Finding Rabbit Breeders

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RoosterMania

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I've almost got my rabbitry complete and ready for move in, but I'm having a hard time finding breeders close enough to travel to. I've texted and emailed a few different breeders that I found contact info for on different websites, but have gotten no replies. It seems a lot of the information out there is outdated.

Where is the best place to find breeders and their contact info?

Thank you!
 

Mini Lop Fan

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It can be difficult to find rabbit breeders nearby specializing in the breed that you want and sometimes it just takes time. However, if you have not tried these already, I would first recommend the ARBA member directory and the specific breed clubs' directories which are regularly updated (for example, if I was looking for Mini Lops, I would check the the AMLRC breeder directory). If none of those contacts work, I would join a local Facebook rabbit breeder group and post on there asking for recommendations. There are quite a few active and reputable rabbit breeders on Facebook, and I have found some amazing connections through Facebook. If Facebook does not work, I would suggest checking your local craigslist listings. Just be very careful on there as there are many irresponsible breeders.


Just curious, what breed are you looking for?
 

eco2pia

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I often hear shows are good, and I recently was at my state fair and noticed a Tan breeder in my area I was not previously aware of. Arguably there were a lot of pet mutt 4H/FFA rabbits as well, but hey, there was cotton candy and all rabbits are cute.

Additionally my area has a LOT of people on craigslist, because I am near the major metropolitan area for my state. If you have not already, start checking craigslist near Atlanta, because I suspect a lot of people list rabbits in suburban and urban areas because they can charge higher prices and they get higher demand. Not saying that you will find your best rabbits on craiglist (you might though!) but if you can tap into a community of breeders of your favorite breed, that is the best way to find what you want.
 

TroubleMakerAcres

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Where I live in rural BC Canada, kijiji is the place to look for rabbits for sale and a few local farm animal type groups. I also placed an ‘In Search Of’ ad for the specific breed I was looking for and made a few contacts that way. There are no shows to go to within a days drive and a prevalence of ‘meat mutt’ breeders here. It may take some time to find the breed you are looking for. If you are tired of waiting you could always get another breed of similar size to keep you busy and scratch the rabbit itch while you continue searching for the ones you really want. Or you might discover you like the ones you got first! Just because you start with one breed doesn’t mean you have to stick with that breed forever.
 

RoosterMania

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Thank you all for the helpful responses. I’m interested in NZ and silver fox primarily, but also intrigued by Rex and satins. I’ll be focusing on breeding for meat production, but am not opposed to pretty colors either.

I followed your suggestions and checked ARBA, Craigslist and a couple of the breed club sites. I also called one of the breeders and he is supposed to call me back tomorrow. I’m going to look on FB this evening as well.

Next question: if I start with show quality stock, I should be able to breed for desired qualities such as litter size, grow out rate, and meat yield, right?
 

Mini Lop Fan

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Thank you all for the helpful responses. I’m interested in NZ and silver fox primarily, but also intrigued by Rex and satins. I’ll be focusing on breeding for meat production, but am not opposed to pretty colors either.

I followed your suggestions and checked ARBA, Craigslist and a couple of the breed club sites. I also called one of the breeders and he is supposed to call me back tomorrow. I’m going to look on FB this evening as well.

Next question: if I start with show quality stock, I should be able to breed for desired qualities such as litter size, grow out rate, and meat yield, right?
Yes, you should, but expect it to take time. Especially during the first couple years, your main focus should be breeding for show quality and weeding out the problems, not on smaller factors. As you breed multiple litters and become comfortable with the lines you are working with (which have a huge impact on grow-out rates, litter sizes, and meat yield in themselves) you'll be able to pinpoint who the best matches are and keep stock from them. I would recommend keeping good records on the aspects that are most important for you long-term so that you can use them to inform your later breeding decisions.
 

hotzcatz

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Once you get your rabbits, keeping a good database on them will really be helpful in breeding better rabbits. We use 'Kintracks' here, it's technically a pedigree program, but there's a whole bunch of other data that it keeps track of that making pedigrees is about the least thing we do with it. It's not expensive, somewhere under $20 Australian dollars which is even less in U.S. dollars. Free download to try and the key to fully unlock it is digital. Once you get it, they upgrade for free.
 

Keag

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Just make sure you know the breed Standard & put your hands on the kits & adults. I found that our first Satin purchase of trio female ended up not being the case. I saw them in a small cage on the floor when picking up chickens. I did not put my hands on them. When I got them home they were tiny for 8weeks, <2lb & coat was the wrong texture. Needless to say 2 ended up being bucks. They are great rabbits with good personality & the doe gave birth to 3 kits & all are doing well. I then bought pedigreed Satins & that was the way to go. Our Rex I did not get pedigreed but they actually are Rex & they are lovely rabbits as well. Just beware that if you want a "Specific" breed then I would go with pedigree.

There are plenty that mix NZ with everything & can be hard to tell. Good luck! I have the free version of Kintracks & though a learning curve I am enjoying inputting data & starting pedigrees on the ones without.
 

RoosterMania

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Well, I got a pair of beautiful NZ Reds. They aren’t pedigreed and honestly, after looking at the ARBA standard, I have no idea if they are good or not. The doe is around a year and a half old and is just over 9 pounds. The little buck is about 16 weeks old and is a little over 4 pounds. They both have the same parents. And the doe was bred back to her sire by the breeder so I’m not sure where that leaves me.

I did find another breeder and I’m going to travel Saturday to pick up a black Satin doe and a mixed buck (50% Satin, 25% NZ, and 25% Flemish Giant). The doe is pedigreed and should be bred so I plan on keeping the best buck out of that litter as a breeder. Should be interesting. I have a lot to learn, but learnings where the fun is.
 

Mama.

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I am still new to rabbits myself. I believe bucks are not ready to breed until about 6 months of age. I have also read not to buy older does. If they were good breeders, they wouldn’t sell them and they only breed for about 3 years. Anyone else have input?
 

TroubleMakerAcres

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Well, I got a pair of beautiful NZ Reds.
Congratulations. The reds are lovely.

I wouldn’t fuss too much about the SOP but do observe your rabbits and feel them for meatiness. Feel the shoulders and down the loin etc. Check out these:

Just because your doe was for sale doesn’t mean she wasn’t a good breeder, it could mean the owner decided to keep a better looking offspring and only has so many cages or a myriad of other reasons. How intensively the doe is bred will affect her longevity. There’s is no hard and fast rule about when to start breeding your bucks or does. Some people like to start trying younger, so not. Making sure everyone is mature enough for the job at hand is most important.
 
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