapping my breeding projects and turning toward a small breed, since I don't think I can keep up with a large breed herd anymore.
Pictured is a small mutt cull. 12 weeks old, free fed. Yes, it's as small as it looks! 1.5lb or so. While the size kind of makes me laugh, I'm still pretty disappointed. Fasted overnight and liver&heart included, dressouts today averaged 49%, and only 1 of 7 reached 4lb liveweight (that 4 pounder was spared today). They were from a 7.3lb French Angora and a 6.4lb Rex stray that showed up here over fall. While the Rex stray and Mini Rex feel like solid little blocks of meat, my FA are pretty scrawny in comparison. Don't think my starters were very good specimens, but that's what I get for buying craigslist bunnies. :oops:

Anyway, mini rex for meat. Thoughts?
Attachments
IMG_0925.jpg
IMG_0925.jpg (277.16 KiB) Viewed 2851 times

Site Supporter
5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 2809
Joined: August 11, 2014
Location: Idabel, OK
Thanks: 58
Thanked: 718 in 586 posts
BunnyBucks: 15,234.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:29 am


7.3lb French Angora and a 6.4lb Rex are still pretty small for a meat bun. The best I ever got out of my 5lb 13oz starter doe was around 4lbs at 12 weeks and she was bred to a larger standard rex buck. I kept back one of her fastest growing daughters and got better rates from her and her granddaughter I have now is even better.

If you want to look at smaller meat animals maybe look at Florida white and Dutch. Dutch have some of the best dress out rates.

5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 938
Joined: May 30, 2014
Location: Southwest USA
United States of America
Thanks: 6
Thanked: 319 in 283 posts
BunnyBucks: 4,623.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby SableSteel » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:10 am


Mini rex don't really work out for meat. There isn't much meat on them, plus you have to contend with a small litter size and mothering skills that just don't stand up to what some meat breeds gave. Florida whites or dutch would be better small meat breeds. Angoras use up a lot of the protein they take in growing their wool instead of their muscle, so they usually feel scrawnier than others. Even my Himalayans weigh more than that at 12 weeks though, I'd just try to invest in maybe a large rex buck or new Zealand buck for your meat rabbits maybe.
Show Breeder & ARBA Judge

7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 921
Joined: May 24, 2012
Location: OR
Female
Thanks: 29
Thanked: 89 in 74 posts
BunnyBucks: 5,840.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Nyctra » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:16 pm


I'll probably end up picking up whatever looks cheap&chunky. :?

I had a couple things going with my last herd, but I could count on kits being about 50% adult weight around 8-12 weeks old. Used to get a fatty chunky 4-5lb bunny by 12 weeks, on rationed feed of no more than a cup a day; this litter easily ate 2 & 1/2 times as much, almost half the size, much lower dressout%, and still had very little fat.
I don't mind small rabbits, and it feels a little more morally acceptable to see them in my cages, but buns extra pleasant to pet and watch are a bonus. My mini rex feels like a real solid little guy, and I don't mind a 1lb carcass either if the buns can achieve that in a reasonable fashion...I wouldn't say this litter got there in a reasonable fashion, nor do I think most of my others have either. Why I was mulling over the idea of mini rex or satin. Dutch seem real bland to me, but I find Florida White pretty cool because they're like miniature New Zealands, but I rarely ever I see them available within reach.

The stray rex I'm keeping 'cause I like him, and he's still my 2nd biggest buck (biggest is a FA/Champagne cross, almost 8lb) so he's probably not going anywhere, and the angora was part of an attempt to breed for the color I wanted and work out body type later...but they continuously got smaller by the time I got my desired color, and with limited litters, I don't have much to choose from, so that project is a flop. I just bred two, and this is the last shot to get something better or I'm culling all but a couple. They were supposed to be a mother/daughter project, but since my mom is no longer here :cry: and the sentimental value is wearing off, I'm about ready to move on.
Some of the French angora breeders I've lurked around online swear they're as good as their meaties, but mine are certainly nowhere near. I recently saw an 8lb 4-month-old FA, and he was sure tempting, but had to remind myself how close I am to throwing in the towel on them.

Site Supporter
5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership5 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 2809
Joined: August 11, 2014
Location: Idabel, OK
Thanks: 58
Thanked: 718 in 586 posts
BunnyBucks: 15,234.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:27 pm


Nyctra wrote:I'll probably end up picking up whatever looks cheap&chunky.


Don't discount minilops. I think it was Dood who crossed in a minilop buck and had good results.


If it were me, I would get one or two good large commercial type NZ or California does and breed to the bucks you already have (since you like them why not right?), selecting for growth and fur or whatever other traits you want.

With a good doe or two you should get fair growout rates even from your smallish rex buck and the commercial lines should help feed efficiency.

