How Old Do You Have To Be For 4-H Raising Meat Pen Rabbits For Competition

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Raising Meat Pen Rabbits For Competition

Many times with rabbit shows there is a class called a meat pen. If you are buying rabbits for a 4H project, this may be one of the options you want to try. To compete in a meat feather class, you must have three young rabbits ten weeks of age or younger from the same litter. Each should weigh between three and five pounds. The winning pen will contain three rabbits that are nearly identical in appearance, weight and condition.

It’s best to be prepared by knowing the rules for showing meat feathers before you start. Join the American Rabbit Breeders Association and purchase the Standard of Perfection. This will let you learn about all the breeds recognized by the association and learn the rules for showing meat feathers as well as showing individual rabbits, competitions in fur and other classes. When you join ARBA, you will receive a book that teaches you about proper rabbit care. Book covers depict rabbits, meat rabbits and pets.

You can raise your meat pen from the litter of your own rabbit, or you can buy a meat pen from a rabbit breeder. Most meat pens are purchased when rabbits are four to five weeks old. This allows you to raise yourself to the appropriate weight and age for competition.

The meat feather competition is dominated by New Zealand and California whites. These two breeds are most often raised for meat, so they were bred to develop quickly. Other breeds that you may see in meat pens include New Zealand red or black, Champagne D’Argents, Palominos, American Sables, Chinchillas, Cinnamons, Crème D’Argents, Rex, Satins, Silver Fox, and Silver Martens. All of these breeds have been raised to provide nutritious food to families everywhere.

If you are raising your own meat feathers, count back ten weeks from your show date. This is when rabbits are born. Your dose must be raised four weeks before that, since pregnancy is between 28 and 31 days. If you do not have livestock, it is better to start looking for some at least four or five months before the show. Should be a minimum of six months before breeding. If you wait for one doe, you may end up without a litter. Your best bet for getting the best meat possible is to breed several breeds at this time. If you have time, let them have a litter before you need to breed to show you. This allows them to learn how to parent the babies and you will have less trouble.

When buying stock, you will need to weigh your options between buying from a commercial rabbit breeder and someone who raises show stock. Ideally, you want rabbits that will grow fast like those developed by commercial breeders, but at the same time, they need to fit the standard for their breed like show rabbits do. Go to a rabbit show if you can and meet breeders of the types of rabbits you are considering. Even if they don’t have stock for you to buy, they may have contacts or give you good advice on what to look for and how to achieve your goals.

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