Saturday, August 20, 2011

What to do with my Rhinelanders..

Next year will mark the 3 year aniversary for the farm and 10 years I've been "in rabbits."

With the ARBA National Convention only 2 months away I find myself doing alot of thinking about the rabbits. I don't have much to show at Convention this year - Rhinelanders are a tricky breed to get showable, nicely marked and well typed offspring out of and many litters produce rabbits with disqualifications and faults. A great many of my litters this year have produced unshowable animals..

I enjoy the breed immensely - they are smart, easy maintenence and generally very healthy. These good qualifications don't match up with the challenges of breeding for showable animals..

I am disapointed I won't have much to show and I have doubts about how competitive the stock I will be bringing to Convention are.

Thinking about my lack of strong entries for the "superbowl," of rabbit events makes me really wonder if its time to make some drastic changes in the bunny barn following Convention this year...

As my interests in the farm develop and my plans for the future change I think the shift towards a more commercial outlook in rabbits would be appropriate. I am seriously considering moving the Rhinelanders out completely this winter to make room for a heritage or rare meat producing breed, something like an American Chinchilla.

While the Rhinelanders have a decent dress out ratio, they are a fancy breed at heart and I breed them mostly for show purposes. Since showing rabbits is something that I've lost interest in it makes more sense to bring in a breed that will better serve the purpose of production.

I do not know at this point in time if I will be selling out of the Rhinelanders at/after Convention this fall - it is a decision I don't plan to make over night and one I will carefully contemplate over the coming weeks. Outside input is always appreciated - many of you have been there almost from the begining of my rabbit program and I'm sure that you all will have thoughts and opinions on converting to a meat production program that haven't occured to me.

1 comment:

  1. I think switching to a commercial breed is a smart idea. If you start with showable rabbits you can decide to show later if you want. A lot of commercial rabbits are "designed" so you're pretty much only breeding for type, no markings or color to worry about. Then you have truly dual purpose rabbits.

    As for the Rhinelanders, I think you should wait and see how you do with them. I know winning would make me excited to stay with a bred. ;) Or cut down to your best herd and sell the others and then see what you think about having a commercial breed.