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How to pick the best of a litter

Discussions and questions about how best to keep your breeding program running smoothly.
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How to pick the best of a litter

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Newrabbit » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:16 pm


What qualities do you look for in rabbits to breed? Thanks you much

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Re: How to pick the best of a litter

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Nymphadora » Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:11 pm


Hi Newrabbit,

:welcomewagon:
Welcome to RabbitTalk! Do you have a particular goal with your rabbits? Do you plan on taking them to shows, are you focusing on breeding meat rabbits, or are you looking for a pet?

If you tell us a little more about what you're looking for, maybe we'll be better able to answer your question.

Cheers,
Nymph :)

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Re: How to pick the best of a litter

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Newrabbit » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:57 pm


All of the above, lol. The breed is New Zealand. They are my kids pets, which they will eventually start showing. And I have other plans for the ones that aren’t shown.

-- Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:57 pm --

All of the above, lol. The breed is New Zealand. They are my kids pets, which they will eventually start showing. And I have other plans for the ones that aren’t shown.

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Re: How to pick the best of a litter

Post Number:#4  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:12 am


JMHO ...selecting breedstock for "show rabbits" will be almost the opposite of selecting breedstock for meat production.
If you have a market for show rabbits, and that is your focus, selecting for show quality conformation is the number one priority, - then... eating the "non show quality" rabbits is just a side perk.

If your goal is to raise meat rabbits, then -commercial "meat type" conformation, mothering ability, feed conversion, and litter size, is what you are looking for when selecting breedstock.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: How to pick the best of a litter

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MeadowView » Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:45 pm


M4G is right - but there's no reason you can't breed for both. In commercial rabbits, show quality generally translates usually to fine bone, and bulk where it counts - the parts of the rabbit you'll be eating. I don't raise meat rabbits (yet) but I still select for most of the same things - I'm not going to keep a rabbit who has small litters every time, or one who has large litters but can only raise about half of them, nor am I going to keep any of her daughters.

Picking the best in the litter is an acquired skill, though. My first couple litters I kept everything, let them grow a little, then took them to a show and entered them all, knowing they wouldn't compete against the seniors. Then, I listened to what the judges had to say! Took notes, kept the placements and comments in mind and cross referenced them with what I knew I was looking for. Then the decision was easy.

Then you learn as you go. You don't need a judge to tell you that this rabbit lacks fullness in the hindquarters, or that the other one is full to the table, or that one peaks late, because you can see it yourself. Knowing your herd, what it lacks and what it has in abundance is key to selecting for improvement. If your rabbits have weak hindquarters, and produce one that is much fuller, hey, that's improvement, and that's a keeper!

Hope that helps a little!

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Re: How to pick the best of a litter

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Newrabbit » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:53 pm


First off thank you all very much for your advice. My newzealand had 10 in her first litter 2 doa. I can see difference in appearance now, kits are 2 days old, should I mark them to know or wait until they are more developed. Also when you say show it would be all county fair, FFA showing

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Re: How to pick the best of a litter

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:53 pm


I would not worry about marking now-- I would wait until weaning, at weaning you will clearly see who grew the best, and who didn't - and who is showing good conformation..
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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