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Author Topic: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?  (Read 2202 times)

Offline HighlandLofts

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Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« on: August 12, 2017, 08:06:02 PM »
Any one breeding meat rabbits? I picked up a couple of New Zealand does a few months ago and have two litters about three weeks old. It's time to re-breed them. The first time around was with a male Rex Rabbit we got last year as a pet for the grand kids.

This time around I want to breed one with a Flemmish Giant and the other one with a New Zealand. I plan on keeping two does out of the next breeding for breeding stock.
The ones we have now will be ready to butcher the end of September to the beginning of October.

Years ago I use to buy butcher rabbits and cook them in the oven with Shake & Bake for chicken.
This time around I want to try new things, marinaded in Italian Dressing cooked out on a charcoal grill. I do this with chicken a lot, I also do this with boneless pork chops.
I use boneless chicken breast and cube it up, after I marinade it a couple of days in Wishbone Zesty Italian Dressing put it on wood skews and cook it out side on the charcoal I'll put it on Italian Bread and have at it.

I'll try some simmered in spaghetti sauce.

I want to use a chicken & dumpling recipe but use rabbit instead.

Once I get the other two does up to six months old I'll buy a breeding buck to use instead on the Rex Rabbit.

It will be a fun little project, I'll sell a few of the off spring to help cover the cost of the feed. This breeding had thirteen babies, one litter of seven, one of six.

I built a four stall rabbit hutch, two pens on the bottom, two on top. This time around i can take the devider out of the top so the little ones will have more room until it's D-Day.
Once I get four does going I'll build a movable pen that will house the young rabbits until they are butcher age. Something like a chicken tractor, but off the ground with a all wire floor. Real light weight so it will be easy to move around.

Looking for favorite way to cook rabbits if any one wants to chime in.
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Offline h20hunter

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 08:07:55 PM »
@Widgeondeke

I had some meat bunnies.  Slow cooked them, pulled the meat, made pot pie. Delicious.
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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 08:08:53 PM »
There's some pretty good threads in here about the subject, here is one I started on a while back


http://hunting-washington.com/smf/index.php/topic,157067.0.html
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Offline HighlandLofts

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 09:15:27 PM »
That was some interesting read, I have been looking at some stuff on the computer for rabbit breeding information. Az Rabbits was very helpful.
I did every thing they advised and so far everything is fine.
I built the breeding boxes they recommeded, did it their way every step of the way and had two nice litters of rabbits.
The litter with six babies are a little bigger then the seven litter babies. 
No dead babies, all look healthy.
The two does I have are gloss black and dull black with flecking. Next breeding will be with different color bucks so I can choose two nice looking breeding does, maybe three if the one with the little babies raises another small size litter.

Here is the AZ. Rabbit site,        http://azrabbits.com/useful-information/breeding.html

Haven't gone beyond this section yet. But will be here shortly.




If I replace that doe I guess it's crock pot time or pressure cooker time.

I replaced the bedding in the nest boxes today and replaced new saw dust & hay.


I'm sure there are things that I was unaware of that will come to light as this goes on. But in the mean time it will be a fun adventure.

I wonder it you could live trap a male cottontail and have it breed with a domestic rabbit?

H20, Thank you for coming down to help me out with the reloading, I got it down now. I bought a new 4th Gen. Glock 17 from Bud's Guns. picked it up yesterday from Sound Loan & Pawn.
I bought a nice Galco Jack-Ass shoulder holster from a fellow WA-Hunting member last winter for this gun and carried it today.
When I get done on here I will be reloading some 9mm ammo tonight.

I did take an old Pacific single stage press and had it drilled & tapped for the Hornady Lock&Load adapter. So now I have two Lock & Load presses. One for rifle and one for pistol.

The throw is different so I can't interchange the two. One complete set up for pistol and one complete set up for rifle.


I did go back to az rabbit site and got on to butchering.

http://azrabbits.com/useful-information/butchering.html
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 10:57:33 PM by HighlandLofts »
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Offline jackelope

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Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 07:48:12 AM »
We have rabbits. We don't raise them for meat but we have rabbits. I know a few others on the forum that have them.

