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ALMOST BEEKEEPING - RELATED TOPICS => FARMING & COUNTRY LIFE => Topic started by: The15thMember on July 19, 2019, 02:26:11 pm

Title: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on July 19, 2019, 02:26:11 pm
I know there are some old posts on this subject, but with all the new people on the forum since then, I figured I'd start a new one.  My family is looking to start raising rabbits for meat.  We are still in the research and planning stage, but we are looking to purchase our breeders next spring probably.  Anyone have any experience with meat rabbits?  What breed(s) do you have?  What is your setup like?  Any tips for someone getting started? 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on July 21, 2019, 02:31:34 am
Member, this will not answer you questions. The only experience I have with meat rabbits is eating them and that was only once.  As a boy one of the older fellows fixed some for a breakfast for the folks at church.  They were outstanding! Also as a boy we had beagle hounds and hunted wild rabbits and they were also very tasty and good in my opinion. The raised rabbits were a delicious delicacy !!  Good luck to you and your family on this!!
Phillip
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: sawdstmakr on July 21, 2019, 10:21:31 am
I have tried this for personal use. First thing, find a large breed. You do not get a lot of meat off of the small ones. Start with more than a couple of rabbits. If one of them is a dud, of poor breeder, it really puts a halt on production. Like Beekeeping, start building your cages now.
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: MikeCinWV on July 21, 2019, 12:03:23 pm
We did meat rabbits for years.  Had one male and five females as our breeders.  That's five separate cages plus an additional five for raising the young ones.  We separated them by sex not litter mates.  We raised Californians, Rex, and champagne.  The Californians did the best for us.  After about five or six years we came to the conclusion it just wasn't worth the effort/feed.  Taking them hot water twice a day during winter was a real pain and probably. Kept Flemish Giants for a few years after that. Their litters are smaller and they take to long to grow to be meat rabbits.  They make wonderful pets. They are really cool rabbits but need an extremely large cage with a special mesh floor for their feet. 

Make sure your cages are raccon proof.  Butcher between 3 to 6 months old.  Best way to kill them is to grab them by the back legs with one hand and around the neck with your other hand.  Then just give a quick sharp pull to "stretch" them.  It breaks their neck instantly. Rabbit liver is the BEST!  I don't like liver but rabbit liver is amazing.  Best part of the rabbit IMO.  We supplemented their regular feed with garden scraps, fruits and apple tree branches. We out pieces of mine belt under the cages so it was easy to clean their mess with a flat shovel.  You may be surprised at how much mess a rabbit generates.  It can go straight to your garden it won't burn the plants.  Seriously try the livers fried in butter, sooo good.  Don't leave the male with the female for very long they can be really hard on the females.  Also make your cages so the rabbits can't chew on the wood frame of the cage because they will chew right through a 2x4.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on July 21, 2019, 04:30:48 pm
Thanks for all the great information everyone!  My father is looking to start building some housing for the bunnies in about a month or so.  Our plan is to keep the breeders in hutches mounted on the back wall of our garage, and then use rabbit tractors to grow out the babies.  We are currently looking into the silver fox rabbit breed.  We like the size and the bone/meat ratio.  Anyone have any experience with those?   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on August 14, 2019, 04:37:40 pm
Hey, I've got a question that I can't seem to get an answer to, maybe someone can help with this.  Why do you want to keep your breeding rabbits in cages and not in tractors?  Could you keep the breeders in tractors too? 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: iddee on August 14, 2019, 06:30:54 pm
You keep the breeders in cages to be able to catch them quickly and easily. You only keep the male with the female for a couple of minutes until the job is done. If you leave him with her, he will eat the babies as soon as they are born.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on August 14, 2019, 08:14:33 pm
You keep the breeders in cages to be able to catch them quickly and easily. You only keep the male with the female for a couple of minutes until the job is done. If you leave him with her, he will eat the babies as soon as they are born.
I didn't really mean keeping the males and females together.  What I meant was why does everyone keep breeders in cages off the ground.  Why not just make smaller tractor type cages and keep each rabbit separately in it's own little tractor on grass?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: iddee on August 14, 2019, 08:30:58 pm
Snakes, weasels, rats, dogs, cats, and others will be getting in and eating the babies. Also, the adults will dig out faster than you think they can.
You will have to worm them more often, as they will get worms from the ground.

My suggestion is forget the tractors and keep them all off the ground, at least 4 feet, to keep animals from tearing into them.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: sawdstmakr on August 14, 2019, 10:24:14 pm
I kept rabbits in a fenced in area years ago. On night I heard screaming coming from the rabbit yard. I ran back there and found a raccoon in the yard. The rabbits were shredded on the ground and the coon was scrambling to get out. I grabbed a bow and arrow and shot it as it ran straight up a wood fence. He took my arrow with him as reached the top.
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on August 15, 2019, 12:49:17 am
Snakes, weasels, rats, dogs, cats, and others will be getting in and eating the babies. Also, the adults will dig out faster than you think they can.
You will have to worm them more often, as they will get worms from the ground.

My suggestion is forget the tractors and keep them all off the ground, at least 4 feet, to keep animals from tearing into them.
Thanks, iddee, that makes perfect sense, and that?s exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. We are planning on using standard elevated cages for our breeders, but it was the kind of thing where we wanted to understand why everyone did it that way.

