Rabbit Talk

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Rabbit Talk

Postby SilverFlame819 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:06 am

Anyone here raise rabbits or have any interest in them? I used to raise show rabbits, and rabbit shows are one of the things I want to move back to the coast for. There is no decent show circuit out here. When I was younger, I raised Netherland Dwarfs and Jersey Woolies, and my mother raised Mini Rexes. Any rabbits that didn't make the cut for showing could easily be sold to the pet trade, since they were very small. Most of the other rabbits being sold as pets in stores are just mutt meat rabbits, so the small breeds always seem to be very rare, and in high demand. Never had trouble selling dwarfs to the pet stores. Of course, a show quality rabbit goes for a lot more than a pet does, so the preference is to sell for show. Anywho, the point is that there was never a surplus. Nice rabbits sold for good money, non-SQ rabbits went for less money, but still a decent amount. ($20 or $30 is a lot of money for a rabbit that only cost you a few bucks to raise - the dwarfs don't eat much).

But in planning out what I want to raise in the future, I'm trying to think also of what I could use for meat. I am considering raising Angoras (French Angoras weigh the same as a Californian at maturity, Giant Angoras weigh the same as a New Zealand), because then I could also harvest fiber from them, but they are a lot of work compared to some of the other breeds, and I don't know that I'd want to bother with them in the beginning (or dedicate barn space to them that could be used for my other preferences). Of course, it would be nice to have a rabbit that I could raise up, shear, and THEN butcher, so I could get an income from the fiber, and feed my dogs with the meat. So they're still being considered, although not my first choice. I've raised the Woolies in the past (the miniature version of the Angora), so I know how easy they are to care for... I suppose I'd just have to get some Angoras to try out to see if they're worth the hassle... I don't see a lot of places advertising Angora fiber, so there could be a nice market there I just needed to tap into...

So that being said, my breed of choice for standards is the Rex. They have amazing fur, come in a rainbow of colors, and are pretty friendly. I really liked my mom's Mini Rexes, and think I would enjoy the larger counterparts just as much. If there was a market for the fur, I could sell that too... But mostly I'm thinking of the fact that I can show them and make good money off the SQ rabbits, and those who didn't make the grade for showing could be used for meat. I really enjoy working with colors, so the number of coat colors and patterns offered in the Rex is a big draw for me. They've got a few colors that I would like to see that are not currently there too, so the possibility for getting certificates from ARBA for development is there too... No payout there, but fun for the breeder.

So I could have my Dwarfs (and/or Woolies) for showing and selling to the pet trade, and Rexes for showing and meat... and if I had the interest or time down the line, I could also do Angoras.

So... Anyone? Rabbits? :D
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby mannytheseacow » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:09 pm

Well there's at least two of us with rabbits on here, maybe more?

http://permsteading.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=344&hilit=im+a+rancher&sid=eca7c91c81b597257759d9876b622d9e
http://permsteading.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=377&sid=eca7c91c81b597257759d9876b622d9e

The search engine might turn up more results, I've never tried. :D
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby GrahamB » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:57 am

Yeah, I have two does and a buck NZ Whites. No kin from them yet, but lots of good manure. I'm going to be trying new tactics with them in the next week or so. Every time I have put the doe in with the buck he does the best that he can but both does have been reluctant to play. I have a rabbit tractor that will eventually be used for growing out the young ones that I'm going to put the buck in for a day or two and then let the does visit him in there. It's something I read in a book I bought at the MEN Fair. I'm just thankful at the moment that they survived the heat last summer and then the extreme cold we've had lately. Not to mention the regular coyote tracks I see around the barn.
I have also now got a pretty good wild population established and this fall I'm going to be harvesting a few of those. In fact I'm pretty sure at least one of them has been squatting under the hay in the barn, which is probably what the coyote has been looking for.
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby SilverFlame819 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:52 am

No force breeding for you then, Graham? :lol:
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby GrahamB » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:52 pm

No, we bought them really young so they weren't actually ready to breed until October. As soon as the weather settles down a bit I have lots of jobs on the to do list to tackle, including the rabbits. This year's main project is laying hens so I am going to build a chicken tractor as well as another rabbit tractor.
One funny thing I have noticed with them is that you can control the size of their poop. I have 1/2" mesh on the bottom of their cages and when I supplement their feed with hay the poop doesn't drop through. I have recently cut down on their hay as the does were getting a little fat and I want them at the right weight for breeding. As soon as I did that the poop started falling through the mesh again. :o
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby SilverFlame819 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:15 am

*lol* Oh, animal husbandry... Isn't it fascinating? :D
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby GrahamB » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:36 pm

Well, keep your fingers crossed. We were all working in the garden this morning and I'd just finished planting the potatoes. I suddenly had the idea to put one of the does in with the buck. Number 2 was the most likely looking at the moment as number 1 is still looking a bit overweight. Number 2 gave me the usual run around, trying to get her out of the cage, but when I finally put her in the buck's cage, she stretched herself out and lifted her tail. He jumped on so quick he ended up the wrong way round, but once he had figured it out, she just stayed there instead of the usual running around the cage. When he fell off he let out a scream and I nearly did the same. :D
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby mannytheseacow » Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:10 am

That's great, Graham. I'll bet the kids are excited too. Good luck!

Be sure to take her back and breed her again the next day or even later the same day to get a nice big litter. I didn't do that with my first few litters and only got 5's and 6's. Then another breeder taught me that and I got 11.
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby SilverFlame819 » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:33 am

Most people breed 8 hours after the first breeding, but try not to spread out days. Does can get pregnant with a younger batch while pregnant with the older batch, and you'll end up with half a litter of preemies...

Graham, I hope for your sake that your boy isn't always a screamer. Bucks that carry on with the screaming usually freak the does out, and they stop wanting to breed him. Plus - what human wants to hear that racket?! It's ear-piercing!
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Re: Rabbit Talk

Postby GrahamB » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:02 am

I put her back in with him again yesterday and they did the deed again. He went to try a second time but she turned on him so I pulled her out before she did him any damage. I've heard that they will do that if they have taken, so that may be a good sign. He's usually a quiet young boy but at the moment he's hopping round like he should be singing Barry White songs. He only screamed the first time. I think he did it because it was his first time getting a home run. I'll try him with the other doe this week, although she's giving me the evil eye at the moment. :D
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