The smaller litters will almost always have bigger babies. If you have a big litter and a small litter, split them up. A doe has 9 babies and another has 5. If they're the same age within a few days, take a couple babies out of the litter of 9 and put them in the litter of 5. Most does will foster ok.

I'd not recommend bringing a wild rabbit into your herd. Like...that should be the last thing you should ever do.

Flemish giants are big boned. Poor meat/weight ratio.

You ought to consider line breeding your animals. Get yourself a nice NZ buck and he can breed all your does. Breed for the best quality animals you can and you'll have great meat producers. You can line breed 2-3 generations and be ok. Get yourself a buck. Breed to 2-3 does. Keep a doe out of each litter and breed back to that buck and breed the buck back to the original does. Then line breed a doe from each of those litters again and so on. You'll have more rabbits to eat than you know what to do with.

If you need help finding a buck let me know. I pretty much know someone who keeps just about every breed.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 07:57:37 AM by jackelope »
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 07:52:13 AM »
PS dull black and flecking doesn't sound like a New Zealand. Got a pic?
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Offline HighlandLofts

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2017, 11:54:58 AM »
I can take pictures of them, but can't figure out how to post them on here. I can e mail them to you.

I bought these two does from the same litter, they came from up by Sumas.

The hay I bought for them is orchard grass, would alfalfa be better?

do you know any one close to arlington that has a buck I could breed them on this time around? i don't want to buy a breeding buck until I get two more does up to breeding age which would be out of the next cycle of babies.
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2017, 01:40:33 PM »
Grass hay is what you want. No alfalfa for rabbits.

I don't know anybody that studs out their rabbit bucks. Too much risk for issues to transfer from one rabbit to another. I wouldn't do it either.

:fire.:

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Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2017, 01:43:45 PM »
You could buy a breeding age buck for $20-30 I bet. Keep him for your herd buck. You can't breed them too much.
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Offline inchtowntracking

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2017, 02:07:16 PM »
We do like a free range thing with ours and they just go to the field for food and each has their own territory they tend to stay in.

It's right at that time for use to look into getting a couple more bucks and butchering the ones we have. They appear to regulate themselves with the breeding. We usually get a big spurt in the spring and fall. They have stopped for the last month and we don't get any bunnies in the winter. 

The rabbits seem to be way happier this way. The bad part is the neighbors cat and the owl that visits every once in awhile.  We have around a hundred rabbits right now once we were able to scare predators away.

Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 11:33:47 AM »
Good info so far. @Jackelope  learned well you have      :chuckle:

my kids have cut back on the bunnies. They currently aren't breeding. Focusing more on 4-H poultry, gardening and creative arts.

As stated:
no on alfalfa, Grass or Timothy is the best hay. I also give my rabbits treats from the garden: radishes, strawberries, root crop greens such as carrots, turnips, beets, parsnip, etc
Yes, Flemish are big boned. Look into California, Florida Whites, NZ, Rex or Chinchilla for meat.
Honestly, any breed can be eaten: even the backstraps of a Jersey Wooley make a nice snack :yike:

Saw dust has fine particulates and can cause respiratory issues. Pine shavings, pellets are good. I used hay in a pinch cause they'd eat there bedding

if we culled at 12 weeks or younger, fried em up. the older ones hit the crock pot or ground for tacos  :drool:  I like me some rabbit tacos




Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2017, 03:42:43 PM »
We were using gem white shavings for litter for a while but recently switched to the dry den pellets. The stuff is magical at keeping the odor and ammonia smell down.


We feed pretty much only pellets and a treat mix/conditioner stuff for show purposes. Occasionally we give them some sweet potato chunk or some carrot tops or radish tops as a treat. Too many vegetables can be too rich or make them fat.
My wife shows jersey woolies and my daughter shows Dutch rabbits. A few of the Dutch have gone to folks' freezers but they'd be the Cornish game hens of the rabbit world.







:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

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Offline Machias

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2017, 03:56:15 PM »
I just put 14 in the freezer last weekend.  Mine are NZ and California does bred to a Harlequin buck...some pretty colored babies for sure!
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2017, 03:59:59 PM »
I lost electricity last winter and the heated water bottles all froze up and broke, so everyone went to the freezer rather than buy 8 new water bottles.