I kept rabbits in a fenced in area years ago. On night I heard screaming coming from the rabbit yard. I ran back there and found a raccoon in the yard. The rabbits were shredded on the ground and the coon was scrambling to get out. I grabbed a bow and arrow and shot it as it ran straight up a wood fence. He took my arrow with him as reached the top.
Jim Altmiller
What a horrible story, Jim. :sad: I didn?t realize raccoons were even that predatory!  We don?t tend to have too much trouble with raccoons here thankfully. We also have outdoor dogs so they should help keep all the nasty critters away.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Beelab on August 15, 2019, 02:55:34 am
Just want to say thanks for this topic. Brought up some memories. My granddad back in Germany had a shed full of meat rabbits and I loved the rabbits throughout my childhood. Could spend days in the rabbit shed.
I remember he kept the bucks separate, even though I argued Daddy rabbit wants to be with the kids. Haha. And how come Daddy rabbit has babies with several lady rabbits.
I was only allowed to learn the skinning. They kept me away from the neck breaking part till I was 10.
The meat was so good, I didn?t mind eating the bunny I played with. Because I knew they were raised for eating on special days and selling to the neighbourhood.
I remember it was a great side income for granddad. He had them on order before they were even born.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on August 15, 2019, 02:08:04 pm
Just want to say thanks for this topic. Brought up some memories. My granddad back in Germany had a shed full of meat rabbits and I loved the rabbits throughout my childhood. Could spend days in the rabbit shed.
I remember he kept the bucks separate, even though I argued Daddy rabbit wants to be with the kids. Haha. And how come Daddy rabbit has babies with several lady rabbits.
I was only allowed to learn the skinning. They kept me away from the neck breaking part till I was 10.
The meat was so good, I didn?t mind eating the bunny I played with. Because I knew they were raised for eating on special days and selling to the neighbourhood.
I remember it was a great side income for granddad. He had them on order before they were even born.

Sounds wonderful, Beelab.  Glad I could give you remembrance of those nice childhood times.  :smile:  Oddly enough, I'm kind of excited to learn the butchering and skinning part.  I don't want to do the actual killing, and my father has already agreed to do that part, but I really like anatomy and dissection, and butchering an animal is just a dissection that we'll then get good use out of for meat.  :happy:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on August 16, 2019, 12:47:53 am
Just want to say thanks for this topic. Brought up some memories. My granddad back in Germany had a shed full of meat rabbits and I loved the rabbits throughout my childhood. Could spend days in the rabbit shed.
I remember he kept the bucks separate, even though I argued Daddy rabbit wants to be with the kids. Haha. And how come Daddy rabbit has babies with several lady rabbits.
I was only allowed to learn the skinning. They kept me away from the neck breaking part till I was 10.
The meat was so good, I didn?t mind eating the bunny I played with. Because I knew they were raised for eating on special days and selling to the neighbourhood.
I remember it was a great side income for granddad. He had them on order before they were even born.

Beelab, what did y'all feed the rabbits there in Germany? I was thinking if a person such as Member were to go to her area grocery stores and vegetable markets, she may be able to contract to dispose of the older produce in a positive way?
 :wink:
Phillip
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Beelab on August 16, 2019, 09:12:57 am
I remember neighbours dropped off their potato peels every afternoon and grandma cooked them in a big pot every night. Then they were mixed the next day with something mealy, maybe crushed grain or flour? Bone meal? I don?t know what it was.
Granddad didn?t allow me to feed too many greens. He said it gives them bloating.

I bought skinny wild rabbits once here in Australia at the butcher. Never again. No comparison.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on August 16, 2019, 01:43:08 pm
Beelab, what did y'all feed the rabbits there in Germany? I was thinking if a person such as Member were to go to her area grocery stores and vegetable markets, she may be able to contract to dispose of the older produce in a positive way?
 :wink:
Phillip
Interesting idea, Phillip.  Although I'm not sure I'd want to feed grocery store produce, just because I have no idea what sort of chemicals the food may have come in contact with.  Maybe for organic produce though. 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on August 21, 2019, 01:25:06 am
I had a friend growing up whose daddy kept rabbits as described by iddee
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on August 27, 2019, 10:32:02 pm
@ Member
How are things coming along with the rabbits? Also how is your family?s puppy?s that you mentioned in the topic My Friend Tuff a few months ago?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Anonimo22 on August 28, 2019, 05:17:28 am
Very cool thread!

You know its interesting that you asked about rabbits. A lot of us have been thinking about stuff like this. And we've done some research on this also. Our family had them years ago, and years and years ago there was a big business scheme going around to raise Rex rabbits for profit.

Haha...well anyway.

So what do rabbits do well...

A lot of people think that the meat in rabbits and ducks can be more nutritious than chickens. And people are starting to be concerned with the diseases that chickens can get and how stuff like bird flue can carry over from 'fowl' into humans as a germ elevator. So this is a big point in favor of rabbits (and ducks) over chickens. (Its also why people are very interested in raising & trying out quail right now also.)

Also, you can use grass more with rabbits than you can with these other small time ag equivalents mentioned in the paragraph above and that means more efficiency and saving money. Now the guy above says you they can get bloating from only grass. But a lot of people do claim that you get more efficiency with grass pulled tractors with rabbits than you do with some of the other small time livestock that i meantioned. And some people only raise rabbits in pasture enclosures and then rotate the fencing around them while reaping fertilization benefits as well as moving the enclosure around to not allow the pasture to become too stripped of vegetation. (And it looks like an interesting idea.)

Rabbits do have good weight gain for your meat early on, fast growth, multiply quickly, and they are more efficient with resources than say cows (which require tons of space).

