Meat rabbit breed of choice

Rabbit Talk  Forum

Help Support Rabbit Talk Forum:

Nibbles

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
381
Reaction score
93
Rabbits are a quick-breeding source of delicious meat enjoyed by many people across the globe. As we all know, there are plenty of breeds that may differ in many ways. When you decided to raise meat rabbits, what breed did you get and why?
 

Keag

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 22, 2022
Messages
69
Reaction score
53
Location
Maine
We are just starting out with rabbits. I decided on Satin & Rex & then decide if I like 1 breed over the other. I wanted duel purpose meat & pelt but also would sell well for Pets.
 

jaxmarblebuns

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2021
Messages
148
Reaction score
164
If I just had them for meat and not for show, I would choose “Rex X Californian,” “Californian X New Zealand” or “Rex X New Zealand”

At fair this year I had a conversation with the judge about how big my crosses are and how fast they grew compared to me pure cals. In short, he said that, especially in meat breeds, if you cross a pure bred rabbit with another pure bred rabbit the offspring will always be mutantly large and fast growing (he had a much better way of explaining it and a term used for it be I can remember what it was.) Ideally “Californian X New Zealand” would be the best mixes because they are both the best bone to meat ratio, but in my experience New Zealand don’t have the best temperaments (which is something very important to me.) So, mixing in the rex which usually have amazing temperament and mothering instincts would, I believe, be the best option.
 

Olbunny

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
156
Reaction score
220
We have a Californian buck n black New Zealand does. Based on meat to bone ratio and grow out rate. Our kits are averaging 5 pounds at 12 weeks live.
Our Californian buck acts like a californian beach bum. Cool mellow dude. Does, one is fantastic. Big litters, accepts orphans, great mama. Real friendly. Another doe that is hit n miss may not make winter. A yearling of ours. A blue colored Californian, black NZ cross. Just had her first litter of 7-8 . Seems to be a good mama, curious friendly. Likes to make purring sounds. Let's us check the kits. Good mama n start of our oun line.
We also adopted a drop off. Satin I think. Black with golden under hair. Beautiful rabbit. Breeded her with the Californian buck. Great kits. Outgrew the Californian- NZ kits. It was interesting because I believe that they were smarter. Or had a great instinct to dominating the food bowls. They would actually attack the other kit mates for the best places to eat.
I've never seen this trait but it would be a good one for growing bigger friers. Undecided about her. Our intention was to breed purebred Californian- NZ rabbits to build our rabbitry. Now we have an unknown breed that had kits that outperformed the others. If I knew her background it would help. She does have excellent fur with thick guard hairs. Probably weights 8 pounds or so. Near the size of our NZ does. Any suggestions appreciated, I'll try to remember pictures.
Hey I'd suggest Californian, NZ cross if protein is your goal. They are what is also suggested by rabbit associations and professional meat breeders. And we don't have much trouble with the does having a bad attitude. We had a Californian doe Rosy. She would grab the door of her pen n shake it when someone walked close if she had kits. Don't mess with her babies. I would have to block out the door way to check the kits without being attacked. But otherwise she was good.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2022
Messages
13
Reaction score
21
Location
Oregon
I made the mistake of starting out with rabbits from a farmer friend who was raising them but not paying much attention to the genetics. Mama bunny (supposedly Rex) turned out to be an incredible super-mama, so we got lucky there. But papa bunny (supposedly Silver Fox) had serious dental issues that could not be resolved no matter what we tried. Now that we have a new papa (actually a Silver Fox) who is young and very healthy, it's clear to me how unhealthy our poor other papa was. I'm not planning on replacing new mama anytime soon, but I think I'll stick with one of her kits when I do, since even though I don't know her genetics, she's been such an incredible problem-free mama! So far just raising for meat, since we harvest young enough that I don't think the skin will be thick enough to use the pelts.
 