I'll start again eventually but I want to rebuild the hutch entirely.  It'll be a big hutch tractor that's cattle proof and designed for feeding hay mostly.   1/2 chickens and 1/2 rabbits in this big mobile hutch I move around with the Kubota.
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2017, 04:09:55 PM »
Always look at hay as mostly a filler lacking the nutrition they need. Dunno.
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2017, 04:13:49 PM »
pellets got too spendy and difficult to source "sorry we're out, next Friday we'll have more"  or  "we can't get that brand anymore, would you like this brand?"

cost me a bunch of money and made it less fun

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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2017, 04:23:26 PM »
and why on earth wouldn't you feed alfalfa hay to a meat breed rabbit  :dunno:  I fed it all the time  :dunno:  they loved it, I'd mix it with grass.  They really loved oat hay, it was cut and baled while the oat heads were in the milk stage and the rabbits went bonkers for that.

While they were on hay I did toss in trace mineral salt licks.

While I was feeding hay I did offer free choice rabbit pellets, but they didn't consume much at all.


I want to rebuild the hutches with primary feed being hay, I'm thinking half moon cages where the hay drops into the valleys. 

kind of like this masterpiece  :chuckle:


« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 04:31:39 PM by KFhunter »
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Offline KFhunter

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2017, 04:35:59 PM »
another thing I want is the buck to has his own stand alone hut so I don't need to worry about spray guards or wet does.  then I want a separate breeding area that's neutral ground. 

Does would run round and round the pen and get nails caught in the wire and bleed, obviously this would hurt, and I think negatively effect breeding.   A round pen on the lawn would be better, or outdoor carpet maybe.  Put the buck and doe in a neutral area free of obstacles.
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2017, 05:46:11 PM »
We mostly table breed to reduce the risk of a pissed off doe taking a chunk out of a buck. Or put them in neutral ground in a smaller cage where they cant run around so much. As far as alfalfa goes, I've always been taught that it's too rich for them and not good for their stomachs. I've not raised meat breeds but I've been around a crap ton of rabbits and super knowledgeable breeders and nobody feeds alfalfa. Same reason we don't feed a ton of vegetables. Obviously do what you think is best for your animals but our rabbits get a handful of hay a day and the proper amount of pellets per their size. They pretty much all eat all their pellets and don't go overweight. My kids' rabbits win best of breed fairly often so I guess we're doing something right. We order in feed monthly through our local feed store. Always have an extra bag on hand. I've got it pretty well dialed in that 4 bags a month leaves me with a leftover bag just in case when the next 4 bags arrive. If there's a shipping delay, we're good.
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Offline HighlandLofts

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2017, 05:57:47 PM »
I've got the Rex buck in a hutch all by his self about thirty feet from the does. I think I'll buy a California or a NZ buck to re-breed these two does I have and keep two does out of that litter.

If I like the way these finish off I might keep one doe from this batch.

If any one needs any to start out I'll have extra from these two sets of little ones,Black New Zealand, dark gray Rex cross.
They will be weaned at the end of the month.
If any one wants to try one for the table hit me up with a pm.

My plan is to have four breeding does and two bucks.
Some young ones for the table and some to get rid of to help cover the cost of feed.


Is there any Don'ts on produce they shouldn't have?
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2017, 09:51:48 PM »
Maybe it's different when you're raising meat rabbits but I don't think rabbits need any produce. Especially not to save money. You can buy a good quality feed for $18 or so for a 50# bag. Whatever you do, give it sparingly. Rabbits don't have the best stomachs for handling rich food. Ours get some carrot and radish tops, a chunk of sweet potato now and then.  A quality pellet has all they need from a nutritional standpoint. Just my .02 but we've got some darn healthy rabbits that pretty much never go over their weights.
:fire.:

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Offline runamuk

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2017, 10:30:04 PM »
Don't feed iceberg lettuce it causes,the caps which cause dehydration which causes lousy gains. Same with celery and other garbage greens.  If you want to feed produce feed spinach, dark greens, dandelions, clover, grazing time on decent grass with plantain and other weeds, and lots of fine stemmed hay and water. Plus a pellet ration I liked a 16-18% protein and added black oil sunflower for good coats in my show stock.  I fed my culls,this,way as,well and they made good jerky and made nice pets.
benchleg

