Where to start? Breeds

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I'm laying out my rabbitry so it will be organized when my rabbits get here. I'm discussing orders with breeders and I wanted to get a second (or third, fourth, or fifth) opinion(s). My primary purpose is meat, but I certainly want to have options. Because every time I read about a breed I change my mind, I have a few questions:

1. My primary interest is meat, but I want to leave my options open for fur, pets, and show. I've considered New Zealand, Rex, Silver Fox, and Champagne D'Argent. What are your thoughts and preferences?

2. It seems most places near me are selling mix breeds. Does that matter? It would seem if I want to keep my options open, mixes aren't preferred?

3. Pedigree is best? When I settle on a breed, is pedigree and pure breeding important? Important enough that I should order from somewhere else if I can't find it local?

4. If buying a trio, should all rabbits be unrelated? I have a local person that wanted to sell me a buck and two does all from the same litter. That just seems off? It would seem like I should get a buck and two does that have no relation.
 
1. My preference is rex, and small, but that fits my one person household best.
2. mix not so fond of, but only 1 experience and bad mother. For specialty furs it is problematic.
3. pedigree tells something about colors, and relations between animals if you buy more (maybe later on) from the same seller/breeder. And it is helpfull for meat breeds to be either pure breed or bred only to meat breeds for growing as needed
4. Yes. Breeding littermates leads to health and fertility problems, close (ish) relations can lead to problems after a few generations. Start with as much variety but within the breed as you can get.
 
I know you have space. Of those choices I have NZ and Rex.

1)I like my New Zealand rabbits for the growth rate and size. Not sure that I will stay with the Rex.They have great pelts, but are smaller. People often run 2 breeds. Expands the market/options.

2)I do like pedigrees - the knowledge offered, (not always accurate on colour), a selling point. I've drven 7-10 hours one way to get a rabbit I wanted. Some people ship across the country.If you buy local mixed you are getting the exact lines everyone around you probably has. Who would buy from you?What would make your rabbit line special?Better?

3)mixed breed : only for a meat/ pet line and they have good pelts. Meaning, you , your family and your dogs are going to eat most of these buns, the pelts are your bonus for your projects because you want a specific colour/look that you might not be able to buy/produce from your other breed.

4) Never buy siblings to breed together. I often sell 2 does from the same litter or line, but the male is distantly related or they buy their male elsewhere. Or vice versa. You want to breed for type. Are they all similarly good or are you going to have to breed 5 generations to get there?

The question is also "Why buy from that particular breeder?" What have their rabbits been used for? Will their line(s) improve your end game? Confirmation?Growth rate? Health?Pelt colour? The NZ I bought were from lines that were winning the meat pen competitions. I wasn't really concerned with ARBA colours - although that can be important. I didn't know that at the time. I have a lot of colours in my NZ line that are not "showable" out of the meat pen. But I love the colours. And they can still compete in meat pens. So I'm going with that. My satins are "type" and meet ARBA standards ,as are my Rex. My satin line also won meat pen as well as other awards. But, I'm not sure I care to show anymore.
 
I have New Zealands and Satins
1. For fur and meat satin, champanges and rex are good.
2. Some of my rabbits are a little mixed. It is just your preference. One of my best does was a mixed rabbit.
3. But if you want to show I would recommend purebred with pedigree. If you have good lines and want to sell them, people would like to have pedigrees.
4. You definitely don't want them all from the same litter. Most people breed relatives if they have good lines because it condenses the genes.
I usually sell them with related dads as my moms are not usually related.
In the end it all comes down to preference. If you want to show then purebred is a really good option. If you want to save pelts then you should pick a fur breed. Just do research and make sure you can trust the breeder.
 
mixed rabbits can be great for your own use but their resale value is generally much lower. I would avoid them if I wanted to maximize my options.

Regarding fur: check that you have some kind of market for that, or plan on it being a personal use labor of love. Processing hides by hand is work, and most of the fur market in my area is absent or monopolized by cheap commercial products imported from china/elsewhere, who are able to undercut any price I would be able to offer. So you better LIKE the kind of fur you would get...I like chinchilla colored fur so that is all I breed. It is hard to make a cohesive garment of multicolored pelts, unless you like the coat of many colors look.

Regarding pets, I find a lot of people like smaller animals, but larger animals are preferred for meat. There are small animals that have chunky meat breed bodies, you can just make more of them to get to your production goals. Dutch, mini lops (not holland lops), mini satins or mini rex are all around 4-6 lbs at adulthood, and have the commercial body type. I will eventually be replacing my 13lb american chinchillas with one of the above breeds, mostly because I am only one person with a dog, and my english angora have shown me how lovely handling smaller rabbits is, and how much less they will eat. Do consider your family size when considering rabbit size! When I was a family of 5 the Am Chins made sense, now, not so much.

I would choose an unrelated buck and I would prefer all 3 rabbits to be unrelated unless they are absolutely exemplary.

What I wish I had was an english angora with a commercial rabbit body. That would be my PERFECT rabbit, lol. The most important thing is to pick a breed that you LOVE, if it sings to you, that is the one you want.
 
