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Livestock:Saving Heritage Breeds

 
Dave Bennett
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The following is a "conversation by email" between SaybianTv and myself regarding my love of what I believe is the best rabbit for anyone looking for an alternative meat source and has limited space.  Plus I am a promoter of the preservation of Heritage Breeds.  Giant Chinchilla Rabbit are impressively large and grow very fast and are excellent economical meat producers but sometimes smaller breeds can prove to be a better alternative.  If I had the space I would love to have a breeding pair of Kunekune pigs because they are grazers.  If I needed "rooters" for natural tilling I would get a pair of Guinea Hogs but I digress......
"Magicdave"

Giant Chinchilla Rabbit: Here are the closest breeders.

Magicdave:
There are two breeders in Oregon.  I am not too sure if there would be a problem taking them across the border.  I have been pondering those sorts of problems for several months because I have owned a piece of property in Quebec since the 60's.  It is 20 acres of nothing but trees so it would take a lot of work to make it a place where I could survive but at least your government is open enough to allow growing industrial hemp.  Now there is something I wish I could grow here in the states.  Back to the rabbits.... Oregon is certainly much close than Ontario.  If there wasn't too much red tape in taking three rabbits across the border that is another possibility.  Perhaps that could solve the geography.  You might consider exploring that avenue.  3 chinchillas should cost around $120US.
"MagicDave"

Danielle Wallace
Madras, OR  97741
541-408-3365
sageacres@yahoo.com



Carrie Allen
P. O. Box 263
Hood River, OR  97031
541-490-9809
www.LapinofLuxury@yahoo.com


SaybianTv:
Yeah somethings is up with the universe, 3 people to call 3 answering machines. I guess everyone is outside.
I'm gunna stay patient, if my dog chico made it all the way here from ontario I won't count these rabbit's out just yet.

I like the chinchillas, I can see it, I dont feel i'll when I see myself processing them, I know there my breed, like the day I first layed eyes on muscovies there sooooo beautiful.

WOOT!
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/imp/petani/lagomorphe.shtml
From the United States:

Domestic or pet rabbits imported from the United States must be presented to Canada Border Services Agency staff upon entry. The importation of pet rabbits does not require import permits or health certificates.

Just thinking of them makes me want to pick slugs, I'll try that to take my mind off things.


Magicdave:
A reputable breeder will not ship rabbits.  They (rabbits) don't do well being shipped.

SaybianTv:
hrmmmmmm, I can make it to point robert's at the tip of washington state in 45 minutes, a trip to oregon well that's going to need an oil change. I wonder what can be done same day within america, or hell let's just call it my first roadtrip ever.

I'm gunna try giving them another ring, if canada says I can cross the border with them, I dont see why I can't for my clunker to make the trip.   I'm feeling allot better now, like with just that extra mile I made it to the right road for me.

Magicdave:
I may be moving back to upstate NY in a couple of months.  I will know better in a few weeks.  I hate living in this environment and need to have a little more space so I can have two goats.  I have a friend with 50 acres and he doesn't so anything with it at all.  I am going to offer to trade food for a place to live and see what he says.  We have been very close friends since we were children.  

SaybianTv:
Things are cooking, I got in touch with carrie who's going to help drive the rabbit's half way up to canada if Danielle Wallace has any left. Apparently she's The lady to talk to in the PNW.  I'm hoping hard man, keeping my mouth shut and my fingers crossed.

Magicdave:
All things come to those that exhibit patience. I never shared it with you but Zen teachings have been a part of my path.  I am an archer.

SaybianTv:
There's a lot we try to allude to via the forum's I practice devotional nonduality, it wasn't until I understood animal grace, that I could really consider killing, as no death is possible for that which is the source of life itself.

All the crying and moaning on the forum aside, my real problem is which rabbit spirit represented by endless cycles of physical serial manifestation am I going to be in partnership with. The Muscovy in the sky is one great duck, I was upset I didn't feel the same way about the angora's and new zealanders of this world.
But that chinchilla it's hole posture says pick me, I'm the one nobody considers.

Magicdave:
They really are incredibly calm and friendly.  I found it difficult to dispatch the very first litter because when they were really young I would stroke the Mom to get her scent on my hand and then handle the kits so they were used to my touch.  No matter what anyone said on this thread about keeping the killing away from the other animals I am even more careful.  I remove all of the Kits to a holding pen that is complete removed from my adults.  I do what needs to be done and do not return to my adults until after I shower and wash thoroughly because I never want my adults to smell blood.  As any other member of the First People I always thank the kits for providing me with sustenance.  