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2017, 01:24:27 AM »
Learning to recognize peak receptivity in does will provide more harmonious sexual relations between rabbits. Put your thumb and forefinger on her hips, she should arch : head down tail up. (lordosis) Turn her over, her vulva should be moist and appear engorged. (turgescence) When she is put into the bucks cage in high cycle the doe is as eager as he is to copulate. If she is low cycle they will fight. Uncaged a well fed healthy doe will give birth then go find a buck to get started on the next batch. At twenty-one days kits are eating food and she is losing milk. Working does should start at about eighteen weeks and be on a regular scheduled breeding program throughout their lives. They should be either pregnant or nursing or both. If not growing kits they will grow internal fat which makes them have trouble kindling.

Wild American rabbits are a lagomorph specie closer to hares than domesticated European rabbits. Related sort of the way chickens and ducks both are poultry but don't make mules. Hares are born fully formed, while rabbits are born naked and blind.

Second the advice to pick a breed. Raising farm mixed rabbits might give some hybrid vigor to the first generation of a terminal cross. Who knows what type and conformation farther along. Breeds are the result of selection for uniformity.

Type correct pedigreed breeding stock sold at three times the value of a dinner rabbit. Same input to produce them.

There is a thick book "One thousand ways to cook a rabbit". Mostly about cooking with ingredients to make sauces instead of using premixed from a bottle, or box. Basically any way you can cook a chicken substitute rabbit. Save front legs to make false wings.                                                                                                                                                                                                           Once a week put leaves of alfalfa on the tops of my all wire battery cages. Rabbits would stand up and pull it down. Wasting a lot of leaf. Figured this to be entertainment being that production does had complete diet requirement pellets free choice. Bucks got a large tuna can full a day. Also gave each one a sixteen inch long piece of one by six that they would eat. Gnawing them up in about six months or so. Automatic water through tongue fittings threaded into eighth inch plastic fittings.





Offline HighlandLofts

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2017, 09:40:04 PM »
The little ones are getting big, tomorrow I seperated them from MaMa and re-breed the two does this weekend, Any suggestions on what type of bucks to use.I want to keep two does from this next breeding.
One from each doe.
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Offline jackelope

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Re: Anybody breeding meat rabbit?
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2017, 08:40:58 AM »
2 NZ does, right? I know a lady who breeds meat rabbits who crosses New Zealand's with Champagne D'argents. She calls them her meat bricks. I'd personally buy the best quality New Zealand buck you can afford to. With 4 does you only need 1 buck. Not sure where you are but there's a big show in Bremerton 9/16 and another in Monroe early October. I hear lots of people say they don't want show rabbits for meat but the best quality rabbits will produce the best meat for you. You don't want crappy genetics producing crappy rabbits. And they're not that expensive either. Even the really good ones. I have a friend who breeds NZ's. I can ask if they have a nice buck they'd sell. He's down around enumclaw. 
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[Today at 02:22:08 PM]


2017 HuntWA Christmas Gift Exchange - LIST IS CLOSED by Boss .300 winmag
[Today at 02:11:56 PM]


2 wolves shot NE Washington by Ridgeratt
[Today at 02:08:22 PM]


Please don't be a pig by CP
[Today at 02:02:25 PM]


Stuck Choke Tube by trapp01
[Today at 02:01:24 PM]


My Blacktail season comes to an awsome close by Watimberghost
[Today at 01:56:14 PM]


Kuiu Large Yukon Rain Pants New In Vais by krapmit
[Today at 01:48:26 PM]


Anyone's dog catch wild birds? by Labs07
[Today at 01:30:00 PM]


Met an old dude by DOUBLELUNG
[Today at 01:29:57 PM]


How often do you train? by Old Dog
[Today at 01:29:34 PM]


How's everyone's season? by Labs07
[Today at 01:25:05 PM]


Rat trap by Humptulips
[Today at 01:24:24 PM]


Grizzly Bear Hunt by RB
[Today at 01:22:45 PM]