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Vigilant
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys it's me again with more "eco-terror" questions. I say eco-terror because some people don't think too highly of our project. The concept in this thread as you may have guessed is rabbits.

The indegenous rabbits in our area are scrawny and not quite up to the standards of what I was accustomed to, growing up in the sticks of New York. We want to start trapping rabbits and breeding them with some meatier, larger, more robust stock. The idea is simple. Catch females breed them with selected male varities and release them into the wild to give birth. It seems that the worst thing that could happen is the young die and feed the other critters in the area of our BOL. At best we get a better rabbit to hunt for meat in our area. What do you guys says? Any breeds to recommend for hybridization of our "swamp Bunnies"? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Karnus
 

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Adventurer
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Hey guys it's me again with more "eco-terror" questions. I say eco-terror because some people don't think too highly of our project. The concept in this thread as you may have guessed is rabbits.

The indegenous rabbits in our area are scrawny and not quite up to the standards of what I was accustomed to, growing up in the sticks of New York. We want to start trapping rabbits and breeding them with some meatier, larger, more robust stock. The idea is simple. Catch females breed them with selected male varities and release them into the wild to give birth. It seems that the worst thing that could happen is the young die and feed the other critters in the area of our BOL. At best we get a better rabbit to hunt for meat in our area. What do you guys says? Any breeds to recommend for hybridization of our "swamp Bunnies"? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Karnus
I would recomend beveran rabbits
The Beveren is one of the oldest and largest breeds of fur rabbits. It was first bred in Beveren, a small town near Antwerp in Belgium. Their coats can be blue, white, black, brown and lilac, though not all of these varieties are ARBA-recognized. There is a rare variety called the Pointed Beveren, which comes in the same colors but has white tipped hairs. The blue variety is the original.

The Beveren rabbit is a rare breed. They are well tempered, clean, and smart. Beverens are full of energy, and love to explore the outdoors. They are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association in three different colors, Black, Blue, and White. The coat should be dense and glossy with a gentle rollback fur type. Fur length is rather long having an average of 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches. This large breed has a pronounced mandolin shape with mature bucks at 8 to 11 pounds and does at 10 to 12 pounds. Their litters are large, the young grow fairly fast, and the does are typically docile and make good mothers.
 
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Really?
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IMo, you wouldn't have to catch any, just release a good male and female and they'll take care of it........the problem is, domestic rabbits don't know how to survive in the wild.......why not put up some cages and just raise some rabbits? 1 buck and 2 does would keep you in rabbit meat.........we put ours in the freezer at 11wks.....Florida Whites are good meat rabbits, adapted to Florida weather.......also, there's Wildlife laws about introducing animals into the wild........
 

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Rural Legend
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Karnus this is a great idea. I breed wild and domestic rabbits in the Ozarks hills. I let some of them go basically right out my back door into the National Forest. Talk to rabbit breeders in your area for the right breed. Good luck.
 

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Vigilant
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
IMo, you wouldn't have to catch any, just release a good male and female and they'll take care of it........the problem is, domestic rabbits don't know how to survive in the wild.......why not put up some cages and just raise some rabbits? 1 buck and 2 does would keep you in rabbit meat.........we put ours in the freezer at 11wks.....Florida Whites are good meat rabbits, adapted to Florida weather.......also, there's Wildlife laws about introducing animals into the wild........
I figure that some hybridization will increase the chances of survial in the wild population. You know. Natural selection and all. Making it a more self sustainable, hands free endeavor. I'm aware of the laws. However "if some doe gets herself knocked up by a domestic version and gives birth in the wild", I havent released any non-native species. But thanks for the heads up.
 

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Son Of Liberty
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why not just increases the health of your native rabbit population? Wild rabbits will be smaller no matter what breed they are, they have to forage and find everything they eat. You could put out small feeders for the native rabbits, you can plant things to help the rabbits, you can provide good habitat.


Don't introduce anouther non native species, they will be competition for the native rabbits that have survived hundreds of years without interference.

Turkey will be drawn to the same things rabbits are for the most part, so make it better for the rabbits and you will likely get higher numbers of turky. Plant some native nut trees and you will have more TreeRats.

Animals will only be as successful as the environment allows, you want to have more animals , improve their environment.
 
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Really?
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I figure that some hybridization will increase the chances of survial in the wild population. You know. Natural selection and all. Making it a more self sustainable, hands free endeavor. I'm aware of the laws. However "if some doe gets herself knocked up by a domestic version and gives birth in the wild", I havent released any non-native species. But thanks for the heads up.
I doubt hybridizing will increase chances, but lessen them........survival instincts are bred in, by hybridizing, you're actually breeding it out.....you'd have to take total control of the entire environment.........say you catch a doe and breed it with your domestic meat buck. She has her babies, but then they breed with a wild buck, they're back to wild in 2 gens.......what if you catch a wild buck? You'd have to kill off all the wild bucks and continue to breed all the does with your domestic buck........then, after a few gens, you'd be getting the results you want, but what you'll have is a bunch of meaty rabbits that don't have a clue how to survive.....good eating for predators, which will move in.
 

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Preparation job #1
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Here in the desert I breed my California buck to my new zealand doe's but we only breed them Oct thru march the losses get to high as it heats up in the desert. With 1 buck and 3 doe's we have plenty of meat, saved one new buck and doe from the last kit to increase my herd
 

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wild rabbits wont breed with domestic rabbits....if they somehow did the offspring wouldnt survive. genetically theyre different species in the same genus but not close enough to produce viable offspring.
 

