Breeding big rabbits.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Sylverfly, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2009
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    I seem to have a bit of a "green thumb" when it comes to raising critters. So I've decided to see how big of a rabbit I can breed and any comments or suggestions to reaching this goal would be welcome. I recently bred my biggest fawn Flemish giant pair together and she had 8 young they are about 5 weeks old she is still nursing them to some extent. 2 of this litter are huge the same size as some of my 5 month old half dwarf rabbits. When I've showed them to other rabbit raisers and told them how old they are the normally respond with an "oh my G*d"! None of them raise Flemish giants though so maybe this poll is a bit biased. Anyway my plan is to keep the biggest of the litter and bred them then continue to breed the biggest from all future litters. Anyone see any problems with this logic? I don't want to breed siblings together because I want a strong gene pool for this but should I bred back to their own sire/dam continuously or when should I introduce another unrelated big buck? I guess I'm looking for a breeding program spanning generations that will give me a healthy gene pool while still heading toward my size goal and maintaining a sane number of rabbits.
     
  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    There is a system by which you breed an unrelated pair together, keep a buck and a doe from that breeding, breed the doe to her sire and the buck to his dam. The offspring of those (back) crosses are bred together, the offspring of those crosses are then back crossed to their respective parents. With ruthless culling and impeccable records, this sort of thing could theoretically be kept up for a very long time.

    The problem is that theory and reality often are different things. I'm not sure what your goal is, is it just to see how big a Flemish can be? I have seen 20 pounder's. If you read the Flemish Giant breed standard, it describes many other features besides size, and also instructs the judge to give preference to balance and proportion over size.

    I know that with Netherland Dwarfs, some people seem determined to see how small they can breed them, and there is a lower limit of 1.5 pounds set on showable weight. I have seen mature Dwarfs that weigh barely a pound, but they all have been dainty looking little things. The proper type for a Dwarf is compact and solid, not dainty - so clearly type was suffering in the pursuit of size.

    Rabbits generally have small bones in proportion to the amount of muscle they have. I can see that there could be potential for a problem with bones that really can't properly support the mass of the rabbit as the size gets larger - rather like the problem with the Cornish Cross chickens. Not breeding Flemish myself, I don't know - perhaps this problem already exists?[​IMG]
     

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