lean rabbits

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akane

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I'm finding a problem with my rabbit care. The rabbits are healthy, well muscled, and producing litters like crazy. However when I take them to shows they are so lean compared to the rabbits there. They aren't rounded up in to fluffballs like the other commercial rabbits but a bit lanky. It's not type. They have the type for that shape. They just stay lean running around the colony and being fed on mostly clover hay with supplemental pellets. I think they look quite healthy and meaty but they place low because they aren't as filled out. When butchered they have a slight bit of fat and tons of muscle. Should they really be that round or is that just show people over feeding a little to try to get a thicker feeling rabbit for show purposes and the fact the rabbits are in small cages instead of hopping around colonies? Am I ever going to compete well or sell well with my lean rabbits or will I have to shove all young in cages and feed them on only pellets so they are filled out more?
 

grumpy

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You answered your own question.....caged rabbits exercise little in comparison to those in a colony. However, rest assured yours are in better shape for production. Lean rabbits are healthier than their overweight counterparts.

I watch my caged rabbits like a hawk, making sure they carry their weight a little to the thin side.

I don't know if you can find a happy medium between "production" weight and "show" weight with the environment they live in at the present.
 

SMR

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Rabbits that are used for production usually don't have the same body shape/bone structure exactly as a show rabbit. I would say, that its not a weight issue, its a structure issue. No matter how much feed you give a show rabbit, if they do not have the structure for it, they're not gonna fill out properly.
 

akane

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My rabbits were bought as show rabbits. At least my purebreds. They are from show lines. They are competing against their own relatives and some very close relatives since I have rare breeds with a major difference in body condition.
 

skysthelimit

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The exercise would keep them lean, and the smaller amount of pellets. Show rabbits aren't just fat, they do have a weight range they have to be in. Are you rabbits meeting senior weight requirements? I have several nice show rabbits type wise, but bone density wise, they just don't make senior weight, even on the pellets. If they have the bone, then feeding pellets with supplemental hay would fill them out.

I don't think either way is wrong or right, but as I have discovered, most here will never make senior weight on hay or natural diets (except one bun did :)
 

MaggieJ

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My meat mutts are lean too, Akane, especially since they have been in the colony. I think it must be a combination of more exercise and less commercial feed causing it. It's not a problem for me, because I have no interest in showing rabbits, but I can see where it would create problems for you. You might have to pull your most promising rabbits from the colony and feed them more pellets to get them into that fat condition that seems to be desirable in show rabbits.
 

akane

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I haven't taken a senior to show and seen their weight yet. They seem the same size by frame as their competition except one doe who is a little small but very nice. She did place last show. My meat mutts grew quite large and definitely reached their full size on our diet. As adults they fill out a lot better than as juniors. I may just have to keep back some juniors to feed on daily pellets and supplements with the hay and then also not breed them so I can show them as seniors. Right now I'm breeding all my show quality does for next year juniors since there's only one show left in the season for us and my bucks are seal american sables so can't be shown. I'm also just getting started in this breed so I need to get breeding. The meat mutts are all going away sunday to make room and we have a new 3 high 2 column cage stack in process, each hole is 30x48", so I can actually cage rabbits.
 

MamaSheepdog

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I would think exercise would be good to condition a rabbit for the table? :shock: Horses and dogs show better in good muscular condition.

Could you pen your junior show prospects together and give them unlimited pellets and hay? Then once you make your final selections you could put them in the wire cages.
 

SMR

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Running breeds (and some others, I know I let mine out and excercise as much as I could and I've had Hollands/Mini Rex/Netherland Dwarfs/New Zealands/English Lops/Lion Heads/Dutch/and some others cross through) do get exercise, other wise they won't have the muscle build (hard solid feel) to them. No one wants a fat rabbit on a show table, fat rabbits do not place well. Maybe there's an issue bone density wise like was talked about earlier? Or could be an over all width/bone size issue...or even some thing else. Just because they are relations, does not mean they are the same on a show table. I've not seen a litter be all showable and there is always ones that are better then the others. What breed are you dealing with? That might help some.
 

skysthelimit

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MamaSheepdog":3ps6odb6 said:
I would think exercise would be good to condition a rabbit for the table? :shock: Horses and dogs show better in good muscular condition.

Could you pen your junior show prospects together and give them unlimited pellets and hay? Then once you make your final selections you could put them in the wire cages.

I've noticed that the dogs on the raw diet do not fill out as fast, nor reach maturity as fast as those on kibble.
 

phillinley

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I've noticed too that are black and blue flemish are not gaining as much weight as their littermates from their previous owner. We feed them the same food, but we give them daily exercise for about a half an hour outside in a caged in run area whereas the previous owner does not have the time. If it costs us on the show table in the long run, so be it. I wouldn't trade the healthier personality and quality of life benefits gained from exercise for show trophies anyway.
 

akane

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They are american sables. I got 2 does half sisters from one person. 1 was quite large for her age but ended with a white toenail and unshowable and the other is a little small but well built and she is round. She just doesn't poof out the sides and over the hips like the others on the table. Then I got a doe and 2 bucks (1 freebie) from another guy. Again good sized doe for her age and nice type. She's a little older and a little closer to being filled out. One buck is probably dog food but I'm keeping him as a backup right now. The other I love his type. The last 3 are seals and himi so can't be shown but will produce 100% sable when bred.

When I got them buck 1
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himi
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older sable doe
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Younger sable doe
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