What weight are NZB 8 weeks old and Color Question

Ziptydoda

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2019
8
20
29
Hi,
I'm new to meat rabbits and have some questions.
I have 2 does and 1 buck All NZB (New Zealand Black) I was told they are 100% NZB.
I'm told at 8 weeks they should weigh 5 lbs. Mine are coming in at under 3.
This is first litter and 7 in this litter.
I feed unlimited good quality hay,
And pellets to babies, and the adults I fee unlimited hay and 1/2 cup good quality pellets and Yet they all come in under 3 lbs. Is this due to first litter or maybe quality of breed ( am I saying that right)?

The kits are oddly colored. Is this normal when breeding two NZB (pure) ? (See pictures). I thought they would all come out primarily like the parents, all black.

Thank you for responding!
 

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Ziptydoda

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2019
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Just wanted to clear things up. Kits are under 3lbs not adults. And I feed adult while pregnant 1 cup pellets & unlimited hay. I wanted to tell everything that could have an impact on the weight of the kits. A

Thanks again !
 
Jun 12, 2017
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IL
I have been breeding rabbits for a few years now (NZW and Standard Rex), and my father did it on a commercial scale. Plain and simple, very few meat rabbits will reach 5 pounds in 8 weeks. 10-12 weeks is closer to reality.
I have been selectively breeding some of my better quality NZW's for a couple years now to get faster grow outs and larger litters. I have been able attain 4.5-5lb at 9 weeks. I free feed quality pellets, unlimited hay and water. Best advise I can give you is to start with what you have, breed the best and cull the rest. And buy the best quality stock you can afford, it isn't cheap but it is worth the investment.
 
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Ziptydoda

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2019
8
20
29
I have been breeding rabbits for a few years now (NZW and Standard Rex), and my father did it on a commercial scale. Plane and simple, very few meat rabbits will reach 5 pounds in 8 weeks. 10-12 weeks is closer to reality.
I have been selectively breeding some of my better quality NZW's for a couple years now to get faster grow outs and larger litters. I have been able attain 4.5-5lb at 9 weeks. I free feed quality pellets, unlimited hay and water. Best advise I can give you is to start with what you have, breed the best and cull the rest. And buy the best quality stock you can afford, it isn't cheap but it is worth the investment.
Thank you, that sets my mind at ease. When you say you breed the best and hull the rest. Do you breed the female kits back to buck? Or how do you do that? Thanks again!
 
Jun 12, 2017
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131
IL
Yes, I line breed as well as select the does (or bucks) of the best quality from the largest litters to breed back into my program. This allows me to "set" desirable (and sometimes undesirable) traits in a generation of rabbits that I can then further breed on to perfect.

For Example:
My NZW buck and doe came from show stock. The buck has great quality, while the doe was of good form and produced extremely large litters of 10-14 kits. I kept the fastest growing kit from this litter and raised it to breeding age and bred it back to the buck. By doing this, I was able to get a doe now that throws a 12 kit average litter that grows out in 9 weeks at 4.5-5lbs. The rest of the kits I either culled (butchered) or sold off. If there is a kit that grows faster than the rest, I may keep them and monitor for a potential breeder. I'm always looking to improve my stock. I was fortunate that it only took me 2 generations to attain my current results. Good thing about rabbits they grow and mature quickly.

This is a graph (not mine) that shows how to line breed. It supposedly works well for poultry too, or so I've read.

line-breeding-rabbits-chart.jpg
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
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I don't breed NZB's, so all I can give you are generalizations, but here goes. :idunno

I'm assuming nursing does and growing kits are getting free fed (as much pelleted feed as they can eat each day) in addition to unlimited hay.

Your kits' color is one of the many expressions of Steel. NZW's commonly carry Steel, so your buns could be that color and still be pure NZ's, but I really would expect NZB's with nothing but Black on their pedigrees to throw pure black kits. That they aren't solid black is interesting, but I don't know that it's particularly significant.

