Rabbits belong to the herbivore family. They were originally wild animals. In the writings of Ancient Rome, there is a mention of their domestication. Rabbit lovers have developed new breeds, and now rabbits are bred for different purposes: obtaining meat, skins, fluff, and as pets.
Meat types and their description
Breeding meat-hides is a difficult but profitable business, so breeders are constantly improving the profitability and fertility of the breeds. Rabbit breeders give preference to large animals, weighing 5-10 kg, dignifying them as broilers for quick weight gain and the most tender meat.
Today you can choose different breeds for breeding. Meat is fast developing. You can prepare them for slaughter as early as three months, and for mating - at four. They have a thin layer of fat that is easily absorbed by the human body. It is not deposited in atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels, and meat corresponds to the dietary category.
Meat species have common characteristics that distinguish them from other varieties of rabbits:
- the body is average in length, in the form of a cylinder;
- the chest is wide, the back between the shoulder blades and the hips is slightly concave;
- wide head, slightly humped, with well-developed cheeks;
- the size of the ears ranges from 13 to 20 centimeters, depending on the breed;
- the hind legs are powerful, and the front legs are long and straight;
- pink eyes, especially in albinos;
- there is elastic fur of medium length and different colors, large skins;
- rabbits are early maturing, actively gaining weight;
- adapt to the most severe climates;
- friendly, calm nature, especially adults;
- do not notice a sharp change in air temperature;
- average life expectancy is 5-10 years;
- rationing requires constant monitoring.
They are not capricious in food, but very voracious. The feed needs balanced. Adults are fed 2 times a day using compound feed and seasoning it with a grain mixture, vegetables and root vegetables. Wet and succulent foods are fed carefully so as not to cause diarrhea. New types of food are introduced gradually, fresh grass is dried, and legumes are soaked for 3-4 hours. The food is cut into small pieces.
It is strictly forbidden to freeze food, and also to feed food with mold or rot. They do not overfeed, avoiding obesity, and let them frolic in the wild. Access to clean water is required.
The red, sunny color of the eared ones was transmitted to them by the English ancestors, who were crossed with wild hares. Such animals were first bred in Burgundy at the beginning of the 20th century. They were brought to Russia in the early 90s of the last century. The fur is bright brown with shades of yellow. The coat is dense, short and stiff, like a loofah to the touch.
With proper care, about 50 cubs are produced annually, with a total weight of about 2 centners. They grow up and gain weight quickly - up to 4.6 kg, rarely - 5 kg.
Males are larger and heavier than rabbits; balanced food will help to avoid obesity. They are distinguished by good health, and they are ill due to insufficient attention to food hygiene.
New Zealand Red (NZK)
Bred at the beginning of the last century in America, and only in the 70s of the twentieth century became available in Russia. Initially, they had a brick, red-brown color. They bred them, crossing three species: flanders, silver breed and Belgian hares. The animals are so beautiful and smart that they are the emblem of the North American Easter bunny. The coat is beautiful and soft, but due to the tangles it must be combed out every day.
This is the most meaty breed . At three months, it weighs 2.5 kilograms, and other eared ones - 300 g less. Adult animals gain 5 kilograms. Females are larger to protect offspring from predators. The litter is 9-13 pups per litter. Leads 40 rabbits per year. The rabbit has a lot of milk and the cubs grow up without problems.
New Zealand White (NZB)
The white color is obtained by crossing New Zealand red albino with white giants. The maximum weight is up to 4.5 kilograms. Popular for their high quality dietary meat, ability to survive in any conditions, early maturity and abundance in droppings.
Meat rabbit ram
The breed is represented by the entire palette of shades: black and white, white, brown and beige. The main difference from the others is saggy ears, which, thanks to the mutation, have become the calling card of the breed. The ears are up to 0.5-0.7 m in size, the muzzle is humped, which gives the animals a resemblance to rams. At birth, the ears are erect, but at 6 weeks of age they begin to droop.
A mature individual reaches a weight of 8 kilograms, but there are rare exceptions - up to 11 kilograms.
Particular attention is paid to ear care. Breeders sometimes fasten them with clips on the animal's head, for convenience.
Flandre (Belgian giant)
One of the oldest meat and skin breeds, developed in Flanders, is also the largest. The first selection consisted of smaller representatives, reddish-gray with light areas and large ears. Modern specimens have an average weight of about 7 kg. Separate eared ones weigh 10-12 kg. They live 5-8 years, but in pairs longer than singles.
