Those of you with Rabbits for meat... *Pics Page 4*

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by PineBurrowPeeps, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. ***I want to say that I love rabbits, I think they're adorable and everything, I even have a lop that is nuetered and litter box trained and lives in my house and we love him very much, but we also eat meat and we like that too so it that bothers you please don't read my post regaurding meat rabbits***

    Let me first say that meat rabbits around here for sale are RARE, RARE, RARE!

    I've taken several books from the library about raising rabbits for meat and read them all multiple times cover to cover. I know I should be looking for purebreds with papers and all that jazz, I just don't think I'm ever going to find that here in RI.

    Someone this morning put an add on my local craigslist selling meat rabbits for $10 each, they are young and he has two types, New Zeland Whites and he didn't tell me the other kind yet but they are grey...
    The whites he said as 4 weeks away from being breeding age and the greys are 6 weeks.

    Should I buy a few?! This is literally the only meat rabbit ad I have seen and I've had my eyes peeled for about a year.

    I'm in the process of finding out more information about if all the whites are related, etc.

    I don't want to be overwhelmed and get too many so how many should I get, I know the books I read reccomended 3 doe's and 1-2 bucks to start.

    How would I do with just two doe's and one buck? I feel like I could probably get more from this guy down the road if need be and I do know someone else selling flemish giants but I don't want too many to start.

    If all the whites are related could I take two white doe's and one of those grey bucks and cross them?

    Thanks guys,
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  2. Ole'Brothersfarm

    Ole'Brothersfarm In the Brooder

    May 31, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    Well, I am in no way a rabbit expert. We started with one runt male and by the end of the week, we had 13. We immediately became overwhelmed with rabbits and a rabbit food bill. A friend called and had a buck, a doe, and 8 babies. We took them. The day after I removed the babies from mom, eight weeks, mom had babies again. There was a two day period after she had given birth to when I got them that the buck had access to her. This time, four babies. Now, I can honestly say, I have too many rabbits.

    What I learned:
    1. If the meat is for personal use, One buck and two does is enough. If you plan to sell some, one buck and three or four does to keep a steady supply going.

    2. Be prepared to spend a steady amount of money for rabbit food. Its $11 here in SW MO. I limit the amount of food that I give bucks and non-nursing does. I make sure my weanlings have a constant supply of food.

    3. The more rabbits you have, the more housing that you have to supply. You can't keep adult bucks together. They will castrate each other and/or kill each other. And does are very territorial. The housing material is very very expensive and has risen 10 % since I started raising rabbits three months ago (price of steel).

    Lucky for me, one more week until butching day.
  3. Thanks [​IMG]

    I'm even almost wondering about taking just one doe and one buck to get the feel for them, or is that too little to start with?

    The meat would totally be just for personal use, I do not see us selling it nor do I see us eating a ton of it with meat chickens, turkey, and some homegrown beef from my neighbor down the road.

    I heard that they can have up to 6 litters per year. We are a family of 5, possibly 6 soon [​IMG] What have you been getting for dressed weights?
    I'm trying to think about how much meat my family would probably eat in one meal. 3 of us are kids under 8 and then my husband and I.
    I only want to raise enough for now for a few meals a month.

    With each doe being able to have up to 10+ babies I'm starting to think I certainly do not want more than two doe's. I want to just take one doe and one buck but I think it's a real gamble, what if that one doe isn't a good breeder? Then I'm stuck with a buck and no mate for him.
    I was reading in Raising Rabbits The Modern Way that you should keep the doe pregnant because if she gains too much weight she might not be able to concieve, I wonder if anyone finds this true or if I could alternate between two doe's instead of always having them both pregnant or both with a litter.

    [​IMG] What's a girl to do?

    What did you make your cages out of?

    Thanks so much, I really do not want to be over run with wabbits...

    At my local Tractor Supply I pay right now about $14 for a 50 pound bag of show rabbit chow for my holland lop. He only gets 1/4 a cup of day plus unlimited hay so it lasts me forever. Do people feed meat rabbits hay as well or is that strictly a pet rabbit thing? My lop eats about 2 bails of hay every 6 months.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. MaineChickens

    MaineChickens Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    I have meat rabbits. I am up to 14 and have another doe due to kindle in a few weeks.

    I would find out how long this guy has been breeding them. You need to get involved with someone who knows thier rabbits and will help you when crazy crap happens. lol It will happen.

    Start with a trio and go from there. I'd recommend that you have at least 6 cages so you can be growing out replacements or can fatten up young rabbits if needed.

    I feed hay, but not daily. More or less I am lazy about it. A doe with a litter will consume a few cups of feed a day. Water is also in high demand. As a meat animal, they are easy though. A check in the AM and PM, cages cleaned a couple times a week, etc.

