A Sufficient Life

What Rabbits?

Posted by Shannon on February 22, 2012 at 9:20 PM

So, now you have figured out why you want to raise rabbits and have decided to forge ahead. Good for you! The next question that you should ask yourself is, "What (kind of) Rabbits do I choose to raise?" The answer to this question depends on a few factors...

What is your primary goal in raising rabbits?

  •  You are wanting to provide your family with a healthy, sustainable source of meat. Virtually *any* rabbit can be raised for meat, but some are better than others.  It all has to do with the ratio of meat to bone. What you want is a meaty rabbit with small bones, that grows quickly on a reasonable amount of feed. One might think that a large rabbit, such as a Flemish Giant would make a great meat rabbit. The problem with that is that the Giant breeds have very heavy bones and they eat a LOT! A commercial meat breed is likely your best bet. The most common of these are the New Zealand White, NZW, or the Californian. There are many breeds that can be used for meat, however, so you needn't limit yourself to one of these. Other options include Champagne d' Argente, Silver Fox, Standard Rex, New Zealand Red or Black, and American Blue or White.  If you are looking for a smaller rabbit, or you have limited space, the Florida White or the Dutch Rabbit make excellent small meat rabbits. They can be pedigreed or not, purebred or not. When consumption is the end goal, it only matters that you have healthy, meaty animals.
  • You want to raise rabbits for the show crowd, ie. ARBA, FFA, 4H, etc. You want to start with the best rabbits you can afford from a reputable show breeder. ARBA.net is a good place to start if you want to show rabbits. There are so many different breeds, it is good to actually GO to a show and just observe. These rabbits are expected to be purebred, pedigreed and free of disqualifications. They must comform to the SOP, or Standard of Perfection, for that breed, so you will need to become intimately familliar with the SOP.
  • You want to raise rabbits to sell as pets. The small breeds or dwarf breeds are good for this. Netherland Dwarf, Holland Lop, Lionhead, Polish and Dwarf Hotot are just a few examples of these smaller type rabbits. It is not always necessary for these rabbits to be pedigreed and quite frequently rabbits that cannot be shown due to a disqualification, miscolored toenails for example, are sold as pets.
Are you going to raise rabbits indoors or outdoors?
  • It may seem elementary, but smaller rabbits are easier to raise indoors, unless of course, you have a barn or are going to build one.
Lastly, what type of personality do you want in a rabbit?
  • Rabbits are like dogs, in that each breed has its own general personality. If you want laid back, easy going rabbits, then you do NOT want an arched breed like Checkered Giant or Belgian Hares. These rabbits are made to run, and hop, and bounce and ...well, you get it. They make incredible Agility Rabbits, though. Flemish Giants and Silver Fox are reported to be very laid back and calm in demeanor, although as in anything else, there is always some variance. 
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will be able to tailor your "rabbit accomodations" to better suit the rabbits you will eventually acquire. Which is the topic of our next installment...WHERE?


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Reply Laura
10:32 AM on February 29, 2012 
I like your little blog you have going, and look forward to your next installment on "Where". :)
Reply JJ
2:42 AM on May 27, 2013 
This is a good list of questions! I had to comment because we raise Silver Fox. (We also have champagne d'argent, satin, cinnamon, Rex, astrex, and silver marten - lots of rabbits!) Our Silver Fox are SOOO sweet it's ridiculous. Everyone wants a mini Rex or Holland for the sweet cuddly aspect - little do they know the Silver Fox are the biggest cuddle bugs ever!

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