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I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:02 pm
by tizzy
Where do I start looking for a breeder who could sell me a buck and a doe to get started?
Ive wanted some for fifteen years and can't find anyone who can sell me some. The pet shop woman got a bit irate when I asked her advice. I was polite, honest.
In the end, I got a couple of Angoras for spinning the wool instead but after many years they have all died now, so i'm looking for meat rabbits again. Can anyone advise?

Re: I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:22 am
by ADG
this is a scottish site try these they may help in your quest ... production

Re: I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:58 pm
by tizzy
Thankyou ADG, i will try phoning the number in the fedback section and see if the lady can help.

Re: I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:06 am
by JulieSherris
Hmmm... it's a little different over here in Ireland - if you choose a breeder in the country, they are more likely to be breeding for meat as well - a town breeder will be breeding for pets - it's just a matter of judging the situation & setting your story up correctly :wink:

We are just about ready to start on our rabbit programme & have the contacts all lined up. To begin with, we are going for 2 does of a giant breed & then a rex type buck. The size should end up not quite giant, but the young ones should have a nice tight fur for tanning.

To be honest Tizzy, I would just google the ins & outs of the meat breeds & make your choices accordingly - whether you discuss the fact that you are going to eat 'fluffy's' babies is your choice - but also none of the sellers business :wink:

Re: I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:27 pm
by Welsh_Moon_Mountains
Well, we are in the process of setting up a rabbit supply for our family in the back garden.

We decided to go for the Flemish Giant. The young from this breed will be ready to butcher at 3 months, yielding a very tender meat

One male (buck) can service up to twenty to thirty does, but in order to keep the gene pool healthy, you should have one buck for each 5 does. Make sure you keep records of which does are bred by which bucks, and keep rotating the animals to keep the gene pool as large as possible., however if one chooses to breed the giant rabbits then only one buck and three does are required.

3 to 4 litters of 5 to 10 young can be thrown by a healthy, mature female (doe) each year.

Bunnies have to be bought from a breeder when young and once they reached the right age breeding can commence. Best not to tell the breeder what they for, as all rabbits can be used for consumption.

The pen should be 3 feet by 3 feet for this large breed, but somewhat smaller for the smaller breeds. The floor should be made of a sturdy wire mesh with about 3/4 inch square holes to accommodate droppings and urine. Do give the rabbit someplace else to stand, however. Standing on wire full time can hurt a rabbit's feet. A full tray or box the full size of the floor of the pen with all four sides about 2 1/2 inches high should be slid under the pen to catch the animal waste. This tray should be emptied once per week and rinsed with a disinfectant. Be careful when using bleach, as it will react with the urine and give off a harmful gas!

A solid compartment about 1 1/2 feet long and 1 1/2 feet wide should be included in the pen to give the doe privacy while she is having her young. this will keep mortality of the young down to a great extent. Be sure there is plenty of dried hay in the pen when she is "due".

Female rabbits will conceive at any time they have an "encounter" with a buck. There is no set estrous period. The young should be separated from the mother at about 6 weeks. The doe is ready for breeding immediately after separation from her young. The rabbit pregnancy period is 28-30 days, with the doe able to mate within hours of giving birth.

The pen should be furnished with clean water each day. The water should be contained in such a way that the animal will not contaminate it with its body waste. If in an open container, it should be elevated so that the top is at least 4 inches above the floor. Conventional water bottles work very well also. Clean each pen at least once per week, throwing out all bedding material, and replace it with new, clean bedding.

Feed a good quality hay. Be sure it has a sweet smell, and has not been water-damaged and become moldy. Hay should be contained in a lattice manger, or rick to keep it from being contaminated by the animal's waste. Do not feed lettuces. Any fresh green food such as lettuce from the store or grass from the yard can give your animals diarrhea! You can feed of course pellets, too but make sure they do not contain any medication in them. Pellets should be fed to rabbits in the following portions; Dwarfs 1/2 cup per day, Mini-Lops 3/4 cup per day, Larger rabbits 1 cup per day, Flemish Giant 1 1/2 cups per day or according to manufacturer.