Some things to consider or concerns;

Rabbits are VERY hard to sell. American culture can't get past the fact that rabbits are seen as pets. And their kids especially have a hard time understanding why their parents want to butcher cute things. This was why rabbit farming has never taken off. The meat is wonderful, and can be stored. Also the pelts can be used and turned into leathers or used for stuff but just the mental block of having people buy them for meat is something that everyone who has experience with rabbits will always say that this is why 'rabbit farming' never takes off because they have a hard time turning these wonderful products into cash. (And time and time again everyone still agrees that they can make great products, yet they always still also agree that turning them into cash becomes difficult right back at the main dead end.)

Another thing that people have trouble with in comparing ducks, rabbits, and chickens against each other is that with the other two you get eggs right away but rabbits haven't figured out how to 'can' eggs yet. So for some people they think there's less return on investment than these other things that use similar space, which deliver a food product early on.

And the funny thing is when you look at the numbers on a graph of the gains of rabbits and how fast they produce meat it doesn't make sense why people don't use them more. (Especially with chickens having recent diseases and being raised in poor conditions.)

Another consideration; I don't know if they overwinter easier than ducks (which are their alternative). And duck products are easier to sell (supposedly). (But who knows so many people are trying ducks now that, its possible those also might hit a dead end if too many people jump on it.) And out of chickens and rabbits compared I'm not sure which winter better.

Well there's all kinds of questions you could ask. I think it will help if you compare them to over small livestock. Stuff like; ducks, quail, and geese are the alternatives (and medieval alternatives) to rabbits. In the middle ages our ancestors also farmed geese heavily, and sometimes ducks. The hundred years war of Britain and France for example, when you read about it, farms had a quota of geese feathers they were all supposed to provide to the king for English Longbowmen. But at some point, Anglo Saxon derived cultures started to forget about geese and some of the other small ag livestock. (Odd right? Bigger isn't always better.)

People also say that quail eggs are much healthier and less disease than chicken eggs, and higher protein also for both quail and ducks compared to chicken eggs also. So I don't know why we don't use some of these other alternatives more.

Hope that helps in some way! :)


PS I'm aware of a channel on youtube that documents and does research on agricultural news. And what one of their videos is saying is that some of the big ag companies are strip mining US food processing in order to send it ALL over to Africa now. This seems really bizarre to me. And the way they are doing it they are basically leaving nothing left. They are talking about closing canning companies entirely like in Illinois, Wisconsin, and just taking all of that wealth out of the US (with foreign interest), and leaving nothing behind.

Its kind of crazy that you can't even make this stuff up. It sounds like Science Fiction. But its really happening.

There's not really any limits in the law right now on how much a US Corporation can strip mine wealth generated over 50 to 100 years in say the NE of the US, or the Midwest and turn ALL of it over to some foreign country (for whatever excuse) without oversight on how much is left behind!

So where I'm going with this...turning this back to the original thread. I think this is a really great idea to be thinking about what you can do on your own and do these small space small livestock things. People should be as self sufficient as they can and try to help themselves and not wait on government or foreign takeovered corporations to save them.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: CoolBees on August 28, 2019, 01:08:48 pm
... People should be as self sufficient as they can and try to help themselves and not wait on government or foreign takeovered corporations to save them.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on August 28, 2019, 01:46:48 pm
@ Member
How are things coming along with the rabbits? Also how is your family?s puppy?s that you mentioned in the topic My Friend Tuff a few months ago?
We actually had a change in schedule, Phillip.  Our male goats that we purchased a few months ago ate through their pasture faster than expected, and it became more of a priority for my father to work on putting up fencing for their rotating pasture than to work on the rabbit tractors right now, so the rabbit thing got put on hold.  As you mentioned, we got a male Anatolian shepherd puppy in January and also got a female Anatolian puppy in February.  She is the one who found the baby mouse.  The female, Nova, is 7 months old, and the male, Mason, is now 10 months old and he is absolutely huge!  We have never had a large dog before, our other dog is about 60 lbs, and Mason weighs 96 lbs already!  We have found them to be wonderful dogs, so sweet and very even tempered.   

Rabbits are VERY hard to sell. American culture can't get past the fact that rabbits are seen as pets. And their kids especially have a hard time understanding why their parents want to butcher cute things. This was why rabbit farming has never taken off. The meat is wonderful, and can be stored. Also the pelts can be used and turned into leathers or used for stuff but just the mental block of having people buy them for meat is something that everyone who has experience with rabbits will always say that this is why 'rabbit farming' never takes off because they have a hard time turning these wonderful products into cash. (And time and time again everyone still agrees that they can make great products, yet they always still also agree that turning them into cash becomes difficult right back at the main dead end.)

Another thing that people have trouble with in comparing ducks, rabbits, and chickens against each other is that with the other two you get eggs right away but rabbits haven't figured out how to 'can' eggs yet. So for some people they think there's less return on investment than these other things that use similar space, which deliver a food product early on.

And the funny thing is when you look at the numbers on a graph of the gains of rabbits and how fast they produce meat it doesn't make sense why people don't use them more. (Especially with chickens having recent diseases and being raised in poor conditions.)

         
We aren't concerned with the saleability of rabbit meat, we really just want the meat for our own consumption.  We have chickens for eggs primarily, but the better egg-laying breeds, and really even the multi-purpose breeds, we weren't very happy with the quality of the meat we were getting from them, and we really wanted to start raising more of our own meat.  So instead of getting meat chickens, we are going with meat rabbits, since it's more cost effective and not as much work to butcher.   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Anonimo22 on August 29, 2019, 09:27:14 pm
Great.

