Flemish Giant

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countrymomma1991

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If I were to raise flemish giants for meat at what age do you cull them? I have heard that you let rabbits get to 18 weeks usually but I am not for sure.. Also is there a certain time of year that is better to do it at? Ive never used a rabbit for meat just as pets and was just wondering.
 

MamaSheepdog

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I don't know the answer to your question.

I do know that although Flemmies were developed as a meat rabbit, they have a less favorable meat to bone ratio than other meat rabbit breeds.

They also require a lot more space, special housing, and are often kept on wood slat floors as opposed to wire.

If your goal is affordable meat production, I would suggest looking at other breeds.

Although not nearly as large, Beverens have that "big bunny" look to them.

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I only have one pair, and just bred the doe for the first time, but am expecting great things from them. :)

I spoke to the breeder of my doe, and she told me that this doe's mother has kits that reach 5lbs by 8-10 weeks. :p
 

JessicaR

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I wouldnt raise FG's for meat, they are way too boney! They put on size first then muscle later, plus they will eat and eat and eat! :lol: My Fg would eat 2 cups a day as an adult but as a youngster, jeesh I could barely keep up I was constantly filling his bowl up. Now i do have some NZW/FG mix kits that seem to be growing pretty good if you wanted, I would go that way.
 

Dood

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Most meat rabbits are butchered when over 5 pounds which is usually between 8 and 16 weeks. By 18 weeks they would be more 'flavourful' due to hormones and not everyone appreciates gamey tasting rabbit.

Mama Sheepdog is correct that the Flemmish Giants grow bones first and muscle second so they eat a ton as weanlings but wont get meaty until much older. A light boned meaty breed would be a better choice since you dont need to feed them as long to get the same amount of meat.

A 5 pound flemmy would be mostly bones with very little meat on them while a 5 pound NZ or Cali would give you much more muscle. Eventually a flemmish would fill out but it takes longer.
 

MamaSheepdog

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Dood":3vz9migx said:
By 18 weeks they would be more 'flavourful' due to hormones and not everyone appreciates gamey tasting rabbit.

:yeahthat:

They were developed in Flanders (a region of Belgium), and the Europeans do prefer a more gamey meat than our palates are accustomed to.
 

jollysrabbits

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I am gonna answer this since nobody directly answered your question, you will have the best luck processing between 10 and 12 weeks (max 14 unless wanting a big roaster). by 12 weeks mine are 7lbs sometimes more but never less and I get a good dress out on them as well. I would go into defending the flemish and their meat producing qualities but at this point I feel I am :bdh: . good luck with your decision.
 

Tegan

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I have a flemish in the mix....I'm still waiting on my first litter for her...stupid colony not knowing LOL. (They'll be flemish/std rex crosses). If she ever has kits I'll let you all know when and how they dress out...since they are neither of them "GREAT" meat breeds hehe.
 

3mina

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Tegan":1qfga3t6 said:
t...since they are neither of them "GREAT" meat breeds hehe.
Neither of them are COMMERCIAL meat breeds
I consider my Rex a great meat breed.....for my purposes :twisted:
Since I want pelts too they're perfect or will be once I get past the size issue I'm having. :roll:
 

jollysrabbits

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3mina":30w1ne81 said:
Tegan":30w1ne81 said:
t...since they are neither of them "GREAT" meat breeds hehe.
Neither of them are COMMERCIAL meat breeds
I consider my Rex a great meat breed.....for my purposes :twisted:
Since I want pelts too they're perfect or will be once I get past the size issue I'm having. :roll:

Actually Rex do fall under the commercial type and are considered meat rabbits. they have to conform to the same standards as cali's and NZ's as far as body type.
 

3mina

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I know they're a commercial meat breed but a great many people don't consider them a meat breed because of the coat and the fact they don't reach the 'magic' numbers 5 lbs by 8 weeks.
 

jollysrabbits

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3mina":169x2bvw said:
I know they're a commercial meat breed but a great many people don't consider them a meat breed because of the coat and the fact they don't reach the 'magic' numbers 5 lbs by 8 weeks.

I know and its sad, there are so many wonderful rabbit breeds out there, but it seems like all you hear about is NZ's and Cali's. It just seems so silly considering there are numerous meat breeds. I just feel like if people keep pushing just the few well known breeds we are gonna end up with alot more rabbits on the "livestock conservancy list" I know large operations have their reasoning for needing and wanting those 2 breeds but to all you backyard breeders out there, why not the rex, flemsish, champagne, silverfox, American, beveren, chinchilla, Argent's, blanc de Hotot's, Palamino's, sables, satins along with about 10 others. :soap:, sorry if I jacked the thread a bit, but If you noticed any of the replies about 90% of the responses automatically pushed countrymomma towards selecting a different breed rather than encouraging her to start with a awesome breed like the Flemish she asked about and helping her to obtain and improve her line of flemish.
 

Dood

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90% of the responses automatically pushed countrymomma towards selecting a different breed rather than encouraging her to start with a awesome breed like the Flemish
we just gave her the facts. No one said Flemish are not great BUT most people assume that the bigger the rabbit (ie giant breeds) the more meat and this is only true in ADULT rabbits which few people like to eat. My Am Chins don't produce as well as a dedicated commercial breed but they are solid little suckers by 10 weeks at the latest.

Would you recommend a Holstein over an Angus for beef production just because it is bigger as an adult? No, of course not. The Angus may be smaller but it grows like a weed and is a bundle of muscle = meat and the Holstein CAN fill out but it will take awhile.

