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One of the challenges in having a rabbitry is deciding who you will keep and who will not keep. Sometimes it’s very easy, but other times it is very challenging. How one makes a decision depends on several factors and is affected by your over arching goal for your rabbits. This post is all about choosing rabbits to keep in your herd.
People keep rabbits for all sorts of reasons. Homesteading, showing, companion animals, pets, or as livestock. The reason you keep will change what you look for in your animals.
Why Is It Important?
It is important to keep your end goal in mind or you will end up sabotaging your own efforts. When I started raising rabbits as an adult I took my time to talk to old time rabbit raisers. They all told me “breed for what you want” and “what you breed you get”.
So if you want calm tempered rabbits (great for anyone) then don’t breed the nicely typed doe that bites you. Or if you want typey rabbits good for the show room don’t keep the poorly typed rabbit that just happens to be colour you want. If your focus in on feeding your family from the profits of your rabbit sales: show, fur, pet, companion don’t keep rabbits that don’t meet your market goals. Meat rabbits need to be as meaty as possible and need to be able to reproduce without tearing your hand off in the process … don’t keep the rabbits that do not meet your long-term criteria.
Different Styles of Keeping Rabbits
Show rabbit fanciers will focus on the rabbits they have meeting the standard for their breed. A good breeder will look first at type (how well the rabbit meets the standard) and second at colour, temperament, etc. If you have the body you need, you can get the colour you want down the road. Mind, you also need to have an animal you can handle because rabbits who bite the judge get kicked out of the competition.
A homesteader will most likely look at temperament and how well the rabbit produces what they need. Meat, wool, companionship etc. Whatever their goal is will be their primary focus. In this video below an unexpected reason was the fact that rabbits are (for the most part) quiet.
Companion animal seller, Pet rabbit seller. Should look first at health and temperament, and then at colour, type, and all other considerations.
Pet people (so people who just happen to have two random rabbits) will often just breed two rabbits together and keep any offspring they can’t sell or whatever bunny makes them the happiest. I’ve been there and done that it’s totally a way to do things. 🙂
Livestock. Just like with the homesteader the person breeding rabbits to be livestock will breed for animals that grow quickest, produce the best final result and are easy to handle. The video below speaks to what you want to look for in a meat rabbit. I do disagree with him that you need to start with purebred stock. The advantage to purebred is you know what is behind the rabbit. BUT meat rabbits, bred for their meat only, are often built differently than a show rabbit is. So look for what you need in a meat animal and start with good stock that will give you what you want.
Others in this Series
- American Fuzzy Lop.
- Baby Bunnies.
- Culling well.
- Discussing Death.
- Errors in Judgement.
- Feeding Rabbits.
- The G’s of rabbits.
- Holland Lops.
- Interesting facts about rabbits.
- The Joy of Bunnies.
Letter K Link Up
Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.
- Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
- Christine @ Life’s Special Necessities
- Kimberly @ Vintage Blue Suitcase
- Dawn @ Schoolin’ Swag
- Wendy @ Life On Chickadee Lane
- Yvonne @ The Life We Build
- Jennifer @ A Peace Of Mind
- Kristen @ A Mom’s Quest To Teach
- Kirsten @ DoodleMom Homeschool