Saturday, December 29, 2012

Nose to Tail - Uses for every part of the rabbit

Nice article on a good blog: Rise and Shine Rabbitry
Nose to Tail: Uses for Every Part of the Domestic Rabbit

Have a good day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How To Sprout Grain

How to sprout grain for livestock fodder. You can use it as supplement for rabbits.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

3 Things

A basic lesson I learned from more experienced breeders.
Keep these in mind when selecting for breeding.
In order of priority

1. Type - Hardest to change. So always keep body type on top of the list when selecting. Do not breed two weak traits together, like poor shoulders to poor shoulders. That will set poor shoulders in the bloodline. Breed poor shoulders to good shoulders or great shoulders, then select the best shoulders out of the litters to keep for breeding.

2. Fur/wool - Fur or wool quality is important trait of many rare breeds because they were developed for their fur or wool. So maintain the proper fur/wool type. Rollback or Flyback? Should the wool have more guard hairs or less guard hairs?

3. Color - Color genetics are very well defined and as such color is considered to be the easiest to change in rabbits. Avoid introducing traits that can pop up in later litters, like silvering or harlequin or vienna marking, unless the breed calls for it.

Using the above as a general guideline helped me to focus on the important things, to ignore the less urgent things, and to look at the overall picture. Not many rabbits have the whole package, so sometimes two out three ain't bad.

Have a good day!

Other Forums

Recently on Facebook somebody asked about online forums for meat rabbit discussion

Here is some of the suggestions:

Homesteading Today - Rabbits forum
You have to register with the site (free) and its worth it.
Besides rabbits, its a lot of topics covered.

Meatrabbits on yahoogroups
One of the longest running online groups for rabbits
You have to register/join the group (free)

Rabbit Talk
A small, dedicated group of rabbit breeders
You have to register (free) to join the group.

Meat Rabbits Group on Facebook
I believe its a closed group so you have a request access

Have a good day!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rabbit Hunt Koreana

Rabbit Hunt: Koreana Plaza International Market, Rancho Cordova, Calif. Upper pic: Frozen rabbit Product of USA, Iowa producers, $6.99 per pound. Lower pic: Frozen rabbit, not labeled for country of origin, $5.99 per pound.
Well, you can't really see from this picture but I can tell you the Iowa rabbits have bigger hindquarters where the unmarked rabbit are rather slender.
Have a good day! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

USDA Bulletin 309

from 1966, USDA Bulletin 309 "Commercial Rabbit Raising"

A guide to raising rabbits commercially, for production of meat, fur, and wool.

Here we see the emphasis on using pelleted feeds.

You can read it at Univ. North Texas archives

Have a good day!

USDA Bulletin 1730

from 1934 - USDA Farmers Bulletin No. 1730 Rabbit Production. This is old school! 
"This bulletin sets forth the essential principles of rabbit raising and tells how to apply them in practice." -- p. ii. Topics discussed include necessary equipment, different breeds, feeding practices, and breeding practices, and preparing rabbits for market.
You can view this document at University of North Texas archive
Have a good day!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Frozen Rabbit - Corti Bros

At Corti Brothers market in Sacramento, frozen rabbit sells for $10.99 per pound, so a 2.85 lb rabbit costs $31, which is another good reason for raising your own.

Have a good day!

Edited to add: Label says "Product of USA" Durham Ranch is in Wyoming.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Maltese Rabbit Stew

On facebook I found this link to a delicious looking recipe
Rabbit Stew - an Easy Gozitan Recipe
Serves 8-10 people

Also check out this website with Nordic history and a cookbook
based on research of cavemen and Vikings

Have a good day!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Switching feeds

I see folks may be switching feeds due to cost increases.

Remember that switching feeds can be stressful to rabbits. Some will like the new feed and some will not.

We would occasionally try another feed but when the flesh condition dropped, we would switch back.

It may not be the fault of the other feed. Any switch in feed is
stressful and can cause some loss of condition. One should probably
switch for 6 months to really test it a new feed.

When you find a feed that your rabbits do well on, stick with it. As
you breed, you are selecting for rabbits that will do well on the feed
you are giving it.

Other considerations are: I can usually buy feed at a feed store that is on my way to work, no extra trips required. If they are out of stock, there are two other dealers within easy driving distance. Purina has the easy to read date code printed on the bottom paper strip, no 10 digit date codes to decipher.

Have a good day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hydroponics and Rabbits

Great article about raising rabbits for meat using hydroponically grown grasses.
Low impact on the land while raising food for humans!

Have a good day!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Iowa Hopping

An interesting site with plain look and lots of info. I recommend Iowa Hopping, a rabbit hopping website.

