You may want to consider Rex rabbits for two reasons. First, if you’re looking for a dual-purpose breed (meat and pelts), this is a good choice. Second, Rex rabbits are smaller than New Zealands and Californians, rarely weighing more than eight pounds. Many people who raise rabbits for meat prefer smaller rabbits because they take up less space. Some also feel that the meat from a smaller rabbit is more economical.
I own a couple of Rex rabbits, because I have found them to be better resistant to heat than New Zealands. This is my subjective opinion, but heat is an issue where I live.
The Best Prepper Breed?
So what’s the perfect breed for an off-the-gridder or prepper? None of the above. The key to raising rabbits sustainably is survival. So, you need a mixture. While many breeders selectively breed one type of rabbit to get the “perfect rabbit,” we need to focus on survival. Some genetic diversity and the resulting hybrid vigor is key to healthy rabbits. That’s why I have three breeds — New Zealands, Californians and Rex rabbits.
I have two lines of rabbits going: one purebred New Zealands, and the other line, which is a New Zealand-based breed but with varying amounts of Californian and Rex genes. They may not all look the same, or be the same weight, but the hybrid vigor in them keeps them strong and healthy.
Selective Breeding for Preppers
Rabbit-breeding purists will frown at this article, pointing to the needless genetic deterioration and variability in size caused by cross-breeding. But our goal is different — it is the perfect breed for our homestead. Where I live, it rarely gets lower than 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the winter, but summers can get up to 100 degrees. So for me, I’m always observing my stock during the summer. Which ones are really struggling, and which ones seem fine on hotter days? Those that deal with the heat and otherwise have no poor characteristics make up my breeding stock. Those that start panting when it gets up to 80 degrees become meat in the freezer. Your situation may be different. The key is having rabbits that thrive on your homestead.
What is your favorite breed of rabbit? Share your advice in the section below:
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