I have New Zealands and Satins
1. For fur and meat satin, champanges and rex are good.
2. Some of my rabbits are a little mixed. It is just your preference. One of my best does was a mixed rabbit.
3. But if you want to show I would recommend purebred with pedigree. If you have good lines and want to sell them, people would like to have pedigrees.
4. You definitely don't want them all from the same litter. Most people breed relatives if they have good lines because it condenses the genes.
I usually sell them with related dads as my moms are not usually related.
In the end it all comes down to preference. If you want to show then purebred is a really good option. If you want to save pelts then you should pick a fur breed. Just do research
 
I have New Zealands and Satins
1. For fur and meat satin, champanges and rex are good.
2. Some of my rabbits are a little mixed. It is just your preference. One of my best does was a mixed rabbit.
3. But if you want to show I would recommend purebred with pedigree. If you have good lines and want to sell them, people would like to have pedigrees.
4. You definitely don't want them all from the same litter. Most people breed relatives if they have good lines because it condenses the genes.
I usually sell them with related dads as my moms are not usually related.
In the end it all comes down to preference. If you want to show then purebred is a really good option. If you want to save pelts then you should pick a fur breed. Just do research
Thanks! When we talk about breeding relatives, how closely related are they? If you buy a trio from a breeder, the people I've spoken to said they are "related". If you start with 3 unrelated rabbits, 2 does and 1 buck, then the bucks kits will obviously be related. Do you breed step-brothers/sisters?
 
They would be half-siblings, having the same father and different mother, step-siblings would be unrelated.
Breeding them to their half-brothers dam would be ok. But i would want to have a backup in case of only one buck. If that one doesn't get your doe(s) pregnant/they don't like him you are totally stuck.
I run a when possible get a new buck but if not move bucks son to next doeline kind of breeding program, it is also known as spiral matings. So doeline A, B, C. From mating doe A a buck goes to doeline B, buck from there to doeline C and from there one to doeline A. So does stay in their "line" of birth, bucks go one line over if breeding material. The adults don't move to other lines.
I prefer to keep the doelines unrelated, so i rather bring in outside bucks, although i have a buck from my own breeding in reserve right now.
 
I breed mostly meat rabbits. Typically I settle on a buck that I think is fantastic, then I breed him to some unrelated does.

I will then breed him to his daughters and granddaughters as long as he is alive, and as long as I see no evidence of defects showing up in the kits. If I do see problems, I am more likely to replace my does, because their prime breeding years are shorter anyway, and honestly your buck is half your herd. He should be a freaking rockstar. If you are going to splurge on a good rabbit, make it your buck.

I have been successful with this method for up to 5 years, I could have gone longer I believe, but at about 5 years I usually want to try a different breed. I mostly find this strategy effective for meat rabbits, because you can eat your mistakes. You will learn a lot. However if you are breeding for high volume, you might want to use a different strategy, because it will be more cost effective to bring in a new buck than replace 10 does.
 
I have New Zealands and Satins
1. For fur and meat satin, champanges and rex are good.
2. Some of my rabbits are a little mixed. It is just your preference. One of my best does was a mixed rabbit.
3. But if you want to show I would recommend purebred with pedigree. If you have good lines and want to sell them, people would like to have pedigrees.
4. You definitely don't want them all from the same litter. Most people breed relatives if they have good lines because it condenses the genes.
I usually sell them with related dads as my moms are not usually related.
In the end it all comes down to preference. If you want to show then purebred is a really good option. If you want to save pelts then you should pick a fur breed. Just do research
I didn't write this? it's like I was replying to

Her Farmstead Rabbitry

 
Thanks! When we talk about breeding relatives, how closely related are they? If you buy a trio from a breeder, the people I've spoken to said they are "related". If you start with 3 unrelated rabbits, 2 does and 1 buck, then the bucks kits will obviously be related. Do you breed step-brothers/sisters?
To explain it a little better. I sold a doe to a lady. Then she came back wanting a buck that could breed with her doe. So I sold her a buck from a different litter. The does dad is the bucks grandpa. If I started with an unrelated trio then you could keep the babies from both litters and breed them. Hope this helps!
 
To explain it a little better. I sold a doe to a lady. Then she came back wanting a buck that could breed with her doe. So I sold her a buck from a different litter. The does dad is the bucks grandpa. If I started with an unrelated trio then you could keep the babies from both litters and breed them. Hope this helps!
Thank you! I think I'll get a breeding trio at this point and see how it goes? I'm starting with 6 30 x 36 cages. That should give me room for grow outs and if I want to keep some for fur initially? If all goes well, I'll let the kids decide if they want to show and decide what to do from there. I really have no clue what I'm doing, but I never do when I start these adventures. I read all I can and figure it out.

At this point I would pay for a well run rabbitry to spend two hours showing me around and answering questions.
 
Thank you! I think I'll get a breeding trio at this point and see how it goes? I'm starting with 6 30 x 36 cages. That should give me room for grow outs and if I want to keep some for fur initially? If all goes well, I'll let the kids decide if they want to show and decide what to do from there. I really have no clue what I'm doing, but I never do when I start these adventures. I read all I can and figure it out.

At this point I would pay for a well run rabbitry to spend two hours showing me around and answering questions.
I let people come look at my rabbitry before they buy from me. I just did this and I sold rabbit meat as well! Any good rabbitry would be more than willing to answer your questions!
 
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