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Message for Piet & any other rabbit raisers

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1 Message for Piet & any other rabbit raisers on Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:22 pm

Farmchiq

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Because I left the forum briefly when I was so mad at Uno, stupid me I know (I missed all the good stuff on here so much!), the forum is now treating me like a brand new member and I can't post pictures or send PMs.  So....Piet, or anyone else with rabbit knowledge?

Can you suggest a good book or other resource for a total beginner to raising rabbits for meat?  I just cooked my first one ever, and would like to look into it and see if I can handle it here on my own.

Thanks for any help you can share.  If you'd rather email, I am Farmchiq "at" gmail.com

Cheers.

calliope

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er -- welcome back! I always miss all the good stuff too, LOL!

Piet

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Hello Farmchiq,
Visit the ARBA website, I believe you can buy these books there. These were given to me by a judge years ago. If you are ever near this way, feel free to contact and stop by. Coffee is always on.
Piet[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

http://pvgflemishgiants.tripod.com/

Farmchiq

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Thanks. A breed book is a good place to start. Wink

Schipperkesue

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Farmchiq, here are my four go-to books. I would also suggest joining the ARPA. They produce a magazine that has many up to date articles, especially on rabbit health. There is also always a tasty recipe.

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Farmchiq

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Thanks Sue! Very Happy

CynthiaM

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Oh geeze, Farmchiq, if you get rabbits, get great big huge ones, like Piet's. That would be a meal worth eating Smile . I was not overly impressed with the rabbit that we got. I thought it was too small to bother to get all the meat off, must have been the breed. And it looked like a cat when I cooked it  Shocked  . Not that I like cats, but I didn't like how it looked. Now maybe a BIG rabbit might be more palatable to me  Very Happy Laughing . It will be interesting to hear what you are up to. Have a beautiful day, CynthiaM.

Farmchiq

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Darn it I just lost a post to cyberspace. I just wanted to say, that's what my original attempt to post on here was about Cindi - I was gobsmacked by how much meat was on this little thing. And bone volume was tiny. So I just wanted to see if I could compare feed:growth ratios in rabbits and chickens, and see what is involved in raising them.

Schipperkesue

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You are right Farm Chiq. It is not the size of the rabbit but the meat to bone ratio. Even small rabbits of meat quality will give you a lot of meat on a small carcass. I am sure that Piet can attest to the meat difference on a good quality Flemish compared to a poor quality one.

10 Re: Message for Piet & any other rabbit raisers on Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:07 am

bckev

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I have only raised new zealands, is there a flavour difference with Flemish. I stayed away from the Flemish as I heard the meat to bone ration was poor and the feed consumption was higher.

11 Re: Message for Piet & any other rabbit raisers on Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:43 am

Farmchiq

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Got any words of advice BCKev? There's a few NZs for sale very close to me, hutches too. I'm really trying not to look at the ad again because I'm not ready. lol

12 Re: Message for Piet & any other rabbit raisers on Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:52 am

Schipperkesue

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I know it sounds obvious, but when you purchase your rabbits, look for meaty ones. Wide through the shoulder and hip. Round, smooth lines well covered with muscle. No angles or sharp bones poking through.

Each breed has it's own SOP but that meaty look is common to all the meat breeds. Also, if the breeder has records of weights for particular ages this is handy if comparing two or more lines.

13 Re: Message for Piet & any other rabbit raisers on Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:00 am

Farmchiq

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Thanks Sue. Obvious to you maybe, but thanks for taking the time to respond. All this info will be helpful, and I appreciate it.

bckev

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I really miss the rabbits. I will get back into them some day, I kept some cages. The biggest thing I learned is go for quality from the get go. Buy from someone who knows there stuff and will stand behind their rabbits. Try and get a market established before you get into to big because rabbits breed like rabbits and it doesn't take long to have a freezer full. I had a small rabbitry of about 40 does, which was okay when hillside foods bought rabbits. I sold my excess to them at a break even price. I found the market really fluctuated. Of course now with the change in meat regulations you can't process your own and I don't know of anyone around here that processes rabbits, so that should be another consideration. Rabbits are great and not hard to work with but it can be time consuming.

Piet

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Here is a post I made on another forum recently when talking about different breeds taste differences:

A Netherland dwarf tastes the same as a French lop at the same age and with the same feed and killing and cooking skills.
Feed, age, butchering and cooking are the major factors here, well and housing/exercise. For best meat production stick with the New zealand whites. They are proven the best meat producers and no need to re invent the wheel. The big producers are in Europe and for Canada they are in Quebec.
Piet

I can add here that when talking about Flemish giants, they are not a commercial type rabbit at all and were also never meant to be. They are a total show rabbit and the meat is off course an added bonus. They are the largest breed of rabbits. And don't get me going on German Giants, they are the same thing. I went to see 1200 of them and the heaviest at that show was 10.2 kg, I have them that large also.
There are many "Flemish" around that have been crossed out to commercial breeds and they do not resemble the real deal. A Flemish MUST have big bone to carry its weight, they are like the draught horses in rabbits. They eat more and dress out worse than the commercial breeds. Its like trying to raise Jersey Giants for meat production and complaining about how much they eat. If you want food only, there are much better options out there.
My rabbits have front legs the size your wrist and at 8 weeks old they do weigh 5 lbs. We eat them here and love to butcher one later at say 5 months when they are about 15 lbs. A 9 lbs carcass, yes you can sit a lot of people at that table. The bottom picture is a senior doe that won 4 shows in the two day show in Wetaskiwin a couple weeks ago.
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Piet

http://pvgflemishgiants.tripod.com/

Farmchiq

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Thanks Piet and BCKev. Wow that doe is a big beauty!!
I will have to ask the person I got the one I'm eating now (meal #2 and only half the meat used) what breed she owns.

calliope

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bckev wrote:Of course now with the change in meat regulations you can't process your own and I don't know of anyone around here that processes rabbits, so that should be another consideration.

Check Valley Wide Meats in Enderby. They were listed as a Class A meat plant for cows, cattle, and rabbits as of December 10, 2013. Then there's supposed to be one in 150 Mile, and then further north.

Karaandblue

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Piet I saw (and highly admired) your doe at Wetaskewin - lovely lovely doe. I really appreciate your knowledge of the rabbits - it sure does help me out in making production vs show choices.
One day if I am ever down in the Red Deer region I would love to stop and see your rabbitry.

Karaandblue

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whoops Okotoks Smile

Schipperkesue

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Piet, I love the body shape on the animal in the last picture! Do the Flemish people call then Mandolin as well?

Piet

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Schipperkesue wrote:Piet, I love the body shape on the animal in the last picture!  Do the Flemish people call then Mandolin as well?
yes mandolin in semi-arch pose. They really should be posed in between semi and full arch, so on the feet but not as up and round backline all the way as a belgium hare. That is how we pose them in europe and looks much better. The mandolin semi arch, we would call; lazy or belly divers. I can only take my lazy ones to the show that do not put their feet stiff in the ground and raise their heads to see what is going on.

http://pvgflemishgiants.tripod.com/

calliope

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You have beautiful rabbits, Piet. I really liked that avatar you used to have with the giant rabbits in front of you, think they were the Flemish. Humongous!

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