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Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

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Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:09 am


I know the typical meat breeders are in the 10-12 lb range as adults, around 5 lbs for 12 week olds, dressing out in the 2.5 lb-ish range (more or less... when I tracked percentages I was getting on average around 53% with just the meat and bones, no organs or anything). I have 2 NZ, 2 Am. Chin, a Creme d' Argent, and... a dutch :lol: . DH's cousin has my original buck, a smaller mixed breed tri color. He said if I needed him I was welcome to him. I have a lady that is interested in cages and potentially a trio to get started with. That would thin my herd a LOT (although deciding which to part with is HARD - the NZ buck is a total sweetheart, and a great breeder, succeeding even when the doe is firmly planted on the cage floor... how? I have no idea BUT I love love love the salt and pepper gray of the Am Chins. decisions decisions). I would like to start working with smaller rabbits, but still for meat. I am going to do a trial litter with the tri color buck (not sure his adult weight, but he's probably around 7/8 lbs maybe?) and the blue harlequin dutch doe. I can't wait to see what colors/markings might come from them! Then see what their dress out percentages are. If I can get at least 50% I think it would be worth it enough.

Just curious if anyone else has smaller rabbits for meat specifically. I see a lot of advantages - easier to handle, decreased feed consumption, more room per rabbit in the hutch, smaller poop, etc. Disadvantage is mainly that I would obviously need more rabbits per meal to feed my family of 6, making it a bit more tedious when pulling meat off of the bones.
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Dood » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:19 am


Florida whites and Dutch are smaller meat breeds

I've crossed my Amercian chinchillas with Mini Lop (this was a meaty pet quality buck who's kits always had a rapid growth rate) to develop my meat mutt bloodline that is a great success. My adults top out at 7-8 pounds but my kits still get to a meaty 5 pounds by 10 weeks

The doe in the photos is now a breeder and her kits look just as good ;) she is 3/4 AnChin and 1/4 Mini Lop
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:14 pm


Dood wrote:Florida whites and Dutch are smaller meat breeds

I've crossed my Amercian chinchillas with Mini Lop (this was a meaty pet quality buck who's kits always had a rapid growth rate) to develop my meat mutt bloodline that is a great success. My adults top out at 7-8 pounds but my kits still get to a meaty 5 pounds by 10 weeks

The doe in the photos is now a breeder and her kits look just as good ;) she is 3/4 AnChin and 1/4 Mini Lop


Very nice, Dood!

I had forgotten about FL Whites... I know it's not as well known for Dutch to be a meat breed, they are more often viewed for the pet market.

The newbie, inexperienced me got rid of my first buck because I thought he was "too small" for meat production :roll: Now that I am better experienced, I understand the mechanics of it a bit more. I am curious to see how the two of them do together, and I am hoping with a more appropriately sized partner, her litter size might increase as well... she's only had two successful ones for me, 3 the first time, 2 the second. I *think* the two kits she has now are both female so I will probably breed them to him as well and see what I get.

I'm excited about the prospects - the colors I like with the sizing I desire, and hopefully the dress out % I need ;)
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Sagebrush » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:04 pm


I like the smaller breeds for meat. I used the Dutch as my main staple when breeding for meat. I will likely got back to Dutch when I have space to keep more rabbits than just my house buns.

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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby AmberRae » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:02 pm


We raise mini rex rabbits. We sell them for pets. Any that are not sold as a pet by 8 months old we cull and eat. I find they have plenty of meat. I know most do not want to keep a meat rabbit for 8 months but we like the pelts. We make a nice profit from selling pets and pelts so the meat is just a bonus. I also find no difference in the meat tenderness between my 8 month old rex and 12 week old Californian.

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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby karebru » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:44 pm


I'm only a couple years in, but I started mixing Florida Whites with Havanas.
Partly, because it's what I have on hand. FWs are small bricks of meat. Havanas aren't as stocky, but they have silky fur. We want to try doing some pelts for craft projects, and want color variety.
We had our first mixed color litter a month ago. To my untrained eye they look pretty good. Bulkier than Havanas, with nice fur. No broken yet. That's the next goal.
I had Silver Foxes for a while. I really liked them, but they were so big, and all that hair was becoming unmanageable in my little garage rabbitry.

