What are the best meat rabbit breeds
Updated: Mar 13
So you are thinking of breeding meat rabbits. Do you know which breed you want? Different breeds have different attributes which may make them better or worse suited for your particular situation and lifestyle. I will go over some of the most common and popular breeds.
The New Zealand (also called New Zealand whites) are the most common and favoured breed. They are quick growing. An 8 week old kit is known to weigh in at 8 pounds. The meat to bone ratio is good, and they have a friendly disposition that makes them also a very suitable rabbit to be sold as pets. Another use for this breed is in pharmaceutical testing.
They come in white (most common in meat production) red, black, broken, and blue. They average 10 to 12 pounds at maturity.
The Californian rabbit is also called the Californian white was bred for meat and it's pelt. Depending on where you live, there are differences on what is considered a recognized and acceptable colour. The white with dark tips is widely recognized, while blue, chocolate and lilac are also recognized by the British rabbit counsel.
At maturity they weigh between 7.5 and 9.5 pounds on average.
The Flemish giant is a large breed that can weigh in between15 and 20 pounds at maturity. That being said they are also a heavy boned rabbit and do not have a good meat to bone ratio. This breed also has a hardy appetite and grows a bit slower. The cost of raising them for meat Diego these factors is greater than the previously mentioned breeds.
Their docile nature, beautiful coat and 8 to 10 year life span makes them a good option for a family pet and for showing. They come in seven colours. Black, blue, fawn, light grey, steel grey, sandy and white.
The Rex is a medium sized rabbit weighing in at 7.5 to 10.5 pounds on average. It's has a larger head with slightly smaller feet. This breed is dual purpose as it is produced for its fur as well. It has a plush velvety texture and feel. It's considered the number one breed for gur production as it's pelt lacks guard hairs that need to either be plucked or shorn off to make an even length in other rabbits.
The American rabbit association recognizes 16 colour variations and Brittain recognizes 32.
We can't forget that not all meat rabbits need to be pure bred. It is also common place when breeding for meat to cross breed different breeds so you can benefit from multiple characteristics. A lot of people who breed for meat also like to use all parts of the rabbit. If you cross a great meat rabbit with one with a great coat, the thought and hopes are that you get the best of both breeds.