Breeding questions

minibackyardfarmer

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We will be moving and buying my aunt and uncles 5acre small farm. We are moving this year but wont be introducing meat rabbits till later next year. So I am just doing my work at gathering the information needed to have a successful rabbit production.

I will create different threads for each of my questions just to keep my info gathering organized lol

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Right now we have chickens and inbreeding isn't a concern.

now with rabbits is there a safe inbreeding technique or is it just best to not inbreed at all?

my idea was to have our starting colony be made up of 3 females and 2 males.

I figured at first to use Male A to bred the 3 females with first round to see what type of kits we get meat wise etc. As we plan on also using the pelts for our own crafts (so the fur consistency isnt a big deal to us), but meat production is.

Then next round use Male B to bred with the females to compare meat production and which male would be use as the main male with the main females

From their I figured we could keep 3 females (one from each main female) that we like the personality of and body mass to have a second colony with and use the non main male to bred with.

Is that smart and self sustainable?

Now my question with inbreeding is really about when introducing a new buck. Could we take a buck from say Colony A (which is the main colony) and use him in colony A when we introduce fresh blood of females to that colony when its time (if we introduced new females we would cull our buck also and keep his best offspring males)?

As when it's time to introduce new blood into colony A for females it would be from either our farm store or my cousin's meet rabbit setup (which our starter bucks will be coming from). Id prefer getting our fresh blood from my cousin since I knew where the rabbits are coming from, but unsure since our starting bucks would come from my cousin if we would have to worry about inbreeding.

My cousin keeps non of their kits unless asked (they don't keep for themselves), but bring in fresh buck and doe blood when they need to retire their main breeders.

Is it best to have a completely fresh buck for colony B or is it safe to use a buck from colony A litter?
(colony B buck will be breding with any offspring we deem good females from colony A)

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Now my next two questions is more about the breeding animals directly.

I don't want to bred our females to death, even though their sole purpose minus the manure for fertilizing is meat for our freezer/table. Is there a healthy breeding schedule to do, that is good for the female? as in x amount of months in between or something like that.

How long is it good to use females and buck for breeding before it's best to phase them out? Or is there a way to tell, okay this female would probably do best in the next cull than to continuing pushing as a breeder?

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I don't know if this helps with the last few questions but our meat rabbits won't be purebreds. We plan on crossing breeds so to get the best of two diff meat breeds and maybe a better meat production (dressing) out on the rabbit.
 

DutchBunny03

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Hi! These are very smart questions about breeding. Inbreeding is good. It helps isolate preferable traits, and get rid of unwanted ones. I would only go as far as to breed half siblings, though. Some raisers disagree, and suggest full-sibling breeding, but that could cause deformities in the kits. Your breeding plan looks great. Try not to introduce to many animals from other rabbitries. That could ruin all your progress with inbreeding, but it also could help. It is a bit of a gamble. If you rebreed your does when the litter is 6 weeks old, she will have 2 weeks between litters to rest. If you are not in need of rapid production, though, rebreeding when the litter is weaned would be better. That gives her a whole month of rest, but also only gives you a few litters a year. A good meat cross is a New Zealand/ Californian cross, or a New Zealand crossed with any other meat breed. Have fun!
 

minibackyardfarmer

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Hi! These are very smart questions about breeding. Inbreeding is good. It helps isolate preferable traits, and get rid of unwanted ones. I would only go as far as to breed half siblings, though. Some raisers disagree, and suggest full-sibling breeding, but that could cause deformities in the kits. Your breeding plan looks great. Try not to introduce to many animals from other rabbitries. That could ruin all your progress with inbreeding, but it also could help. It is a bit of a gamble. If you rebreed your does when the litter is 6 weeks old, she will have 2 weeks between litters to rest. If you are not in need of rapid production, though, rebreeding when the litter is weaned would be better. That gives her a whole month of rest, but also only gives you a few litters a year. A good meat cross is a New Zealand/ Californian cross, or a New Zealand crossed with any other meat breed. Have fun!
First thanks for taking the time to answer my meat rabbit questions :)

My actual idea for breeding but was told inbreeding of any kind is bad. But i hear that about cows etc. and those type of animals after 5yrs you swap your male and use a new one even if its from the same heard... I know people concept is also based on the concept of incest and thats why they say no to it.

anyways it was to have 2 bucks and 3 or 4 females to start. With 4 or 5 batches of kits a year, we were going to omit out the colder months just like we do with letting our hens hatch chicks, figured give them that time to keep themselves warm and not have to worry about frozen kits.

Buck A would bred the does
Rest (min of 30days after they have the kits or when the kits are weaned thats a later question)
Buck B would bred with the does

And the breeding cycle would repeat like that till we stop for the year.

My idea when needing to refresh does or bucks was to keep off spring from them causing the breeding to only be half siblings. We would use ear stamping to keep good track of this.

Okay now my question I didn't think of asking.

I was told to wean at 6wks, is this good or is there a better age to wean the kits so that the doe's ability to produce milk for other kits isn't harmed to much?
 

DutchBunny03

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I love your breeding system. It looks like it will work out great!! It is better to wean at 8 weeks. Weaning to early can cause digestive problems in the kits. Don't take the kits away all at once. You want the doe to dry up her milk supply gradually. Take out the biggest ones first.
 

minibackyardfarmer

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I love your breeding system. It looks like it will work out great!! It is better to wean at 8 weeks. Weaning to early can cause digestive problems in the kits. Don't take the kits away all at once. You want the doe to dry up her milk supply gradually. Take out the biggest ones first.
Thanks...

I figured it would be better to wait a few more weeks then the 6wks that was told to me. I also figured better to take one or two at a time over a period of a few days, once we notice the kits are doing pretty good at eating the pellets etc. on their own. This way the doe doesn't have any separation issues or cause her to loose the drive to care for future kits as good if that is possible at all to cause.
 

DutchBunny03

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Don't worry about separation issues or the dam loosing drive to care for future kits. Rabbits by nature are great mothers, and usually will not neglect their kits.
 

minibackyardfarmer

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Don't worry about separation issues or the dam loosing drive to care for future kits. Rabbits by nature are great mothers, and usually will not neglect their kits.
Thats good to know.

I was curious since we were going to use ground hutches, as a extra security from preditors (they will sit in the fenced in foraging run area), and a secure place for the kits when there are some.

Will the doe's claim their own hutch to where if they have kits they wont go into another hut or another doe go into that hutch, while they are out "free ranging"?

A buck would only be out with them if its a breeding session we want to have, just to control breeding so it really isn't a true colony setup like most do.
 

DutchBunny03

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Does will pick a spot to kindle, and defend that spot. You may want to have a couple hutches off the ground for kindling and for the very young kits. You dont want a snake or a weasel to get to the defenseless kits. But after a couple weeks, they can go into your ground level hutches.
 

minibackyardfarmer

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Does will pick a spot to kindle, and defend that spot. You may want to have a couple hutches off the ground for kindling and for the very young kits. You dont want a snake or a weasel to get to the defenseless kits. But after a couple weeks, they can go into your ground level hutches.
That makes sense... it's also why we were going to do the setup like described because the main predator on that property is raccoons, so we are predator proofing all our animals with them in mind. I do know there is a black snake on the property, still looking up how you can predator proof for them, since they are a snake that can climb.
 

DutchBunny03

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If you are not already going to, PUT A ROOF ON YOUR ENCLOSURE. Hawks will eat the rabbits.
 

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