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.
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)!
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.