Over Five Pounds at Nine Weeks!?

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Black triple hybrid buck, 5.31lbs!

When I started with rabbits a few years ago, I was getting very poor grow out rates. I attribute this to the fact that I was trying to stick to purebreds. My Californian rabbits, which are considered to be a top meat breed, probably have the worst grow out rate of all. I don’t think I’ve ever waited long enough for them to reach 5 lbs, and I’ve let them grow for probably up to 16 weeks in the past. The Rexes are a bit better, but are maybe 4lbs at 10 weeks at the most. The purebred bunnies sell well, but they don’t make good meat stock by themselves.

So I’ve been hybridizing. I have only one Creme d’Argent rabbit, and so she has always been bred to either a Californian or a Rex buck. It was easy to see that the resulting hybrid offspring were putting on weight faster, and when she finally had a doe that hit the 5 pound mark at 10 weeks I kept her. That doe is Caraway and she’s half Creme and half Rex. She is 10.5lbs fully grown and looks like a big brown cottontail. Total sweetheart.

After she reached six months of age she was mated to Scorch, my big Californian buck, since she had to be paired with a third breed in order to maintain F1 hybrid vigor. Her first litter only produced five kits, which were a mix of browns and blacks.

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Dark triple hybrid brown buck

These kits have grown so fast I almost can’t believe it, they were nine weeks old on Monday and I weighed them today (Wednesday). The bucks’ weights were 1961g (4.32lbs), 2050g (4.52lbs), 2263g (4.99lbs), and 2410g (5.31lbs)!

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Lighter triple hybrid brown buck

There is only one doe in this litter, a dark brown/black girl. She also happens to be the largest in the litter at 2418g, or 5.33 pounds! That’s just unheard of for a rabbit barely over nine weeks old in my experience.

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Black triple hybrid doe

Day 13: Candling Eggs

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Today is day 13 of my chicken egg incubation, and I decided to take a few minutes to candle and check fertility. I do this by turning off the lights and using a high-powered LED flashlight held up against the eggs to check for a large dark mass and veins, which is the developing chick inside.

I’m happy to report that all 12 of my expensive Welsummer eggs seem to be fertile and developing well. They’re harder to see into because the shells are so dark, so hopefully I’m right about that.

I did find that six of the Old English Game eggs and seven of the Cochin/Light Brahma were duds. I had been wondering if the OEG eggs with the mottling that looked a little bit like wet paper or moisture seepage through the shell would develop, and it turns out they did not. I’ll be careful not to incubate eggs showing this mottling from now on.

Above you can see the rejects that came out of the incubator and are destined to be dog food. We’re now down to 29 eggs due to hatch in eight more days. Stay tuned!

Part 1: First Big Chicken Hatch – Day 1