Any Mini Rex rabbit breeders out there?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by SweetWater, Sep 13, 2009.

  1. SweetWater

    SweetWater Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Bennett CO
    My daughter Taylor has chosen breeding rabbits for one of her 4-H projects. She has decided on the Mini Rex breed but not on the color. I am having a hard time finding a local 4-H rabbit leader. I have been less then impressed by our counties 4-H. [​IMG]
    We did go to the 4-H fair last month as my oldest daughter was in some horse classes. I took Taylor to see the rabbits and chickens(her other desired project is silkies) I tried to talk to some of the rabbit owners and all I could get out of them is that rabbits make great pets and that all there is to breeding them is to put a buck in with the doe then wait a month for the babies. I need more information than that.

    I've been researching on the Internet. I have found an explanation on the color genetics of rabbits but it was on a mini lops breeders website, so I'm not sure if it is only specific to that breed or if it is general to all rabbits.

    I want to know about any fatal genes rabbits can carry. Are there any physical characteristics that would tell us they do or might carry these genes?
    What are the chances of having dead or deformed kits born?
    Is it hard to find homes for the babies when the time comes? I realize that this would vary on my area and the demand, but are Mini Rex rabbits popular?
    Is there certain color that's easiest to start with?

    I want to find a reputable Mini Rex breeder in my area to get some decent breeding culls from. I feel if my daughter starts out with rabbits that have some flaws that can be worked on, that she could better learn the standard of her chosen breed and give her a goal to focus on.

    I want to teach my daughter to be a responsible breeder and that there is more to breeding animals than just cute babies.

    I have emailed several breeders I found on the National Mini Rex website but no one seems to want to help answer my questions. I don't really blame them as I'm sure they have better things to do with their time.

    I just want to have a good idea of what is involved in breeding rabbits. We don't want to go into it blindly. I don't know what to look for when choosing breeding stock or if we should get a pair or a trio.

    Thank you for reading this. Any help would be greatly appreciated:)
     
  2. RabbitMage

    RabbitMage Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2009
    1.I've been researching on the Internet. I have found an explanation on the color genetics of rabbits but it was on a mini lops breeders website, so I'm not sure if it is only specific to that breed or if it is general to all rabbits.

    Some breeds only allow certain colors, but Mini Rex come in almost all colors. The genetics will work the same, it's just a matter of if the colors you get are showable or not.

    2.I want to know about any fatal genes rabbits can carry. Are there any physical characteristics that would tell us they do or might carry these genes?
    With Mini Rex and other dwarf breeds, you have to look out for the double dwarf gene. A 'normal' Mini Rex carries one copy of the dwarf gene-it gives them their size, body shape, and that adorable round head and ears. A Mini Rex with two copies of the dwarf gene is a double dwarf or peanut. At birth these kits are notably smaller than the rest of the litter, usually with a large head and a small hind end. This is a fatal condition. If these rabbits are not culled at birth they will die within four days or so.

    I think Mini Rex can also carry the Max Factor gene, but I don't know much about it beyond the kits usually being born with open eyes and deformed limbs.

    3.What are the chances of having dead or deformed kits born?
    With a normal Mini Rex to normal Mini Rex breeding, you're going to have an average of 50% 'normal' kits, 25% peanuts, and 25% "big ugly bucks/does" rabbits that did not inherit a dwarf gene and grow much larger than the standard. This is just an average, and obviously doesn't happen in every litter. Sometimes you'll get a litter of perfectly good, showable babies, sometimes you get a whole litter of peanuts.

    To eliminate the possibility of peanuts you can breed a normal Mini Rex to a non-dwarf Mini Rex. This might increase the amount of non-dwarf babies you get, but no peanuts.

    As for other deformities, it's really a coin toss. Severe, awful deformities are uncommon in rabbits. Usually a deformity consists of a malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth or a split penis or absent/retained testicle on a buck.

    4.Is it hard to find homes for the babies when the time comes? I realize that this would vary on my area and the demand, but are Mini Rex rabbits popular?

    Mini Rex are small and soft and there is a good demand for pets-this, of course, depends on your area and what you're comfortable with. 'Good' pet owners can be hard to come by, and some breeders (myself included) aren't comfortable selling their non-show quality rabbits through pet stores, or as pets at all.

    As show rabbits they are one of the most popular breeds, which can create problems when selling show rabbits. There's no lack of mediocre quality Mini Rex out there selling for $20-$30, and that market is a little bloated. Good Mini Rex often sell for well over $100, and are generally a little easier to move.

    5. Is there certain color that's easiest to start with?

    Kind of. Less popular colors have less people working on them, so while the competition may be easier, the overall quality might be lacking. Your daughter may be the only youth in her area with a lilac MR, for example, and win her class all the time, but against the other more popular colors, her lilac might not hold up. On the other hand, if she goes for a broken the quality of the rabbit might be better, but she'll have one of 20 or 30 broken Mini Rex at a big show, and it's harder to have even a minor win in competition like that. I'd recommend going to a show or to and see what colors are popular in your area, and pick a color 'in the middle'-something that has more than five rabbits on the table, but not something that has a huge, overwhelming class.


    6. I want to find a reputable Mini Rex breeder in my area to get some decent breeding culls from. I feel if my daughter starts out with rabbits that have some flaws that can be worked on, that she could better learn the standard of her chosen breed and give her a goal to focus on.

    Mini Rex are a hard breed to begin with. It's generally recommended to get the best rabbits you can manage, and work on it from there. With a decent start and a good mentor, I think your daughter would be off to a better start than working with lower quality animals.

    Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits is a pretty good starter book, as is Your Rabbit: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing. A youth membership to the ARBA is cheap, and they'll send you a good basic guidebook, too.

    Let me know if you have any more questions. I've been showing for a little while and while I don't have Mini Rex, I'm a little familiar with the breed.
     
  3. SweetWater

    SweetWater Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Bennett CO
    Thank you for your reply RabbitMage. I finally have some answers [​IMG] I will look into the youth membership at the ARBA. We did look at all the rabbits that were at the 4-H fair. 99% of the rabbits on the table were broken black. Standard rex seems to be the norm around here. I did see a few solid blacks and a handful of other rabbit breeds. I'm not sure of the breed but we saw a few rabbits that were small, all white except for black lined eyes and I believe their ears were erect instead of flopped. The breed was not displayed on their cage.

    Taylor is 7 y.o so I was told she is still at the cloverbud level at least until next year. So I guess we have another year before she can show as a full fledged 4-H member. That gives us some time to do more research and attend local shows and then get her rabbits and work with them for a while.

    Thank you again. I really appreciate you answering my questions.
     

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