    I am into gardening too, so the ever growing poop pile is a big plus.
  5. balticbabe

    balticbabe Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    King County, WA
    Quote:Here too. Does anyone know why? How can their be a rabbit shortage?
  6. I suspect that there is a shortage of high quality meat rabbits but I also suspect that there are people out there breeding high quality that do not advertise it. One too many intense animal lovers telling me how I shouldn't be eating Thumper would make me basically "hide" too, KWIM?
    Especially on places like Craigslist where people can really be flag happy and get on their soapboxes about animal rights and humane treatment, veganisim, etc. It can make people feel like it would be more hassle than help to make an ad anouncing that they have meat animals.
    I have seen two meat goat posts on my local craigslist this year so far and other than that no mention of meat chickens, turkeys, etc. Zip, Zilch, Nothing.
    I am still thinking about putting an ad myself offering meat chicks for sale when I buy my next batch but I'm not sure yet.
    And trust me I have a friend who is very close to my heart whom I have known for over 18 years and she is a strict vegan and we make it work
    I tend to Live and Let Live and be very open minded with people and their eating habits, religions, political feelings, etc.
  7. MissDeb

    MissDeb Songster

    Apr 22, 2008
    Mat-su Alaska
    We have raised meat rabbits for about 5 years now. I think you have the right idea, but I can tell you, we have never kept a buck. Bucks never paid for themselves. Our really good friend a few miles away has bucks so we take them over there to get serviced. If you find someone who will work with you, even getting the does bred before they come to your home is always an option.

    We started with two does, Flemish/NZ cross. Their babies were butcherable by 8-10 weeks old, weighing about 8lbs dressed. I love that cross personally, you dont want to use the Flemish alone for a meat rabbit as they are very heavy in bone. With the New Zealand and recently the Californian introduced we have had great luck with that cross, with a very nice meat to bone ratio. They were also a quick growing rabbit, which made it easier to handle when it came to feeding them.

    Just remember, bigger rabbits = larger food bill and larger housing. We have since gone to nothing but purebreds now that our season is almost to an end up here in Alaska but next summer we'll breed one of the purebreds to a Cal or a NZ and start over again.

    One other thing, when we were heavy into the meat rabbit thing, we would only keep two does through the winter. Those would be our breeders for spring. Once their litters were born for the summer, we would keep two more does and rotate them out. Our purebreds are a little harder to part with, so we'll start allover next spring.

    This is just what has worked for us, we have taken ideas from different folks over the years. You'll find what works for you too.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2008
  8. penelope77

    penelope77 Songster

    May 6, 2008
    northeast oklahoma
    i agree that flemish is not a good meat choice but the cross with a new zealand is real nice. i also like the mutts but that's just me. two does and one buck is a good start. as someone else said if you can find a buck to service them you can skip the buck. i have found the whole experience really awful but i'm not giving up. just be very careful with who you buy from. go over those rabbits with a magnifying glass and check the teeth. the two does and buck will give you a good start and let you get your feet wet without overwhelming you. good luck and post pics when you get them.
  9. "i have found the whole experience really awful but i'm not giving up. "

    I'm sorry Penelope, how so?

    I do have acsess to flemish giants right now... Do you think I should buy a flemish buck from one breeder and two of the white does from the other and cross them?
  10. penelope77

    penelope77 Songster

    May 6, 2008
    northeast oklahoma
    you could do that but i think a flemish doe with a nz buck would be safer for the doe. usually you use the doe of the larger breed so that she isn't having babies too big for her. so you could get a flemish doe, a nz doe and a nz buck. that's how i would do it. oh and my experience of awful is that i had a snuffles outbreak about two months ago. lost my best buck, and almost all of my does plus a couple other bucks and of 20 babies all but four also died. i thought i was in the clear and then over the weekend this happened.........quoting from my post on another forum.....

    "okay i've got two rabbits, the new ones of course, that suddenly are having trouble with their back legs. one hops sorta fine but the back feet are together and the other one has hardly any use of one back leg, the other one works but because the other one is so bad she can't really hop. the first one i found like this i thought she hurt herself but then i found the other one that way and i'm wondering if something else isn't going on. any ideas? i am having such a crap couple of days, rueben died and lylah got her spine stepped on by a goat that tried to get in the house and i had to put her down. she was in the house cause i thought she was a bit too warm. the goat wanted the special inside food. i didn't even see lylah by the door. okay i'm gonna go cry alot. this just sucks!!!"

    heres some more

    "well at least while good ole' murphy is at my house everyone else is safe. murphy seems to be animal hopping here. first it was the chickens, then one of my goats, just an infection but still, then my puppy died, then two kittens got stepped on and died, then another kitten and i won't even say how cause it was so awful, then two turkeys and my brahma chick, then back to the rabbits. all this in just 3 mos. i am very fond of my animals and it seems to be all my favorites. i hope this all just stops. my brain and heart need a rest. just a little break."

    so i have a sour attitude lately but as i said i'm not giving up. it has to end sometime. the worst part of lylah is aside from being a great doe she was pregnant. it was a small litter, just four, but that's four babies we could have had. so i just have been having a few months of very bad luck. there will be a rabbit on my table by the end of the year. i am certain. i'm sure things will go smoothly for you.

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