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Tans as Meat Rabbits?

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Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Silver Willow » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:54 pm


I've wanted to get into meat rabbits for a few years now, and recently read a book by a guy named Bob Bennet. He raised Tans for years- both for show and meat, and it got me thinking. Have any of you had experience with the breed?

They really appealed to me because not only are they very attractive looking, but smaller in size then most other breeds commonly used for meat. And it could be a bit of a niche market for me, considering the only two breeders in the country (NZ) are at the opposite end.

The only issue is would they actually be ok meat rabbits? Would it be worth it? The Bob Bennet person says they are fantastic because obviously, being smaller, they eat less. And take up less room. I'm sure he had a whole lot of information on what age they were culled and at what weight etc., but I can't remember any of it. So I thought I'd ask for your opinions...

Please tell me I'm crazy- I really DON'T need any more projects. But if I were to remove the odd ND or two to make room... :P
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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SableSteel » Tue Aug 08, 2017 12:11 am


Definitely not meat rabbits. They have a leaner, bonier type and slow growth. Basically all the things that detract from good meat type can be found in a tan. If you want a small meat rabbit, try a dutch or something with more actual muscle on it.
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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:25 am


I dunno about tans.... yet (desperatly looking for one but theres none in my area T.T I need it for my mirage lionhead project)
I raise lionheads.... mixes ish since I'm trying to develop a new variant of the breed. Whatever doesnt sell as pet by 5 months old ends up on my plate.
I had started raising rabbits for meat with meat breeds but I didnt like that, they were too big to my taste. So I switched to lionheads.

What I can say is that your goal using a small breed non-meat aimed like this should not be meat. Meat should be the end result only if you dont mind smaller meat output. For me, this works, cause my dad and I dont eat much and with meat rabbits we ended up having to eat the same thing for the whole week -_- . So small bunnies is perfect for us

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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Silver Willow » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:47 pm


Thanks for the replies :)

Hmm, I didn't think so. Have any of you read his book before? It's really good- talks about butchering, showing, and automatic watering systems etc. He had a few very legitimate reasons behind his breed choice.

What about Mini lops? Or some other medium/ small breed? I'd actually like to stay away from Dutch and Mini lops if I can- there has been a massive influx of them in the last few years (them and 'Netherland Dwarfs' or 'Dwarve crosses', which look like oversized mice with dutch markings half the time), and although I could possibly get hold of some quality ones, I doubt I'd be able to sell many.

How big are your Lion heads, @KimitsuKouseki? They sound awesome!

Or, just had another though... what about Satins? I know they're allot bigger then Tans, but surely they're more suitable for the dinner table?
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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby SableSteel » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:06 pm


Mini lops are better than tans, but they have big bone, so a lot of their growth goes into their bone, not their meat. (if you are using BRC standards, mini lops are different than US mini lops, but still have that thick bone). Satins, on the other hand, are one of the best meat rabbits.
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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:51 pm


Silver Willow wrote:How big are your Lion heads, @KimitsuKouseki? They sound awesome!

Or, just had another though... what about Satins? I know they're allot bigger then Tans, but surely they're more suitable for the dinner table?

Depends on the rabbit, since they have random backgrounds wich is better for my gene pool (aka healthy rabbits).
Also I'll be crossing with english angora in the future wich will bring their weight up some.

Eva and Edward are 3lbs
Neige 3.25lbs
Trésor, Boulette, Codette, Sia are 3.5lbs
Big mama, Aniki, Pipo are 4lbs
For the others I dont remember, but they are upwards from there, they should all be around 4.5lbs exept Barbie who's a pure english angora.

Recently I butchered 2 4 month old kits that were from BigMama and Trésor. Geez they were fat -_- so much fat I had to remove, but once processed each were 2.25lbs. So my guess is they were about 3.4lbs live?

As for satins, looking up pictures it seems like a chunky breed so should be good for meat.
What I'd say is try to find a breed you'll enjoy. I love fluffyness so while I chose lionheads, I couldve gone with fuzzy lop, lionhead lop, jersey woolie, astrex lionhead or try to create mini angoras. I liked the look of lionheads best so I chose em and even then I'm working on creating a variant with a different look then the standard. Point is, unless you want to sell meat, if it's just for your own familly, choose a breed you'll enjoy regardless of meat, you can always breed more babies if you need more meat. Also you can create crosses or selectivelly breed to obtain chunkier bunnies with the looks you want. I'd rather keep a lionhead I enjoy raising 5 months then a meat monster 3 months, but maybe thats just me.

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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:15 am


I am looking at some smaller breeds for meat as well.... (my step-daughter's project)
Some of the breeds we will be looking at:
Havana
Polish
Mini Rex
Mini Satin
Thrianta
Florida White (this wasn't one of our considerations, but need to throw it in here for your consideration)
I have to admit we are also looking at Himalayan... although I know nothing of their meat qualities...lol... I think they are very pretty. :lol:

All are 6lbs or less for the standard and commercial typed.
I think any of the above would meet your criteria; if you can find them.

I would also suggest sticking with one breed and buying based on type (don't worry about the pedigree crap) in three generations you will have your own pedigree stock.

You can show with out a pedigree, but type should be your #1 priority.

Keep your goal in mind at every step of the way!
I would suggest writing it down and referring to it often!

I went through a bad rabbitosis period of I would buy almost anything... a very good friend helped keep me from filling my rabbitry with crap... she is also helping me with developing a deep full bodied meat rabbit with my Magpie Harlequins...
I'm working toward a short cobby body, wide shoulders, big full loins & hind quarters with depth.... basically a size between a rex and mini rex with that beefy little body type.
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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Psybird » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:26 pm


i know the book, storey's guide to rabbits right? first rabbit book i ever read haha
the recommendation to raise tans in that book always confused me, as most of what ive read about tans say they are small and thick boned, but its possible the ones the author had just had smaller bones? if i remember correctly he mentioned that he processed them at a pretty young age, before they could really start growing those bones.

if you really wanted to start a project you could start breeding tans with the intention of developing them with thinner bones down the line. document which breeding pairs produce offspring with good meat to bone weights.
that could take years though, if you wanted a small breed with good meat right off the bat i would go with a different small breed

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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby SableSteel » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:08 pm


Tans already have thin bone. They just have thin bone and thin body, a very narrow and slender build.
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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby akane » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:42 am


Standard chinchilla rabbits are smaller size and rare with desireable rollback coats and color. A little bigger there are american chinchillas, american sables, cinnamon...

I plan to do tans eventually but I wouldn't get them specifically for a meat rabbit. You can use anything for meat but they aren't efficient and will buy more meat being sold as pedigreed show or breeders than they will produce from feed and caging space required to be built. They do replace having to raise large rats for my bigger snakes and the odd meat animal from extras but certainly not what I'd buy for an efficient or uncommon meat rabbit.
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Re: Tans as Meat Rabbits?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Silver Willow » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:28 pm


Thanks again everyone!

I thought vaguely about Standard Chinchillas, but they are just as hard- if not, near impossible- to come by in NZ. They are really nice looking rabbits though! I'd love to see some photos when you get your Tans, @akane. :)

I had a chat with my Mum and she agreed that now is probably not the best time to start another project. Definitely some day in the (hopefully near) future though!

On a completely different topic- I've been needing a new ND stud buck for a long time now, and recently contacted a lady about her rabbits. She said she's downsizing to make room for her other breeds, and is going to have a look at what she has available. So I may have some new bunny photos to share before to long after all :roll:
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