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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby akane » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:25 pm


I've used them. They can be more efficient until you start to get into the dwarf with body type like the netherlands because it doesn't have the meat capacity. Otherwise the size doesn't really matter except for the end size of meal you get from 1 rabbit. Many of the small breeds that do have the commercial or more often called compact type tend to be better for feed required to make meat and the lighter bone means more meat per weight and less bone to deal with. I added mini rex to my mutt line at first just curiosity but it ended up making the argent breed crosses have much thinner bone and carry more meat even if the size came down a little but I found breeders of champagne d'argent up to 12-15lbs. I had one monster of a buck for awhile. Loved that guy.

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I had quite a nice meat mutt line with the mini rex and 1 dutch buck combined to mostly creme and champagne d'argent in the original crosses with some part american chinchillas that had I think some cinnamon and I'm not sure added to the line later. I started a second line with kind of the opposite goal using some checkered giant to make a heavy bone, long legged animal that was beneficial for my dogs since it was their main raw source. About that time I decided I wanted to get back into the purebred world though and chose the moderate sized american sable followed by an attempt to start standard chinchillas but my buck was stolen and I decided to scrap any chinchilla breed attempts because I didn't want to travel to get them. I do highly recommend the standards and if you want slightly bigger american chinchillas from handling them and talking to others but they are hard to get. The dutch are probably the most common small breed that has a strong background being used for meat. The problem is many useful characteristics have been ignored while breeding for show so you have to research the line a little when trying to find efficient ones for meat.
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:23 pm


If I could go back in time I would slap myself and keep my dutch and the mini rex. Expand those and do a few test litters with them crossed to a cali or NZ buck. And line breeding thereof. My dutch did amazing for me and now I can't find any dutch or minirex, or rather the few I come across I wouldn't even call most of them by the breed.

I just bred my MR doe to my SF buck to see what I get. I may end up line breeding from there and keeping a buck to cross to my cali and cali/SF does.
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:16 pm


I used to know someone who raised Polish rabbits. She used her culls (all but the very best kept for breeders and showing) as single serving dinners, the same as one would serve Cornish hens. I believe it was just her and her husband, so they got plenty of meals from them.

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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:41 pm


I started with flemish giants, but quickly realised they were way too big for my needs. Here it's just me and my father and a 4lbs rabbit lasts us 4 meals. So there's rly no need for any "meat rabbit" breeds. Now I only have lionheads and mainly produce for pets, with only the occasionnal rabbit for dinner.
Atm my friend is on vacation and I have to care for her 100 or so flemish giants and holland lops and it's a nightmare. I can't wait for her to be back.
I love my lionheads so much more, plus I get to cuddle em and the floofyness is so much happy ^^
You just can't cuddle 20lbs giants nearly as much, takes me all I have to lift my friend's biggest rabbits. And I had to..... they needed injections cause they struggle with her water. Here's a pic of one of em, notice how I had to use my legs to help lift it up.
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:52 pm


KimitsuKouseki wrote:I started with flemish giants, but quickly realised they were way too big for my needs. Here it's just me and my father and a 4lbs rabbit lasts us 4 meals. So there's rly no need for any "meat rabbit" breeds. Now I only have lionheads and mainly produce for pets, with only the occasionnal rabbit for dinner.
Atm my friend is on vacation and I have to care for her 100 or so flemish giants and holland lops and it's a nightmare. I can't wait for her to be back.
I love my lionheads so much more, plus I get to cuddle em and the floofyness is so much happy ^^
You just can't cuddle 20lbs giants nearly as much, takes me all I have to lift my friend's biggest rabbits. And I had to..... they needed injections cause they struggle with her water. Here's a pic of one of em, notice how I had to use my legs to help lift it up.
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That is a BIG rabbit! :o I can't even imagine...

Anyone have a good visual on what to look for body type wise on a Dutch specifically for meat? I know there was a really good site referenced on here a while back, but can't even begin to remember what it was. It showed body types really well and what to look for and stay away from.
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:17 pm


My biggest female of my lionheads is 5lbs and I'm much happier with that. 20lbs monsters arent my cup of tea, wonder why my friend likes em so much x.x takes 13lbs of pellets per day to feed her army, 100lbs of manure per week, they are a pain to move cages or handle in general and they have so many issues with their legs.... wich I have to deal with for her cause she can't do it..... -_- I sware I'm her private "free" vet or something. This time she'll have to pay me for my time though, I spend 2 to 3h a day over there now. I think I'm well past what just a "good friend" should do.

