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Author Topic: The rabbit thread  (Read 10167 times)

Offline KFhunter

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The rabbit thread
« on: July 15, 2014, 09:37:36 PM »
So I'm about to raise me some meat rabbits



built a hutch out of scrap wood I had laying around, scrap hinges too.  The tin and OSB are new though. 

I got some water bottles on the front but there is a watering system I built behind the cages.  There is nipples stuck in a 3/4 PVC pipe while I'll circulate low psi heated water with a pond pump in a heated water tank.   Should keep ice free *cross fingers*

Anyone got NZW's around Spokane or north hit me up!



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Offline ghosthunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2014, 10:21:46 PM »
Fashion some metal skirts around the legs to. Keep rats from climbing up the legs.
They raise heck with small bunnies.

They will be attracted to the smell of the feed.
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2014, 10:35:14 PM »
Fashion some metal skirts around the legs to. Keep rats from climbing up the legs.
They raise heck with small bunnies.

They will be attracted to the smell of the feed.


no rats here,  lot's of field mice and gophers...no norway rats.
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Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 11:34:19 AM »
Nice set up.

 If on FB, try searching for rabbit groups in the area. Search for District 1 ARBA - hundreds of breeders on there  ;)

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 07:08:19 PM »
found a neat idea on some rabbit site I was on....


I'm going to skirt the 4x4 legs with some cheap plywood or OSB and run an evaporative cooler from the bottom to blow up through the cages and out the top.  Can breed all summer long that way by keeping them cool   :tup:

I'll hinge the front so I can lift the skirt and still shovel out the fertilizer.
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Offline SniperDanWA

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 09:09:12 AM »
I can't remember where I got this pic, but I like the design.
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Offline Fishstiq

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 09:36:03 AM »
I can't remember where I got this pic, but I like the design.

That's the one I built a couple years ago.  It worked great!  The thread...

http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,132764.msg1769216.html#msg1769216
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2014, 04:33:06 PM »
nice hutch Fishstiq, prettier than mine for sure.



You still raising rabbits?
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Offline Fishstiq

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2014, 05:07:30 PM »
Nope, got out of it.  It turned into to big of a PITA when my work picked up and I couldn't keep up with it.  Also, those little buggers stink to high heaven!!!   :chuckle: 

We have lots of cottontails around our place, so when I feel like rabbit it's not a problem to pick one off.   :tup:
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”


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Offline SniperDanWA

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2014, 06:11:38 PM »
I can't remember where I got this pic, but I like the design.

That's the one I built a couple years ago.  It worked great!  The thread...

http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,132764.msg1769216.html#msg1769216

Yeah, I really liked that setup. 
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impossible." - Vince Lombardi

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2014, 07:41:33 PM »
Nope, got out of it.  It turned into to big of a PITA when my work picked up and I couldn't keep up with it.  Also, those little buggers stink to high heaven!!!   :chuckle: 

We have lots of cottontails around our place, so when I feel like rabbit it's not a problem to pick one off.   :tup:

I imagine the barrels without drains would stink pretty good.  I don't remember the last rabbit hutch similar to the one I pictured above as stinking.
but of course that was a long time ago too


I don't think they stink too bad when you let all the poo fall to the ground and it's kept shoveled out pretty good.  The hutch is right in the garden so I can just shovel it right onto the raised garden beds.


I STILL don't have any rabbits in it yet though lol
Hard to find this time of year people lay off the breeding in the heat.

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Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2014, 11:01:10 AM »
Nope, got out of it.  It turned into to big of a PITA when my work picked up and I couldn't keep up with it.  Also, those little buggers stink to high heaven!!!   :chuckle: 

We have lots of cottontails around our place, so when I feel like rabbit it's not a problem to pick one off.   :tup:

I imagine the barrels without drains would stink pretty good.  I don't remember the last rabbit hutch similar to the one I pictured above as stinking.
but of course that was a long time ago too


I don't think they stink too bad when you let all the poo fall to the ground and it's kept shoveled out pretty good.  The hutch is right in the garden so I can just shovel it right onto the raised garden beds.