SaybianTv:
I just spent 3 hour's on the phone with Danielle talking about everything, She is the west coast chinchilla, Carrie works with her on building the breed.

There working on it with amazingly really high priority, I didn't know the chin's where that rare, really rare. There widdling away at this highschool girl right now who is refusing to sell in order to save the genetics.  There going to get in touch with me tomorow, as there going to be trying her again, and there willing to drive the bunnie's up into washington to meet me halfway!!!

Which would put me at just over 400 miles if it all comes true, this has really been a worldwind, I feel apart of something greater than just getting some rabbit's of anybody for meat.  Now what it's all about is really starting to shine. I don't know where this will all end up, but whatever the chinchilla is, it's pulling itself back into existence.  I cant believe her story started out with a flemish giant that wasn't a flemish giant after all and nobody  knows where it came from.

I'm starting to think you yourself have a responsibility to spread the breed, then again in the last 48 hour's you've played a major role in bringing it to the west coast of Canada. You know what's killing me, she also had muscovies we spent a quarter of the time talking about them, a quarter on weeds, a quarter on family and just the first and last bit on rabbit's.

Magicdave:
Mind if I cut, copy and paste this email to permies.com?  

SaybianTv:
yeah, we gotta keep it online for inspiration

 
Dave Bennett
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Part 2:

Magicdave:
PS: I just found a 1987 Toyota Extra Cab pick-up truck with 186,000 miles on it and no rust for $4500.00.  That is only 7750 miles per year.  That is practically new mechanically.  I am very well versed in engine mechanics.  I have been turning wrenches all of my life.  Here is the coolest part.  It has Dual Wheels with Heavy Duty Leaf Springs, a really heavy duty flat bed with steel utility boxes on both side, a really heavy duty rear bumper with a trailer hitch. A Real Truck! in miniature.  A perfect survival vehicle for me.  Old and slow and no 4 wheel drive but......., I sure will be able to haul a lot of "stuff" including my bunnies and my hard sided shelter.  The gas mileage won't be great because it is only a 4 speed but 5 speeds transmissions for those trucks are a dime a dozen.  Installing a two speed axle would be easier.  Junk yards are full of them too.  I have a small diesel engine that will work in that truck.  I was going to build a tractor before my health went into the toilet a few years ago.  I don't have many years left and I may become as nomadic as possible feel my ancestral freedom.  I have spent my life learning how to survive as completely "off the grid" as possible.  Sometime in the future I will not participate in this economic model or as little as possible.  If I arrive at a destination where I have no extra costs other than food and shelter I won't need money, I have been a seed saver all of my life.  I have always hated the system and have long wanted to remove myself from it but life kept getting in the way.  I need a place where I can grow some alfalfa for free.  I don't need to buy pellets but I will always need alfalfa.  I am working on a hydroponic system to grow it because if I can have a constant supply of it fresh I will never have to buy it.  I love perennial legumes.  Only feeding 3 rabbits is critical.  I my needs can be well served with 3 but my goal has always been 6 Giant Chinchillas from two different bloodlines.  Rabbits only live about 8-10 years at best.  With 6 there is even less breeding pressure and the genetics can be stored and mixed for even possibly better quality bunnies.  There is much to be said for hybrid vigor.  Preserving the breed was my primary criteria in choosing Giant Chinchillas.  I was also intrigued by their calmness and just everything about them.  Not having to feed the harvest was my second consideration.  The not feeding part is somewhat of a very slight alteration of the truth.  They will start eating the hay.  That's how to know when they are done nursing.  When they are all more interested in the hay it is time for the freezer.  Nutrition during gestation and weaning for the doe is essential for optimum kit growth.  What that means is a slight increase in feed.  If you are making your own pellets then you will need that hammermilll and a recipe.  I am working on an idea to increase homemade alfalfa pellets.  DO NOT FEED YOUR RABBITS FEED PELLETS WITH SOY IN THEM.  That was me shouting.  sorry.  Non soy rabbit pellets are a pain in the ass to find but I am an organic militant.  It is easier to do the work of using a hay recipe.  I have one I will find it and send it to you.  The "lightbulb" went on last night and I have a plan for making rabbit pellets without spending a zillion dollars on a machine that will send you back to them to buy the wear items like the die cutter for instance.  My idea is a cheap alternative.  I will let you know it if works because everyone at permies will know. 