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Vigilant
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I doubt hybridizing will increase chances, but lessen them........survival instincts are bred in, by hybridizing, you're actually breeding it out.....you'd have to take total control of the entire environment.........say you catch a doe and breed it with your domestic meat buck. She has her babies, but then they breed with a wild buck, they're back to wild in 2 gens.......what if you catch a wild buck? You'd have to kill off all the wild bucks and continue to breed all the does with your domestic buck........then, after a few gens, you'd be getting the results you want, but what you'll have is a bunch of meaty rabbits that don't have a clue how to survive.....good eating for predators, which will move in.
To a certain extent thats the idea. But when it comes to flight response, I think that trait will present itself rather quickly.
 

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Really?
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To a certain extent thats the idea. But when it comes to flight response, I think that trait will present itself rather quickly.
Well, remember, wild rabbits survive by being skinny and fast......fat, meaty rabbits won't get away...wild rabbits have the instinct to build a burrow system and are never far from a hole. Tame rabbits don't, they just sit in the open and hope for the best....btw, you did catch that the change will produce more predators in the area? That's not good......more snakes, gators, fox, cats, dogs, owls, hawks, etc.....even in captivity, if a mom feels threatened, she will eat her babies......bucks will eat the babies, too.
 

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Vigilant
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, remember, wild rabbits survive by being skinny and fast......fat, meaty rabbits won't get away.......btw, you did catch that the change will produce more predators in the are, right? That's not good......more snakes, gators, fox, cats, dogs, owls, hawks, etc.....even in captivity, if a mom feels threatened, she will eat her babies......bucks will eat the babies, too.
Those are good points to consider. Though the population boom to other species could be a benefit. I'll eat snakes, dogs, cats, or gators. Keep the ideas coming. This is helpful. I need to see all the angles before doing something like this.
 

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One caution, wild rabbits may stress out at being caged.

Many years ago when I raised rabbits we caught a local cotton-tail that was young and looked otherwise healthy. We put it in with the domestic stock thinking the same thing as you are. The cotton-tail lasted about 48 hours and died.
 

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I've been thinking about doing something similar (with rabbits, turkeys, pheasants, quail, etc). My plan is basicly to get some whatever (rabbit, quail, etc)...raise it with as little interaction/food as possible (like, instead of feeding it grain, give it a plant it would eat in the wild). Maybe even let the dog bark at the cage every now and then (kinda a safe way to introduce it to a predator) then release it in the woods behind my house. Also, while this is going on, plant trees, bushes, etc that would be a food source for whatever I release.

I see there's lots of talk about the hybrids dying out, etc... maybe instead of hybrids, just catch wild rabbits from a different location and release them behind your house. Introducing new genetic stock could help the population where you live.
 

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I doubt if it would have much influence beyond a few acre area. As stated, the wild rabbits, by natural selection, have developed into the little beasts that have the greater chance of survival. If you want to increase the population then improving the habitat and predator control will give better results. Brush piles and areas of uncut tall grass for cover from raptors is helpful. As stated above, plant high protein, high fat fauna for feed. Alfalfa and grains would be a good choice and attract other animals as well. Rye grass is also hardy. Remember, population will be controlled. As the population approaches the carrying capacity of the habitat, either predators (human and otherwise) will need to keep the population in check or famine and disease will do the job.
 

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Good intent often messes up nature...

I agree that most of the domestic rabbits would be gone in short order due to predators. Also, capturing wild rabbits and thinking you're going to be able to go out and successfully choose their diet from the wild would likely be an act of futility. Wild rabbits are lean due to reasons mentioned above.

The store bought 16-18% feed is why most rabbits (commercial size anyway) get to decent size in a shorter time.

We have a dozen or so does and three bucks. Just this week we hit the point of having a litter a week to butcher at 12 weeks old. A buck and a couple does is a good place to start but it's some sort of urban legend or something this myth that 2 does and a buck will give you the same amount of meat as a cow in a years time. That's bs.

We did the math and conservatively speaking we will have 1440 pounds of meat (well, meat with leg bones) approximately in a years time of taking out a litter a week.

I've wanted to more replicate a wild diet to have a backup for if and when (I say when) feed may be out of reach or unavailable due to inflation or other shortages. I think a good thing to look into is comfrey plants.

My wife found a site that claimed 20% protein for comfrey but she wasn't positive and I haven't seen it. Seems kind of high for a leafy plant. However, we did see other references to it being high in protein.

That said, it's the protein that gets you healthy meaty rabbits. We've experimented with using more wild greens they love and hay with less of the 16-18% rabbit feed and at 12 weeks the rabbits looked like about 9 or 10 week old rabbits.

I saw a post here about breeding wild and domestic rabbits. Problem is (as far as getting to the possibility here) is that a lot of so called wild rabbits are rabbits whose ancestors escaped some time ago. So genetically they're not a wild rabbit as far as my understanding. I've read, and would love to be corrected if I'm wrong, that true wild and domestic are genetically different and will not breed. I know a hare is not a rabbit. Anybody who knows for sure it would be appreciated.

I too had run through my mind the idea of turning loose domestic rabbits. Of course my garden and my neighbors would be trashed and the pitchforks and torches would be heading my way. I do know a guy (who's sort of a dumbass) who claimed that his family turned out a bunch of rabbits and they were all gone in a matter of months. This was on 100 acres far removed from population. Lotsa eagles and hawks, bobcats, coyotes and such.
 

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Keeping it Simple
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Those are good points to consider. Though the population boom to other species could be a benefit. I'll eat snakes, dogs, cats, or gators. Keep the ideas coming. This is helpful. I need to see all the angles before doing something like this.
If you are looking to increase the number and type of wild animals for food in your BOL. If you have ponds, try Fish, Crawfish, frogs, turtles, and some type of gamebirds ie; Quail, Chukkar, Pheasant whatever will survive in your area.

I dont mean to change the direction of your thread, I would leave the wild rabbits as they are and plant edibles to help fatten them up and keep them around.
 
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