I STILL don't have any rabbits in it yet though lol
Hard to find this time of year people lay off the breeding in the heat.

It must be an Eastside thing to lay off breeding. We breed all year long. I currently have 21 kits, ranging from 2 weeks to 10 weeks. 2 more leaving tonight to another breeder who wants our lines.  :IBCOOL:
If I had larger meat breeds I'd hook ya up.  8)
If you use wood pellets for animal bedding, it really cuts down on the smell. Way better than shavings.
I kno a Rex breeder that always has rabbits to cull.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 12:51:20 PM by grundy53 »

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2014, 08:23:38 PM »
I got 3 tattooed New Zealand White does that need knocked up.


got a NZW tattooed buck coming hopefully here soon.


Also got dibs on a tattooed California buck.



guess that's what I get for posting a wanted ad on ARBA website  :chuckle:
All these show rabbits!   Well,  as long as they eat good  :tup:
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2014, 04:28:12 PM »
Nope, got out of it.  It turned into to big of a PITA when my work picked up and I couldn't keep up with it.  Also, those little buggers stink to high heaven!!!   :chuckle: 

We have lots of cottontails around our place, so when I feel like rabbit it's not a problem to pick one off.   :tup:

I imagine the barrels without drains would stink pretty good.  I don't remember the last rabbit hutch similar to the one I pictured above as stinking.
but of course that was a long time ago too


I don't think they stink too bad when you let all the poo fall to the ground and it's kept shoveled out pretty good.  The hutch is right in the garden so I can just shovel it right onto the raised garden beds.


I STILL don't have any rabbits in it yet though lol
Hard to find this time of year people lay off the breeding in the heat.

It must be an Eastside thing to lay off breeding. We breed all year long. I currently have 21 kits, ranging from 2 weeks to 10 weeks. 2 more leaving tonight to another breeder who wants our lines.  :IBCOOL:
If I had larger meat breeds I'd hook ya up.  8)
If you use wood pellets for animal bedding, it really cuts down on the smell. Way better than shavings.
I kno a Rex breeder that always has rabbits to cull.

too hot


I just lost a little buck I had planned to use as a breeder.   Was fine this AM been eating / drinking good but when the weather topped 100 today he kicked off.

3 does left in the hutch,  all are panting pretty good but alive still.   Need to get something in quick for cooling even if it's frozen 2 liter bottles.


Going to rig up copper coils they can lay on and pump cool water through.

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Offline Mark Brenckle

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2014, 05:15:50 PM »
Are they in direct sunlight? Is there a tree you can put them under? Maybe just set a sprinkler or mister up to cool off the whole area.

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2014, 05:44:38 PM »
I situated the hutch under a cottonwood tree and put cedar planks to block the evening sun.


They get to see the sunrise but by 8am they're in partial shade, and by 11 they're in full shade.
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2014, 06:27:11 PM »
I did the frozen 2 liter bottle thing, they seemed to really like it.  You have to have a bunch though, as I recall they like chewing holes in them once they thaw!!!
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Offline grundy53

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2014, 07:13:23 PM »
I did the frozen 2 liter bottle thing, they seemed to really like it.  You have to have a bunch though, as I recall they like chewing holes in them once they thaw!!!
:yeah: I froze gallon milk jugs full of water.

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Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2014, 01:29:13 PM »
perk of being in the trade, but frozen porcelain(not ceramic) tiles. They can lay on them and don't take up as much room in the freezer.

During fair we will use the frozen water bottles.

Good luck

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2014, 04:54:45 PM »
thinking about coiling up some 1/4 inch copper tubing and gluing it to the bottom of a 12"x12" porcelain tile, then gluing a pine backer board to insulate and protect the copper tubing.  Like a sandwich with the copper coil in the center.

