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Best meat rabbit breed?

Misty Rayne


Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 37
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
Hi all I was wondering what people think is the best breed for raising rabbits for meat? I see alot of rabbitries seem to have Newzeland whites but i was wondering if there was any particular reason like meat to bone ratio or cause the pelts can be sold easier etc. let me know what your thoughts are! thanks for your time!!


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Saybian Morgan
volunteer

Joined: Apr 22, 2011
Posts: 580
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
    
    7
im a champion of the giant chinchilla, there a rare heritage breed, fast forage conversion, great temperment. i dont think you can go wrong, its a matter of what factors appeal to you, helping save an endangered breed ranks higher than abosolute efficiency for me. obviously the breeder matters, you might find a great new zealand but its only great if you feed them pellets. My rabbits are bred to convert ferns and blackberry vine into rabbit meat, if you feed them store pellets they destroy the feed tray in anger.
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1314
Location: Chihuahua Desert
    
    6
to be honest, I prefer mutts. We also use the hides for fur items, and the mutts produce a wide range of colors and patterns. Californians and New Zealands are good, but even my mutts come close to matching their meat performance.

http://www.velacreations.com/food/animals/rabbits.html


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hoodat McCoy


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 66
Location: San Diego
Abe Connally wrote:to be honest, I prefer mutts. We also use the hides for fur items, and the mutts produce a wide range of colors and patterns. Californians and New Zealands are good, but even my mutts come close to matching their meat performance.

http://www.velacreations.com/food/animals/rabbits.html


I agree with you. Meat mutts are the best for numerous reasons, chief among them being that since there is less inbreeding they tend to be healthier. My best line came from a cross New Zealand doe bred to a cross Rex buck. Besides that they are more fun. Every litter is a surprise package with some truly amazing results. I bred one of the daughters back to the Rex buck and was amazed when a pair of Giant Angoras showed up in the litter. That being said however, you will need to do some serious culling to develop a meat mutt line that consistently gives you good meat rabbits. If you just breed willy-nilly without culling your line will eventually revert back to the wild genotype which has too high a bone to meat ratio.
Abe Connally


Joined: Feb 20, 2010
Posts: 1314
Location: Chihuahua Desert
    
    6
yeah I select for breeders, and we have a decent mix, now.

I love the surprises, though. I just had a litter born that are tri-colored! white/tan/black Very awesome pelts there! The funny thing is that the father is a registered New Zealand, the mother is a mutt, but her mother was a registered Californian!

You never know what you are going to get, but I love the possibilities.
Benjamin Bouchard


Joined: May 23, 2012
Posts: 96
    
    2
My lady and I raise Californians for meat and show. The great thing about them is they have very fine bone structure for a high bone/meat ratio and they have nice usable pelts. Their gentle disposition also makes them good pets. As a result, they work well as an all-purpose breed.


"To live at all is miracle enough" ~Mervyn Peake
Baryonyx Knife Co. --Owner
April Ann


Joined: Sep 25, 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Northeastern MN
Hi all...I'm new here.

I've heard really good things about Champagne D'Argents and their crosses for meat. Locally, everybody and their Aunt Bertha seems to be breeding Giant Flemmish. I've always understood that breed to be a slow grower with lots of bone, but apparently, they know something I don't. Currently, I'm waiting for a 4-H'er to get back to me about some Flemmish x Silver Marten x Champagne crosses...sounds very doable, since I'm looking at pasturing.

I did start with the typical Cal bucks over NZ does, but it was kind of hit or miss for pasturing. But if you're new to rabbits and intend to feed pellets, it could be a good way to start. Aside from the mixes, they are probably the most readily available meat type. I got my first rabbits by going to local shows, talking to breeders and judges, and learning from them how to pick out a good rabbit. It's amazing how much you can learn by seeing so many rabbits in one place!


April

Playin' in the dirt
Benjamin Bouchard


Joined: May 23, 2012
Posts: 96
    
    2
April Ann wrote:Hi all...I'm new here.

I've heard really good things about Champagne D'Argents and their crosses for meat. Locally, everybody and their Aunt Bertha seems to be breeding Giant Flemmish. I've always understood that breed to be a slow grower with lots of bone, but apparently, they know something I don't. Currently, I'm waiting for a 4-H'er to get back to me about some Flemmish x Silver Marten x Champagne crosses...sounds very doable, since I'm looking at pasturing.

I did start with the typical Cal bucks over NZ does, but it was kind of hit or miss for pasturing. But if you're new to rabbits and intend to feed pellets, it could be a good way to start. Aside from the mixes, they are probably the most readily available meat type. I got my first rabbits by going to local shows, talking to breeders and judges, and learning from them how to pick out a good rabbit. It's amazing how much you can learn by seeing so many rabbits in one place!


Yeah you'll want to stay away from the Flems for meat. Like you were thinking they don't reach weight rapidly and have a poor meat-to-bone ratio.
Matt Saager


Joined: Jul 17, 2012
Posts: 47
Location: Oregon - Willamette Valley
I have not raised Champagnes myself. But in researching for my rabbits and talking to breeders, they can be difficult to breed reliably.