Have a good day!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Heat Tolerance

Rabbitgeek notes:
Having rabbits that are selected for heat tolerance is preferable. The typical way selecting works is that we breed the rabbits that are still alive after the heat wave.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Treating Ear Mites

Treating Ear Mites

If you look in a rabbit ear and see a bunch of yellowish or brownish crusty crud, your rabbit probably has ear mites. Here is what you do.

Old school method - use a few drops of mineral oil in the ears each day to drown the mites. Keep it up for 10 days. Warning: Rabbit will shake head and sling droplets of oil an astonishing distance so have a towel ready to throw over the rabbit. Vegetable oil or olive oil could be used but be sure it is fresh, not old and rancid.

Modern method - Ivomec ivermectin 1% .018 cc per lb of live weight

Ivomec, ivermectin 1% (the product sold for cattle and horses)
The tested dosage for rabbits is 0.018 cc per lb of live weight

10 lbs is .18 cc
5 lbs is .09 cc

Inject under the skin between the shoulder blades of the rabbit.

Some people report good results by giving the solution orally to
the rabbit, squirting into the mouth by syringe with no needle.
This has not been researched clinically.

Some people report good results by squirting into the ear (ear mites)
with no needle. This has not been researched clinically.

Some people report good results squirting on the skin (fur mites).
This has not been researched clinically.

Repeat in 10-14 days to get the earmite eggs that hatch out. It would
be a good idea to treat all the rabbits in the herd at the same time.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pedigrees for 4H Rabbits

I encourage 4H members to buy pedigreed rabbits. Pedigreed rabbits offer the most flexibility for future breeding, registration, and possible resale. While a pedigree does not guarantee show quality, it will show what bloodlines are in the background. I have put in tickets for rabbits in the raffles at rabbit shows because the pedigrees showed the rabbit came from some of the area's top breeders. While the rabbit in question may have issues, it may have great potential because of its bloodlines. For example, one dutch buck we got in a raffle grew too big for show. But his body type and markings were excellent. He wound up siring a number of Grand Champions among his descendants. But it was the pedigree that told us what the potential might be.
 Have a good day!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Yahtzee! and Poker

(photo Rios Coronado, Black Dutch Junior Buck)

My #3 son Oscar and I were talking about our old 4H meetings and how his knowledge of genetics comes from 4H rabbit projects. We used to play the dice game "Yahtzee" where you roll dice trying to fill in patterns on a score sheet. When you roll the first time you might get three dice with three showing. So you save your threes and roll the rest of the dice trying to get more threes. After playing a while, we started discussion how Genetics can be like that. We may be trying to get black Dutch rabbits. By breeding two black dutch we set the self gene (aa) and the black gene (B-). Those dice we saved. Now we roll the remaining dice (breed the rabbits) and wait for the result. Hopefully the markings will be in the right places. Sometimes a blue will pop out if there is blue in the background of both the buck and doe. That's part of the gamble when breeding for color.

Another game for teaching genetics involves playing cards and the game Poker. You hold a couple of cards and try to pick up better cards to make the desired winning hand. I tell people that bringing in outside blood is like mixing in another deck and trying to predict what cards will dealt out to the players. It takes a few games (generations) to pull out the cards (genes) that you don't want to have the genes that you want as the remaining cards. 

Have a good day!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Rabbit Revival: Rare Hare Barn feeds a gourmet craze

Rare Hare Barn supplies rabbit to gourmet markets and teaches rabbit breeders about rare and heritage breeds of rabbits. When you go to the website put your cursor over the pictures to view text. Lots of great pictures in this photo gallery

Article in Kansas City Star


Have a good day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rabbit Showmanship - Yolo County

Rabbit Showmanship in Yolo County Calif 4H Fair
On Friday I was asked to help judge Rabbit Showmanship. Clockwise from upper left: Mini Lops are popular; 4H Novice shows rabbit to Judge Mike; 4H Junior shows rabbits teeth; Himalayan are very calm and a good choice for Showmanship rabbit.

Then on Saturday I came back to help with the Small Animal Master Showmanship Round Robin Competition. The top two winners from Dog, Chicken, Cavy/Guinea Pig, and Rabbit contest will compete in each species for Master Showmanship title. Picture clockwise from bottom: 4H member shows a Cavy to Judge Holly while at next table a member shows a chicken to a judge. Upper left a member shows a chicken, a member shows a rabbit, rabbit showmanship judge Franco looks a little like Jabba the Hut in this picture.

It was a good day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dutch - Multipurpose Rabbit

from rabbitgeek notes Aug 2009

Dutch are an excellent meat rabbit for a backyard herd. As long as you are not trying to sell to "commercial" outlets they are great.

