S F Meat Rabbit vs Cal/NZ Meat Rabbit Grow Out

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by sandspoultry, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    For those of you that raise animals for the table, we have decided to share our little experiment with you. Rabbits are quiet and only take up a small amount of space.

    We have decided to do an experiment between the Silver Fox Rabbits and our own line of Meat Rabbits. The Meat Rabbits are a combination of California, New Zealand and Rex. Both the SF doe, Amelia and the Meat Rabbit doe, Little C each have 7 live kits that were born last week. We are going to weigh them every 2 weeks and keep track of their food consumption starting when the kits are 2 weeks old. The food will be both the doe and the kits since there is no way to exclude the doe. I usually leave the doe in with the kits until they are 6 weeks old. I full feed them, meaning they always have commercial pellets in their cage. With large litters like these I will put 2 big feed hoppers in each pen when they are 3 to 4 weeks old, so that everyone gets a chance to eat.

    We usually wait until the rabbits are 3 months old before we process them. Here in NC you cannot sell the kits until they are 8 weeks old. I try to sell them for a month and then who ever is left goes into the freezer. We will do a live weight and then do a weight after we are done processing to see who has the better meat to bone ratio.

    Here are some pictures of them just before they delivered. And I will try to include pictures along the way for comparison too.

    Silver Fox Doe, Amelia
    [​IMG]

    Amelia's Litter of 7 kits...yes they are all blue!
    [​IMG]

    Meat Doe, Little C
    [​IMG]

    Little C's litter of 7 kits....yes they are all pink!
    [​IMG]


    Should be an interesting experiment! Pull up a chair and see how the comparison works. Next post will be Oct 14 or 15 when the kits are 2 weeks old.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  2. Tomhusker

    Tomhusker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Subscribing to this. Might be interested in meat rabbits next year.
     
  3. Lensters

    Lensters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few years of experience with rabbits (I'd be running a rabbitry instead of a hatchery if the numbers made sense) and I can tell you that the Californias have the best feed conversion ratio followed by the New Zealands. However, the New Zealands will put on weight faster (better if cage space is at a premium). The Silver Fox is pretty and probably a bit hardier but isn't economically sound and can't be sold to commercial butchers because of its darker skin.

    However, all of my numbers are based on a 6-8 week grow out (commercial butchers only take 4.5 to 5.5lbs rabbits. If you wait longer than that you will most definitely be in the hole financially. However, the Silver Fox's slower growth rate will start helping in that it won't be as "overweight" and will be eating a fraction of what the big meat rabbits are.
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    dang baby bunnies are cute!
     
  5. HaikuHeritageFarm

    HaikuHeritageFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, where's the update! I have my first two Silver Fox does that will be ready to breed in the next month or so, so I'm eager for the results.

    To Lensters: I got Silver Fox because they are highly rated with a number of the 'Foodie' types, which aside from ethnic groups, seem to be about the only market. My fryers will be sold at a premium price to restaurants and gourmet grocers that have customers that value local, grain raised, heritage breed meat. (I have a waiting list that will take me a LONG time to build up production to the point that I can fill the orders!)

    I don't see how anyone can turn a dime selling to a processor. If you're not tapping into that high-end market, you might as well keep them for your own table or feed them to your dogs!
     
  6. malignstar

    malignstar Out Of The Brooder

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    Is it wise to breed flemish giant in with calis or NZs?
     
  7. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:They taste good too....
     
  8. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

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    You Got A New Picture!!!!
     
  9. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Waiting for results... [​IMG]
     
  10. HaikuHeritageFarm

    HaikuHeritageFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Because Flemish are so large and have such big bones to support that, they greatly reduce your dress out percentage. I do know a lot of people up here that will blend in a SMALL percentage of Flemish, but really, if you're working with decent lines of Cals or NZW you're better off with pure breds or crosses between commercial type breeds.
     

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