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recommend a easy breed

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recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#1  Unread postby larrybeach » Sun May 10, 2020 4:51 pm


Hello, I am thinking of getting back into raising meat rabbits after 5 years. I still have my cages and supplies because I always planned on raising them again as I got closer to my retirement years. I am surprised at how few meat rabbit breeds are available in my area compared to a few years ago, but still looking. I had NZ whites before and even though they produced a lot of babies, the does always turned out difficult and sometimes just mean as they got a little older. I prefer to find a breed that is easier to deal with if possible. My goal is not to produce the most meat possible, but to enjoy it as a hobby,and still producing some meat. I was thinking about the Florida White, but so far have not found any. Any recommendations for other breeds would be appreciated,thanks.

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sun May 10, 2020 5:47 pm


there is as much difference within breeds, as there is between breeds.
Find a "breeder" with nice friendly rabbits, and buy your breed stock from them.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Zass » Sun May 10, 2020 10:34 pm


^ What he said. The breeder is going to matter more than the breed. You definitely want one that actively culls for temperament, and I always suggest getting meat buns from a breeder who enjoys the taste of rabbit.

What general region are you in? We might be able to point you in the right direction.

I raise my harlis, and love them dearly. In fact, I never miss a chance to let everyone know just how much! :D I think they will make a good example of why the breeder matters so much though.

Keep in mind, the comparisons I'm making are pretty much all "VS commercially bred meat rabbits."

What I love about the lines available here, (all the PA lines seem to be bred pretty close.)

1, Tempers. Sweet little things, more likely to be shy than aggressive, but not neurotic.
2, Iron stomachs. Best forage rabbits I've ever owned.
3, No superlative traits or over-the-top expectations on type. Just a rabbit-looking-rabbit with a neat color.
4, General hardiness and lack of breed specific health issues. (No common ear or leg injuries, no sore hocks, not prone to malocclusion, etc.)

The main cons of the breed for most would be something like:

1. Very difficult to raise for show, you have to breed a lot to get anything show worthy.
2. A rather non competitive breed. You will never see a harli take BIS.
3. Smaller, definitely slower to grow than commercial meat buns. The doe's milk supply can be insufficient to feed quite as many kits. I end up having to cull more newborns to reduce litter sizes than with commercial meat breeds breeds. : :(
4. They get fat easily on a pellet-only diet.


So for my laid back raising style,
I think the most important part for me is diet. I had to have good forage hardy rabbits, because one of my main reasons for keeping them is to turn lawn and garden scraps into good quality compost.

I think being a little smaller helps with that, but I have no evidence aside from my own life experiences.

I like to breed my does whenever they and I agree that it's a good time to do so (2-3 times a year usually,) and the easiest way I've found to maintain that schedule requires a lower fat, lower energy diet in between litters to keep the does from becoming obese. (A problem I've had with more intense commercial stock.)

So we feed mainly forage, garden and hedge trimmings, and then some pellets, hay, alfalfa cubes, pumpkin seeds, oats, and whatever else I feel like spoiling them with, adjusted for their current needs of course.

The does don't get obese as fast, can't have quite as many litters per year, and the young don't seem to grow any slower on forage than on just pellets.. That's the trick with harlis. The young aren't going to grow like a NZ anyway, so there's no sense wasting too many calories on em. ;) :lol:

So with all this in mind, I cull towards the things I like, and I'm not too bothered about the show traits, just try to work slowly towards cleaner marks and keep the type decent (more for health than show) and hope I get a good show bun someday.

I'm sure other people have had somewhat different experiences with the same breed though. I know there are breeders out there trying to hammer down on type to make them more competitive at show. I would specifically avoid such a breeder, and consider other options if my area had different stock.

I suspect a lot of the medium weight breeds could also suit my (or your) needs pretty well. You won't find most of them on a list of "meat breeds" but all rabbits are edible.

