Hi! I am thinking about getting meat rabbits sometime in the near future so I was wondering if you could post tips on raising meat rabbits. Any information would be appreciated. I would also like tips on rabbit slaughtering. Pictures of the slaughtering process would also be helpful. Thank You!
Tips on raising meat rabbits.
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I'm sure you are going to hear this one a few times but, start small! I started about 2 months ago and I have become obsessed! I started with 3 and now have 8! which leads to the next tip. Do not visit the breeder if he sells cute little furry snuggle loving bunnies. I have 2 of the cutest little buns that I have no need for! They are 7 weeks and are some mix of a Flemish Giant. Not good for a meat rabbit but they were soooo cute I just had to buy them! I am still so new to having rabbits that the cute factor gets to me so no more shopping for me.
As for slaughter, the first time I used blunt force and it was not very pleasant. I would recommend the broom stick method. I have read of people using a piece of metal re-bar? The process is very simple and fast once you get the hang of it. There are alot of videos on youtube, I don't have any links saved so I'm no help there. Good luck!
1 buck will serve up to 10 does, so you dont need a ton of males (they smell more)
Whether they be mixed or pure, start with good,heathly rabbits
www.rudolphsrabbitranch.com/rrrpt1.htm is a great site to help you get started.
*Owns a small Rattery* Starting over with poultry*
*Owns a small Rattery* Starting over with poultry*
Always keep two bucks and a few does, just in case something happens to one buck, you have the other to use. You don't need that many to start with. Just a couple of bucks and three or four does. all you will need to care for them is decent wire cages, a shed to keep them in, good quality pellets, and water. That's it. don't go out and buy the cheapest pellets you can find. those are always laoded with corn that is not good for the rabbit. You want something that is very high in fiber and very low in protien. Fiber is the most important part of the rabbits diet. the higher you get the better the feed quality. I would also suggest looking into showing, and getting a purebred meat breed. show rabbits that you don't want to butcher are pretty easy to market as long as they meet the standard and are of good quality. Most that show usually butcher their extra culls.
I'd start out with 3 rabbits... 1 pregnant female, 1 unrelated female almost of breeding age, 1 unrelated male almost of breeding age. After the first doe has her kits and she has weaned them and gotten about a month break they are all nice big healthy breed-able rabbits. From the first litter you should have kept 1 male and 2 females.
You can breed your mature male to the 2 mature females for unrelated kits, then when your buck from your first kit is mature you can use him on the doe thats not his mother for new blood and use the 2 young does with the old mature buck. I will make up a chart for you tomorrow but starting off with those 3 rabbits like that can take you probably up to the tenth generation without getting to close in blood. If you have New Zealand whites or Californians which in my opinion are worth the extra drive to get those breeds you should cull any doe that doesn't consistently produce 7+ kits. Its pretty late but I'll post a lot more information for you tomorrow from experience and books, and I'll do that chart for you.
I have a bit of new info to add as well... I found out that no matter how well you schedule your does to breed the same time frame one of them is not going to like your buck. Then you have to track down a loaner buck because of coarse there are no breeding age bucks for sale anywhere near here. So my point is, well I don't really know but if you are going to breed your girls as a group or pairs you may want to have 2 bucks. I have 3 breeding age does and want to breed them in the same time frame for the availability of a foster mom if needed, something to consider.
Okie dokie here we go I was wrong it should be four rabbits.
Thats not really good at all but I think it gives you an idea of what you can do with a bred senior doe 2 junior bucks and a junior doe. In that picture you have like 9 litters before you even start doing any inbreeding (an example of inbreeding you can do is breed the blue box to the box thats half green 1/4th pink, 1/8 black, and 1/8 blue). 9 litter doesn't sound like a lot but if you get one of the bigger breeds like I suggested that can be 90 rabbits. I say you probably shouldn't ever have to go over like 6 or 8 rabbits if your only feeding your family but if you have the market for it then you can keep more. I say for 6 rabbits you should have 14 cages, 6 for the individual rabbits then you have 8 for splitting up the young ones at 6 weeks old females and male then butcher at 8 weeks old. I think I covered a lot the rest is just basic rabbit care. 36 in. x 36in. and 32 in. tall I think thats a fair size for an all wire cage if your housing them in the garage or barn or something. Otherwise you'll need to have rabbit hutches with wood and wire and all that stuff.
Heres the breeds in order that I'd go with for meat.
1. Californians (I find that better then the normal boring all white)
2. New Zealand Whites
3. American Chinchilla (my personal favorite or second favorite)
5. Champagne D'Argent
8. Dutch (surprisingly even though a small rabbit this was our favorite or second favorite meat rabbit that we've ever had. I would have it higher on the list but I haven't experienced those other rabbits and I'm told that they are better)
I recommend getting purebreds and as I said before the extra drive is worth it, if you decide to go with one of those 8 breeds I'm sure that theres a reputable breeder around you of one of those breeds. I recommend reading Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits by Bob Bennet, I believe theres also a section in Barnyard in your Backyard by Gail Damerow. If you have anymore questions feel free to ask me!
I also want to say you may be tempted by those colony breeding posts to go that way but honestly I do not recommend going that course until you've raised rabbits for 2 years. I've raised them both ways and I liked single cage rabbitry much better I found it easier to handle and control.