A complimentary first cross breed?

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Albert

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In the five months we've had rabbits I've quickly come to the conclusion that rabbits are just a tiny bit addictive and I keep looking at adding alternative stock to strengthen the qualities of our existing trio.

That sounded legit but the reality of it is I see a breed and go ooh I want some of them!

Is there a good first cross for Californians that would improve our meat rabbit production? New Zealand's are out I'm afraid because I can't find one for love or money.

Any suggestions and reasons to do it would be welcome.
 

eco2pia

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NZ are the common breed that is reccommended as both are commercial meat breeds. Honestly, It could be argued that you cannot improve a NZ or CA for meat production...but you can improve other traits to your local climate or preferences.

I find the most fun thing to add to avoid the constant desire to aquire more is a fun color combo. You want a largish californian shaped rabbit, with a broken (spotted) tort/agouti/castor coat (those are all different names for the same "wild rabbit" color). If you have a rabbit with spots, and the wild type color, you are going to have a surprise rainbow of kits, and that is just really, really fun. Just stick to rabbits the same size and shape, a standard rex is a good option that often comes in many colors. The rex type fur won't breed true in a cross, but the colors will. Then every litter will be a fun surprise. However, they will be mutts, so you can also look for someone who also has a nice big solid mutt. When breeding for meat, you do not have to worry TOO much about the breed, just cull anything that is not a big, fast gaining kit, and you will often even cull the big fast gaining kits.

The one caveat is that cute colors can make it hard to make level headed decisions about who to cull. Trust me, if you ever plan to keep ANY of the offspring, EVER, establish an internal descision tree, like a breed standard, based on some objective measurement, like must weigh more than X grams at weaning, or at 12 weeks. Use the straight Californians to establish thresholds first.
 

SixGun

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What a wonderful bit of advice thanks so much. I've been rather taken with giant French lops lately. The one in the picture is for sale locally but I'm trying to be sensible.

A French Lop will likely slow your growth rate as they mature slower than the Cali or NZ.

The pictured French Lop appears to be rather small for its breed, so I'd hesitate. But I always say I'm going to hesitate and then, well....
 

Albert

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A French Lop will likely slow your growth rate as they mature slower than the Cali or NZ.

The pictured French Lop appears to be rather small for its breed, so I'd hesitate. But I always say I'm going to hesitate and then, well....
I was pretty sure it wouldn't do me any favours meat rabbit wise.

I was hoping it might improve on general disposition but above all before we bought our trio I asked my 12 year old granddaughter what her ideal rabbit would be and I got "A big cuddly white rabbit with floppy ears and blue eyes".

As we say in England I've been done up like a kipper! (Roughly translates to - Caught in an inescapable trap (by a 12 year old!))
 
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SixGun

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French are gentle giants, so I agree the disposition, depending on the rabbit, could be improved.

Shame on me for not seeing that you were in France. It is very possible the pic you attached is an appropriate French Lop under the breed standard for your area. Its just it's not what an ideal French Lop would look like in America. LOL
 

eco2pia

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French are gentle giants, so I agree the disposition, depending on the rabbit, could be improved.

Shame on me for not seeing that you were in France. It is very possible the pic you attached is an appropriate French Lop under the breed standard for your area. Its just it's not what an ideal French Lop would look like in America. LOL
I thought the same at first, then I realized, I have no idea how old that bunny is. I did think he seemed a little rangy but that could be the angle.
As we say in England I've been done up like a kipper! (Roughly translates to - Caught in an inescapable trap (by a 12 year old!))
So...what will you name him? Lol! Might I suggest "Kipper"?
 
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