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Good breeds

 
Socrates Raramuri
Posts: 59
Location: The Hague; Morocco asap
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I've looked into it. I'm thinking i like the idea of having:
- Flemish Giants
- Rex
- Angora
I am a rabbit noob. What do i know? I think the Flemish Giant would probably be cool because it's large enough to fend off many predators [i've seen them scare cats] but their size has other advantages, i muse. They won't be able to jump too high [saves on fencing], offer more meat per kill [saves on slaughtering], and give large pieces of fur [saves on stitching].
The Rex give good fur, the Angora the same, though different. If i could keep one breed, it would be the Flemish Giant, but is that wise?

Am i overlooking really important considerations? I think i'd like a hardy breed, too, but pets are generally not discussed in this light. Any rabbit lovers that would like to share their insights?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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It seems to me like breeds are more trouble than they are worth... I attribute that to the inbreeding that is necessary to create a breed. So each breed ends up with mental and physical traits or tendencies that tend to afflict every member of the breed. "Hardy" seems to be at odds with "breed". It's like in the dog world where mutts tend to live longer and be healthier than breeds.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Pets as meat animals? OK here's the thing about raising rabbits for meat. Larger breeds have bigger bones, so per pound you will get less dressed meat than a small boned medium breed rabbit. If you are going for a hardy (cold and heat tolerant type) you would want to stick to breeds that already have those traits.
As mentioned by Joseph you might be better off creating a mixed breed rabbit to get the traits you desire. The standard meet breeds here in hot temp high humidity Arkansas are NZ White, California White, American Blue, Rex and the Flemish Giant. Of these preferred breeds, the American Blue, NZ White and Rex seem to be the best at tolerating the summers when they have lots of shade and fresh water always available.

You don't have listed where in the world you live, so I can't really make any recommendations pertinent to your location.
Do a lot of research before you start investing in the equipment and the rabbits, you will make better choices that way and not be disappointed in the outcome.
 
Joe Camarena
Posts: 76
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
It seems to me like breeds are more trouble than they are worth... I attribute that to the inbreeding that is necessary to create a breed. So each breed ends up with mental and physical traits or tendencies that tend to afflict every member of the breed. "Hardy" seems to be at odds with "breed". It's like in the dog world where mutts tend to live longer and be healthier than breeds.


If you get a breeding trio from a reputable breeder their stock will not have any inherent health defects. There is a huge difference between line breeding and inbreeding. Do a little research and you will understand this.

The most important advice is to get a breed that will handle the climate you live in. Then find a reputable breeder that has the breed you are interested in that is raising them in a similar environment, if not locally.

As for the breeds you mentioned, ask yourself one question. "What is the goal of me raising rabbits?" If the reason is for meat and helping establish a sustainable system, the answer would be different, than if your answer was to produce quality fur and helping establish a sustainable system.

Joe
 
Socrates Raramuri
Posts: 59
Location: The Hague; Morocco asap
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I don't trust the locals anyway. Morocco ain't the U.S. or the Netherlands; folks mainly just produce what their parents produced. The country's online but it's mainly shopping/chatting/porn internet and not much research usage. Given the language barrier i can't blame them but the fact is that expats are their best hope for progress so i'm on my own.

Main reason to raise rabbits would be for meat, both for the family as well as for (large) dogs. Having said that, why shouldn't i also be interested in good fur?
It's a hot climate but rabbits are nocturnal, no? That means that they just need a decent cool place to stay during the day, so why should i keep some 'desert breed'? I won't be starting with snow rabbits but are there breeds that really can't handle a dry or warm climate?

I'm an animal lover and would take good care of them. (I ate vegetarian for 15 years, vegan for 2.) So they don't have to be able to survive the harshest of breeding conditions.
 
Joe Camarena
Posts: 76
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I never said you shouldn't be interested in good fur. I said if you wanted meat, or fur, as a sole concern that would dictate certain breeds be used, and others excluded.

You could raise any breed you want if you are willing to provide the proper shelter. When most people talk about starting in rabbits that are not talking about building special living quarters as well. I assumed you'd be using typical hanging cages or hutches.

Since you seem to know what you need to, I'll end this reply.

