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Rabbit Breeds and Your Experience

 
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Hello Fellow Permies,

I am a new homesteader.  I am currently living on my family's land in Northern Mississippi.  This year we are planning to get started with livestock.  I have decided on rabbits as my first livestock.  I went out and bought a copy of Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits and this weekend I am building the cages and hutch as described in the book.

The hutch is metal cages hung from a wood frame with a roof.  I will be hanging 4 cages as I plan to start with 2 Jr. Bucs a 1sr. Doe and a Jr. Doe   It will not be housed inside of a building it is free-standing.  I am looking at rabbit breeds to fill my cages and start breeding.  So far I am considering these breeds.

Florida White
Californian
Champagne d'Argent
New Zealand Red

If any of you have experience with any of these breeds or you can recommend another breed that I should consider please let me know.
I also plan to build grow trailers for the young rabbits to let them feast on the grass here.  However, in the future, I plan on adding a chicken coop to the property.  Does anyone know if rabbits can share an enclosure with chickens?
 
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Given your location, I'd recommend looking for a heat-tolerant breed. Brazilians are supposed to be good with heat and humidity, and they're also reported to have better disease resistance than most breeds. But they can also be hard to find in the US.

Just doing a quick search I came up with this list: https://petkeen.com/top-heat-tolerant-rabbit-breeds/

Rabbits can share space with chickens as long as they're far enough apart that the chickens can't peck noses and toes, and as long as the bedding is kept clean enough. If your rabbits start having breathing problems, first thing to do would be to separate them from the chickens.
 
Wynne Nicholas
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:Given your location, I'd recommend looking for a heat-tolerant breed. Brazilians are supposed to be good with heat and humidity, and they're also reported to have better disease resistance than most breeds. But they can also be hard to find in the US.

Just doing a quick search I came up with this list: https://petkeen.com/top-heat-tolerant-rabbit-breeds/

Rabbits can share space with chickens as long as they're far enough apart that the chickens can't peck noses and toes, and as long as the bedding is kept clean enough. If your rabbits start having breathing problems, first thing to do would be to separate them from the chickens.



Ellandra,

Thank you for replying.  I had not thought about considering the warm climate.  I appreciate the link.  I had satin on my honorable mention list.  Maybe they might be a better breed for me given their heat tolerance.

Wynne
 
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Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has a successful rabbit and chicken set up. If you don't have to reinvent the wheel... don't. Their set up starts at 5 minutes into the video.

 
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I have experience with two of these breeds hands on, and I can say I think Californians are the best on your list. having said that, I don't have Californians, I have New Zealands and standard rex. White New Zealands tend to  be better on average than the reds but you can cross reds and whites back and forth. Actually, NZXCali crosses are extremely popular on the meat market. Californians are slightly smaller with slightly lighter bones, but honestly to the home producer any differences between a good Cali and a good New Zealand will be negligible.

The d'Argent are not as developed and consistent as the New Zealands or the Californians. Florida Whites are good but small - more work per rabbit to get the same amount of food. I wouldn't go for either of those unless, like me with Rex, you have a specific affection for the breed or an alternative market you're eyeing. It's totally ok to breed rabbits you like because you like them. All rabbits are made out of rabbit after all.
 
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