I hope it works out for you. I like the rabbit idea. And them being quiet animals is neat too.

Let us know how it goes!
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on August 30, 2019, 02:03:13 pm
Great.

I hope it works out for you. I like the rabbit idea. And them being quiet animals is neat too.

Let us know how it goes!
I'll keep you all posted on the progress.  Oh, and if we were concerned about quiet animals we wouldn't have gotten goats.  Remember that screaming goat meme that was all over the place a while back?  That's real life with goats.  :cheesy:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: lastfling on August 30, 2019, 06:05:02 pm
I don?t raise meat rabbits per se, but then again any rabbit you eat could be considered a meat rabbit - right. Haha.

At any rate, I got into showing rabbits about 7 or so years ago and currently maintain a herd of about 25.  Most of my culls go into the freezer.  While more a fancy breed than a meat breed they yield approximately a 2 lb carcass which I find a good size for me.

Usually when butchering I debone.  I usually save the ?wings? (front shoulder /leg) for grilling and simmer the remaining carcass for broth and pick the meat from bones for
Rabbit salad.  Good stuff!!  Not to mention the liver - which if you haven?t had - you don?t know what you?re missing.  Fried rabbit liver beats any other I?ve had hands down. 




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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Anonimo22 on September 07, 2019, 11:09:45 pm
Wondered about this recently while thinking about this thread;

Is it true that rabbits can get more natural protein from pasture grasses, or less protein than chickens, quail or ducks?

When researching small herding, I'd heard others say that quail and ducks need slightly more protein than chickens.

And it seems like there's some people that can do rabbits just in pastures without other addictive food materials. Some people only pasture them and just move them around. But they seem to think you have to hit a target protein percentage or egg production drops with the others. (Which lends more credibility to the rabbit option possibly?)

So this seems like an interesting consideration with possible grain and corn shortages?

Curious what others think on this, and feel free to correct me.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on September 18, 2019, 01:23:26 am
Wondered about this recently while thinking about this thread;

Is it true that rabbits can get more natural protein from pasture grasses, or less protein than chickens, quail or ducks?

When researching small herding, I'd heard others say that quail and ducks need slightly more protein than chickens.

And it seems like there's some people that can do rabbits just in pastures without other addictive food materials. Some people only pasture them and just move them around. But they seem to think you have to hit a target protein percentage or egg production drops with the others. (Which lends more credibility to the rabbit option possibly?)

So this seems like an interesting consideration with possible grain and corn shortages?

Curious what others think on this, and feel free to correct me.

I do not know, but I do know that wild rabbits love pasture grass. They also like oat fields when the sprouts are young and tender; they seem to like an large assortment of vegetation. I would not think their city raised cousins would be that much difgerent?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on September 23, 2019, 07:33:29 pm
My parents just finished the first rabbit tractor today.  Here's a picture of it.  We got the plans from Living Traditions Homestead. 
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on September 23, 2019, 11:19:22 pm
My parents just finished the first rabbit tractor today.  Here's a picture of it.  We got the plans from Living Traditions Homestead. 
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Nice!!
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on November 14, 2019, 06:59:16 pm
We picked up our breeders today.  We found a guy nearby us who raises New Zealands, so we got 2 does and 1 buck.  The does are young, and have never been bred.         
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We have the cages on the back of our garage, which is right up against a hill, so they are sheltered from the wind, and we put up an awning to protect them from the rain.  (If you are wondering about the caution tape on the edge of the awning, it's a warning to my dad, because he is really tall, and he keeps hitting his head on the awning.)  Our plan is to let the bunnies get settled in and let us get used to caring for them and such, and we'll start breeding in the spring.     
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on November 16, 2019, 09:11:40 pm
Very nice Member! Yall did a good job with your cages. Good lookings rabbits also. I will give you the same advise that Michael Palmer gave concerning queens and getting too attached, Just don't name them.   :grin:

Phillip
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on November 17, 2019, 05:20:12 pm
Very nice Member! Yall did a good job with your cages. Good lookings rabbits also. I will give you the same advise that Michael Palmer gave concerning queens and getting too attached, Just don't name them.   :grin:

Phillip
Thanks!  We toyed around with making cages, but we ended up purchasing them, and we are really happy with the ones that we chose.  We actually did name the rabbits, but don't worry, we figured out a way to name them and not get attached.  We decided to name all the bucks and all the does the same thing, that way they're not really individuals, but we can still call them something.  We named the buck Chainsaw, which is a reference to the movie Leave No Trace.  My younger sister just finished Watership Down, (No spoilers, please.  She liked it so much, I'm going to read it too.) so she named the does Thathuthinang, just to make us all tongue-tied!  :cheesy:                 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on November 17, 2019, 06:21:24 pm
Very nice Member! Yall did a good job with your cages. Good lookings rabbits also. I will give you the same advise that Michael Palmer gave concerning queens and getting too attached, Just don't name them.   :grin:

Phillip
Thanks!  We toyed around with making cages, but we ended up purchasing them, and we are really happy with the ones that we chose.  We actually did name the rabbits, but don't worry, we figured out a way to name them and not get attached.  We decided to name all the bucks and all the does the same thing, that way they're not really individuals, but we can still call them something.  We named the buck Chainsaw, which is a reference to the movie Leave No Trace.  My younger sister just finished Watership Down, (No spoilers, please.  She liked it so much, I'm going to read it too.) so she named the does Thathuthinang, just to make us all tongue-tied!  :cheesy:                 