3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 565
Joined: July 12, 2016
Location: snohomish, wa
United States of America
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 167 in 144 posts
BunnyBucks: 2,965.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby shazza » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:33 pm


i have mini lops and i can attest that while they may not grow to 5lbs as fast as a meat rabbit, but they have a good dress out ratio and they are very cute potatoes. they aren't really that cheap in my area though. a lop/californian or nz cross would probably be quite nice. mini lops have really nice surprisingly long and thick fur if you like to use the pelts for crafting.
Image
standard rex, harlequin, meat/fur mutts
blog: @frithyeerfarm | facebook: @frithyeer.rabbits | ig: @frithyeerfarm

7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 921
Joined: May 24, 2012
Location: OR
Female
Thanks: 29
Thanked: 89 in 74 posts
BunnyBucks: 5,840.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Nyctra » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:52 pm


I do believe ML have the "normal" fur type I'm most pleased with... :? That longish lush stuff you can sink your fingers into, right? Instead of short, thick, and almost upright like my Cal and NZ were.
My dad probably wouldn't approve of eating bunnies THAT cute, though! :roll:

3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 565
Joined: July 12, 2016
Location: snohomish, wa
United States of America
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 167 in 144 posts
BunnyBucks: 2,965.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby shazza » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:29 pm


they have flyback fur that is about an inch, inch and a half long. it's really nice to sink your hands into for sure. much much longer than my a&m meat mutts for sure.

Image
the pelt of one of my former does. this is her summer coat and the fur is about an inch long. my other doe has even longer fur. you can really sink your hands into her (if she'll sit still long enough to let you.) personality-wise they're very laid-back and calm too, even mine that came from a breeder that didn't really interact with them too much outside of shows.
Image
standard rex, harlequin, meat/fur mutts
blog: @frithyeerfarm | facebook: @frithyeer.rabbits | ig: @frithyeerfarm

3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 24
Joined: May 29, 2016
Location: central ohio
United States of America
Thanks: 3
Thanked: 2 in 2 posts
BunnyBucks: 165.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby houston » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:41 pm


I'm thinking it's not the Mini Rex that's causing scrawny carcasses, but the Angora. Rexes (mostly the normals, but I guess minis too) seem to be tentatively double purpose-- obviously a lot more focus on fur, but I know of breeders who add Rex to add more delicate/better tasting meat. Angoras, meanwhile, are 99.9% fiber focused, so any good carcass is gonna be the exception, not the rule.

I remember a post comparing a culled Angora buck to a California carcass and the thing was pitiful. Of course, I can't find it now, lmao. I'm not surprised that crossing a average-to-poor meat breed to a poor meat breed are teeny. It's tempting to cross and try to make one rabbit that fits every one of your needs, but a wise pal once told me its better to have 3 excellent but different breeds (meat/fur/fiber) than one subpar multipurpose. I would also shell out the bucks for a good rabbit to start, rather than waste time and feed trying to pick and select the traits from a subpar rabbit's babies.

Mini lops are definitely a cool smaller breed for meat. I would be interested in the schematics of a Mini lop/ Silver Fox cross. Since Lops have the thick fur anyway, I wonder if they'd keep the standing fur? The Fox wouldn't match your small rabbit criteria, but the kids would have hybrid vigor.
Image

7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 921
Joined: May 24, 2012
Location: OR
Female
Thanks: 29
Thanked: 89 in 74 posts
BunnyBucks: 5,840.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Nyctra » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:19 pm


From what I've read, supposedly the angora bred to the SOP are supposed to have a good meat type body, and I don't mean to slander, but I think my starters might've just been bred for pretty colors and quick cash. The mini rex's chunkiness is why I was thinking of breeding those little guys instead, partly since I already have one. Less monthly feed, all the bunnies, and my 24x30's would seem pretty spacious... :D
The cross was just for fun to see what the rex was hiding (the FA doe carries 5 recessives), but the litter really kinda served a slap in the face of just how horrid my angora blood is. :shock:

Anyway...looks like mini lops are going on my maybe list... :P That fur is fab! I bet they could sell alright for pets, too... :mrgreen: Hardly see them around except at the feed store.

3 years of membership3 years of membership3 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 565
Joined: July 12, 2016
Location: snohomish, wa
United States of America
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 167 in 144 posts
BunnyBucks: 2,965.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby shazza » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:48 pm


let me also tempt you with these photos that you've probably already seen on tumblr, but i'm gonna post them here anyway:

Image
Image

the kits are the cutest things ever. and these are lop/meat mutt crosses. i should have a litter of pure mini lops next month and i feel i might implode with how fluffy they are
Image
standard rex, harlequin, meat/fur mutts
blog: @frithyeerfarm | facebook: @frithyeer.rabbits | ig: @frithyeerfarm

7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership7 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 921
Joined: May 24, 2012
Location: OR
Female
Thanks: 29
Thanked: 89 in 74 posts
BunnyBucks: 5,840.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Nyctra » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:26 pm


Oh my heart! :cry: Boy do I miss chestnuts!

Site Supporter
4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 1882
Joined: May 11, 2015
Location: NC
United States of America Female
Thanks: 45
Thanked: 197 in 184 posts
BunnyBucks: 10,884.00

Re: Mini Rex for meat?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:37 pm


Nyctra wrote:Oh my heart! :cry: Boy do I miss chestnuts!


I think that's the first time I have ever seen that phrase on here! :lol:

I was going to say Dutch as well - I want to start working towards them for a variety of reasons - smaller size means less food consumption, smaller cage space (well, more room for the rabbit in the ones I already have), smaller poop, etc. I have one doe, and two of her kits. I was hoping one would be male, but they both look female (of course, if I wanted a female it would be the other way around). I was really wanting to breed them back to her to see what I got (she was bred by my NZW buck, which I didn't realize was that big of a size difference until it was too late :oops: she did OK... not wanting to do that again though).
Formerly known as "heritage" :)

Homeschool mom of 4 little ones - 9, 8, 6, & 4!

Our Four Ring Farmstead journey will be on hold for a few years as we take on a new adventure in WV! Maybe a new focus on gardening in a cooler climate...

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests