Silver Fox vs Cal/NZ Meat Rabbit Grow out Journal - Final Results

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by sandspoultry, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

    Feb 10, 2008
    Eastern NC
    This is not a duplicate post. I started a new post so all the figures would be together without having to flip over a bunch of pages about off topic rabbit events and to make an easier comparasion between the 2 breeds. And to discuss the grow out on these 2 breeds and not all the other rabbit events.

    Today was processing day for 1 Silver Fox buck and 1 Cal/NZ buck.

    The Silver Fox buck was born 10/4 to 12/12.
    4lbs 0.8oz Live Weight
    2lbs 14.8oz Slaughter weight (not gutted, no head & no feet)
    1 lb 5.2oz deboned meat
    He ate 13.8 pounds of feed for a cost of $3.51 in feed.

    The Cal/NZ mix buck was born 10/6 to 12/12.
    4lbs 2.4oz Live Weight
    3lbs 0 oz Slaughter Weight (see above)
    1 lb 5.4oz deboned meat
    He ate 14.6 pounds of feed for a cost of $3.74 in feed.

    I tried to pick out two that were close in weight. These 2 bucks were the small ones in the litters. We will be processing the rest of the Cal/NZ mix litter in a couple of weeks.
    Overall I think the Silver Fox out performed the mix litter. The Silver Fox ate less and there really was not that much of a difference in the final product. Only 2/10 of an oz difference for .23 cent per rabbit. If you were growing out 100 rabbits that would of been a savings of $23.00.
    For the backyard breeder the Silver Fox would be a win/win breed to have. They are friendlier and easier to handle. Your culls would make excellent pets and/or great meat rabbits for another breeder. They are rare and you would be helping to save them. Their pelts could be sold to help in food cost.

    Here is the other weights and grow out information:

    Here is the updates at 2 weeks old for each litter.

    Silver Fox kits weight is in oz
    6.4 + 8.0 + 8.4 + 7.6 + 7.8 + 6.6 + 6.0 = 50.8

    Cal/NZ mix
    8.0 + 7.2 + 10.0 + 9.0 + 8.6 + 9.4 + 6.0 = 58.2

    Here is the update on the 4 week old Silver Fox litter - weight in oz

    18 + 14.2 + 18 + 18.2 + 19.2 + 15 + 18

    Here is the update on the Cal/NZ kits, at 4 weeks old in oz

    22.6 + 17 + 20.4 + 19.4 + 19 + 17.4 + 16.4 = 131.6
    and the Silver Fox were 120.6 that is only a difference of 11 oz.

    As for food the Silver fox kits and mama ate 26 cups and the Cal/NZ kits and mama ate 28 cups .

    So it has been 6 weeks now and boy are they growing and eating.
    The Silver Fox kits have weighted in at:
    2lbs 7oz + 2lbs 4.2oz + 2lbs 11.4oz + 2lbs 12.4oz + 2lbs 9.8oz + 2lbs 8.2 oz + 2lbs 11oz = 287.2oz or 17lbs 15oz
    They have eaten 87 cups in the last 2 weeks or 32 lbs of feed

    For the Cal/NZmix their weight is:
    2lbs 14.6oz + 2lbs 12.2oz + 2lbs 4.2oz + 2lbs 10.2oz + 2lbs 9.4oz + 2lbs 8.8oz + 3lbs 2.4oz = 301.4oz or 18lbs 13oz
    They have eaten 101 cups in the last 2 weeks or 37lbs of feed

    So today is week 8 for the 2 litters. And boy have they been growing and eating.

    Weights for the Silver Fox are:
    3lbs 8oz + 3 lbs 14.4oz + 3lbs 11.4oz + 3lbs 9.4oz + 3lbs 7.4oz + 3lbs 1.2oz + 3lbs 7.2oz = 24lbs 9 oz
    In the last 2 weeks the Silver Fox have eaten 32.25 lbs of feed

    Weights for the Cal/NZ mix are:
    3lbs 7.4oz + 4lbs 1.4oz + 4lbs 5.8oz + 3lbs 14.6oz + 3lbs 13.4oz + 3lbs 5.2oz + 3lbs 11oz = 27lbs
    In the last 2 weeks the Cal/NZ have eaten 31lbs of feed

    The pictures have been deleted from this post so that we can discuss the weight gain and grow out without the pictures.
    So what do you guys think?
  2. terri9630

    terri9630 Songster

    Mar 22, 2009
    New Mexico
    I think I want you to help my kids with their 4-H record books next year...... I keep track of how much food I buy but I've never paid that much attention to how much each of them eats. I feel like such a bum now.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    I'm really glad you did this experiment to show off how great Silver Fox are. Many people don't know that there are more than two breeds of rabbits that are great for meat, and even fewer people know that those other breeds are dying off. The Silver Fox is listed on the ALBC site as being critically rare, which is horrible considering how fantastic it is for meat. There are other breeds that are neglected - some popular, some only seen in books.

    The Silver Fox I have come across have been brd (and inbred) for show, which means they are losing the traits that made them such great meat rabbits to begin with. They were the first breed to hit a 65% dress out weight - but finding one that can still do that is next to impossible.

    Just as many of us are going back to the old heritage breeds with chickens, we need to make a push to do the same with rabbits. This is an article I found a while back on alternative meat breeds: (which includes the Silver Fox).