You have the right idea about naming the rabbits, (all the same name), that is how Michael Palmer names his queens. lol  that helps reduce the attachment.  :wink:
Phillip
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on January 03, 2020, 11:55:58 am
Here are two of my favorite recipes for rabbit. I raised New Zealand's.
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on January 03, 2020, 02:18:31 pm
Here are two of my favorite recipes for rabbit. I raised New Zealand's.
Thanks!  I'll show these to my mom, who is our resident cook.  We don't have a pressure cooker at the moment (although we really should get one for canning), so do you know if the pressure cooker recipe could be done without one?  Perhaps adapted for a slow cooker?     
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on January 03, 2020, 02:27:09 pm
I don't think the broth would be near as flavorful without the pressure cooker, and though won't taste the same as this recipe, I'm sure it will be good made in a slow cooker.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on March 14, 2020, 06:12:11 pm
We had our first bunny mating date today.  It was a riot to watch.  All our rabbits are less than a year old, and I know the females have never been bred and I'm pretty sure our male hasn't either.  There was definitely some confusion between the two rabbits as to how this whole thing was really supposed to go at first, with the female just smashing herself into the corner of the cage and the male mounting her sideways and backwards!  :cheesy:  They figured it out soon enough though.  Now it's only a wait of about a months for kits, assuming the mating was successful.   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: lastfling on March 15, 2020, 08:28:17 pm
I will usually have the buck have at least two and usually three fall offs to insure a successful breeding and even then it?s sometimes not successful.  An experienced buck is an asset.


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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on March 16, 2020, 01:15:49 am
I will usually have the buck have at least two and usually three fall offs to insure a successful breeding and even then it?s sometimes not successful.  An experienced buck is an asset.


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He did have at least 3 falloffs. We watched them for about a half an hour, and we left her in with him for a hour, so he could have done more.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: sawdstmakr on March 16, 2020, 10:06:35 am
We leave our does in the Buck?s cage for about a week. It is better to have them in the Buck?s cage, he is more dominant there than in her cage.
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on March 16, 2020, 01:25:53 pm
We leave our does in the Buck?s cage for about a week. It is better to have them in the Buck?s cage, he is more dominant there than in her cage.
Jim Altmiller
We did put the doe in the buck's cage.  Why do you leave them together so long?  In most of the things I've read people usually leave them together for several hours at most.     
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: sawdstmakr on March 16, 2020, 08:34:16 pm
Unless you know the does cycle, you can miss it with just one day of mating.
Jim Altmiller
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on March 16, 2020, 09:24:47 pm
I've always followed the does cycle and then mated for 2 or 3 falls, because I'd read you shouldn't leave them together without supervision as one might kill the other, but obviously that has not been an issue for Jim. Good luck Member - hope you have kits soon
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on March 17, 2020, 11:02:36 am
Unless you know the does cycle, you can miss it with just one day of mating.
Jim Altmiller
I've always followed the does cycle and then mated for 2 or 3 falls, because I'd read you shouldn't leave them together without supervision as one might kill the other, but obviously that has not been an issue for Jim. Good luck Member - hope you have kits soon
I haven't heard anything about tracking the does' cycles.  How do you know if they are in heat?           
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: lastfling on March 17, 2020, 12:00:34 pm
You check the does vulva.  Reddish purple to dark pink is an indication of readiness.  Light to whitish pink is not.  May not be spot on but is a guide.


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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on March 17, 2020, 04:43:04 pm
You check the does vulva.  Reddish purple to dark pink is an indication of readiness.  Light to whitish pink is not.  May not be spot on but is a guide.


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In addition, check the moisture of the vulva. It is usually dry when the color is whitish pink, but when she's ready there should be moisture along with the darker color
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on March 17, 2020, 05:12:49 pm
You check the does vulva.  Reddish purple to dark pink is an indication of readiness.  Light to whitish pink is not.  May not be spot on but is a guide.
In addition, check the moisture of the vulva. It is usually dry when the color is whitish pink, but when she's ready there should be moisture along with the darker color
Thanks, good to know.  Our doe seemed to act receptive toward the buck.  Do you think that is an indicator as well, or will she act interested in him regardless? 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on March 19, 2020, 08:24:32 am
Our doe seemed to act receptive toward the buck.  Do you think that is an indicator as well

I do
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 08, 2020, 07:11:12 pm
One of our does is acting pregnant!  This morning my sister went back to see them, and our one female was holding a bunch of her hay in her mouth, which we learned is a sign she's thinking about making a nest.  So we put a nest box and some more hay in for her, and she's been working on her nest all day.  The only problem is, she's been making a nest outside the box.  We moved the box opening to the spot that she's put the nest, so hopefully that will entice her to build it in the box instead.  We are so excited.  We could have baby bunnies for Easter!     
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 08, 2020, 07:23:37 pm
Yay!
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 09, 2020, 12:15:08 pm
This morning my dad noticed that our rabbit is now building her nest in the box, and she's started pulling her fur out to line the nest! 
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on April 09, 2020, 02:29:19 pm
Won't be long now!
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 09, 2020, 08:35:40 pm
It's going to be around 30 degrees Fahrenheit tonight and tomorrow night.  Should we be concerned about her possibly having the kits on one of these cold nights? 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 10, 2020, 10:48:15 am
I would not be concerned, mama will keep them warm
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 10, 2020, 11:50:47 am
I would not be concerned, mama will keep them warm
Good.  We figured it wasn't much of a problem, but just wanted to be sure.  From what I've heard, rabbits generally have more problems with heat than cold.   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 13, 2020, 07:59:50 pm
Any news on the rabbit front?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 13, 2020, 08:16:45 pm
Any news on the rabbit front?
Just patiently waiting.  Our female has been working on her nest more, and seems to have built a good nest now.  We keep checking, but no babies yet. 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 13, 2020, 08:24:09 pm
Just patiently waiting . . .

