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Mini rex for meat and pelts?

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Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Fang-of-fenrir » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:34 pm


At the moment I have Standard Rex but my current set up is indoors and they're a bit big for what I have at the moment. I'm wondering if switching to mini rex would be better, with smaller cages I could have more for show and could grow them out a bit longer. I'm mostly breeding for pelts, so I'm wondering mainly if the mini rex pelts will be too fragile? What age/weight would I process a mini rex at for the best meat and pelt? And does anyone have a photo of a mini at say, 12 weeks?

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:15 am


I currently raise Rex as well, so I know what you mean with the space...

I would think as far as the pelts go, though, rabbit skin is rabbit skin. That is to say, I imagine that the thickness is roughly similar even between different breeds, so a 12 week Rex pelt and 12 week Mini Rex pelt should be about even in terms of readiness. The main difference would be the size... the pelt of a Mini Rex is obviously going to be smaller than that of a Rex.

I've always heard that 16 weeks is ideal for pelts, and of course 8 weeks is the touted standard for meat... but I tend to process my rabbits between 10-12 weeks. It gives me a bit more meat, and the pelts are usable (even if not ideal). I would imagine you could use Mini Rex in much the same way...

PS: This is all speculation on my part, but I know there's a few people around here that have experience with Mini Rex for meat, so I'm hoping they come and pipe in as well!

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:05 pm


I used to raise rabbits for fur,
The pelt was considered "prime" if it was full and not shedding ... rabbits go in out of "prime" condition,- factors such as age and summer temperatures govern this.
in addition to being paid for pelt condition,- IE prime or ... sub-prime= pelts have areas with new shorter growth , or areas with some shedding ... pelt size was a big pay-point. Small pelts were worth much less than larger pelts . It was well worth the extra time and feed to keep rabbits until they approached full adult size. For some fur buyers, pelt color was an important factor in pricing...
I had individual grow-out pens.- rabbits were butchered when they were 4 to 6 months old, and when the fur was in prime condition. I personally would not like, having to make clothing products from a lot of small size pelts...... when rabbits were butchered each pelt was slid on to a wire frame immediately , it was not left in a pile until all butchering was complete. Even a few minutes in a pile- can cause the hair to start to loosen, thus ruining the value of the pelt....

Rabbit carcasses resulting from pelt production ,are not as tender as rabbits butchered for meat at 8 to 10 weeks. Soaking carcasses in salt brine, at least over night [and preferably for a few days to a week] greatly improved the tenderness of the meat, and thus made the meat much more marketable.
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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby GBov » Sun Sep 30, 2018 6:02 pm


Mini Rex make OK hides but they are small. Like, I have a standard rex hide dried that is larger than a small goat hide - they are hanging up together - and a pillow made from a min rex that took the entire hide to make and is only half the size of a normal couch throw pillow.

SR make a MUCH better hide, longer, thicker, plusher fur and tougher hide.

Sitting here I can spot the MR from the SR in the rabbit fur patchwork lap blankets, not because it is bad but because it is different, not as full, not as rich, if you will.

Given my choice of having a rabbitry of 12 MR or just a trio of SR, give me the SRs any day!

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:52 am


GBov wrote:Given my choice of having a rabbitry of 12 MR or just a trio of SR, give me the SRs any day!

And the Rexes are just such love bugs... :oops:

I've heard the Mini Rex can be a bit fiesty!

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby GBov » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:08 am


Well, I love big rabbits and I can not lie! ;)

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:59 pm


I only have experience with big Rex rabbits, - I really liked them- the only problem i had -was when I started changing over to wire floors, their feet were much more prone to getting sores than my other rabbits.
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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby GBov » Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:13 pm


michaels4gardens wrote:I only have experience with big Rex rabbits, - I really liked them- the only problem i had -was when I started changing over to wire floors, their feet were much more prone to getting sores than my other rabbits.


Yep!

My best ever fix for it was three, three inch by half inch slats, wired onto the cage bottom, one inch apart, 4 inches minimum from the sides of the cage.

Dont use cedar, they eat it! :shock: :lol:

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:37 pm


michaels4gardens wrote:the only problem i had -was when I started changing over to wire floors, their feet were much more prone to getting sores than my other rabbits.