If you'd like to prove us wrong then please de-bone a 5 pound Flemish and a 5 pound NZ or Cali and see which rabbit gives more meat. This isn't even taking into consideration how much feed it took to get these rabbits to 5 pounds, and I am quite certain the Flemish would need more.
 

Zab

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What I've heard is that flemish giants, checkered giants and french lops are the same ''type'' of rabbit with the same meat qualities. I'll say that I'm going to rid my french lop now since at 16 weeks there's no meat on her at all and I don't want her at all in my breeding program. The checkered giant I got that's a year old also feel very bony without much meat...
I've believed the meat to bone ratio thing to just be a small differense, but it's huge compared to my swedish pelts and the nzr.

The giants may be awesome rabbits and if you really like that breed then go for it. But you won't get much meat from them, so if that's the main purpose I think you should look into any other breed you can find... I believe most medium sized rabbits are decent for meat, not just new zeelands or calis... why not go for a more rare breed if you like it?
 

jollysrabbits

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look all i am saying is most of the answers are somewhat biased, and are just reiterated statements what people have read and heard and take for gospel, is some of it true, yes but what most do not understand is the difference is so small it does not matter unless dealing with a large operation. Of course a cali & nz are a little better suited because of all the agricultural science & research put into developing these commercial lines, But you would be surprised at how little the difference is between the cali and flemish when they are even 6 weeks. Unless you have processed a flemish I think people would be surprised at how much meat you really get.
 

Frecs

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I won't go into the FG issue as I would only be repeating what I've heard said. I will say this: I too am often dismayed by how much the Cali's and NZ's are pushed -- as if they are the only choice for good meat production. There are plenty of other meat rabbits available with just as good if not better merit as the Cali/NZ's. I think as small backyard rabbitries just trying to produce for our families and not to please a slaughterhouse buyer, we should lean toward the other breeds. Silver Foxes and others are wonderful rabbits with delicious meat which they produce just as efficiently as a Cali or NZ...and with better dispositions!
 

Dood

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If I were to raise flemish giants for meat.....Ive never used a rabbit for meat just as pets and was just wondering.
They asked for an opinion and I gave it, they are new to meat breeds so I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that they just picked Flemish because they are big rabbits.
I think as small backyard rabbitries just trying to produce for our families and not to please a slaughterhouse buyer, we should lean toward the other breeds.
and you assumed this was the purpose of the question. I would consider a Flemish (or the other rare meat breeds you mentioned) as multi purpose. They can be shown, sold as pets, give fur, an excuse to have popples, be a wonderful hobby AND eaten but the same can be said of any rabbit.

I have eaten Mini Lop but I wasn't about to recommend them as a meat breed!
 

3mina

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I raised NZW at one point along with Satins, Cals, American Chins and a NZ/Cal cross. The NZ ate more for the same weight gain as any two of the other breeds. I am not convinced based on my own experience that NZ give you a better bang for the buck. They were also the hardest to handle in my barn.

I had bought a quartet this time around as well just to make sure my previous experience wasn't a fluke. Out of four rabbits I got zero litters, a 25% mortality rate, an evil buck and one doe whose ear tips dried up and fell off for no discernible reason at a cost of tripling my feed bill.

From the trio of Rex I bought, I went from two does to six after my first litter. All of whom produced large litters from the start. I went from six does to 60 rabbits in one month (not counting bucks). I have excellent carcasses in a very reasonable time frame from easy to handle rabbits that don't cost me half my truck payment monthy to feed with the added bonus of a whole rainbow of colorful pelts I can use.

So I'm inclined to say use whatever breed you want, as long as you're happy with your choice it will work for you.
 

Frecs

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Dood":f902x7n3 said:
I think as small backyard rabbitries just trying to produce for our families and not to please a slaughterhouse buyer, we should lean toward the other breeds.
and you assumed this was the purpose of the question. I would consider a Flemish (or the other rare meat breeds you mentioned) as multi purpose. They can be shown, sold as pets, eaten, fur production, an excuse to have popples and a wonderful hobby.

No, I presumed they were asking about raising meat rabbits. Perhaps they already have Flemish, perhaps not. But, rather than assume to just push New Zealands or Calis on the person, I'd encourage them to look at all the meat breeds and pick what appeals to them. To suggest that NZ and Calis are "only meat" and can't be "multi-purpose" is disingenuous considering that they *are* raised as show rabbits, as pets, and for fur (which is why the white coats are pushed by the meat houses--for selling the pelts). Granted, they don't make the best pets but some folks do keep them as pets.

I think the key is having a breed, or breeds, that you truly enjoy raising. That is the most important thing. Selecting a breed, or breeds (rabbitosis must be accounted for here), that fit best with your intended use(s), space, and preferences will make one's experience much more satisfactory.
 

coffeenutdesigns

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I'm just going to throw another opinion in the mix. Yes, I chose Calis and NZs because they are "common" you can find them easily and replace them easily in my region.

BUT

I am also of the opinion that if you are new to meat production rabbits or new to having to dispatch your own animals...it just seems EASIER to deal with a NZ or Cali, especially NZWs, that all look pretty much the same and aren't too terribly cute and cuddly, when it comes time to dispatch them. The cute ones that are sweet and have pretty colors and distinguishing features are just going to be harder to execute when the time comes. Flemish Giants, IMO, have very expressive almost humanistic faces that for me personally would make it harder to remove myself emotionally on dispatch day.

I know that may not be a big factor to people who have been doing this a long time and dispatched a gazillion rabbits and could probably do it with their eyes closed, but to a person who is NEW to actually killing an animal they have raised and cared for, I think it IS something to be considered.
 

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