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Breed for Both Meat and Fur

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

Post Number:#1  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:46 pm


First post here. This seems the appropriate forum. My apologies if it's in the wrong place.

Is there a best breed for both meat and fur? My understanding is that the Californians are appreciated for the white pelts that can be dyed any color, but I'm more interested in fur that is beautiful and luxurious in its own right without being dyed. We will use the fur for crafting. I want fur that will feel the best, not bring the best prices.

For meat, we want animals that can grow out to a reasonable size quickly, of course. And I am surprised to see in some of the online books that different breeds supposedly have different tasting meat. Does that fit your experiences?

I am looking at Silver Foxes for the purpose right now. There is a breeder of those in my area with a good reputation. The other breed that has been suggested is some type of Rex, but I haven't looked at one of those yet.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Nymphadora » Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:30 pm


DoozyWombat wrote:I'm more interested in fur that is beautiful and luxurious in its own right without being dyed. We will use the fur for crafting. I want fur that will feel the best, not bring the best prices.

If you haven't yet, I'd highly recommend going to a local rabbit show (preferably a big one, so there will more more breeds represented, in theory). That way you can wander around and look at all the different varieties in person. I did this a year ago when the ARBA National Convention happened to be held an hour from where I live. :oops:

For really soft and plush fur, I don't think you could go wrong with Rex rabbits (not mini). They'll take a little longer to grow out maybe, but honestly from what I have read if you want to make anything with the pelt you should probably wait at least 16 or 20 weeks before processing regardless of breed anyway (or you risk fur slips and super delicate leather).

I've admired the Silver Fox rabbits at shows, too, and if you're looking for a unique coat maybe the Satins would be a cool breed? I don't know much about either except what I've seen at shows, but the Silver Fox seem to be a good meat breed as well. Hopefully more people will give you advice as well.

Oh, and welcome to RabbitTalk! :D

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:26 pm


Nymphadora has given you good advice. Do go to a good rabbit show if you can. If not, at least look at lots of pictures online.

Both Standard Rex and Silver Fox are good dual-purpose breeds. If you want uniformity for a large project, I think Silver Fox have the edge. If you are looking for variety, Rex come in many colours and some are "broken" -- that is, white with a colour in patches or spots. This can make for interesting contrasts in your craft projects.

(Why not a trio of each??? :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: Sorry, we're all enablers here. :o )

I don't believe that the breed of the rabbit affects the flavour of the meat. Whoever wrote that may have been comparing domestic rabbits (descended from the European wild rabbit) to our native North American species. Diet does subtly influence the flavour of the meat, but not in a drastic way. When I switched my rabbits from a pellet diet to a natural diet, I liked the taste even better, but all domestic rabbit meat is delicious. It's not a big difference.

Take your time, ask your questions and enjoy the process. Rabbits are fun!

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#4  Unread postby shazza » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:38 pm


really, any rabbit can be used for fur! but you have to decide if you want white pelts or coloured pelts. white pelts can be dyed any colour, and coloured pelts are appreciated for their natural beauty.

i raise multiple breeds for meat and show, but honestly i've found the pelts make me more money, so i breed more than i can eat now. i've also found, that at least in the circles i'm in, natural coloured pelts are more desirable. my primary meat "breed" was developed specifically to produce a wide variety of coat colours in each litter, and people really seem to love them, even though their fur is shorter/thinner as they're bred to be very heat-hardy. one of my does throws satin coat sometimes, surprisingly. i also have mini lops and rex - the lops have thicker/longer fur than my meat rabbits, and the rex...well. i got rex more for fur than meat let's just say :p my clients really like the variety in coat textures and colours i can produce with these.

silver fox and champagne d'argent are great meat breeds, and an interesting coat colour, but i find that the lack of variety means once your customer buys a pelt from you, they may not need or want any more. so i would look for a breed that comes in lots of colours, including white, so you can produce for whatever your client base demands. or get into a few different breeds to produce a variety. i'm currently crossing champagne and harlequin into my meat crosses for a greater variety of coats per litter. people LOVE the unique ones!
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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#5  Unread postby SableSteel » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:20 pm


Champagne d'argent, american chinchilla, palominos and satins are good for meat and fur. silver fox are too. Rex tend to have slower growth than some other meat breeds
I have shown: bruns, hares, petites, dutch, spots, Flemish, harlequin, Havana, Himalayan, Hollands, jersey wooly, mini lop, mini rex, dwarfs, NZW, polish, standard chins, tan, vlops; American & coronet cavies
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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#6  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:01 am


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!

