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What are the best rabbits to raise for meat and why? I am writing and article for the blog and would like some suggestions.

My current list contains:

New Zealand rabbit
Californian rabbit
Flemish giant

The new zealand the californian are some of the best meat stock rabbits out there, that is why they were included in my list.

The flemish giant is listed due to its size. I work with a lady who raises the flemish, according to her these rabbits get huge.

I restarted my rabbit project in April of this year after a 13 year break. The last time I had rabbits was in 1999 and 2000. Before that I had rabbits back in 1986 and 1987.

Unlike my earlier and smaller rabbit projects, after my wife and I get moved to the homestead I am looking at around 8 - 10 rabbits, maybe even somewhere in the 15 - 20 range.

I have 2 californians right now. What would you suggest I add and why?

Video about my rabbit project

 

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Subterranean Nut Hoarder
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From what I've seen, yeah the Flemish is huge, but at 12 weeks dress out side by side with a similar quality Californian, the meat to bone ratio on the Californian is superior. Flemish seem to be going through a gawky growth spurt around that time, putting on frame instead of meat, and you're feeding a lot of bone weight. You could butcher them sooner, at 2 months, but at that age they're mostly all bone and ears.

The best conversions I've seen had no more than 1/4 Flemish in them. YMMV. I've seen posters on rabbit forums that were very pleased with 1/2 FG fryers.
 

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patriarch
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I have raised California & New Zealand most of my life and like them both. I am looking for a young rabbit to weight 4+ lbs at 8 weeks old. Presently, I have a California buck and a New Zealand doe. I want the adults to maintain their health on a cup of feed per day.
8 fryers..........8 wks., 4+lbs
9 wks., 5+ lbs
today 11 wks., 6+ lbs

I plan to butcher at 5+ lbs, but due to an unannounced engagement, butcher day got postponed! The goal is to produce more meat for less feed, money saved.
 

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My two does are a Cali and a Flemish with a NZ buck. I do not see a noticable difference in the quantity of meat from the Cali/NZ or Flemish/NZ crosses that i get. But my Flemish is not that much bigger than my Cali doe.
 

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California, New Zealand, and Florida whites will give you the quickest and best return on your feed. The Flemish will give you more meat, but at a higher cost in feed. Most don't raise rabbits to full maturity (weight), but butcher when they hit that pivotal point where you start loosing on feed to meat ratio. Florida whites don't get as big, but grow fast and give a good return for young friers.
 

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I HAD FGs, NZs and Calis - sold all my Cali's and started breeding NZ x FG. I find I get much bettr meat to feed ratio with this cross.
 

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Silver fox. My biggest rabbits are silver foxes and silver fox Californian cross. They are easy to tame, have dense beautiful fur, have big litters, and are great mothers. They were bred specifically for the meat and fur industry and because they are not "pet store sized" they are an endangered breed. They don't seem to handle heat as well as other breeds though. I'd say they are more for northern climates.
 

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Florida whites and silver foxes are the best, but harder to find. Personally, I like to cross breed which produce fast growing offspring, meat. This is best accomplished by having pure breed parents though. One thing I can attest to is that Californians and Florida whites seem to be the best for hotter climates. Most people around here shy away from Flemish giants as they, pound for pound of meat, are more expensive to feed. But if you grow your own food or have a tractor then they Might do good. Again, I think the best way is to cross breed but have pure breed parents.
 

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I chose the Florida Whites. I get about the same amount of boned out meat as I did with the larger New Zealands. Smaller Rabbit means smaller cages and less food consumption inorder to achieve the same end results. They were harder to come by and cost more but in the long run I feel like it was money ahead.
 
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