Yeah, I've got a couple with some bare spots on their hind feet. I gave them all (even the ones with fully furred feet) nice big tiles to lay on... but of course the one doe who's worst refuses to use it. Even her little bare pads have gotten better, though. :roll: And our cages have 1/2" x 1" 14 gauge, GAW wire...

GBov wrote:My best ever fix for it was three, three inch by half inch slats, wired onto the cage bottom, one inch apart, 4 inches minimum from the sides of the cage.

So essentially a nearly solid floor covering, eh GBov?

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Oct 01, 2018 5:49 pm


Nymphadora wrote:
michaels4gardens wrote:the only problem i had -was when I started changing over to wire floors, their feet were much more prone to getting sores than my other rabbits.

Yeah, I've got a couple with some bare spots on their hind feet. I gave them all (even the ones with fully furred feet) nice big tiles to lay on... but of course the one doe who's worst refuses to use it. Even her little bare pads have gotten better, though. :roll: And our cages have 1/2" x 1" 14 gauge, GAW wire...

GBov wrote:My best ever fix for it was three, three inch by half inch slats, wired onto the cage bottom, one inch apart, 4 inches minimum from the sides of the cage.

So essentially a nearly solid floor covering, eh GBov?


I think the conduit I now use for flooring would work OK for rabbits with tender feet..
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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby GBov » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:17 pm


Oooooo I LIKE that floor!!!

The floor slats wired to the middle keep the buns from pushing them to the edge and turning them into a toilet. Tiles were a nightmare for us, sooooo messy.

So kind of like a solid floor but not. :lol:

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby akane » Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:09 am


The pelt size would be smaller but otherwise I did not see a difference. The actual coat quality and temperament of a rex or mini rex is going to vary by local stock. Some have mini rex in their standards for lack of standards they can acquire. Some of my MR were wonderful, friendly, and calm rabbits that were easy to hold, would sit around with you for hours, and never even threatened to bite. Among my MR though was also "demon rabbit" that would attack you even from the ground and tore through a pair of leather gloves. Her and her brother came from a breeder of questionable stock that were oversized for MR anyway. My other 2 lines included a chocolate buck that founded probably 4 rabbitries before he retired along with several relatives of his and then blues from a breeder that concentrated on pet flemish and a large line of champagne d'argent. I actually went there for the champagnes and ended up stuffing mini rex into a few boxes before I left. :lol: I haven't a complaint about a single one of them or their offspring. They were as nice as any of the large breeds and better than some of the american sables I eventually had.

For growth there is little reason to go down in size in order to be able to grow them longer. The smaller breeds tend to reach adult size and ability to breed even faster than the larger ones. It's a benefit that you don't have to raise them as long to get to their most efficient size. You might for a tougher pelt but they often physically mature at least a month or 2 faster so I would expect that would impact the pelt as well. They also generally have lighter bone leading to a better meat to bone ratio. I included MR (the chocolate line) in my meat mutts with great success. The growth rate, feed efficiency, and dress out was quite good even if their final size was a bit under what is desired today. Most older meat breeds are not much bigger than MR, if at all.

Of course having been bred far more for pet and show the small breeds also have higher odds of having not been selected as intensively for reproductive traits and temperament. There is also a much broader mix of quality out there since anyone and everyone wants to stick 2 together and try to sell the more popular sizes. They are easier to find but they are harder to find the traits you want in one line. There isn't as much market for larger breeds that haven't been bred to show standard or as efficient meat rabbits so there is more incentive to maintain certain qualities.
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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby GBov » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:27 am


Those are all good points Akane but finding what one wants in MR is hard, much harder than in SR.

As you say, everyone just sticks MRs together with no thoughts about what they want, just small rabbits to sell.

We finally decided we like big rabbits for one main reason, big livers. :lol:

But having now tanned and used both MR and SR hides, I like the SR hides better, it is as much work tanning both sizes but the big one gives me more fur to work with.

Better return for the investment, in other words.

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Re: Mini rex for meat and pelts?

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Fang-of-fenrir » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:50 am


Thanks for the replied everyone! Very helpful! I ended up sticking with the standards because I couldn't bear to sell my favourite buck when it came down to it. I also processed my first pelt and it was huge, even for a young rabbit. So that definitely made me realise that the bigger pelt is probably worth the extra time cleaning and feeding :)

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