Friday, July 23, 2010

Rabbit FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

* I have this FAQ and I am posting for comments - FR *
*original post Feb 7 2009*

Frequently Asked Questions About Meat Rabbits


All rabbits are made out of meat. So any breed of rabbit can be eaten
for meat. A meat rabbit is a rabbit that was grown to provide meat.
These can be purebreds or crossbreeds.

But some breeds are better for size. Dwarf breeds (up to about 2 1/2
lbs) are generally too small to be efficiently harvested for meat.
Some of the small breeds like Dutch or Florida White are good for
small meat production situations.

The commercial meat rabbit was bred to be a certain size by a certain
age to produce young "fryer" sized rabbits. This commercial goal in
USA is to have rabbits at 5 lbs by 10 weeks of age.

There is a competition for meat pens and fryers at rabbit shows. The
meat pen and fryer competition is a demonstration of the breeders'
ability to produce a market animal of consistent size and quality.

A meat pen is three rabbits, any gender, more than three pounds and
less than five pounds. A single fryer is a rabbit, any gender, more
than three pounds and less than five pounds. They must not be older
than 70 days.

There is an article on raising meat pen rabbits on the rabbitgeek website.

Meat Sized Rabbit Breeds

Semi-Arch / Mandolin Body Type Breeds
American * (Blue & White)
Beveren * (Black, Blue, White)

Commercial / Medium Length Body Type Breeds
American Sable *
Champagne d'Argent
American Chinchilla *
Cinnamon *
Creme d'Argent *
Hotots * (Blanc de Hotot)
New Zealand
Silver Fox *
* On Rare Breed Rabbits List

You can read about Rare Breed Rabbits at

Not all meat rabbits are white, so other colored breeds are included
in the chart. Many breeds are raised for unique fur quality as well.

Another issue is bone size. Bones are not eaten, so a hefty rabbit
with heavy bone structure has less meat per pound. So a medium bone
structure is desirable.

For this reason the Giant rabbit breeds (over 14 lbs adult weight) are
usually not used for commercial rabbit meat.


Many people have good success with using cross breeding for meat
rabbits. Breeding a buck and a doe from different breeds or bloodlines
will produce a hybrid litter of rabbits that will grow faster and
larger than the parent breeds normally would due a an effect called
hybrid vigor.

All the rabbits in the hybrid litter are used for meat, not for
breeding. Because the hybrid vigor effect disappears after the first
generation litter, leading to disappointing results for the grower.

This means breeding stock from separate breeds is kept for cross
breeding. So there has to be access to more rabbits to use as breeding
stock, since replacements cannot be kept from the crossbreed litters.


Line breeding is a sustainable plan for breeding within the same

The breeding plan is to breed dams and sires to the offspring. In
human terms, father to daughter, mother to son. This breeding plan is
sustainable since it uses replacement breeding stock from the litters
of rabbits born. Since the breeding stock is the same "blood" from
generation to generation, this is called a bloodline.

This is not "in-breeding" which would be brother to sister pairings.

Selecting replacement stock in line breeding is critical. The
replacement stock must have the desirable traits of growth rate, bone
size, mothering ability, disposition, color and other traits.

Line breeding can improve a bloodline in a very short time. Rabbits
with undesirable traits are removed from the breeding program
(culled). Rabbits with desirable traits are kept for breeding. Not all
rabbits born have desirable traits and line breeding can remove those
traits in a few generations.

This would leave a grower with a bloodline of rabbits that are
genetically compatible for breeding and have undesirable traits
reduced in the line.

For more info on line breeding, try these websites

The Nature Trail

Jubilee Acres

Debmark Rabbit Education Resource

Line Breeding Chart on Pam Nock's website

Have a good day!

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