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Discussion of all aspects of rabbits as meat animals. If this subject is offensive to you, please do not visit.
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New!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby swaggymama » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:10 pm


Hi all... the family and I just recently set ourselves up to hopefully raise rabbits for meat.

We live in the suburbes, so it's kind of...well... hush hush and on the down lo, because technically, it's not 100%. :oops: :oops:

In any case - at the end of the day, we have a variety of different hutches that my husband built from scratch, which are insulated etc... the rabbits permanent homes, they're to be kept outdoors only.
(unless of course, something happens where their basic health and safety requires them to be kept indoors for a time...)

We currently have 3 flemish giant does, and 2 mini rex bucks.
My husband heard me say "rex"... I meant standard... he was sweet, he went to pick them up for me... got 2 mini rex bucks instead. They're less than a 1/4 of the size... how's that even going to work?? :lol: :lol:

My loving dum dum. :lol: :lol:

So - we're at the point right now where we're well enough set up that we're looking to start actually breeding them now.

1) Has anyone done a Flemish doe / mini-rex buck cross? I can't really find anything about it on theweb... so I'm wondering if I should just bite the bullet and change up my bucks...
2) As much as I've read up on kindling and nest boxes etc... I'm just not convinced that it will be enough. Does anyone live in Ottawa, Ontario? Have yoiu let them kindle outdoors in the dead of winter? in a hutch?
3) My kids have been gathering leaves / grass etc.. to "make hay" so I've got about a bale worth of dried grass they've collected and dried over the last few weeks - and one of my girls suggested, since I sometimes give the rabbits a hosta leaf or two, that before the frost totally hits, we should gather up the rest and dry them in bunches as if they were herbs... question is, has anyone dried hosta plants to feed rabbits over the winter? Right now I have the kids' grass... I have bunches of dandelion greens... bunches of raspberry leaves... I've just plucked out all the leftovers of my strawberry plants and hung those last night to dry...

Anyway - any and all advice about anything is appreciated... my husband is of NO help... he's not a computer guy, he's a "tell me what you want" kind of guy... so... :oops:

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Re: New!

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:35 pm


1. i haven't personally, but i've seen videos of people breeding flemish to bucks as small as netherland dwarves. nature finds a way, and if they're determined i bet they'll get the job done ;P the resulting offspring will probably be more medium sized - the perfect (imo) size for meat!

2. if you are concerned, you can brush or pluck fur from your rabbits (moulting season is a good time for this,) and save it in a jar or plastic container to stuff in the nests if it feels like there's not enough. but i've only had to do that a couple times when i didn't know the doe was pregnant and she kindled without a nest and i had to build one for her. but really, rabbits are pretty built for surviving in cold temperatures, and those babies will stay nice and toasty in the nest.

i have no help for your last question, but it may be a good idea to get a bale or two of timothy if you plan to feed hay year-round!
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Re: New!

Post Number:#3  Unread postby swaggymama » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:17 pm


shazza wrote:i have no help for your last question, but it may be a good idea to get a bale or two of timothy if you plan to feed hay year-round!


Sorry - I should have been specific.... I meant over and above the regular timothy / clover hay and pellets we give them year round. Up to now we've just been giving them handfuls of various grass/leaves/flowers... fresh... obviously the garden is a bit less fresh when covered in snow... which is why the kids have been "drying" stuff..... :lol:

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Re: New!

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Nymphadora » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:17 pm


Hi swaggymama,

Firstly, welcome to RabbitTalk!
:welcomewagon:

It might be useful to put your general location in your user profile, so people have a quick reference on hand if you ask questions regarding climate, local flora & fauna, etc. It doesn’t have to be super specific, but having “Ontario Canada” or something in your profile will make it easier for people to offer advice based on your local conditions. :)

I don’t really have many answers, but I’ll second what shazza said about size differences between bucks and does: where there’s a will there’s a way! :P There is a school of thought that it’s better to have a larger doe than the buck (the thinking is that the kits are unlikely to get “too big” for the doe), if there’s going to be a notable size difference, so at least you’ve got that going for you! And like shazza said, you’ll likely get rabbits that are a good medium between the giant and mini size. (Although it would probably be easier to get rabbits -- whether mutts or purebreds -- that are closer to your goals/purposes to begin with, to save time trying to breed what you actually want).

I can’t personally speak to the frigid cold affecting nested babies, only that I know there are people that make it work, and make it work well. In a worst case scenario, I imagine you could “shelve” the kits. That is to say, bring the nest boxes into the house and only bring them out to feed for the first week or so. Personally, I’d want my rabbits to be naturally adjusted to their environment, so I would probably leave them out… but that’s just my opinion. :oops:

And lastly, a tip from someone who is also living in the suburbs and breeding meat rabbits somewhat low-key: make sure you consider where you place your butchering station from every angle. I may have shocked a few neighborhood kids that happened to pass the house while I was butchering on a Sunday morning when I first started (not that I moved my butchering station… but I do get up early to try and avoid as much “traffic” as possible, out of respect). :x :oops:

Best wishes,
Nymph

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Re: New!

Post Number:#5  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:36 pm


I have raised rabbits in cold climates, protection from the wind is important, just think .. warm, dry and draft free. If using wire floors, -I provide a large inclosed box or area ,with bedding material, [up away from the next box for does] for breedstock rabbits when temperatures are low. I use nest boxes that are totally inclosed except for the access hole, and facing away from the drafty side of the pen.
----------When I raised rabbits "the old way" I had solid sloped floors with lots of bedding, solid sides, and front with a wire mesh section for air and light. I bred year round with no problems. As long as you keep them dry, and out of the wind they should be OK... winters in Montana sometimes were neg 20 -and-- I had to provide water 3 times a day to does with litters. I think Rabbits did better in winter with the "old way" ,but it was more work... In some countries, it is still popular to raise rabbits this way.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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