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Marinea » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:56 am


Welcome to RT! You've gotten great advice on fur and colors, so I will just add this: you're starting to plan your rabbit journey, so stick around and keep reading. You will find loads of options on everything from housing to feed to great rabbit recipes. This is an amazing site for folks getting started.

Also, if you add your general location to your info, chances are you will find a member near you who might have what you're looking for when it comes time to get started.
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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Ozarkansas » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:17 am


I have never kept the pelts of any of my rabbits. But I have raised Flemish, Champagnes, Americans, Beverens, Palominos, and mutts.
I personally would say don't go with Flemish or Champagnes. The Flemish Giants shed so much I don't know if you would have any fur left on a pelt when you were done curing it. And I wouldn't go with Champagne D'Argents because of the silvering gene, every Champagne is different on how fast the silver, but the are usually not completely even in color until about 5 months old. The Beverens are one of the oldest fur breeds and there fur is amazing, they come in White, Very Light Blue, and Black. And it is so soft and silky. The Americans are also a fur breed, but there fur has declined quality quite a bit in the last 50 years. I've never herd of Palominos being a fur breed, but I think there color is beautiful! You might also want to look in to Chinchillas, they were once the most popular breed in the US because of their fur. Also sometimes when I butcher out my meat mutts I wish I knew how to cure the hides, because they are so soft and beautiful. Just my opinion and experience, like I said I've never kept the pelts.
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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Nymphadora » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:39 am


DoozyWombat wrote:Nymphadora (great name!)

Thanks! :D

DoozyWombat wrote: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.

That's pretty much exactly how I started on this site. I joined a little over a year ago while I was still firmly in the research phase and am finally looking at getting my rabbits next month (fingers crossed)! :oops:

The shows really helped supplement everything I've learned from the fine folks here on RT, though. And I've made some great new friends that are able to give me advice based on our environment (needs for rabbits in California are considerably different from needs for rabbits in, say, New York).

I wish you all the best in your rabbitry planning! :)

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#10  Unread postby SableSteel » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:32 pm


Ozarkansas wrote: every Champagne is different on how fast the silver, but the are usually not completely even in color until about 5 months old. .


They were bred for fur. The last part to silver is their head, which doesn't matter for the pelt, and most pelt rabbits aren't butchered until 4-6 months anyway (baby coats aren't good for pelts)
I have shown: bruns, hares, petites, dutch, spots, Flemish, harlequin, Havana, Himalayan, Hollands, jersey wooly, mini lop, mini rex, dwarfs, NZW, polish, standard chins, tan, vlops; American & coronet cavies
CZECH FROSTIES ARE NOT CYLINDRICAL THEY ARE JUST COMPACTS WITH A FLAT TOPLINE & EUROPEAN POSE
thesodi.com - the chicken game

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Re: Breed for Both Meat and Fur

Post Number:#11  Unread postby shazza » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:12 pm


i find with my meat rabbits, that right about the time they're 5lbs, they're starting to moult :down: so far nobody's really cared - i always tell the client if they have any moult areas or other imperfections. the fur rabbits rarely get big enough to eat before going into their adult coats, so it all works out :p i will say though that most of my pelts are sold whole - head, feet, and all. though i'm more in taxidermy circles, not as much in crafting or clothing. i'm not sure how willing taxidermists would be to buy champagnes that haven't fully silvered, but if you're just doing backhides you'd be fine :p
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