Rabbits make good pets, they are clean, quiet, cuddly and a very appealing animal. Many 4H projects have started youngsters on the way to keeping and showing rabbits. They come in more than 50 breeds so there is a right rabbit for almost anyone.
Rabbits are raised for many reasons, some fanciers raise rabbits and show them just for the fun of showing. Many rabbits are raised as pets. Fiber rabbits have long been raised to produce a luxury wool called angora. Rex rabbit and some satins are raised for their beautiful fur. Most New Zealand Whites are raised as meat rabbits, but many are also used in laboratories.
Rabbits have long been a favorite meat and fiber animal in Europe. Rabbit meat is higher in protein then beef, pork lamb and chicken and has lower fat, less cholesterol and fewer calories then any other meat. One doe can with the help of a buck produce 70 to 100 lbs of meat per year and do it in a small space with a minimum amount of fuss and care.
Angoras come in four major types, English, French, Satins, and German or Giant Angoras. Each type of angora has slightly different wool, usable for different items. English and German Angoras have furnishings, or long hair on their cheeks, ears, and topknot. French angoras have a clean face with a wooly body. Angora wool is a recessive trait that has been selectively bred in rabbits and was first reported in the early 1700's.
Angoras grow their coats continually and need to be "plucked" every 13-15 weeks. Plucking is done by anchoring the skin of the rabbit with your fingers so it doesn't tug the skin, and gently grasping several strands of wool and pulling. The wool is loose due to the new coat coming up and releases easily. Angora wool is clean of oils and can be spun without washing or carding.
In the summer the heat bothers the angoras so they may get sheared to keep them cool, plucking frequently leaves them with a coat of 1-2 inches.
We keep English Angoras, and use the wool for spinning. The fluffy look of the angoras makes people stop and ask "what kind of an animal is that?". Many people mistake them for a small dog. English Angoras are very even tempered and don't mind being handled, which is fortunate since they must be groomed and plucked on a regular basis to keep them free of mats and tangles.
Lop eared rabbits have ears that hang down instead of standing up, they come in many sizes and colors. Lop ears is another recessive trait that people have bred for specifically. Our mini lops are tiny animals about 3 to 5 lbs. Caleigh is a very people oriented rabbit and he begs for attention when we feed and water the rabbits. His two girl friends Crystal and Pepper will be having offspring this again year.
New Zealand Whites
New Zealand Whites are raised mostly for meat, but many are also
pet animals. They are a medium sized animal weighing 9-12 lbs at
maturity. Fur color is white and normally they have pink eyes.
This is a fast growing animal ready for the freezer at about 8 to
10 weeks. We have 2 does and 1 buck and raise several litters
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