Dutch have a great dressout percentage, over 50% at 8-10 weeks. You'll get 1 to 1-3/4 lb carcasses, which is half the size of "commercial" rabbit breeds. The short, cobby body type are like little meat bricks.

The Dutch does are great mothers. Our does often raised litters of 10 kits. When ever we bred a doe of a different breed, we tried to breed a Dutch doe as well so the Dutch could be a foster mom if needed. The Dutch does we had would foster anything up to including New Zealands.

If you breed for markings and body type, you can have some good sales on the side for show stock. Mismarks can go to the pet trade or eaten.

Dutch are a good multi purpose rabbit.

They do well in 24 x 24 cages. Does with litters should get 24x30 or 24x36 cages to have room for all those kits. But generally half the size of commercial meat rabbits, smaller cages, smaller feed bills.

Have a good day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No DQs

The first goal of our rabbitry was No Disqualifications in show. If we could stay on the table, we had a chance at a ribbon. We even had a license plate on our minivan that was "NO DQS" So a fault was allowable since our plan was always to breed up from where we were.

Have a good day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sit before freezing?

Some asked on facebook "Why do you let the meat sit before putting in the freezer?"

My answer: Some people let the meat age for 12 to 24 hours before freezing. The aging period allows enzymes in the meat to begin a tenderizing process which is helpful because the meat is so low in fat. It also helps the flavor.  After the skinning and gutting, I would put the meat on ice to chill in an ice chest while I process a few more. After a while I got back and get one of the chilled carcasses and get it ready for a freezer bag. Then I take the freezer bags and let them sit in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours. Then move to the freezer.

It is important that all the rabbit be thoroughly chilled before going into the refrigerator. Spread the bags around so they all stay cool or a warm body in one of the bags could start to spoil! Same for putting in the freezer. Be sure to spread the bags around for a day or two  so they all get frozen, then you can pile them together in the freezer.

One more thing, a lot of folks do not age the meat. I've done it both ways. I prefer to age it if I have time.

Other people will do it differently. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Caught on Web

Caught on the Web - Sites of Interest

40 Interesting Facts about Rabbits
This list is posted at Three Ladies Rabbitry

#8 ARBA recognizes 47 breeds, not 45 breeds

#39 I don't agree with. Sweaty muzzles are a sign of heat stress.

Information on the internet should always be tested with logic and your experience. Your rabbits do not read the internet so they do not know all that information applies to them.

Rabbit Farm in the news
Champlain Valley Rabbitry, Vermont USA

New processing plant in Marion NC
Will handle poultry and rabbit for local producers

Bologna Sandwiches and Roasted Rabbit by Habeeb Sollum
Includes roast rabbit recipe

Alebrijes Mexican bistro serving unique dishes with lamb, duck, rabbit, Lodi, Calif.

Have a good day!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Christmas Bunny

On Facebook, the creator of the movie "The Christmas Bunny" apologized to the House Rabbit activists for basically not living up to their expectations. I say those expectations are unreasonable and illogical. See some of the comments at "A Message - The Christmas Bunny"

Some of my postings follow:
As a former 4H rabbit project leader, I'm glad that you showcased a educational farm where rabbits are raised. Not only do they help educate thousands of visitors each year, they helped YOUR film project. Your film even helped the House Rabbit Network chapters that sold copies of the DVD to raise revenues. You did nothing wrong. In my book, you don't need to apologize.

The bad breeders that are mentioned represent a fraction of a percent of all breeders. Most breeders are responsible. There are millions of rabbit born on farms in this country. Rabbits provide food and employment for many people in this country and in the world at large! Rabbits feed the world.

I do surveys on rabbit breeds and populations. I trade information with thousands of 4H and FFA rabbit breeders every month. And the commercial rabbit breeders I trade info with tell me the showbunny population is only a small percentage of all the domestic rabbits. The number of "bad" breeders are still a small fraction of a percent of all breeders. The number of rabbits in shelters are only a tiny fraction of the total population.

... saying that some breeders eat the reject showbunnies is a statement of truth. The truth is not going to hurt breeders. Because if one believes in science then the fact is that rabbits feed the world. Food chain! Food chain! Food chain! Rabbits eat grass. They get eaten by other animals. The amazing birth rate of rabbits is because so many get eaten. Most rabbits in the wild get eaten before they are a year old. Breeders who eat rabbit as food are fulfilling the purpose of the rabbit on this planet. Rabbits feed the world.

USDA is not the final authority on rabbit nor should they be. They are a federal agency. State and county regulations and codes often classify rabbits as livestock. State and county regulations also require that rabbits/livestock be cared for humanely. Animal herdsmanship standards require that rabbits be cared for humanely.

Have a good day!