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Breeding a heat-tolerant line for Florida

Discussions and questions about how best to keep your breeding program running smoothly.
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Breeding a heat-tolerant line for Florida

Post Number:#1  Unread postby dfr1973 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:24 am


I figured I'd keep notes here in case anyone else is interested. Official breeding season is rather short here in Florida (I am zone 9b, slightly to the NE of the Ocala National Forest ... if you see no cities over 25k pop in the entire county, then yes that's where I am, at the dead end of a dirt road), especially if your line goes heat sterile at 85F. My friends who also do goats and rabbits, and come from Long Island NY, stopped trying to breed by mid-May this year. Meanwhile, I had two litters born on 22 June from two different bucks. I had mentioned breeding the two does, and F tried to tell me it had gotten too hot and it wouldn't take.

One buck is Jack, an opal Rex-furred boy whose owner moved *up* to the Gainesville area from south Florida, and she told me she breeds up until 92F - otherwise she'd have maybe two whole months of breeding back in SoFla. So far, Jack's best kit is a girl out of Brooke, also an opal Rex-furred bought as an adult at the local livestock auction back in autumn of 2015 (she died earlier this week, but she had a good run and taught me a lot).

The other buck is Dutch-Boy, whom I bought from F&C as an adult in February. C had gotten him for free from an acquaintance who said he was a pedigreed Dutch, but she didn't get the papers. I have four litters from him, with at least four keeper bunnies including a self-blue son so far. The pick of the third litter is a BIG girl that I originally thought is a castor, but she has something else going on. I need to get a pic to post to ask just what color she really is, but she has been at least half-again as big as the majority of the litter of 7. If I did browns/castors, I'd be all over her. The big punchline is today we drove Dutch-Boy back up to F&C's, and traded him for a young Florida White, whom I (of course!) named Casper.

Casper comes from a gal in Lake City, and she said she breeds year-round with her Florida Whites. I now know some lines of FWs throw Rex-furred kits, but none of hers have. Casper and his brother looked close to identical when F let me pick which of the two I wanted (They're keeping his brother to see about breeding year-round) - good size and decent build for 14-week-olds. Tonight or tomorrow morning, I'll move Lacey (who seemed to want a break after three litters in a row) in to shack up for a couple weeks while I juggle grow-outs on their way to the freezer.

So far, I am keeping four girls in addition to keeping Lacey another year. Three of the four girls are daughters of Dutch-Boy, while the other is the aforementioned daughter of Jack and Brooke. So, three bucks, and five does at present, although Kumtriya probably won't be ready to breed until the end of August, the others don't hit the 6-month mark until September.

-- Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:16 am --

Today is day 29 for Beulah, who I bred to her sire Jack, and she is nesting. If I have a new litter of kits this evening or tomorrow, then that will show that Jack is still fertile up to 93F.

-- Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:24 am --

Litter of 4 on the morning of day 32! No obvious runt, no obvious hippo, just four decent sized squirmies born during milking/feeding time this morning (I had checked prior to milking). Pretty good for the middle of August in Florida. This confirms Jack is fertile up to 94/93F.

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michaels4gardens

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Re: Breeding a heat-tolerant line for Florida

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:30 pm


wonderful ,would be nice to see some rabbits that are more heat tolerant .
When I lived near Ocala, [Orange Springs] I would breed from November 1 to April 1.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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dfr1973

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Re: Breeding a heat-tolerant line for Florida

Post Number:#3  Unread postby dfr1973 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:46 pm


Yeah, that was what I was told was the breeding season down here. That's an awful short window of time, when I want to do so much more!

Lost one of the kits (just checked) but the 3 surviving ones have nice fat round bellies, so she is taking care of them. Nothing obvious about what happened - maybe she was clumsy, maybe it squirmed over by itself, or maybe she rejected it for some reason.

-- Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:00 am --

Update time: Blue-Boy, the self-blue son of Dutch-Boy and Shalimar, is now a sire. Lacey had one big kit, but seems to be taking care of it. Bonnet, Blue-Boy's littermate, also kindled a small litter of four by Jack. Bethany, a daughter of Jack, was bred to Casper, the FW. Kumtriya finally felt ready to breed yesterday morning, lifting at least twice for Jack Junior (who is Beulah's littermate). That litter will be double linebred to Jack and Brooke. Kumtriya looks huge next to JJ, who is no small bunny himself. The other girl to lift yesterday was Beulah, bred to Blue-Boy. Beulah's two surviving kits are both boys, and good sized for their age, so I may breed Jack's other two daughters (Kumtriya and Bethany) I've kept to Jack as well. Still growing out are Bertha, the really big castorish daughter of Dutch-Boy and Lacey, and Beatrice, a full sister to Blue-Boy and Bonnet, who has some silvery highlights in her fur.

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Re: Breeding a heat-tolerant line for Florida

Post Number:#4  Unread postby ScarletAcres » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:59 am


Mind if I follow this? I would like to selectively breed for bucks and does that are more heat tolerant and won't go sterile in extreme heat or cold. This would give me an idea of what to look for.

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dfr1973

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Re: Breeding a heat-tolerant line for Florida

Post Number:#5  Unread postby dfr1973 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:18 am


Join in! What I am doing is trying to breed even in the heat (we don't get extreme cold here in FL). I forgot to mention I had tried breeding Beulah to Blue-Boy last month, but it didn't take, which suggests to me that BB's upper limit for breeding is around 91 or 92F. Still respectable enough for planting zone 9b.

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