you could take bets on how many kits will be born, like if I'm right, you've got to do this chore for me, etc. That would really enhance your anticipation.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 13, 2020, 09:18:35 pm
Just patiently waiting . . .

you could take bets on how many kits will be born, like if I'm right, you've got to do this chore for me, etc. That would really enhance your anticipation.
That would make it interesting.  We have taken guesses, but no stakes.  We aren't a very competitive bunch, well, except my one sister, who is insanely competitive, but you really need 2 to make a competition.  And she's so ultra competitive that she actually doesn't enjoy competition, because it'll just make her mad. 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 14, 2020, 08:46:38 am
Well there's always that . . .
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 14, 2020, 02:34:55 pm
We have babies!!  We are all outside cleaning the garage out today, so we've been checking periodically, and at about 11:45 my sister noticed a little bit of blood on the mama's feet, so she checked the nest box and there was movement under the fur!  :grin: 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 14, 2020, 03:15:09 pm
WooHoo! Congratulations
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 15, 2020, 12:27:52 pm
Here's the babies!  We pulled the nest box out to count the babies and make sure they were all alive.  It was hard to count accurately because they were all alive and popcorning around in the nest.  There is definitely five, maybe six kits.
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 15, 2020, 12:29:20 pm
cute as buttons
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on April 15, 2020, 12:32:16 pm
How about that! Congratulations! Do you have names picked out? lol
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 15, 2020, 02:44:49 pm
How about that! Congratulations! Do you have names picked out? lol
I doubt there will be permanent naming (since they are meat animals), but I'm sure the younger kids will be calling them something once they get bigger.  They tend to call the meat chickens by certain names to tell them apart, but they change their names quite frequently.  We just watched The Hobbit with them, and they are calling the meat chickens the names of the dwarves right now.  :cheesy: 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 17, 2020, 03:51:20 pm
It's pretty warm here today, so we took all the babies out to get an accurate count.  There are 6, and they all look very healthy.  They are all about the same size, and have full tummies, and pop around when you touch them.  They are just starting to get their fur, and they feel like velvet.  They are so cute!  :cheesy:   

Our other doe is pregnant as well and has started making her nest.  She's not doing quite as good of a job as the first doe, but I'm sure she'll get the hang of it. 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 20, 2020, 03:37:09 pm
The babies are growing so fast!  They are all white now.  Here's a picture of one from today.  They are so cute!
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 20, 2020, 06:37:54 pm
Yep, looks like they are looking healthy and content. Has your other doe birthed yet?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 20, 2020, 06:49:39 pm
Yep, looks like they are looking healthy and content. Has your other doe birthed yet?
Not yet.  It's day 30 for her, so we are on baby watch.  :smile:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on April 22, 2020, 12:27:22 am
Wow, what a difference 5 days makes!!
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 22, 2020, 01:15:02 pm
Wow, what a difference 5 days makes!!
I know, isn't it crazy! 

Our other doe kindled yesterday at around noon, and we counted the babies this morning.  She had 7, and all of them are alive and healthy too! 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on April 23, 2020, 01:08:44 am
Wow Congratulations on success!  You may soon need to name your place Rabbit Ridge at the rate they are multiplying.  :shocked:  :grin:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 25, 2020, 02:38:32 pm
Okay, we are dying of cuteness over here!  Their eyes and ears are starting to open and they are fully furred now. 
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on April 25, 2020, 03:51:47 pm
just melts the heart
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 27, 2020, 01:56:27 pm
Here's a picture of them en masse.  They are becoming more and more active and are often sitting out in the front of the nest box if it's a warm afternoon. 
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on April 28, 2020, 01:49:58 am
Yall have done a mighty fine job raising the rabbits. Are they all white from both batches? When I was a boy there was a rabbit man that had broods with mixed results. Some would come all white as the ones you have pictured and some would come white and black, some sorrel, some solid black. Really a good mix. I do not know what breed or breeds he raised, but they were meat rabbits. 

Phillip




Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on April 28, 2020, 10:48:27 am
Yall have done a mighty fine job raising the rabbits. Are they all white from both batches? When I was a boy there was a rabbit man that had broods with mixed results. Some would come all white as the ones you have pictured and some would come white and black, some sorrel, some solid black. Really a good mix. I do not know what breed or breeds he raised, but they were meat rabbits. 

