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TAMUK variety?

Discussion in 'Breeds and Breeding - Rabbits' started by DustyBoot, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Nov 14, 2017
    AClark

    AClark Loving the herd life

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    ^ True story. My kids tend to get attached and don't want me to do anything with the "pretty" ones, that get names.

    That's exactly what happened, we had a storm come in unexpectedly and it flooded part of their pen. Unfortunately, the hole filled up quick, and I only managed to reach 2 of the babies, the rest were really far back I'm guessing because it turned underground. I know there were more though. I'm not one to be keen on sticking my hand down holes either. Predators aren't really the issue, I haven't lost any to that...escaping before we figured out how to do it where they can't dig out was another story, I did lose 2 to that and not sure where they ended up.
    I did see where someone used PVC pipe and made fake burrows on YouTube, not sure how successful that was or is though. We are changing up their pen, with a full wire bottom to prevent digging and above ground nest boxes that are completely covered. Colony raising is definitely different, not knowing when you'll have babies or anything, but it is easier to keep them cool in the summer by far and they don't look stretched out and miserable in cages in the heat.
    I'm not knocking cage raising at all, there are definitely some benefits to that, knowing when you'll have litters and being able to control breeding a lot easier.
     
  2. Nov 14, 2017
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Overrun with beasties

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    I did wonder if we'd better stick to less-cute uniformly colored rabbits. For that matter, I suppose uniform colors would be better for use of pelts.

    I've also been starting to consider that what makes the Altex heat-tolerant is probably not a prime pelt. So I guess the questions I have to consider are 1) How much more heat-tolerant are the Altex than the other meat breeds available? and 2) How committed am I to using pelts? As far as #2 goes, I'm really not sure. I don't have a market lined up for them nor have I decided on exactly how I'd use them, and whether or not I stick with using pelts would depend on a number of factors including how tedious it gets to be tanning the hides and whether or not I'm successful in coming up with either a marketable product or a practical use for the pelts.

    We'd prefer not to have to rig up fans and other infrastructure if it can possibly be avoided. Frozen water bottles or frozen tiles to lie on, etc., no problem. And as I said, definitely a shaded and well ventilated location. We get a pretty constant breeze, possibly because we're near the river, so that helps a lot with the heat. If we can do that AND raise rabbits that will give us both meat and decent pelts, that would be my first choice. If not, then we'd choose the lower-maintenance meat-only breed.
     
  3. Nov 14, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    @DustyBoot just don't try to breed in the summer. Think pregnant, fat, HOT and wearing a fur coat. :thThat's a recipe for a heat stroke, dead doe. Ask me how I know. That squeal of a dying rabbit stays with you. :hit

    You might want to check into what a prime rabbit pelt sells for to a processor. I may be wrong, but it probably isn't much. Your best bet may be to get a trio of meat rabbits to raise for your own use. That will get your feet wet and you can take it from there.

    Your best set up, IMO, is hanging wire cages under a roofed structure with open or partially open sides--wired from the ground to the roof. In winter, plastic can be put up, but leave the south side open for ventilation. Use an open top nest box and on freezing nights those aluminum clamp on lights for working on automobiles can be placed over the nestbox to keep the kits all warm and snuggly. The aluminum flange works nicely reflecting the warmth down on the kits. A 75 watt light bulb works just fine.


    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Nov 14, 2017
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Overrun with beasties

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    I imagine a summertime break from breeding could work well all around -- I don't see how we'd keep up with the meat from breeding rabbits regularly all year anyway. And I wouldn't wish summer pregnancy in Texas on anyone, let alone someone in a fur coat!

    We were thinking just a trio for personal use. I don't think I'd try to sell pelts through a processor. I can't imagine it'd be worth the trouble. But I do some sewing and other crafting, so I might be able to come up with a simple product I could sell on Etsy or something. Anything that helps pay the feed bills, after all. I was thinking scrap bits could make good cat toys. Or I could put fur trim on knitted mittens or hats. Or even just being able to make gifts for friends and family. Bet my niece would adore a rabbit-fur muff. Still brainstorming. I don't imagine it'd be a lucrative venture, but I hate to see a potentially useful resource go to waste. If I try it and it's just not working out, it won't kill me to give it up. But I'm stubborn about trying things. Occasionally it works out for me. ;)

    We'd be putting the cages under the pole barn, which has a good high roof and open sides. And we can do heat lamps if needed, although we don't get a whole lot of freezing nights here. Hopefully we'll have a good setup. A girl a few miles down the road raises Californians, so we might take a look at buying from her. Sounds like her setup is similar to what we'll have, and obviously we're dealing with the same weather conditions. Assuming what she has is healthy and decent quality it might make life simple to go that route at least for starters.
     
  5. Nov 14, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Sounds like a good plan!
     
  6. Nov 15, 2017 at 6:45 AM
    AClark

    AClark Loving the herd life

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    I think it kind of comes down to what you really want the rabbits for. They have to be roaster age to have decent fur, but by then they are a bit tougher and you have more feed into them than you would at fryer age.
    That's not to say you can't use the pelts, I have a couple in my freezer right now from older rabbits that died, and they aren't hard to tan or anything, but there isn't a ton of use for rabbit pelts. I sew as well and had a hard time finding any decent projects.
     
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  7. Nov 16, 2017 at 8:04 AM
    DustyBoot

    DustyBoot Overrun with beasties

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    I'm thinking we'll try roasters and pelts, and if we don't like the roasters and/or don't find good uses for the pelts, then we'll simplify things and raise fryers. Realistically, we'll probably do some of both.