Then I'll run water from the copper coil to a mister and run cold ground water through it.

The mister would be setup so it wouldn't get the rabbits wet, just cool the hutch roof and general area.
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Offline Mark Brenckle

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2014, 02:14:38 PM »
thinking about coiling up some 1/4 inch copper tubing and gluing it to the bottom of a 12"x12" porcelain tile, then gluing a pine backer board to insulate and protect the copper tubing.  Like a sandwich with the copper coil in the center.

Then I'll run water from the copper coil to a mister and run cold ground water through it.

The mister would be setup so it wouldn't get the rabbits wet, just cool the hutch roof and general area.
  How did this work out for you?  Bunnies all lounged out in their trpical oasis?

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2014, 04:28:57 PM »
I'll post it up when I get it done..




Using frozen 1/2 gallon mason jars and misters for the time being.  Just can't fill the jar up past 3/4 full and lay it sideways to freeze and it works fine, nice thing is they can't chew holes in it  :tup:
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2014, 04:54:03 PM »
OK time to breed them. 
So do I toss the doe in with the buck and wait for it?

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Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2014, 08:47:36 PM »
To start. There are a few different ways, but never put the buck in does cage  :yike:   :bdid:
1. Place doe with buck. Leave in for 30-60 minutes
2. Use a neutral place like a table with carpet square
3. Actually put doe in position and place buck on her.

If not in a cage, be careful as the buck falls off when complete. Had one fall off our table  :chuckle:

You want the buck to "finish" at least twice . First time may have been blanks. Clean out the pipes.  he will grunt and fall over.  We will sometimes repeat approximately 8 hours later.Usually results in larger litters as both horns of uterus are fertilized.

Approximately 24 days later put in the nest box. Give her some hay or wood chips to make the nest with.  Around day 29 she will pull hair and kindle on day 30.  Average is 28-31 days.   
Ours are almost always 30-31 , except one time was 33 days.

Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2014, 04:16:18 PM »
ok one doe ran circles around the cage and finally piled up in the corner all hunched up tail down scared to death.  I think he got her once as he fell off.  I'll try her again in the AM when it's cool out still.






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Offline Special T

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2014, 04:29:59 PM »
Looking for luv in all the wrong places!
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2014, 11:14:11 PM »
Thats typical.
Thats why I listed #3. Some does just dont cooperate  :dunno:

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2014, 11:59:12 PM »
I raised rabbits for 2 years and had many successful litters, here is what I used to do alot to get does to breed.

If the doe has her tail tucked with her face in the corner it probably wont work, I found it helps alot to "wine and dine" them first.

Put a puppy pen out on grass or partition off a small grassy run,  throw in some dandelions or veggie scraps as well. After a few minutes of sniffing it out she should start to hop around and do 180 degree spin jumps called "binkies", (look it up) next, the goal is to get the male in the run/cage while she is distracted.
 Now be ready to separate them if necessary, as rabbits can have nasty fights, just pick them up like a big kitten if you need to separate.
 Usually, if she was doing the binky jumps she will present and allow 1 or 2 breedings, after that she will not let him breed but will often tolerate hanging out for awhile, sometimes even cuddling post-coitus.
As said before, NEVER PUT HIM IN HER CAGE, except in the situation I described above, in NEW, neutral territory with lush grass or edible plants and room to jump around a bit, but small enough to catch them, 6'x8' would be about perfect.

Also I found rabbits are much happier and productive in larger cages then are typically used, and can do very well in a "tractor' setup.
I would give them bedding material at 27-28 days and would usually get a litter on day 31.
Make sure to handle your does and spoil them, so when they get broody and cranky they will still tolerate you and wont stomp any kits.
GOOD LUCK!