jaxmarblebuns

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2021
Messages
148
Reaction score
164
had serious dental issues that could not be resolved no matter what we tried.
We had that problem with our first breeding trio of Rex. We got them from a long time, decently well known, breeder so we thought they would know what they were doing. Should have paid mind to the red flags, they had waaayyy to many rabbits (even for a breeder) and the barn was filthy. Our first buck had sever wolfteeth that we didn't catch till we got home, so we exchanged him (second buck was amazing and lived 9 healthy years) and one of the does got sore hocks so bad it was on her front feet, we tried every thing to help them but it was just too bad. The other doe surprisingly lived well for 6 years and produced average litters of 10-12 for most of that time, the only problem with her is that she was a little aggressive. We learned quickly that seniority does not always equal knowledge, and even good breeders may still sell people there duds
 

RabbitsOfTheCreek

Netherland Dwarf Breeder & Well-known Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Messages
1,370
Reaction score
652
Location
Iowa, USA
We had that problem with our first breeding trio of Rex. We got them from a long time, decently well known, breeder so we thought they would know what they were doing. Should have paid mind to the red flags, they had waaayyy to many rabbits (even for a breeder) and the barn was filthy. Our first buck had sever wolfteeth that we didn't catch till we got home, so we exchanged him (second buck was amazing and lived 9 healthy years) and one of the does got sore hocks so bad it was on her front feet, we tried every thing to help them but it was just too bad. The other doe surprisingly lived well for 6 years and produced average litters of 10-12 for most of that time, the only problem with her is that she was a little aggressive. We learned quickly that seniority does not always equal knowledge, and even good breeders may still sell people there duds
I wish more people would take good care of their rabbits
 

KelleyBee

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Sep 29, 2021
Messages
446
Reaction score
427
Location
Southwestern Pennsylvania
Where does the desire to take good care start? What level of care are you obliged to give?
In my way of thinking about this, "good care" starts with how a person values themselves. If one is raising rabbits for meat, as am I, then IF they value the health of their person and family, they must surely value the health of their food source. This is a very good reason to want to raise your own food in the first place.

A rabbit with bad teeth is still useful for the table, but certainly should not be kept as a breeder or sold to another person for breeding purposes. A good meat raiser is assessing the individual health of each rabbit from the day they are born thru the day of dispatch or to the day of being sold (and beyond).

Does a good rabbit farmer miss something or make a mistake? Yes, because no one is perfect and regardless of knowledge, that knowledge is still constrained at any given moment because life, as well as rabbit raising, is a learning process. As I have always taught my children and now my grandchildren, we learn best from our mistakes, and not from being perfect. Never be afraid to make a mistake, but always fear not learning from your mistakes.

I have recently replaced 2 bucks with bucks who were 4-6 months old for two of my local customers because I was not happy with how the original bucks I had sold them had finished growing out (they were purchased at 8 weeks, almost impossible to predict grow-out quality from this age). The customers hadn't complained, but when I saw the two bucks at 6 months of age, I simply was not at all happy (coat and size issues). It is about my reputation. I want to be known as a good rabbit breeder. But I am still learning, and so I still make mistakes. The important thing about making a mistake is being able to accept you've made a mistake, admit to others you've made a mistake, rectify the error whenever possible, and most importantly, learn from the mistake so you don't make it again.

What level of care are we obliged to give? When caring for any living thing, be it a plant or animal, we are always obliged to give the utmost of care to sustain that living organism in the best of health. Otherwise, it will suffer and die. Now, the word "suffer" is relative. Some people believe a rabbit is suffering if it is not allowed to run free. Of course, others see this differently. I think you get the idea, and I will not go deeply into it. In essence, we should humanely care for our livestock in a manner that keeps them healthy: fresh air, a clean environment, quality food, fresh water daily, regular health checks by the raiser, etc.
 