Phillip
Ours are New Zealand Whites, so yes, all of them are white.  I believe the New Zealands come in white, red, black, and patched, and if you mix them you can get all sorts of interesting colors.  We are also looking at getting some Silver Fox rabbits and perhaps mixing them with the New Zealands, so that would give us some different colors.       
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 01, 2020, 08:37:08 pm
The babies are getting so big so fast.  Let's see. . . they were born on 4/14, so I guess they are 17 days old today.  They are almost fully mobile now, and hop around and investigate when we get them out.  After they've been out for a bit, they get really brave and start running around and popcorning.  It's so adorable!  They have also started showing an interest in solid food and are chewing on the hay in their nest box, although they aren't actually eating it yet.
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 07, 2020, 08:14:53 pm
The babies are getting more and more independent every day.  They now hop in and out of the nest box by themselves, and many of them are out and about in the cage on warm days.  They are starting to eat little bits of greens and bunny food.  Also we've noticed that, almost like chickens or sharks, if you turn them upside-down, they get really relaxed and sometimes even go to sleep.  It's really adorable!
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 13, 2020, 07:50:34 pm
We took the babies' nest box away today, so they are all just in the cage with Mama now.  They are almost big enough to go in the rabbit tractor!  We tried sexing them today, which probably didn't go well, since we seem to have gotten all girls!  :wink:  We'll try again when they are a bit bigger, and we can compare the slightly younger babies to them as well. 
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on May 13, 2020, 08:39:25 pm
How old will the females need be when able to reproduce?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 13, 2020, 08:48:09 pm
How old will the females need be when able to reproduce?
From what I've read, most people breed for the first time at 6 months old. 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 24, 2020, 09:08:11 pm
Our first litter of rabbits graduated today!  They are now weaned and today moved from Mama's cage to the tractor.   :smile:
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on May 24, 2020, 09:16:58 pm
These are the first babies! Wow!   Keep up the good work!
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 25, 2020, 10:48:29 am
These are the first babies! Wow!   Keep up the good work!
Isn't it crazy how fast they grow?  We tried sexing them again when we put them in the tractor, and we got 3 girls and 3 boys this time, which seems like a more reasonable answer than the first try.  :grin:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on May 25, 2020, 01:17:50 pm
will you eat the males and breed the does? Cool tractor - did you build it?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 25, 2020, 01:45:37 pm
will you eat the males and breed the does?
At this point we are planning on eating all of them.  We don't have a whole lot of grassy pasture, so we can only support a couple of tractors.  We'd like to maybe get some breeders of another breed (we are looking at Silver Foxes now), but we don't need any more New Zealand breeders right now.   
Cool tractor - did you build it?
Thanks.  Yes, my parents built it.  They got the plans from Living Traditions Homestead.   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 25, 2020, 07:45:58 pm
One of our goats, Bella, likes the new bunny tractor too!   :cheesy:
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Seeb on May 25, 2020, 08:55:29 pm
Everybody?s trying to get in the act 🐕 🐐
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: JojoBeeBoy on May 25, 2020, 10:04:00 pm
In the late 70s my folks built a "rabbit barn" which was/is about 16'x50'. They/we built cages which hung the length of both long walls with a double cage going down the middle. The male was kept outside in his own cage.

At the time several people had started raising. A semi would come on Sat to the local high school to buy your rabbits. When we started the feed cost was low, the wire and other supplies were affordable, and the buyer paid a decent price. Within 2-3 years, local suppliers (namely Farmer's Coop) raised feed and wire prices and the folks bringing the trucks kept lowering the buying price of meat.

I remember feeding/watering mamas and having a lot of cuddly babies. The meat was excellent.

I don't think you will have trouble selling as many as you can raise. However, being able to sell them at a profit might take developing a niche market (Organic, pink and purple, etc)
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on May 25, 2020, 11:41:34 pm
In the late 70s my folks built a "rabbit barn" which was/is about 16'x50'. They/we built cages which hung the length of both long walls with a double cage going down the middle. The male was kept outside in his own cage.

At the time several people had started raising. A semi would come on Sat to the local high school to buy your rabbits. When we started the feed cost was low, the wire and other supplies were affordable, and the buyer paid a decent price. Within 2-3 years, local suppliers (namely Farmer's Coop) raised feed and wire prices and the folks bringing the trucks kept lowering the buying price of meat.

I remember feeding/watering mamas and having a lot of cuddly babies. The meat was excellent.

I don't think you will have trouble selling as many as you can raise. However, being able to sell them at a profit might take developing a niche market (Organic, pink and purple, etc)

Sounds like quite the operation!  We're not really looking to sell the meat, at least at this point.  We really just wanted to start raising more of our own.   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on June 21, 2020, 08:45:33 pm
Well, we had a little mishap today.  When my sister was moving one of the rabbit tractors, one of the goats jumped up on the top and the tractor came slamming down on one of the rabbit's legs and broke it.  :sad:  The rabbit clearly couldn't walk anymore and seemed to be in shock, so my father dispatched it with his BB gun.  We took a crash course on butchering a rabbit on YouTube since we didn't want it to go to waste.  It was a good practice round for butchering day and it actually went really well.  It was MUCH easier than a chicken.  The rabbit was at 1 3/4 lbs. dressed, right where it should be at this age, but a little too small for us to eat, so we'll feed it to our dogs.   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on June 22, 2020, 11:59:33 pm
Sorry about your rabbit Member. I do not know what a wild rabbit weighs but they sure are good for breakfast with homemade butter milk biscuits, fresh butter, muscadine jelly, sweet milk gravy, eggs, grits and honey. Yum.
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on June 23, 2020, 12:24:56 am
Sorry about your rabbit Member. I do not know what a wild rabbit weighs but they sure are good for breakfast with homemade butter milk biscuits, fresh butter, muscadine jelly, sweet milk gravy, eggs, grits and honey. Yum.
Thanks, Phillip.  It was probably enough meat for 1 or 2 people to eat, but kind of hard to split between 7 people.  :wink:  I think that my mom has all of that breakfast list down except for muscadine jelly (which I had to google), fresh butter (which we'll have once our goats are in milk), and grits (which she hasn't quite gotten the hang of yet, since we're not native southerners).               
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: CoolBees on June 23, 2020, 12:35:22 am
Y'all are making me hungry ... and I just finished dinner.  :grin:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on June 23, 2020, 12:44:13 am
Y'all are making me hungry ... and I just finished dinner.  :grin:
For a second I was thinking, Why did he just finish dinner at 11:35 PM?  Then I remembered what time zone you are in.  :cheesy:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: CoolBees on June 23, 2020, 03:43:17 pm
Y'all are making me hungry ... and I just finished dinner.  :grin:
For a second I was thinking, Why did he just finish dinner at 11:35 PM?  Then I remembered what time zone you are in.  :cheesy:

 :grin: :grin: :grin: Yup.

