Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ranch Animal Alphabet - R

31 for 21 - R is for Rabbit

   We have been raising rabbits for about 9 years. When we started, we did not know hardly anything about them. We picked up a bunch of mutt type rabbits that we were going to raise for meat production. As it turned out, those rabbits were Mini Lop. My oldest daughter took an interest in them and began doing some research. Soon, we were into raising Mini Lops for show. She also took an interest in the color genetics of the Mini Lop rabbits. Her knowledge and rabbitry increased. Soon she was bringing rabbits in from WA, Canada and other far away states. We also began to transport and ship rabbits to other states and eventually even another country (Yes, she had a lady come from Finland for some of her stock!). You can go to my daughter's website to read more about the Mini Lops - Hoppin Herd of Hares .

      Now, you may be wondering what my part in the rabbits is - well, my daughter and I have contemplated raising meat rabbits since our CA days. Once we got set up here in Oklahoma, we managed to bring in some of the best commercial rabbits out there (as far as I am concerned!). We started with just one Production White doe and one buck about 18 months ago. We now have close to 20 does and hope to increase that just a little bit more. We have enjoyed having the meat rabbits because we are able to have quite a bit of fresh, home-grown meat. At the same time, we have been able to sell off enough stock to buy the feed for the rabbits that we keep.
    The stock that we raise were originally from Texas A&M. They are a commercially bred New Zealand White rabbit that we call a Production White. I like them because of the following reasons:
1.  Nice big rabbits 
2.  Handle the heat here well.  
3.  The babies grow out well. Most of the fryers are 5 pounds at 8 weeks of age.
4.  Dress-out is easy and fast. Just a few minutes per fryer.
5.  The feed conversion of these rabbits is incredible. The does only eat between 1/2 to 1     cup of feed a day.
6.  They are pleasant rabbits to deal with, nice personalities and easy breeders (most of the time!)

I'll try to add a picture or 2 later, I have to get out door to a soccer game!

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