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#4  Unread postby larrybeach » Mon May 11, 2020 4:38 am


Thank you for the very informative reply. I know a lot about chickens, but still learning about rabbits even though I did raise them for about 3 years. My first experience was a little disappointing due to my does being so aggressive, and was also very busy at work so I didn't have as much time to spend with them as I would have liked. I think I would like the idea of a smaller rabbit like a Florida white or maybe standard rex, but still researching. Thanks again. I live in North Georgia, by the way.

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Preitler » Mon May 11, 2020 6:26 am


One thing to consider are local meat mutts, I enjoy having a diverse herd.
There are some good things about those, and some drawbacks too. Good thing is, I can bring in whatever I like :cauldron: , doesn't matter much. One drawback is that butchering would be somewhat easier for me if all the rabbits would look the same, I keep them for about 5 months feeding mostly forage, so I learn the individual characters because every kit looks different. But that's me, somewhat stuck between pets :cat-hug: and livestock :fryegg:

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#6  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon May 11, 2020 6:39 am


I have at times.. kept NZ or Cali bucks, to breed to my "more hardy" breed, doe lines,
to get better "meat type" terminal crosses.
Hardy and efficient rabbits, were important for me also..
I feed them from the garden/farm, [root crops, weeds, cornstalks, willow, grass and grass hay].
I had some very prolific and hardy -Checkered Giant , and Dutch crosses, I kept for my doe lines...
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#7  Unread postby dfr1973 » Mon May 11, 2020 8:33 am


FWs are hard to find - even here in Florida. I have an FW buck I will be either selling or eating this summer, as his son is ready to rock-n-roll now. I am currently outcrossing on standard Rexes, because I wasn't happy with how slender my culls were. Last year I crossed in some Dutch blood, before I found Casper the FW. FYI: some FW lines through Rex furred offspring, as the FW is derived from a bit of Rex, along with a couple other breeds. Unfortuneately, my FW is not from one of those lines.
Feed to breed!

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#8  Unread postby larrybeach » Mon May 11, 2020 11:04 am


My wife and I are hoping to make a trip to Kissimmee later in the summer. I know it's a long shot, but if you happen to still have your buck,and wish to sell I may be interested. Thanks

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#9  Unread postby dfr1973 » Mon May 11, 2020 5:10 pm


Kissimmee is a couple hours' drive, but the yellow flies ought to have gone back into the swamp by then. I am a little north of Ocala National Forest ... in a county with no town names anyone outside the area would recognize. If you need a girl, just let me know. I haven't braided the FW into the family tree that much yet LOL I would prefer to pass him on to another person for breeding - he's thrown some nice offspring here already, and like I said, FWs are not easy to find even here. I had my OTR truck driver friend pick him up in Lake City.
Feed to breed!

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#10  Unread postby larrybeach » Tue May 12, 2020 8:45 am


Thank you, yes I am very interested. We are hoping to go for a couple of days this summer visting some friends. If he is still available, I would be interested, and yes probably a doe as well if you have any for sale. It may be about a month before we can come down though. about when will he be available? I will try to contact you when we are closer to coimg down, thanks again.

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#11  Unread postby dfr1973 » Tue May 12, 2020 11:59 am


His third son - the one I've kept - did his first breeding Friday, and now when I open his cage to feed, Charlie Brown sticks his face out and looks for his next hook-up. LOL His first son, Domino, is at my friends' now along with his albino brother I called Whitey (yeah, unimaginative) and has one litter born yesterday. So, whenever you get down this way. As for an unrelated girl to breed to him, just let me know what you are interested in: Rex fur, color, or just decent meaty little breeders (or all of the above - my goal).
Feed to breed!

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Re: recommend a easy breed

Post Number:#12  Unread postby Zass » Tue May 12, 2020 2:04 pm


Meat mutts can be really are great, especially for someone wanting to raise for good personalities.
You don't have to cull to anyone's standards but yours.
The only real drawback I've had with them is that they can't be shown, and the show scene and working with breeders to better the breed is part of the fun of raising rabbits for me. I might be laid back with my harlis, but I did learn type with other commercial breeds, and make a point of choosing between only the best and typiest of my kits for breeding.

With mutts, you have even more wiggle room.

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