    Also, I encourage everyone to show their meat rabbits. Rabbit shows have a meat class that you can enter. You select three fryers and have them shown together. To simplify it, the judge will look at the type and determine how meaty the rabbits are in the right places (larger haunches, on weak shoulders, etc). It's an excellent way to meet other people who are interested in rabbits and get fantastic meat lines. Since we started consuming show rabbits that were bred for meat pens we have seen a dramatic difference in the amount of meat per carcass. You're no longer basing it on the size of a rabbit - since a well bred 4lb fryer is more likely to have larger thighs and a more defined tenderloin than a 5.5lb fryer of the same weight that just put everything into larger bones.

    Huge thanks to you for showing off your results, and for being part of the meager handful of people that are working to preserve the intergity and practicality of the Silver Fox breed.

    If I'm ever in NC and you have breeding stock to sell then I'll have to make a stop.
  4. Lifesong Farm

    Lifesong Farm Songster

    Nov 14, 2010
    Noble County
    Now that I have my Americans going I can't wait to get more cages so I get get some Silver Fox. I think their pelts would make some really nice coats, gloves, hats and slippers. As well as freezer meat lol.

    ETA: do you have blues or just the blacks?
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
  5. Thundrr-Chicken

    Thundrr-Chicken Songster

    Apr 20, 2010
    Dover, Ohio
    sorry about contributing to the hijacking of your other thread...wasnt my intent... my question is.. is taking them at 8 weeks the right time? with getting a pound and a half of meat???

    remember.. im completely new to meat rabbits so i appologize if thats the norm... but it seems low to me.. is that what the average meat rabbit i've seen at the butcher weighs once its deboned?

    and the biggest question since you're seasoned... how do you feel about the results? .. i just find it all incredibly interesting
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  6. I'll try to answer as best I can, Sharon is the wabbit queen around the house. I'm just the cage builder, feed bag carrier, and slave labor. [​IMG]

    We usually process them later by a couple weeks and allow them to fill out more but there comes a point where the feed intake overtakes the weight gain so you aren't really getting anything. Like any other farm/meat type animal, they are only going to get so big. Also some people say the taste gets more "gamey" the older they get. I don't quite understand that one myself since that is one of the reasons for homegrown is the taste for me. Normally we put the litters up for sale at 8 weeks (here in NC you can't sell them sooner anyway) and whatever doesn't sell goes to the freezer. We don't debone them for normal use.

    For me looking in on the project I was suprised. I figured the Cal/NZ mix would blow the Silver fox away final weight wise. The Silver fox have alot going for them and since this was our first breeding of them the next time around should be better by keeping the best for new breeders. Everybody that has seen them in person goes on and on about the look of them and the soft fur. With them being very calm natured helps the pet appeal to.

  7. Lifesong Farm

    Lifesong Farm Songster

    Nov 14, 2010
    Noble County
    I have eaten an adult doe because she was mean and a baby killer. To me there was no gamey taste and I have had a couple different breeds of adult rabbit.
  8. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    I've never found a gamey taste in adults. However, I'll give an adult away before I'll butcher it for myself. They are much more difficult to process since their skin will stick to them (no peeling it off like a jacket - I had mine hanging and was in a tug-o-war contest that I -almost- lost), plus they are extremely tough. For awhile we were working on the idea that if we bought a cheap doe or buck and they didn't work out, we could always eat them and recoop our money. But there's a certain point where charitable laziness trumps getting your money's worth.

    I knew a lady who raised rabbits and butchered them at around 3-4 weeks of age. She used to raise pigeons for squab, so when we asked her if there was really enough on a baby to make that worthwhile, she thought so, since they were just as meaty as a little squab. As far as she was concerned, when she dressed them out in 3-4 weeks they were exceptionally tender, each rabbit was a one-person meal, does could be rebred faster, and she never had to have extra cages for growing out the fryers.

    A good Silver Fox should trump a mutt any day - unless that mutt has been bred and bred specifically for a great feed conversion and dress out weight. However, a good first generation crossing of a Californian x New Zealand might give them a little more of a challenge. But with that being said, a first generation Silver Fox x Californian (or Satin, or New Zealand, etc) would also definitely do great things.
  9. Jared77

    Jared77 Songster

    Apr 27, 2010
    Howell, MI
    Ok so what other rabbits are good meat rabbits? We've been kicking this around for a while now and its really got my interest up
  10. Omniskies

    Omniskies Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    In larger rabbits you have Satins, Standard Rex, New Zealands, Californians, Palominos, Champagne d'Argents, Creme d'Argents, Americans, Silver Fox, Harlequins, Chinchillas, Beverens, Cinnamons, Hotots, ah...ones that I'm forgetting.

    In smaller breeds the Florida Whites and Dutch are both excellent. And...I'm also drawing a blank on the rest of those.

    Most of the older rabbit breeds make good meat rabbits. French Lops were bred for meat, and Mini Lops have a nice compact body that can be dressed out - though they haven't been used for that in a long time.

    A lot of the top breeders in the nation breed for show and dress out their culls. It's a good way to keep breeding for the top rabbits without flooding the market with the ones that don't make the cut. We've never checked the conversion rate on a lot of our breeds because it doesn't matter to us. We sell first for show, then anything that doesn't make it as a show animal goes as a pet. Anything that doesn't sell as a pet will go in the freezer.

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