 
Saybian Morgan
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I uh have a toyota 1989 extended cap pickup truck in my back yard!
My brother in law left it behind when he went to iceland during the volcano's 3 countries later I get the email that says do you want the truck I'm not coming back to canada.

It sit's there because I'm NOT mechanicaly inclined, and don't know how to drive standard   I can't learn on it till I replace the clutch and to replace the clutch I have to give in and take the truck as my own. It's hard because I'm so proud of my mercury cougar being ravaged by my need for a truck, the trunk has so much soil it in from roadside harvest of plant's and of course piles of junk that nobody want's to ride in it cause theres manure in the vents.

I'm a bit terrified of things that don't have working parking breaks, and youtube just isn't a replacement for a real in car teacher of how to drive standard on a clunker.
But what can I do when we keep syncing like this, now it had to get added to my to do list. I wish I could shave some of the monetary overhead with mechanical knowhow but alas it took me an hour to change a car battery and I know in man terms that just aint right! I've got enough problems since i just splashed my wife with the new's of rabbit's then went all bastard academic when she asked me why do I have to go to the US to get a Rabbit. I'm like "What" didn't you know about the chinchilla's how could you even ask me why pfff I can't even talk to you i'm so not the man you knew 3 days ago before I spent 72 hour's on the internet and phone becoming a rabbit man, and I dont wanna hear anything about the fact I just got bees 2 months ago your looking at a permaculture machine please step away from my pedestal.
 
Dave Bennett
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First of all regarding the bees, check out these top bar hives.  They are the coolest hives I have ever seen.  These plans are free to download. http://www.biobees.com/build-a-beehive-free-plans.php
There is a wealth if excellent information at this site and........,
This site:
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
I am not a fan of buying foundations.  Bees are much healthier if you allow them to build their own combs from scratch.  These plans are easy to follow and gets your bees off the ground.   I can help you with you bees too.  I started collecting swarms when I was in high school. 

Now about your 1989 Toyota.  If it has a 4 cylinder engine, they are nearly bulletproof and easily repaired.  This is a reputable service manual publisher:
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&rlz=&q=service+manuals+for+1989+toyota+pickup+truck&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=12709575676437638267&sa=X&ei=RkIOTtWJM9DUgAeK86jjDQ&ved=0CGsQ8wIwAQ

This is also a good manual:
http://4wheeldrive.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=4wheeldrive&cdn=autos&tm=34&f=00&tt=14&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0801986826/qid%3D1083982853/sr%3D1-2/ref%3Dsr_1_2__i2_xgl14/104-6350517-3745555%3Fv%3Dglance%26s%3Dbooks

You can do it.  I have confidence in your determination.  It is like shooting an
arrow.  Be patient and you will hit the mark.
 
Saybian Morgan
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You got it Warre beekeeping is what I do! That guy should get an honorary permaculture design certificate just for his genius in apiculture.
Warre_Bees.jpg
[Thumbnail for Warre_Bees.jpg]
 
Dave Bennett
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I do not use vertical hives.  Horizontal hives are easier to use as top bar hive.  Why have hives that you have to pick up 60lb. boxes of honey when you can remove the lids of a waist high hive lid and remove each comb individually?  No offense but horizontal foundationless hives are much less stressful on the bees and much more efficient.  Commercial foundations are one of the places Bee diseases come from and the pre-made cell forms are too large.  Wild Bees are much smaller than commercial bees.  I have been keeping bees on and off since the 60's.  Trust me.  Spend some time at the both of those sites I posted.  I use the Kenyan Top Bar style hive with legs much like the free plans at the biobees website.  That style of hive is easier to manage than stacked supers.  They are very easy to build too.  NO foundations.  They stress your bees.  Allow your bees to build the size cells they want in their comb. 
 
Saybian Morgan
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Theres no foundation just top bar's no frames, they look big but the boxes are actually only 12x12 internally warre discovered  21cm by 21cm was the closest to bee hives which grow from the top down inside of hollow tree's. Thermaly the natural cylinder they create is the most efficient to manage heat and cold.

The only difference between this an a kenyan top bar hive is I can add more boxes "At the bottom" essentialy allowing them to raise more brood on the lower decks the way the truly due and re purpose combs at the top for honey storage.

