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Butchering weight and age poll

 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Hi folks. Anyone caring to join in please respond with your weight, age and breed for butchering timing. Thanks
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
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I've only done dutch and dutch crosses so far as i'm still building my herd to what I want. but my weights have been 3-5lbs live weight. always forgot to weigh carcass unfortunately /: but butchering was 13-15 wks the dutch take longer to fatten up.
finally have some dutch/Californian litter now hoping they get bigger faster.

I believe most commonly its 8-12wks and about 5lbs.
 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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I'm sitting with a Rex/NZ doe and a NZ White doe with a NZ white buck. Currently at 12 weeks and only 2lbs I'm feeding like crazy (free choice pellets 18%, fresh alfalfa, some clover and dandelion cuttings and a few sunflower seeds to the does to boost protein). But I have a colony that's apx 8x10 so I'm wondering if they're getting more exercise than 'normal'. I've also started to 'baste' their pellets in canola oil and then coating with DE in case they have any worm issues (original hypothesis for their low weights.)

What I've realized though is that they weened much younger than they should have because I was allowing the buck to stay in the colony and the does were rebred immediately after they kindled. Long story long, I've sold my buck for the time being and hope to approach it differently the next time. Very interested to see what you all are up to with butchering weight/age/breeds!
 
kadence blevins
Posts: 595
Location: SE Ohio
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books goat hugelkultur rabbit tiny house wofati
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david a lot of people from what I know like 50% or so of people with meat rabbit colonies take out fryers at weaning (4wks old if buck is in full time, and yes 4wks is old enough) and put them into growout cages or smaller growout colony or rabbit tractors. the main thing about meat raising and colonies is that the rabbits are going to be burning off a lot of what they eat from the running around.
you are just plain and simple NOT going to get the great growth on a colony (or forage fed vs pellet fed) rabbit as you would a caged and pellet fed rabbit. I think this is 95% of where people go wrong when thinkin about colonies. they want less handling the rabbits for the same amount of outcome. and it simply does not work like that.

for your rabbits the issue could be you just have not that good genetics in your rabbits and they don't have the genetic potential to grow to 4.5/5lb at 8-12wks. OR could be worms as you said.

how much are you feeding out in the colony per day? colony rabbits will need a lot more feed then cage rabbits to comensate for the additional exercise they are getting.
 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Kadence, I'm with you on that train of thought (colony=possibly less efficient conversion of food to weight due to exercise), I have considered it and I consider it to be a worthwhile risk. Not having ruled that out yet, I'll be conducting more 'scientific' study this next go round. After all of these litters (my does have had 4 back to back pregnancies and they're about to kindle again) are butchered I'm going to have a modified approach that will allow the litters to have exclusive feeding from their mothers. I'll be keeping up my DE rations in case worms have been any issue (anyone have a better method than the light coating of cooking oil then shaken around with the DE to cover the pellets?). My pen is 8x8 so they're not getting the world of exercise but its a significant improvement over the cages IMOA. As long as the rabbits bulk up by 16 weeks I'll be fine on feed costs, I think. Now if I can just get more hay dried, I'm barely keeping up with their demand and its the growing season. Looking forward to a smaller 'herd'.
 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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And yes, I'm looking forward to improving my genetics too. The does I started with were bred for tractoring and I'm still glad for that decision, I think it made them heartier stock but now I'm going to breed out for weight gain. When I get a new buck that is. I'm considering keeping the biggest buck from the last litter and selling his mother, then buying in a bigger breed doe to increase their size but I want to be sure not to go for size but weight gain up to 12 weeks as I understand this is usually the most productive use of feed.
 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Update, Butchered a 'test bunny' at 13 weeks. 4lb carcass with 2.5 dress out weight. Not bad at all. Delicious too! I was worried that the exercise could have made for a tougher meat but luckily not! I had no idea that the rabbits would put on as much weight in the last few weeks as they have but they've almost doubled their feed consumption. I'm filling feeders twice a day now along with a bushel of compressed freshly cut greens daily!
 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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And I should mention no sign of worms. Not sure if it was the DE or the deep litter method. My personal belief is a combination of the two provided absolutely awesome meat rabbits.
 
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