Olbunny

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Messages
156
Reaction score
220
Good care is about making sure you're animals are well fed and safe. We have thousands of dollars n hours invested. I want the best return. Healthy, happy, clean, energetic leads to the best return.
And animal husbandry is important to our families homeschooling program. It's important for kids to learn the correct way. For us it's keeping them happy. Last year our rabbitry produced over 300 pounds of meat. At near 3 bucks a pound. Cheap hormone n steroid free meat that produce a high quality product with manure, hormone n steroid free.
Treat your animals with respect.
 

jaxmarblebuns

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2021
Messages
148
Reaction score
164
Where does the desire to take good care start? What level of care are you obliged to give?
I think kelleybee answered the firs question the best, as for the second here's a snip it from a paper I'm writing about raising animal/animal welfare. (i may add some of this onto a buyer agreement as well, but idk yet)


"I agree to give these animal etiquette care and abide by all local and federal animal welfare laws.
I will provide my animal with adequate nutrition, and potable water at all times.
If my animal gets sick or injured I will take action to do what is best for the animal, including but not limited to well research home diagnosis and remedies, taking the animals to a well informed professional, providing can keeping up with proper treatment. If the animal is suffering, improving, and/or no longer able to display natural behavior I understand that euthanasia may be the best option."

Technically, you are only required to abide by the law. However, morally, most people agree that you should do more than that. To answer your question “What level of care are you obliged to give?” more directly. You are obligated as a pet/animal owner to provide the most natural, safe, healthy, comfortable care available to you without braking the law. That is what I believe at least. I hope this makes sense and doesn't come off as just some ranting gibberish.
 

kusanar314

Active member
Joined
Jul 14, 2022
Messages
35
Reaction score
37
"I agree to give these animal etiquette adequate care and abide by all local and federal animal welfare laws.
I will provide my animal with adequate nutrition, and potable water at all times.
If my animal gets sick or injured I will take action to do what is best for the animal, including but not limited to well research home diagnosis and remedies, taking the animals to a well informed professional, providing can and keeping up with proper treatment. If the animal is suffering, not improving, and/or no longer able to display natural behavior I understand that euthanasia may be the best option."
I would make a few changes in red, mostly typo correction but I agree with you
 

Frosted Rabbits

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
3,938
Reaction score
13
Location
Ohio
If I just had them for meat and not for show, I would choose “Rex X Californian,” “Californian X New Zealand” or “Rex X New Zealand”

At fair this year I had a conversation with the judge about how big my crosses are and how fast they grew compared to me pure cals. In short, he said that, especially in meat breeds, if you cross a pure bred rabbit with another pure bred rabbit the offspring will always be mutantly large and fast growing (he had a much better way of explaining it and a term used for it be I can remember what it was.) Ideally “Californian X New Zealand” would be the best mixes because they are both the best bone to meat ratio, but in my experience New Zealand don’t have the best temperaments (which is something very important to me.) So, mixing in the rex which usually have amazing temperament and mothering instincts would, I believe, be the best option.
A friend of mine did the Rex x NZ and the meat to bone ratio was fine, but the fur quality was inconsistent. her best meat producers were pure californian.

now, I understand that the smaller Dutch rabbits can be real "meat bricks,"
 

Frosted Rabbits

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
3,938
Reaction score
13
Location
Ohio
I chose Rex and American Chinchilla. Rex, well, I just really love the fur. AmChin, because I have an interest in heritage breeds, and if they are developed in the US, that's all the better. Both have nice personalities, I found the size, at the time, comfortable for me to handle.
after I had to give up having large numbers of rabbits, an AmChin doe i had kindled in my bed, under the covers! yeah, she often had run of the house.
 

jaxmarblebuns

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 27, 2021
Messages
148
Reaction score
164
A friend of mine did the Rex x NZ and the meat to bone ratio was fine, but the fur quality was inconsistent. her best meat producers were pure californian.

now, I understand that the smaller Dutch rabbits can be real "meat bricks,"
Hmm, I'll have to see what happens with my next cali/rex litter. The fur quality on my current ones is amazing, supper dense and soft, one of them almost looks a little crimped as well.
 

Frosted Rabbits

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
3,938
Reaction score
13
Location
Ohio
Hmm, I'll have to see what happens with my next cali/rex litter. The fur quality on my current ones is amazing, supper dense and soft, one of them almost looks a little crimped as well.
the crimping is a Rex trait called Texel. yes, developed in Texas. Not too many curly coated rabbits out there.
 

Latest posts

Top