Here's some pictures of the style the japanese came to. The method is identical but they opt for crossbeams instead of top bar's.  When it's harvest time all I do is take a box off the top then add an empty box to the bottom. I would never reuse comb's that's half the disaster of modern beekeeping method's designed by an honey extractor manufacturer, Once the the bee's have used the comb for their seasonal cycle of brood and honey storage it never goes back. At the end of the season they get two boxes, and I get whatever excess to that they produce. I know it's time to add a box when i look into the hive with a mirror and the comb's are near the entrance, if I didn't add a box they'd swarm. It's the only time the hive is opened, compared to once a week from spring to fall. If you've already got the boxes and you know what your doing, your involvement is about 2 hour's per year per hive and most of that is spent in harvest.
japan_comb_spales.jpg
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japan_harvest.jpg
[Thumbnail for japan_harvest.jpg]
 
Saybian Morgan
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Flambits I forgot to add the links for the video of harvest.

This is the Japanese method and other than not wasting all day with a blow dryer and tiny screws the is essentialy how it goes down. I think you thought my hives where standard langstroff's because I built such an atrocious roof, I call it the PNW roof and it's double the recommended scale to keep the monsoon's off.  The other two boxes are the quilt box which is the attic, and a feeder I built for the first 3 weeks when I got them and it rained non stop. They've been empty ever since and I been meaning to take them off, but I got swamped by a certain rabbit issue......

Part 1:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZldnd9wMLU

Part 2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_pKEn5WtLM

Part 3:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3rX-gsm-M4

Part 4:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgzsaTgl_44&feature=related
 
Dave Bennett
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Very interesting.  My hives are 4 ft. long.  I use a solid piece to wood to seal off the empty space so the bees will be confined and as they need more room I add a top bar and of course move the block off back.  The is my first season using this set up and so far the colony is being very productive.  I have had to add several new empty top bars but still have enough space for the rest of the season and then some.  I am really happy my younger sister turned me on to top bar hives because traditional hives are way too much work for an "old fart" like me.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Like everything antithetical to permaculture, human lazyness like ease of wizzing your foundations around in a extractor to get the honey by the minute end's up creating a lifetime of suffering. 70 pound supers, colony collapse disorder, and of course ripping the roof of the beehives to satisfy curiosity or dabbling in the art of tampering.
Anyone who can design a decent self heating and cooling home that also manages humidity can point out why the boxed traditional's sweat bucket's of water internally all winter and force the bee's to heat over double the surface area. Did I mention eat excess honey in order to produce heat and then get dysentery because it's to cold to go for a cleansing flight as bee's don't poo where they live.  One could get a degree in all the thing's that can go wrong and how to treat the symptom's once the step in the wrong direction is taken.
 
Dave Bennett
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I agree.  I took over two hives that started out with traditional supers and foundations.  Moving the bees was a really easy task because I did it after they were all "home from work."  I was careful to put the new hives exactly where the original ones were located so they wouldn't get confused.  It has been working beautifully ever since.  Hopefully I won't have to move them.  I have them at my friend's where my Muscovies live and that is still zone agricultural.  That could change and I will be screwed though. 
 
Saybian Morgan
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Totally off topic but these two commercials about the Toyota where talking about are what's got me itching to activate that truck.
If all advertising where like this not only would I buy everything I would probably plug in my tv to watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyHBKX29_Q8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yj1gff-ndc
 
Dave Bennett
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I had an 87 4x4 back in the late 80's.  They really are great little trucks.  I had the short wheel base model and I used to pull really huge boats with it.  I was working as a marine mechanic/small engine mechanic back then.  People would see me at the boat ramp and make cracks about my truck trying to pull a 24 ft. boat up a very steep boat ramp until I slipped it in gear and pulled the boat out of the water without so much as a hiccup.  I am not a big fan of the V-6's though.  That 22R - 4 banger has a single overhead cam and are very easy to work on.  I like older trucks.  I will send you a link to the one I found so you can drool over it. LOL
 
Melba Corbett
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Dave Bennett wrote:
Part 2:

  If you are making your own pellets then you will need that hammermilll and a recipe.  I am working on an idea to increase homemade alfalfa pellets.  DO NOT FEED YOUR RABBITS FEED PELLETS WITH SOY IN THEM.  That was me shouting.  sorry.  Non soy rabbit pellets are a pain in the ass to find but I am an organic militant.  It is easier to do the work of using a hay recipe.  I have one I will find it and send it to you.  The "lightbulb" went on last night and I have a plan for making rabbit pellets without spending a zillion dollars on a machine that will send you back to them to buy the wear items like the die cutter for instance.  My idea is a cheap alternative.  I will let you know it if works because everyone at permies will know. 





Is there any reason you are making "pellets"?  I've always just dried the alfalfa and fed it as hay, along with a mix of other plants and always offering them a salt/mineral block.  Just a lot easier and a lot less expensive.  Could that work for you and be a lot less labor intensive?
 