Joe
 
Freddie Orcut
Posts: 25
Location: New England
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Above 85F you are asking for trouble if you don't have 100% shade at peak temps and you don't want to swap frozen bottles regularly throughout the day. Most will survive 85F but it isn't comfortable for the animal which I assume you don't want to force undue stress on them.
If memory serves me correct, angora's have a ton of fur. So they would probably be the worst warm climate rabbit.
I currently have New Zealand, Flemish Giant, and American Blues. If you don't mind white rabbits stick with New Zealand and Californians. That way you don't have to play with crossing, those are popular for a reason.
Me on the other hand, I like hybrid vigor. That is my goal in each rabbit, make it better than the parents. My favorite is the Flemish NewZ cross.
The meat to bone ratio of Flemish being significantly different at 10-12 weeks is a myth in my eyes. A few people I know who have raised FG crosses feel the same. I haven't seen a Cali's bones (I hear they are the best) but they would have to be microscopic to make me give up Flemish in my lines.
My current meat stock is 75% FG and 25% New Zealand. At 11 weeks I am at 5lb and 9oz (average) and they dress out around 3lb 5oz (average). I cook bone in so I can't get the weight broken down further than that. I do know that one rabbit feeds my fiance and I almost 2 meals. Depending on how carried away I get on the first meal I add potatoes, rice or what not to the second meal to make up for my greediness.
Pardon the language but being an animal lover and raising rabbits sucks big time! My heart breaks a little every harvest even though I have rationalized the process completely several times. If chickens weren't such a process and I had the equipment I would stick with them.
Good luck, and for the sake of the rabbits have full shade or if you can find an old truck cap, bury that, partition it off and fill it with dirt so they can burrow into cool dirt.
 
Freddie Orcut
Posts: 25
Location: New England
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I forgot to mention on the hardiness topic.
I use olive oil and diatomaceous earth to prevent sickness. I had one ear mite incident at the beginning of my rabbitry and nothing since with all three of the breeds.
As far as fur, my New Zealand/Flemish cross buck feels nicer than my Flemish doe. Not sure if that is across the board but the Flemish does have a little rougher fur.
I am dying to get my hands on a Red New Zealand, but I will wait until next spring when I expand more. Another local rabbitry is on the look out for one as well. We are going to be breeding our American Blue's to each others to see if we can get some whites to come out. I guess they fetch a few pennies more since they are even more rare than the endangered blue is.
 
Shannon Sheridan
Posts: 15
Location: Michigan
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Regarding Flemmies: we took in a lot of these rabbits at our sanctuary over the years. My observations during that time were 1. Flemish giants are quiet, gentle, and easy to get attached to. They could easily become pets, and that might be a problem. Obeservation number 2 was that they break REALLY easy
Seemed like the flemmies found "dead for no reason" outnumbered any of the other unexlained rabbit deaths. Even holding them could be problematic, if they began to struggle. I recall one who broke its own back when being carefully handed over from one adult to another. We just kind of stood there in shock, wondering what the heck had just happened.
They feel a little more floppy than the other large breeds, like their bodies are too big for them to maneuver well, as opposed to the Cal and NZ who have a more dense & compact feel to them, even tho they're big.
 
Shannon Sheridan
Posts: 15
Location: Michigan
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I also meant to comment on the angoras, from the persepctive of a former rescuer who took in MANY unwanted bunnies over the years. The worst neglected and mistreated rabbits I saw were angoras. What a dumb way to build a bunny, lol. That fur is unmanagemable for the average person, even the caring & attentive average person. As for children being responsible for the grooming of angoras: NO WAY. I met several parents who were unaware of how bad their child's pet bunnies were doing until the situations were out of control with mats, maggots, flies, and misery. Then, embarrassed and ashamed (appropriately so), they brought the little things to me.

Also, angoras didn't have the best temperaments or personalities, compared to the larger breeds,
 
Niele da Kine
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Location: Zone 11B Moku Nui Hawaii
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Angora wool can be quite manageable, but a lot of it depends on the breed of angora and specific rabbit within the breed. I've had some who would mat their coat about as quick as they were groomed and others who were almost maintenance free. I'd suspect the ones who went to shelters would mostly be in the former category.

Angoras, however, are not a pet bunny. Especially a child's pet bunny. They are a fiber animal and should be kept by folks who are going to use the fiber. Otherwise there's just too much maintenance in the coat. Shearing the bunny should be done about three times a year and that takes a certain level of skill, I'm not sure if a child would be able to manage it adequately.

IMHO, they do have a good temperament since they are very docile. Not a lot of personality, though, most times since they are so docile it is frequently like having a very fuzzy pet rock. But a docile temperament isn't enough to give them to a child as a pet.
 
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