I'm not sure for dutch specifically but I know that most people want large and long backs in meat rabbits. I personnaly prefer the front paws, but my father (and guests when we have em) prefer the back meat. Less bones to deal with per bites. When I had done my research on meat rabbits they recommended long and thick backs for that same reason. I imagine you'd want to look for the same thing in a dutch for meat. Unless you're like me and prefer legs.... then you should go for bulky ties and so. Basically it depends wich part of the meat you prefer.

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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:58 pm


For dutch or other small breeds you want the same things as with other meat breeds really.

*Good type, no pinched hips or weird shapes that don't have good muscling.
*Good producers, once you find some you can try to narrow down if a certain line or breeder has better production. If one breeder always gets 2-4 per litter or another breeder gets 4-8 per litter. In my experience litters of 5 was the magic number for the dutch.
*Lines that aren't consistently on the smaller side of the breed. Try to eek out some of the "big ugly doe" breeders. They won't be showable but are often kept because they produce bigger litters or have produced showable offspring. But for meat you can easily use them to have that little extra size with all the same good dutch qualities.

In my area anything dutch is not so much dutch as "dutch looking-ish" or "badly dutch patterned mutt" and I rarely see any worth looking at. On the occasions I have seen one either I didn't have the money at the moment or got outbid etc.

I bred my mini rex doe to my silver fox buck to see what I get. And I have a Californian and three cali/SF crosses I have been experimenting with. Considering I need another cross in there to make things the way I want. Either back to a cali or nz or to a dutch or nice mini rex buck if I can ever find one worth a passing glance.
Wouldn't a rabbit with dutch pattern and silver fox fur and silvering just be so pretty?!
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#14  Unread postby akane » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:15 am


KimitsuKouseki wrote:I started with flemish giants, but quickly realised they were way too big for my needs. Here it's just me and my father and a 4lbs rabbit lasts us 4 meals. So there's rly no need for any "meat rabbit" breeds. Now I only have lionheads and mainly produce for pets, with only the occasionnal rabbit for dinner.


Well flemish and all created giant breeds are not good and at all efficient for meat anyway. They are the opposite of small breeds. It does hold true that there is little need for the size of meat breed we use given when most butcher. The small breeds are often bred to grow equally as fast but just stop sooner so you still get to the same pounds of meat at the same time unless you are going longer to older roasters specifically to make a larger meal but there are reasons people don't do that. That would be a unique situation and exception to most meat raising so you will get the same thing in smaller if you make sure to check for what you want since fewer people are preserving desired meat characteristics in small breeds. On top of the benefits of keeping the smaller adults they also tend to be more feed efficient getting to the target weight and smaller bones so there is more meat per pound because they don't ever need to support the weight.
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Re: Anyone keep smaller breeds for meat?

Post Number:#15  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:32 am


akane wrote:
KimitsuKouseki wrote:I started with flemish giants, but quickly realised they were way too big for my needs. Here it's just me and my father and a 4lbs rabbit lasts us 4 meals. So there's rly no need for any "meat rabbit" breeds. Now I only have lionheads and mainly produce for pets, with only the occasionnal rabbit for dinner.


Well flemish and all created giant breeds are not good and at all efficient for meat anyway. They are the opposite of small breeds. It does hold true that there is little need for the size of meat breed we use given when most butcher. The small breeds are often bred to grow equally as fast but just stop sooner so you still get to the same pounds of meat at the same time unless you are going longer to older roasters specifically to make a larger meal but there are reasons people don't do that. That would be a unique situation and exception to most meat raising so you will get the same thing in smaller if you make sure to check for what you want since fewer people are preserving desired meat characteristics in small breeds. On top of the benefits of keeping the smaller adults they also tend to be more feed efficient getting to the target weight and smaller bones so there is more meat per pound because they don't ever need to support the weight.


The Dutch mix babies I have outgrew the NZW babies that were a couple weeks older - I thought maybe it was the fact they were mixed breed (with a larger buck for the sire), but what you said makes perfect sense. I am contemplating keeping the original doe and her two female babies as the start for my smaller meat lines so it will be interesting to see if they surpass her in size by much, or if they just stop growing while they others continue. They also don't seem to eat nearly as much as the others, either! So far the smaller meat line is looking promising! I will have to post some pics and see what others think of their body type.
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