Dave Bennett
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Mostly for the convenience of my recipe and for ease of keeping it fresh.  Right now I have a grain mix that I feed them and because my rabbits live indoors it is easier to keep that area clean with pellets.  If I could keep them outdoors I wouldn't bother.  If I made pellets I could vacuum seal them for the winter.  When they get grain some of it always get spilled on the floor.  In the winter, it will fill my house with mice.  Mobile homes are "wintertime mouse motels."
I am hopeful that I can find a place where they can be outdoors again but I am not allowed to have them here as "livestock" and if I raise them as pets then it will cost me an extra $25 per month per animal for lot rent.  I suppose they made that rule to prevent puppy mills or something like that so nobody knows I have rabbits.  When I am asked why I collect so much greenery I just tell them it is keeping my compost pile healthy.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Dave I got the Chinchilla's today! and when I came home 4 new baby ducklings show up.  Jeez Peez why does everyone in america drive so fast, I noticed I speed like it's mad max on US roads but when I get home it's grampa pace. 80-90 mph stresses me out!

Just waiting for this buck's testies to drop in a month and where off to the races.
 
Dave Bennett
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SaybianTv wrote:
Dave I got the Chinchilla's today! and when I came home 4 new baby ducklings show up.  Jeez Peez why does everyone in america drive so fast, I noticed I speed like it's mad max on US roads but when I get home it's grampa pace. 80-90 mph stresses me out!

Just waiting for this buck's testies to drop in a month and where off to the races.

How are you planning to breed your Does?  I only breed each Doe 3 times a year and have already decided that twice a year would be less stressful for them.  I feed my lactating Does extremely well compared to the other Does and my Buck. 
 
Saybian Morgan
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I did the math on my fingers, canceling out nov, dec, jan. 1 month preggers + 3 months milking,  it only add's up to twice a year if I don't want them doing anything during the brutal-er months. I wanted it to be 3 times a year cuzz I couldn't get a 3rd doe which would have solved the problem. So maybe since my landlord pays the electricity i'll sneak a lil space heater into the situation to open up nov,dec,jan.  I'm not worried about poor feed, I just spent the day making a briquette press, so I can stash flow's of good food all round the year. Bindweed finally got on my glad to see you, "chop chop chop" list.

I'm aiming for 3, cuzz I'm not down to a groove, I don't know if I have good mothers yet, I could get a doa litter I could end up with only 2 baby's. I'm basing things on the wild hopes of an 8 bunny yield per pregnancy by the 3-4th pregnancy. At that point I know I got enough food for 3 people to not have to return to mung beans again.
 
Dave Bennett
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SaybianTv wrote:
I did the math on my fingers, canceling out nov, dec, jan. 1 month preggers + 3 months milking,  it only add's up to twice a year if I don't want them doing anything during the brutal-er months. I wanted it to be 3 times a year cuzz I couldn't get a 3rd doe which would have solved the problem. So maybe since my landlord pays the electricity i'll sneak a lil space heater into the situation to open up nov,dec,jan.  I'm not worried about poor feed, I just spent the day making a briquette press, so I can stash flow's of good food all round the year. Bindweed finally got on my glad to see you, "chop chop chop" list.

I'm aiming for 3, cuzz I'm not down to a groove, I don't know if I have good mothers yet, I could get a doa litter I could end up with only 2 baby's. I'm basing things on the wild hopes of an 8 bunny yield per pregnancy by the 3-4th pregnancy. At that point I know I got enough food for 3 people to not have to return to mung beans again.

I had about 275 lbs. of rabbits from my Does first 9 litters.  That is 2 Does and 3 litters each.    It was how I found out that I wanted 2 more Doe.  10 days rest after weaning a littler is not enough time.  I am not raising them as a "factory."  I am only raising them for my protein source.  After I get myself into a better situation so I can have some goats, pigs, ducks, and chickens,  I won't need to breed them nearly as often but that will have to wait for at least another year.
 
                        
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off topic but man it's frustrating  to hear about people who cannot find a few acres of land to do permie type stuff and I can't find anyone who wants  to do that.  I guess Saskatchewan is off the map  or something.
 
Dave Bennett
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Pam wrote:
off topic but man it's frustrating  to hear about people who cannot find a few acres of land to do permie type stuff and I can't find anyone who wants  to do that.  I guess Saskatchewan is off the map  or something.