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2014, 12:22:48 PM »
Did your does ever take?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 05:39:42 PM by Machias »
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2014, 07:26:31 PM »
My does have taken twice now  :tup:

Problem is they're birthing on the wire, not sure what's going on with that yet.  Thinking about changing out the nest boxes for something a little more bird house like.  Sure would like to get to the bottom of that issue.
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2014, 05:39:25 PM »
Young does?  If I had a doe do it more than once I would change her out.
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2014, 08:52:43 AM »
Young does?  If I had a doe do it more than once I would change her out.
          :yeah:

Only had 1 litter born on the wire in the last 4 years. That doe was culled out.
We breed for both quality and temperment since our rabbits double for 4-H


KEEP THE BEST, GET RID OF THE REST  :tup:

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2014, 09:02:10 AM »

The best mom I had laid her first litter on the wire, she figured it out the 2nd time though and was great after that.  New mom jitters I guess...

If she did it twice....  Yeah, crock pot time.
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2014, 03:57:51 PM »
3rd times a charm.

none on the wire and all snug and warm in the nest box.  I pulled a good wad of hair last night though and helped her out some, she gave birth and so I got a bunch of warm kits in the box this morning.  She pulled more hair and did a good job.    :tup:
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2014, 07:30:27 PM »
 :tup:
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2014, 09:26:51 AM »
 :yike:

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2014, 09:50:09 AM »
:yike:

I thought it deserved it's own thread so I deleted it here and moved it to off topics
http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,167053.0.html

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Offline jasnt

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2014, 11:08:27 AM »
3rd times a charm.

none on the wire and all snug and warm in the nest box.  I pulled a good wad of hair last night though and helped her out some, she gave birth and so I got a bunch of warm kits in the box this morning.  She pulled more hair and did a good job.    :tup:
we've had some of our first and second time moms birth on the wire,I think its just in experience.  One tip for keeping them cool is a concrete block. 8x16x1" patio paver. Helps them cool off and helps keep their claws short. They will lay on it when it gets hot
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2015, 07:47:17 PM »
The rabbitry is going in high gear now  :tup:


one doe that wouldn't breed made rabbit dumplings, awesome  :EAT: I'm temped to let all the rabbits grow full size just for these dumplings they were that good.  Chicken dumplings can't hold a candle to rabbit dumplings.

I let the fryers grow up a wee bit too much, I need to butcher sooner they got too big and too chewy for a fryer.


I'm saving all the front legs and freezing them together for a huge rabbit wing (think buffalo wings) feast this summer.
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2015, 11:32:25 PM »
The rabbitry is going in high gear now  :tup:


one doe that wouldn't breed made rabbit dumplings, awesome  :EAT: I'm temped to let all the rabbits grow full size just for these dumplings they were that good.  Chicken dumplings can't hold a candle to rabbit dumplings.

I let the fryers grow up a wee bit too much, I need to butcher sooner they got too big and too chewy for a fryer.


I'm saving all the front legs and freezing them together for a huge rabbit wing (think buffalo wings) feast this summer.
ive had prairie dog wings that were amazing. I'd bet those rabbit wings are too!!
🐾

"... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."
Charles R. Swindoll

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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #40 on: June 06, 2016, 08:50:54 AM »
Just found this thread, any updates? I'm thinking this would be a cool thing to try
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2016, 10:21:57 AM »
Still putting rabbit in the freezer  :tup:

most of my does have been replaced except one, now I've got 4 young cali/nzw cross does and one nzw purebred left over from my original 3.  I'll cull the young does after they show me if they can raise a litter or not. 

I was holding on to doe's too long not anymore.  On the first litter I expect losses but if they show signs of nesting I'll give them another try (pull hair, move hay to make nest etc)
2nd litter I expect some losses but not the whole litter
3rd litter I expect a few dead but most of the litter survive
4 and up I'll tolerate 1 maybe 2 dead but I want at least 10 alive and thriving


Also found I need to keep them bred more, any long pauses in litters it's almost like they forget what's up.  A successful doe if left un-bred too long might loose litters again when you start back up.  You have better success if you keep them pumping out kits, it's a commitment!  I like to time the breeding so I'm butchering every 9 weeks roughly  (1 month gestation, 5 weeks growth)  I'd rather butcher a bunch all at once, make it a production.


