A Knowledgebase for the Rabbit Industry...
How to select the best rabbits for your project
Description of a Meat Pen
- This is the most important factor in judging meat pens.
- Fryers need to be compact and short, with a well filled body, rounded and firmly fleshed.
- Smooth, well filled hips and good depth of body are especially important.
- Also needed are wide, deep loin, thickness in the hindquarters and well developed shoulders.
Order of Importance
- Hindquarters, Loin and Forequarters. (Protruding hip bones or prominent "razor backs" are serious faults.)
- All meat pen fryers should be in prime condition.
- They should be firm and solid. They should show no signs of flabbiness, softness, looseness, or pottiness.
- The pelt should be tight over the body and the animals should be clean and show no signs of neglect or disease.
- Uniformity must be present in weight, size, appearance, condition, meat type and fur. They should be as similar in all respects as possible.
- Fur should conform to the breed description and be uniform on all 3 rabbits. In stiff competition, the fur could be the deciding factor.
Breeds for Projects
- The two most popular breeds for meat production are the Californian and New Zealand.
- These breeds are most popular because they combine white fur (preferred by processors) and good growth characteristics.
- New Zealand rabbits are slightly larger than the Californian, 9-13 pounds versus 8-10 pounds.
- Although these two breeds are the most commonly exhibited at livestock shows, some events allow the Champagne D'Argents and Satins as well.
- After experimentation and crossbreeding, this rabbit was produced in 1923.
- It was bred as a meat rabbit to have broad shoulders, meaty back and hips and a good dressing percentage (percentage of edible meat).
- This rabbit is white except for ears, nose, feet and tail, which are a dark gray or black. The ideal weight for bucks is 9 pounds; does, 9½ pounds.
- This is a white rabbit with colored nose, ears, feet and tail. Color is as dark as possible.
- The description of the body, to be of medium length, with depth equal to width and full over and around the hips, with firm, meaty saddle carried as full as meaty as possible to nape of neck and down sides over ribs and shoulders, with as little offal as possible. Mature bucks weigh 9 pounds; does, 9½ pounds.
New Zealand (White)
- An American creation that appeared after the Red New Zealand, is one of the best all-around commercial breeds. It is an all-white rabbit whose fur can be dyed many colors for use as garment trims. The ideal weight of bucks is 10 pounds; does, 11 pounds.
- The standard pretty well sums up the appearance by saying "the ideal type should create in the mind an impression of balance, uniformity and must exemplify meat producing qualities". The body combines good depth and width with medium length and should smoothly covered with flesh. Mature bucks weigh 10 pounds; does, 11 pounds.