I want very much to have a place where I can put my understanding of "forest gardening" into practice.  Finding a suitable place is a problem.  I do not care exactly where that place is located either.  I even have a perfect piece of property in Quebec that I have owned for over 40 years.  I left it completely untouched on purpose.  The only "grooming" that has ever been done there is that the Canadian Forest asked for permission to clear the dead understory to reduce forest fire fuel.  I am not particularly in favor of that but it reduced my property taxes by a significant amount so I have allowed it.  I think it would be a perfect place to develop a true forest garden including some ruminant browsers like goats but it may still be a wild piece of land when I return to the soil and my son will have the deed.
 
Laura Sweany
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This is a dumb question, but here goes: is the Giant Chinchilla the same as the American Chinchilla breed? I have 1 buck 1 doe American Chinchilla and got them since I knew they were endangered as a breed, and they seem to be reliably productive in my area (Western Washington). The does weigh in at 10-12 lbs at maturity, and the bucks 9-11.
 
Saybian Morgan
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I looked up american chinchilla they look like my rabbits, the giant chinchillas were made in america but they seem to have different websites associated with them. I think an american chinchilla was bread with a giant newzealander and came out a giant chinchilla is all. But by the photos in google you could have fooled me. Not all giant chinchillas come out giant. But american chinchillas don't come up on the endangered rare breed list. So there must be some distinction i'm not aware of but I'm sure Dave would know.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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I still don't understand the difference but heres the explanation on the Breeders association site. Then again I didn't understand what 4H was until the day I got my rabbits, i'm a cub scouts dropout.

The Million Dollar Rabbit

The Giant Chinchilla Rabbit is one of the few rabbit breeds that was created in America. Before the English breed known as the Chinchilla Giaganta, which incidentally, corresponds to the so called "Heavy-Weight" or American Chinchilla and not to be our own being exibited in shows throughout the Middle West. They caused and still are causing a sensation wherever they are shown. The first Giant Chinchilla was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on Christmas Day in 1921. Her very proud creator was Edward H. Stahl. She was exhibited the following year and was called the Million Dollar Princess. Now the breed is called the Million Dollar Rabbit. Stahl perfected this breed by using over weight Chinchillas and White Flemish Giants, just to name a couple of breeds used. The Giant Chinchilla has been purebred for over 45 years.

The ideal Giant Chinchilla should weigh, when fully mature, 13-14 pounds for bucks. Does at maturity should weigh 14-15 pounds. It is a proven fact that rabbits that weigh from 12-15 pounds at maturity have generally been accepted as the ideal meat producing rabbit.
 
Laura Sweany
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Location: Onalaska, Lewis County, WA
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Okay, I did more research on this - now I'm not confused. This is what I know:

The original Chinchilla rabbit breed was first displayed in France in 1913, and was originally bred for fur that mimics the fur of the South American chinchilla (a type of ground squirrel).

A pair of American breeders bought all the stock that was first displayed in America in 1919, and they set out to increase the carcass size of the small (5-7.5 lbs) Standard Chinchilla rabbits to produce a dual-purpose meat/pelt rabbit. Via many different breeders, the change was made, and in 1924 both the Standard Chinchilla and the "Heavyweight" Chinchilla were accepted into the standards book. Soon thereafter, the Heavyweight name was changed to American Chinchilla, and it remains that way today. It is listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and the Ark of Taste.

The Giant Chinchilla was bred from the American Chinchilla and was officially recognized as a distinct breed in 1928. It is listed as a watch breed by the ALBC, and is also part Slow Food's Ark of Taste. It was bred as a dual-purpose breed, but is clearly a meat-first rabbit - babies are fast growers and 7 lbs by 2 months!

I have a breeding pair of American Chins that I got because I love grey rabbits, I wanted a dual-purpose breed, and I wanted to help out a critically endangered breed. Once I build a few more nice rabbit tractors, I think I want to get a pair of Giant Chinchillas too - their growth sounds pretty amazing. Thanks for the hint, Saybian.
 
Saybian Morgan
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Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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Man breeders really leave us with a muck of confusion, all these subtle distinctions from what's basically a grey rabbit. I had to read what you wrote twice as name changes make things even more confusing, it's hard to say distinct breed as I have 1 smaller doe which could qualify as an american, one big doe who's definetly a giant and the man in the middle who get's 20 seconds of glory every 4 months. I wonder if there's a real genetic difference that shows up anatomy wise or do they just get their name from their size categories. I still swear we have the same rabbits.
We should start calling anyone over 5'11 giant humans.
 
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