Biggest difference with meat rabbits vs show rabbits is very high culling rates for meat breeds.  Meat rabbit you're breading for food and dead kits don't make food,  secondly you breed for carcass quality. It's difficult to achieve both high (successful) birth rates and carcass quality. 

Show rabbits you breed for conformation almost exclusively and will tolerate low birth rates if the doe puts out fantastic looking kits.
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2016, 11:31:30 AM »
Still putting rabbit in the freezer  :tup:

most of my does have been replaced except one, now I've got 4 young cali/nzw cross does and one nzw purebred left over from my original 3.  I'll cull the young does after they show me if they can raise a litter or not. 

I was holding on to doe's too long not anymore.  On the first litter I expect losses but if they show signs of nesting I'll give them another try (pull hair, move hay to make nest etc)
2nd litter I expect some losses but not the whole litter
3rd litter I expect a few dead but most of the litter survive
4 and up I'll tolerate 1 maybe 2 dead but I want at least 10 alive and thriving


Also found I need to keep them bred more, any long pauses in litters it's almost like they forget what's up.  A successful doe if left un-bred too long might loose litters again when you start back up.  You have better success if you keep them pumping out kits, it's a commitment!  I like to time the breeding so I'm butchering every 9 weeks roughly  (1 month gestation, 5 weeks growth)  I'd rather butcher a bunch all at once, make it a production.


Biggest difference with meat rabbits vs show rabbits is very high culling rates for meat breeds.  Meat rabbit you're breading for food and dead kits don't make food,  secondly you breed for carcass quality. It's difficult to achieve both high (successful) birth rates and carcass quality. 

Show rabbits you breed for conformation almost exclusively and will tolerate low birth rates if the doe puts out fantastic looking kits.
A lot of the meat breeders I've talked to will tell you that a good meat animal is a good show animal. Good show animals = Good carcass and flesh quality, body structure, etc.
:dunno:
I've also heard from a guy who was crossing NZ's with something else and quit doing that because the pure NZ's were nicer meat animals than the crosses. He's eliminated all his crosses and runs only pure NZ white's now.
As far as culling goes, show animals get culled too, as babies mostly. Or they become free pets for someone else. No sense in feeding animals that won't show. I'd venture to say more show animals get culled than meat animals do(except when it's time to process I guess).

 
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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #43 on: June 06, 2016, 12:27:56 PM »
Those guys/gals are probably a little further along than I am and have been culling for many generations.

All mine came from the same breeder who focused on showing them above all else as she was in the show circuit, I learned a lot on what makes a great meat rabbit carcass but have been plagued with lost litters. 

I'm doing my part, I use an alarm calendar to make sure the nest boxes are prepped and in the hutches on time.   I think drop in nest boxes would have saved a large number of kits.  I want to rebuild my hutch.


 






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Re: The rabbit thread
« Reply #44 on: June 06, 2016, 12:45:10 PM »
Those guys/gals are probably a little further along than I am and have been culling for many generations.

All mine came from the same breeder who focused on showing them above all else as she was in the show circuit, I learned a lot on what makes a great meat rabbit carcass but have been plagued with lost litters. 

I'm doing my part, I use an alarm calendar to make sure the nest boxes are prepped and in the hutches on time.   I think drop in nest boxes would have saved a large number of kits.  I want to rebuild my hutch.


 








If you're not using the drop in nest boxes, I bet you that's your problem. I bought a couple of them made out of plywood. I understood they insulate better than the metal ones so I went with them. They look easy enough to make. I can post some pics later on if you want.
I've only bred one litter so far and it was a 8 month old dutch. She kindled 7, 3 were on the wire and didn't live. 4 in the box and they all lived. We only kept 1 that we thought was show quality but she's got a DQ. My kid shows them all with 4H and ARBA.
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