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What do you breed for?

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What do you breed for?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Maleficent » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:54 am


I wanted to ask the people of RabbitTalk who breed rabbits for meat what major points do you guys focus on? Do you guys breed for temperament?

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:44 pm


Good temperament means easy handling, so yes, it is important, but it is only one desirable characteristic.

You want does that reliably give a good number (eight is good) of healthy kits and who are able to feed take good care of them -- and raise almost all of them. They should also be able to maintain a good condition even when producing regularly.

The bucks should be reliable breeders and contribute excellent meat characteristics to their offspring. They should be eager but not aggressive.

All breeding stock should have a good conformation (meat-brick shape) and excellent health. No problems such as pinched hips, sore hocks, misaligned teeth. Bright, clear eyes, no sign of mucus, genitals healthy, no fleas, ear mites or other parasites. Fur should look healthy, except during a moult, and there should be no sign of fur mites such as bare patches on the neck behind the ears.

One's initial stock may not be all one could wish, but by selecting only the best from the kits as future breeders, it is possible to improve one's stock over just a few years. Breed the best and eat the rest.
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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Maleficent » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:59 pm


@Maggie OK I figured a lot of the things you pointed out would be important.

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Dood » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:29 pm


In my meat rabbits I breed for temperament, mothering skills, milk production, health, fertility which includes getting pregnant on schedule as well as having litters of 8 or more, growth rate and meaty body type of the kits/grow outs

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Maleficent » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:20 am


What would you guys suggest, I'm thinking about breeding my Lionheads to be more productive meat wise while aiming for a wider range of colors since I am thinking about tanning pelts as well. What breed(s) should I out-cross to in order to help bring in a better meat to bone ration? I heard by standard Lionheads have a kind of poor meat to bone ratio. I already have a litter of Mini Rex crosses out of this doe and now she is possibly pregnant with another litter from both a Holland and a Netherland. I have another older doe (first litter) that is possibly expecting around the same time as her. A Dwarf Hotot (she was kind of on the big size for her breed) crossed with a Holland.

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:22 am


I don't really think there is much point outcrossing dwarf rabbits to improve their meat/bone ratio. All you'll end up with is a bunch of dwarf mutts that are still not optimal for the dinner table and have no other purpose.

If you are just using your culls for meat, the ratio really doesn't matter--you're just solving a problem of too many substandard rabbits in a way that doesn't waste them.

If, on the other hand, you are serious about breeding for meat, you'd do better to get a trio of meat-breed rabbits. Decent meat mutts are not expensive.

In your case, I suggest you start with processing a cull or two. See if you can handle it comfortably and if you like the taste of rabbit meat. Then make your decision.
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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby UFCreel » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:38 am


If you want meat rabbits get meat rabbits. Breeding little rabbits to get more meat on them. Just does not make any sense to me. Around here you can get New Zealand's for from around $15.00 -$30.00 show quality more. But show quality does not always translate to meat quality. I breed my Red New Zealand's for meat. I have a doe that is a vampire. She throws large litters and is really only wanting blood while the kits are very young. She is a great mom. Three other does are very friendly. My two bucks are kind of friendly but they do not get a ton of attention. They just have one job to do.

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Maleficent » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:22 am


MaggieJ wrote:I don't really think there is much point outcrossing dwarf rabbits to improve their meat/bone ratio. All you'll end up with is a bunch of dwarf mutts that are still not optimal for the dinner table and have no other purpose.

If you are just using your culls for meat, the ratio really doesn't matter--you're just solving a problem of too many substandard rabbits in a way that doesn't waste them.

If, on the other hand, you are serious about breeding for meat, you'd do better to get a trio of meat-breed rabbits. Decent meat mutts are not expensive.

In your case, I suggest you start with processing a cull or two. See if you can handle it comfortably and if you like the taste of rabbit meat. Then make your decision.


That is true, the only thing I need to do is process my first rabbit or two to make sure I will be comfortable with doing so. I guess personally I would like to stick with slightly smaller breeds due to space constraints and the fact in my house the only human person that will eat the culls would be myself and maybe the cats. I don't really need a meat rabbit that produces 8+ babies. I was just trying to find a solution that will meet my needs.

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Dood » Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:08 pm


I also like my adults smaller and my meat mutts range between 7 and 9 pounds but I also turn my Mini Lops into dinner and the adults are 4-6 pounds

I think mini Rex would be a better cross as they tend to have finer bones and a meatier frame than lionheads

If you really want a bigger maned rabbit, maybe get a few oversized MRex does and cross to a non-dwarf lionhead and see what happens

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Maleficent » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:34 am


That sounds very possible for me to do. I already have a few lion head MR crosses from my first litter. Mom was an oversized lion head (like really over sized! 7lbs and it was all meat). I still have her and there were plans to breed her back to one of her sons. I kept one of her daughters as well with plans to bred her back to one of her brothers.

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:37 am


Maleficent wrote:That sounds very possible for me to do. I already have a few lion head MR crosses from my first litter. Mom was an oversized lion head (like really over sized! 7lbs and it was all meat). I still have her and there were plans to breed her back to one of her sons. I kept one of her daughters as well with plans to bred her back to one of her brothers.


Sounds like you already have a good start! You don't sound like you need to add any new rabbits ....

Just take a look at the commercial rabbit type... evaluate your litters, keep only stock that have those wide thick bodies and good depth and use them for the next generation....

This is what I'm doing for my Harlequins... they are really bad for pinched and flat bodies, but I want meat rabbits with Harlequin markings, but in the 7-8lb range. So, each litter has to pass type, then markings to be kept for breeding. I am still at the piece rabbit stage, but the type on my rabbits are already showing improvement in just ONE Year!! I have added rabbits for some other characteristics that I need for the Harlequin breed, but there is still a lot of work to do!

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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby ladysown » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:45 am


Unless you are breeding you the full standard, but you just want the mane, you could bored any smaller Rabbit together. In my experience a Dutch/mini Rex combined with lop makes a good small meat Rabbit with potential for pet sales. If you have a larger liohead, crossing withnmini rex or Dutch should get you 6-7 lb meat buns
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Re: What do you breed for?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Maleficent » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:05 pm


ladysown wrote:Unless you are breeding you the full standard, but you just want the mane, you could bored any smaller Rabbit together. In my experience a Dutch/mini Rex combined with lop makes a good small meat Rabbit with potential for pet sales. If you have a larger liohead, crossing withnmini rex or Dutch should get you 6-7 lb meat buns

I may consider that considering I just got a hold of a couple of Dutch recently. (Their breeder was getting rid of them for poor markings and let me have them for free as she would cull them otherwise and didn't want them going to pet homes. When she heard I was looking for rabbits that could be decent meat producers she was like "Here, take these two" XD)

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