Most breeders here in Oregon use Californians, New Zealands, or a mix breed.
Kristaps Vinogulajs


Joined: Jun 01, 2012
Posts: 17
Location: Latvia
    
    1
We got decent result by mixing breeds- fastgrovers with heavyweights etc. But remember parents should be the best breed examples as possible. Callifornians + NewZealands was our favorite too.
hoodat McCoy


Joined: Aug 01, 2011
Posts: 66
Location: San Diego
I always like at least some Rex in my lines. Rex have thick loins (the back) and that trait is usually retained in their offspring. Rex are usually consideed mid range in size but a line can easily be developed that equals NZ in size. The meat/bone ratio is also good. If you save pelts they shed less hair when tanned because they are all fur with no long hairs.
Jason Guerard


Joined: May 21, 2013
Posts: 7
We decided to go with Florida Whites.
Mathematically they have the second best feed:meat ratio (CA/NZW being the highest)
The deciding factor for us is they are a smaller rabbit (4-5lbs vs 6-8lbs)
Since there are only two of us they make a perfect meal with no need to refrigerate (ie, no electricity)
YMMV
David Miller


Joined: Sep 13, 2011
Posts: 215
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
Can I request that anyone breeding meat rabbits list their usual dress out weights, weeks to butchering, breeding stock, meat yield per kit, feeding style (pellets, homemade etc, anything that might affect dressout weights). I'm trying to baseline my successes to understand how much more to expect from my efforts. I'll post my updates when I butcher my first batch here soon.
Louise Knight


Joined: Aug 27, 2013
Posts: 3
We have just started our breeding program and decided to go for NZ White and Californian Rabbits

Here is a couple of studies that may interest people

The effect of crossing New Zealand White with Californian rabbits on growth and slaughter traits
http://www.archanimbreed.com/pdf/2009/at09p205.pdf

Postnatal Growth of New Zealand White Rabbit
http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/44/6/1021.full.pdf

L
David Miller


Joined: Sep 13, 2011
Posts: 215
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
Awesome research find, when I dive into rabbits again I'll follow their breeding advice on the cross!
Jen inOr


Joined: Dec 29, 2013
Posts: 1
Louise Knight wrote:We have just started our breeding program and decided to go for NZ White and Californian Rabbits

Here is a couple of studies that may interest people

The effect of crossing New Zealand White with Californian rabbits on growth and slaughter traits
http://www.archanimbreed.com/pdf/2009/at09p205.pdf

Postnatal Growth of New Zealand White Rabbit
http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/44/6/1021.full.pdf

L


Hi! I'm new here and was wondering if anyone could answer a few questions for me about crossing NZW and CAL? My sons started 4-H rabbits this year and are interested in crossing the two. The research shows results for NZWXCAL and CALXNZW. Is the doe or buck the first in the equation? Sorry, I tried to find the info in the article with no success. Also, my boys are interested in perhaps selling rabbits for pelts like other rabbit breeders in our area. Do companies like to have purebreds or is a cross okay as long as it's white? Thanks so much for your time! Jenny
Louise Knight


Joined: Aug 27, 2013
Posts: 3
Jen inOr wrote:
Louise Knight wrote:We have just started our breeding program and decided to go for NZ White and Californian Rabbits

Here is a couple of studies that may interest people

The effect of crossing New Zealand White with Californian rabbits on growth and slaughter traits
http://www.archanimbreed.com/pdf/2009/at09p205.pdf

Postnatal Growth of New Zealand White Rabbit
http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/44/6/1021.full.pdf

L


Hi! I'm new here and was wondering if anyone could answer a few questions for me about crossing NZW and CAL? My sons started 4-H rabbits this year and are interested in crossing the two. The research shows results for NZWXCAL and CALXNZW. Is the doe or buck the first in the equation? Sorry, I tried to find the info in the article with no success. Also, my boys are interested in perhaps selling rabbits for pelts like other rabbit breeders in our area. Do companies like to have purebreds or is a cross okay as long as it's white? Thanks so much for your time! Jenny



Hi Jenny,

Not sure if Im the best one to answer these questions as we are just starting out ourselves, but here goes... the first link tells you the answer to your question but its not very clear Page 206 under Materials and Methods "New Zealand White (NZW) and Californian (CAL) medium-sized rabbits and their F1 reciprocal crosses (♂CAL × ♀NZW and ♂NZW × ♀CAL)" So the follow charts I assume list them in the same order. White cross, cal cross, male cal to white female, male white to cal female.

As to the second part of your questions we are in New Zealand so markets for pelts and rabbits may be different. I wanted pure breeds when I purchased so I assume so do others. Our first litters will all be pure and we will test the market with those. The next litters will be crossed and we will try the market again with them to see if there is any difference with sales. We are not really looking into selling rabbits though just enough to cover costs. As for the pelts we will only be tanning our own for our own use. Someone else who knows more hopefully will reply with a little more helpful information than me.

Our first rabbit had her litter just a couple of days ago.




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