Mature bucks should not be kept in the same pen, as one or both will be castrated by the other. Rabbits are sensitive to too much heat, and the pen should be shaded and well ventilated in the summer. In the winter, the pen should be protected from wind, and most of its screen areas should be covered. Be sure to keep plenty of hay or straw in the pen for bedding.

Rabbits reach maturity somewhere between 6 and 10 months of age depending on the breed. Smaller breeds mature quicker than larger.

The following breeds will weigh approximately this much when fully mature; Netherland Dwarf 2 1/2 lbs., Jersey Wooley 3 1/2 lbs., Holland Lop 4 lbs., Mini-Rex 4 1/2 lbs., Dutch 5 1/2 lbs., Havana 5 1/2 lbs., Florida White 6 lbs., Mini Lop 6 1/2 lbs., Rex 9 lbs., Palomino, 10 lbs., Satin 11 lbs., New Zealand 11 lbs., French Lop 12 lbs., Flemish Giant 13+ lbs.

We looked up best and quickest possible way how to slaughter, skin and to gut a rabbit on It is better to watch and do then to write it down and slaughter as it requires quickness, so the rabbit will not suffer. If you cannot slaughter it yourself, go to your local butcher and ask if he will do it for you for a small charge.

Never use rabbit livers for food if they have white spots in them. Use only if they are of a clear, dark color. Be sure to remove the bile sack from the liver.

Do not slaughter or butcher if you have an open wound or cut, to avoid infections. Needless to say wash your hands before and after slaughtering or butchering to avoid infections.

To handle a rabbit, grasp a handful of the loose skin over the upper part of its shoulder blades. Rabbits have very sharp toenails on their hind feet, and they can inflict painful scratches on you if you're not careful.

Occasionally, rabbits, like any other lagomorph, will develop longer teeth than they need. Longer teeth are caused by lack of enough coarse food to keep their teeth ground down, or from a condition known as malocclusion. Lagomorphs are continually growing their teeth out longer, like we do our fingernails. This can be a problem if they are not properly trimmed. Use a pair of large toenail snippers or a small set of wire cutters to trim extra long teeth and relieve the animal of further distress and make it possible for them to eat properly. This will not hurt the animal like it would you or I, because they are built different in this respect. Their teeth will continue to grow on out again.

Well, we hope you will enjoy it as much as we will :wave:

Re: I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:37 pm
by tizzy
Thanks for all the trouble you have all gone to to reply.
It's not expertise I lack though, I need to locate someone who can sell me some breeding stock. All I want is a breeding pair or like Julie, two does and a buck who are unrelated.
I've kept rabbits since I was a child on and off - even a house rabbit when I lived in a flat. I have enough Angora fibre spun up and waiting to be spun, to last me a lifetime and they are very high maintenance compared to bog standard bunnies so now the last one has died after nine years, I'm wanting to put the hutches and shed back into use.
There was a breeder who used to advertise in a well known magazine, but he was very cagey [no pun intended] about giving me his address. He wanted me to drive to his nearest town and phone when I got there, but wouldn't give me a day when he could promise to be there. I felt it was all a bit cloak and dagger and too big an ask to drive hundreds of miles on the offchance that he would see me.
I've never found anyone who had any since then, there isn't much call for them up here. Fancy pet varieties in plenty, but smaller breeds as far as I have seen.

I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:40 am
by Welsh_Moon_Mountains
I think the best way would be to look up in your local papers, preloved, etc as there will be always someone selling their bunnies or go to any pet shop and buy your bunnies from there and then you have to just start breeding them and make sure not to interbreed them. Just don't tell them about your 'project' :wink:

Re: I want some meat rabbits

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:51 pm
by tizzy
There are plenty of lop eared rabbits up here, do you guys think there would be much meat on them? They're certainly bigger than wild ones anyway.
I don't think I could tell lies to an owner looking to rehome a pet, it's way out of my comfort zone. Maybe a bit soppy of me, but I would feel so, so bad I'm sure it would show.
I've come to learn that most people don't understand the urge to breed your own meat, much less the wish to do the slaughter and butchery yourself as well. Smallholders seem to have a better grasp of the ethics involved because they too are 'hands on' with their meat. Some conversations are best not started in company, eh. :wink: