Meat rabbits

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8 years 4 months ago #519959 by Fairlight
Meat rabbits was created by Fairlight
Hi all,

We're looking into setting ourselves up with meat rabbits. We want to just trial it first with a breeding pair to see how we like it before getting very many. Advice???

From what I've read I'll need a minimum of two cages - one for Dad and the other for Mum and kits. Has anyone got any experience with housing needs?

I've also been reading up on colony raising them as it sounds like a lot less work for happier rabbits although it can be a bit more unpredictable.

Would be very keen on hearing from anyone with experience on the matter, particularly the following points:

How do you house them and what square meterage per animal?
What do you feed them to meet their dietary requirements?
What breed have you gone for?

Thanks so much :)

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8 years 4 months ago #519981 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Meat rabbits
I would go for 4 cages. Mum, Dad, Weaned kits in 2 cages.

The weaners cages would be empty part of the time.


I don;t see a location, so if you are in the south, DON'T use the Reliance brand rabbit pellets, they don't have enough protein to grow them properly, more a maintenance diet for dad than a mums milky cornucopia or muscle building meat feed for the growing kits. Weston Milling in the south or NRM in the north will be fine.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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8 years 3 months ago #520281 by Fairlight
Replied by Fairlight on topic Meat rabbits
Thanks so much :)
We are in rural canterbury so thanks for the heads up in the pellets as well!!

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8 years 3 months ago #520283 by Fairlight
Replied by Fairlight on topic Meat rabbits
I just noticed you're in rolleston - that's about 20 mins away from us. We're only about three quarters of the way through building our first hutch and want to have them all set up before we get our first rabbits - so it'll take a couple months before we are ready - but would you have breeding rabbits for sale? Which breeds do you specialize in?

Can I also ask who you get your hay off?

This is our first hutch btw. We're using free weather board off cuts so it's looking pretty fancy haha. It's a move able one as we want to make use of our lawn (and my husband is sick of mowing it). We have it a bit further along than the photos now and just need to finish one last wall, the roof and the wire.
What grade of hardware cloth do you recommend? I've heard if it's too fine the rabbits pull it up and spike themselves and you end up spending all your time patching it, so keen to get it right the first time :)
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8 years 3 months ago #520294 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Meat rabbits
The hutch should not be on the ground, for two main reasons.
1. Wild males will match your females through the netting. Our wild, or should that be "freerange", could mate our does through fine bird netting. We had lots of half feral rabbits that had the temperament of their father/s, which caused
2. Digging out. Some of the burrows they dug were very long, and took lots of stones to fill them in. Other holes got dug beside the fence, and in no time I had halve a dozen rabbits in the vege garden. Fortunately I managed to catch most of them, by using a whitebait net. But we still have some orange coloured wild rabbits on the farm, even after having stopped brreding for 15 years.

Remember that it is absolutely illegal to sell home killed meat.

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8 years 3 months ago #520508 by ronnie
Replied by ronnie on topic Meat rabbits
One of this forums long standing members, rabbitnutstud is a breeder of meat rabbits and heavily involved in the industry. Or if you are on Facebook, she is under the same (or very similar) name - look her up. She is a wealth of knowledge on the subject.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Fairlight

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7 years 11 months ago #523709 by ratso
Replied by ratso on topic Meat rabbits
Some tips on raising meat rabbits: Use purebred breeders, use a NZ White Buck (For size) a Californian for mothering quality and small bone to meat ratio. This gives you a "First Cross Vigor" and shortens the growth time to slaughter (6-8 weeks would be ideal)
Housing separate housing for each Doe AND Buck. Always take the doe to the buck. you need separate housing for the kits, all in together if you have the room.
They need a continuous supply of hay. It's best to house your rabbits OFF GROUND. this eliminates the need to have escape proof fencing.
This is a starting point only, if you have any more questions just ask...

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7 years 11 months ago - 7 years 11 months ago #524223 by permaculture15
Replied by permaculture15 on topic Meat rabbits
Hi Fairlight,

Since this post's a few months old, I'd assume you've already got your rabbit operation going! I hope it's working well for you!

We had Flemish Giants as pets, and they were lovely, very friendly, like cats. I wouldn't recommend them for meat though, as they grow very slowly and are also boney.
My mom's friend breeds rabbits for meat, and she puts a NZ White buck over Silver Fox does. She says that the Silver Fox has a good meat-bone ratio and it is a good cross with the nz white, as NZ Whites grow quickly. She's experienced this herself, after many generations of successful breeding. If i remember correctly, she slaughters hers at three months of age.
This combo (NZ White-Silver Fox) also produces beautiful babies, the prettiest being the chinchillas, of which my mom's friend has several.
Last edit: 7 years 11 months ago by permaculture15.

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