Choosing and finding stock breeds

Xerocles

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I am on track with my rabbitry. My goal was to be 100% ready to GET stock by mid December, and the prognosis is good.
BUT.
There's a fly in the ointment. I am going to have meat rabbits. And I have done LOTS of research. One buck, three does to cover my personal needs, allowing for an easy breeding schedule for the girls, off months for the heat, new mom disasters, and general screw-ups from me.
The plan: All pedigree stock...not show quality, but quality stock. Cross hybrid vigor, so an assortment of breeds. NZ and Californians don't seem like too much of a problem...plenty of relatively nearby breeders (quality???). But my third breed choice...Champagne d'Argent. Planned on a pair, for comparison of the hybrid vigor thing and to plan for future breeding buck. Why Champages? I don't know. They just captured my attention. Right size/grow-out/bone ratio/disposition and I find them aesthetically appealing.
Now, I can't find them. I found 5 breeders in my state for Chanpagnes. Four had unworking telephone numbers/web addresses. One I contacted and she no longer does rabbits. The ARBA only lists 3 breeders in the US, all in the northeast and 3 days drive. I FINALLY FOUND AN ACTIVE BREEDER! And he's only a 4 hour drive away. He's been doing this since the 40's and apparently was one of the driving forces for Champagnes in the US.(back when HE was in the N.E. also). Downside is he has no available stock at present, available in Feb. And apparently already spoken for...but maybe I can work a deal. Downsides? Doe and buck would be littermates AND obviously would put off breeding age to somewhere late spring. I'm patient...but not sure THAT patient.
Now the quandry, and its two pronged. Do I "settle" and go with available breeds to get the program started, and treat them as "training" stock, to get some meat in the freezer and retire them early when I can get what I really want? (A couple of roasters wouldn't be so bad in 6 months) Or do I just get young juniors and hone my patience skills?
The second prong of the dilemma plays into this decision now. Originally, this was purely for self consumption meat purposes. But now I find that the breed I like is seemingly scarce. Do I branch out (and to me this seems pretty silly in that I have no experience) and become a dual purpose program of meat AND....what do you even call this?....breed to keep the line active and provide more breeding stock? I'm not much of an entrepreneur, so that thought is kinda frightening. The grunt work I can handle, but the marketing is foreign to me.
I know that I, and only I can answer these questions. But often outside eyes, especially experienced ones, can help to illuminate the path. Thoughts, please?
 

animalmom

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Mission dictates equipment. Right now it sounds like you are not sure what your mission is so you are unable to go forward with stock purchase. Totally, completely understandable!

There is an ARBA sanction Champagne d'Argent club called Champagne d'Argent Rabbit Federation. The have a report in the issues of Domestic Rabbits (the ARBA magazine). The person supplying the report is Layna Hoff, Youth Director houseofhops14@gmail.com. She mentioned a facebook page. I don't do facebook but maybe you do and it might be worth your time to check them out: Champagne d'Argent Federation Members.

She also suggest for more info to email Lauren Rascher lauren@watershipfarm.com

They also have a website: http://www.champagnedargent.net

All that to get to what I wanted to say... you breathless in anticipation yet? :) .

As far as equipment goes it doesn't matter if you raise meatpen or a specific breed. What is important is that you are clear in your mind as to what you are doing. There is no reason you can't do a specific breed and advertise the kits for sale at an appropriate age. You might get better prices if you had some show champions in your gene pool.

Any time you breed an animal you play genetic roulette in that you get some really good offspring and some nice but not great offspring. If you are breeding for show the nice but not great offspring are usually culled. Culling can be selling as pet or butchering. I prefer butchering as selling as a pet means the buyer could reproduce and dilute the species if they wanted... unethical in my opinion but your sold it and no longer control it. Culling is hard. You spend a lot of time invested in getting the kits to a point where you can put a critical eye on the body and compare your kit to the breed standard.

Allow me to put a plug in for ARBA, especially if you want to do the Champagnes route. Join them. They are not expensive (you can do a 3 year membership for $50.00) and you get their magazine every other month. There is usually a medical article, recipies, general information... even if you don't show. https://arba.net/about-the-arba/join-the-arba/

Email that Lauren Rascher and start a conversation about Champagnes. People who are that involved with a breed that they put their email out in the world either really know the breed and will chat your ear off, or are very lonely. I'm voting for the first reason.

Bottom line you can't lose if you want rabbits to eat or want to help save a species. Go for it and keep us posted. You've got all of us at your back wanting you to succeed.

Questions? Comments? Bring 'em on! We, collectively, can help.

Hope your Thanksgiving is great.
 

Xerocles

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Mission dictates equipment. Right now it sounds like you are not sure what your mission is
Thanks for this reply. You helped wake me up, and get back to reality. I had a firm goal and mission, but the difficulty of easily finding the stock I wanted, sidetracked me. What was I thinking? There is still good quality stock available for a meat program, and my goal is to fill my freezer. Later, through the resources you have given me, I may expand/redirect my efforts. Its all about growing, after all.
This was an EXTREMELY helpful reply and I thank you so much for your input. Sometimes I just need an awakening to keep me from getting ahead of myself. Like I've said before. One step at a time.
 

promiseacres

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My two cents is start with some meat mutts, perhaps crossbred, if your goal is meat for your family. If it does well and you want a side of raising a show/meat rabbit then invest in your champagnes. By then you'll have an idea of what to look for in breeding stock.
 
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