I think I'll move though - to be Phillips neighbor. I think that man can COOK! ... and I'll "accidentally" stop by to chat every evening, right at supper time.  :cheesy: :cool:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on June 23, 2020, 05:10:37 pm
You would most certainly be welcome!
 :grin:
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on July 18, 2020, 03:53:09 pm
We butchered our first two litters on Wednesday and Thursday.  It went very well; much easier than doing 12 chickens.  My father dispatched them with a kill board, and my mom and I skinned and gutted them.  The dressed weight of the rabbits was 2-2.5 lbs, and we also saved the livers, kidneys, and hearts.  We are quite happy with how everything went the this first time around and already have 2 more litters growing.  We are going to experiment with feeding the new babies less commercial pellets and more greens and vegetables from the garden to save some money on feed.   
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on July 19, 2020, 02:06:24 am
Yall have arrived!!   How did you prepare the good clean meat?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on July 19, 2020, 12:53:59 pm
Yall have arrived!!   How did you prepare the good clean meat?
We're going to have our first meal of rabbit tomorrow.  My mom is going to use a recipe from Living Traditions Homestead, which has been our road map for this whole project.  I believe the recipe is called "Lemon Garlic Rabbit".  I'll let you know how it tastes.  We are all SUPER excited to try it! 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on July 19, 2020, 11:12:51 pm
Yall have arrived!!   How did you prepare the good clean meat?
We're going to have our first meal of rabbit tomorrow.  My mom is going to use a recipe from Living Traditions Homestead, which has been our road map for this whole project.  I believe the recipe is called "Lemon Garlic Rabbit".  I'll let you know how it tastes.  We are all SUPER excited to try it!

👍🏻
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on July 20, 2020, 11:01:18 pm
Our first meal of rabbit was delicious!!  Everyone in the family loved it, even the youngest kid, who is an insanely picky eater.  Honestly, we thought it was better than chicken.  We made 2 rabbits to feed all of us, and we were really pleased with how much meat was on them.  I actually had the recipe wrong, my mom made "Garlic Brown Sugar Rabbit".  It was a great recipe for the first time trying it, since it was pretty basic and we could really taste the meat.  It was very mild, and the texture was great!  We are super excited about it, and we can't wait to try out more recipes.  All the work was totally worth it!  This was also a milestone meal for us, because it was our first meal where the basic components of every dish were home grown: we had our own rabbit, potatoes, and green beans for supper.  Mom even used some of my honey in the sauce on the rabbit.
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Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on July 21, 2020, 12:05:34 am
What a great looking meal! A Chefs delight!!  That looks delicious! Your family project was a winner! Rely to your mother for me that it looks sooo good; I can almost smell it!  lol.   
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on July 21, 2020, 12:13:57 am
What a great looking meal! A Chefs delight!!  That looks delicious! Your family project was a winner! Rely to your mother for me that it looks sooo good; I can almost smell it!  lol.   
She said your comment made her feel super good inside.  She's a phenomenal cook; it's really a passion of hers. 
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Ben Framed on July 21, 2020, 12:28:06 am
You are in a Blessed family! Keep the love revolving.  :grin:  I am not trying to change the subject from rabbits to dogs but I've been wondering, how is your Anatolian Shepherd that you was telling us about in the topic  My Friend Tuff?  I hope she is fitting right in with the family program?
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: The15thMember on July 21, 2020, 02:17:58 pm
You are in a Blessed family! Keep the love revolving.  :grin:  I am not trying to change the subject from rabbits to dogs but I've been wondering, how is your Anatolian Shepherd that you was telling us about in the topic  My Friend Tuff?  I hope she is fitting right in with the family program?
It's actually not off topic, since another reason why we wanted to raise our own meat was to feed our dogs.  We have 2 Anatolians actually, and they are absolutely phenomenal.  It's been a challenge to socialize them with the pandemic, but they are getting better on leash lately with consistent training.  They tend to act up on leash around other dogs, our male because he doesn't like other dogs, and our female because she's too friendly and isn't polite.  They were kind of a nuisance about chewing on things when they were younger, but now that they are both over a year old they have basically grown out of that.  They are so smart, and training them has been kind of different from our other dogs, because they really need only positive reinforcement.  They are very sensitive and their feelings are easily hurt, and in spite of their gigantic size they are so extremely gentle.  We have a lab mix who we found as a puppy, and he can be a little snappy at times, since he's kind of a fearful dog.  Not so with the Anatolians, they would never, ever, ever, in a million years lash out at us for any reason.  Although I imagine an intruder wouldn't fair quite as well.  :wink:       
Title: Re: Raising Meat Rabbits
Post by: Nock on August 03, 2020, 07:25:07 pm
Fine looking meal.