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how to raise californa/new zealand crosses?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by wildriverswolf90, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. wildriverswolf90

    wildriverswolf90 Songster

    Aug 4, 2011
    polk county, NC
    I am seriuosly considering getting into raising some meat rabbits. I used to breed little rabbits for pets, but with the shift in the economy, I can no longer sell them, and really am trying to switch over to more practical breed. I am considering the cali/zealand crosses, because they are easy to find here. So I have a couple questions:
    -I feed my rabbits a rabbit ration pellet and rolled oats. I think the pellets are 15%. They also get scraps from the garden. Can I use this same diet with meat rabbits?
    -how big does the cage need to be? I have several different coops I could modify for rabbits, the one I'm leaning towards, is a joined cage, that has a dividing door. Each space is
    2ft W x3ft L x 3ft H. It is made to sit on the ground and can be moved around the yard.
    - do they need a type of special care?
    - and are they easy to breed and raise?

  2. aprille218

    aprille218 Songster

    May 1, 2009
    northern MN
    Basically you can use the same diet. The 15% would be good for the buck and non preg does but a higher quality feed with less veggies would be the best for putting weight on the fryers (18%) and preg does. As for cages that size would be good for everything but does with litters. You want something at least 3ft by 3ft by 18inches tall for them. Yes they are fairly easy to breed and raise and as long as you have a market for meat rabbits go for it.
  3. RachelM

    RachelM In the Brooder

    May 15, 2011
    We just feed all of ours pellets (locally, there's only 1 type available), plus a handful of hay to munch and bed down on. I was gifted a neat cage made from leftover construction sign wood and 2" wire on the front. Its maybe 5 feet long and 2 feet high and maybe 3 deep. I use it for my mommas, especially when they're having nice 8-10 kit litters. Gives them a decent amount of room to grow into. Just have to put up a board across the bottom when they first start leaving the nest, because I lost one not realizing they easily fit through the mesh. Try and build one with a smaller mesh. We have plans to do so, as we are trying to expand.

    I have to usually drive about an hour to our nearest livestock auction. The average price for us for a grown NZ or other large breed is $10, maybe $12 on a good day. I have mostly NZ whites, 2 little accidentals that make cute pet babies, and a few NZ and Chinchilla crosses. The crosses I didn`t even realize until my 2 NZ whites had some white and some chinchilla babies. The chillas seem to grow a bit bigger and faster, so I want to play around with that and see what happens.

    All I can say is don`t be too upset if you lose a few babies. Myself, and most other breeders I`ve talked to have had some problem does, and just plain made mistakes ourselves. Freeze them and sell them to local reptile owners. I have a doe who consistently has litters of 9, but usually pushes one away or just loses one.
  4. Duckchick2011

    Duckchick2011 Songster

    Apr 17, 2011
    I also own a chinchilla girl and her kits always seemed well ahead of the pack in the growth department so you might have something there. :)

    I just got through slaughtering a few fryers, my first time, and the meal they made was simply awesome, I'll be remembering that for weeks to come. Home grown meat is the way to go, I'm a 100 % on that. So even if you have trouble selling your stock you will be able to stock your fridge. :)
  5. RachelM

    RachelM In the Brooder

    May 15, 2011
    Well, the litter they came from ended up being bottle fed, mum died mysteriously after 2 weeks. Lost a few once they switched over to formula, and ended up with 2 looking like white NZs, and 2 looking like Chinchillas. I had no clue there was Chinchilla in either parents, as they were both white, but dad has black eyes rather than albino, so it's probably him. The Chinchillas also reached a bigger size overall.
  6. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    If you are talking about a rabbit with brown eyes and all white fur, that is a color called Ermine (as opposed to a Blanc de Hotot, which is a white rabbit with a narrow band of black fur around each eye). Ermines have 1 chinchilla gene and 1 REW gene, plus non-extension and agouti genes. So yup, the chin gene came from him.[​IMG]
  7. RachelM

    RachelM In the Brooder

    May 15, 2011
    Whatever the source is, the black eyes make him absolutely adorable. He was one of the first rabbits I bought to start my herd, and he's super friendly.

  8. DaisyMeadow

    DaisyMeadow Chirping

    Feb 25, 2013
    Willamette Valley, OR

    I'm somewhat new to rabbits. Never had them before last summer when we decided it would be good to have our own renewable meat supply. So we got 5 CA/NZ does, one buck and what we were told was a female kit. Turns out we now have two bucks. :) But they're super easy. We keep them in the barn. Each has its own separate cage. We'd like to fence and keep them as a colony when the weather clears up. (Our winters are wet and swampy)

    After researching a little on the internet, we thought that 12 weeks was a good time to wean them, so we bred them to kindle so they would be 12 weeks around Easter. It was a first litter for all of them. The first doe (bred a little earlier) kindled on 12/15 with 7 kits. When we found the kits in the morning, four were alive, three dead. Of the ones that didn't make it, one was quite a bit larger than the others, the other was quite a bit smaller than the others, one we only found the back legs. But the rest are still thriving to this day. Two other does had 7 kits, one had 4, and one had 6. We did lose three kits to the very cold new year weather. But I think, overall, we've been pretty lucky.

    Our adult does and bucks weigh between 7-9 pounds each. When we weighed our kits at 4 weeks, they were about 1.5 pounds, and our ten week old bunnies were about 4-5 pounds. I've been told by breeders of Flemish giants/Checker crosses that they harvest the fryers at 6 weeks, but these guys just don't weigh enough to butcher at that age. We have two kits that are about 10 weeks now, and they look like they're just getting big enough to consider butchering. So, you have to factor in the cost of feed vs. meat value or sale price.

    I think that next year we will start trying to sell them as pets at 6 weeks, because it's pretty clear that they can eat on their own at that age, and the mothers would be happy to be rid of them, from the looks of it, plus they have more of a cute factor the smaller they are. :)

    Here's a photo of Charcoal and her kits. I use an old playpen as an exercise area while I clean out the cages. Hope this helped at least a little and good luck with the bunnies!


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