It isn't uncommon for people with plenty of experience to be unable to get fryers up to slaughter weight before, say, 10 weeks, so that your kits aren't there at 8 weeks shouldn't be surprising. But I have to agree that less than 3 lbs does seem pretty small. How much do your adults weigh? If your adults are on the smaller side, their offspring would tend to grow slower, since their potential adult size is also smaller. Of the NZ colors, Black is probably the least popular, so getting really good stock in that color is going to be harder. So yes, your breeding animals could be part of the reason that your fryers aren't gaining as fast as you'd like. 7 isn't a bad size for litter, and if the doe managed to raise them all, that's really quite good. Babies in smaller litters tend to grow faster than those from large ones during the time when they are only nursing, but once they start on solid food, the rate of gain should be about the same.
 

Ziptydoda

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2019
8
20
29
I have been breeding rabbits for a few years now (NZW and Standard Rex), and my father did it on a commercial scale. Plain and simple, very few meat rabbits will reach 5 pounds in 8 weeks. 10-12 weeks is closer to reality.
I have been selectively breeding some of my better quality NZW's for a couple years now to get faster grow outs and larger litters. I have been able attain 4.5-5lb at 9 weeks. I free feed quality pellets, unlimited hay and water. Best advise I can give you is to start with what you have, breed the best and cull the rest. And buy the best quality stock you can afford, it isn't cheap but it is worth the investment.
Wow, thank you for all your help. I'm going to see what they are at 12 weeks. I may be looking at getting better stock.
Thank you again!!
 

Ziptydoda

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2019
8
20
29
I don't breed NZB's, so all I can give you are generalizations, but here goes. :idunno

I'm assuming nursing does and growing kits are getting free fed (as much pelleted feed as they can eat each day) in addition to unlimited hay.

Your kits' color is one of the many expressions of Steel. NZW's commonly carry Steel, so your buns could be that color and still be pure NZ's, but I really would expect NZB's with nothing but Black on their pedigrees to throw pure black kits. That they aren't solid black is interesting, but I don't know that it's particularly significant.

It isn't uncommon for people with plenty of experience to be unable to get fryers up to slaughter weight before, say, 10 weeks, so that your kits aren't there at 8 weeks shouldn't be surprising. But I have to agree that less than 3 lbs does seem pretty small. How much do your adults weigh? If your adults are on the smaller side, their offspring would tend to grow slower, since their potential adult size is also smaller. Of the NZ colors, Black is probably the least popular, so getting really good stock in that color is going to be harder. So yes, your breeding animals could be part of the reason that your fryers aren't gaining as fast as you'd like. 7 isn't a bad size for litter, and if the doe managed to raise them all, that's really quite good. Babies in smaller litters tend to grow faster than those from large ones during the time when they are only nursing, but once they start on solid food, the rate of gain should be about the same.
Hi Bunnylady
Yes, I feed all the pellets they can eat when nursing with mom and the jist the kits now along with hay. The doe at 6 months (when bred) was 8.5 lbs and the buck 8.20 lbs. Is that small for a New Zealand at that age? To me they looked amall but I thought it was their age and they would get larger.
Thank you for your time and help.
 
Jun 12, 2017
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My NZW buck is 12lbs and my doe is 13lbs. They were just shy of 1yr old when they were first bred. But I look at more than just the rabbits weight/size before I breed them. Although they can be successfully bred, 6mo old to breed a doe is a bit on the young side for a large breed of rabbit in my opinion. I typically wait until they are at least 9mo old before I try for a 1st litter. This allows them to get to full maturity. Breeding too young can stunt the growth of a doe.
 

Ziptydoda

In the Brooder
Oct 25, 2019
8
20
29
Wow, they told me at 5 months they were ready to breed. We bought them at 5 months ( not totally sure they were 5 months but that's what they said). I waited to breed until I had them a month so they would not be stressed with new home and breeding. One bred after the third day of trying. The other would jist run around in circles and would not let him touch her. I just bred them both again and both this time were ready. I told my husband they seemed like maybe they were too young the first time. I bought them from a show breeder that had been doing it for 25 years and going out of business.
I hope I haven't messed them up, I do take good care of them and would never want to do anything that would hurt them.
I'm going to weigh the adults and see what they weigh next week.
Thanks again!
 
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