They look clumsy and huge, but in reality they are frisky. The fur is of high quality, silky, with a glossy sheen, high, 3.5 centimeters long. Color palette - from white, slate-slate, yellow-brown, turning into cream, to light gray and steel.
The ears are similar in shape to a burdock leaf, which gives the Belgian a cute and homely look. The rabbit is distinguished by calmness, unpretentiousness, the ability to quickly acclimate. By their nature, rabbits are calm and balanced, get along well with animals, do not show aggression. For their sociability and affection for people, they are compared to a dog. The eared ones mature late, by 8 months. Fertility is average - 6-7 babies, maximum - up to 12.
French hybrid line obtained by geneticists at the end of the last century. The color of the coat varies from white and gray to color print: a snow-white body and a dark nose and ears. It is raised as a broiler: in three to four months, animals gain up to five kilograms, and are already suitable for slaughter. Since the breed is hybrid, it cannot reproduce naturally, only by manual fertilization. Under the natural approach, rabbits are not considered purebred.
With a balanced diet, add up to 60 grams daily. Before slaughter, the amount of meat reaches 60% of the total weight. Females live in a company of two or three. To prevent fights and aggression, males are housed one at a time. After birth, the rabbits need constant access to water and a diet that takes into account the health of the woman in labor. With a lack of protein in food and the absence of drink, the rabbits eat their young, replenishing the lack of protein and water in the body.
With farm or home breeding, weak, non-viable specimens are found in the offspring, devoid of the main characteristics of this type. Crossbreeding of different species is a necessary need. With its help, the disadvantages of the breed are eliminated.
Bred in the 50s of the XX century in the Poltava region, thanks to the selection of local outbred rabbits with Belgian albinos of the Flanders breed. From the Belgian they inherited the size, mass and large skeleton, and from the Ukrainian aborigines - vitality, fertility, problem-free mating. They weigh 4-7 kilograms, but only a few reach the maximum, the average value is 5-6 kilograms. There are several color zones in the color: bluish-gray, brownish-yellow, sandy and black. Temperature extremes are calm.
The rabbits live in a herd, in an aviary, they are bored alone. Rabbits are fertile, give birth to 8-14 pieces per okrol. They feed the babies themselves, they never eat the cubs. Mating is possible from three months, but for the purity of the breed, rabbits do not happen until six months. At birth, they weigh 70-80 grams, but by four months they grow to 2.6-3 kilograms.
The fruit of the selection of chinchilla breeds, Himalayan and New Zealand white. Of the meat species, the easiest to breed. They have good immunity, rarely get sick. Adapted to both low and high temperatures. Males are active, and females bring 8-12 cubs in the litter, which quickly eat up the mass. Upon reaching three to four months, the animals are recommended to be prepared for slaughter. Their constitution is delicate, the backbone is thin. A mature rabbit weighs four and a half kilograms.
Risen (common agouti)
These giant rabbits are a product of the selection work of German breeders, they reach twelve kilograms and more. Thick fur is valued on a par with dietary meat. The coat is short, no more than 4 cm, the undercoat does not need a haircut.
The color of the coat is standard hare - from gray-yellow to black, white, gold and blue are found. The eyes are brown. Hares are purchased only from breeders, at the age of 3-4 months.
It can happen no earlier than at eight months, but it is undesirable to take adult rabbits for independent reproduction.
Rabbits are native to France, but easily tolerate the Russian climate. Early ripening and disease resistant. An adult rabbit weighs five to seven kilograms. The meat is low-fiber and therefore sells well. They are very economical in keeping: to add 1 kg of weight to an adult rabbit, three kilograms of feed are required.
The ancestor of these rabbits is a native of Belgium, an albino of the Flanders breed, crossed with a Soviet chinchilla, who gave him excellent fur, and a gray giant, who transmitted large sizes. These are albino giants with reddish eyes and white fluffy fur. To preserve all qualities, it is necessary to periodically select. The European and English varieties have light blue eyes.
In appearance, they are similar to a large snowball, since the coat is perfectly white, without shades, marks and impurities. The ears are straight and wide, rounded at the tips, ¼ of the length of his body. The weight of rabbits varies throughout their life - from 4.8 to 5.8 kg. The evidence of a properly selected diet and good fatness is the presence of a double chin in females. Males have a more rounded head - this is a feature of the breed.
The main advantage of this species is that the rabbit takes care of the offspring and feeds it, never eating it. Litter reaches 7-9 animals.
It is the result of the selection of the domestic white giant and the French chinchilla. The animals are considered cold-resistant, therefore they are well suited for the northern regions of Russia. In three months, they recover up to three and a half kilograms, and adult rabbits weigh about six. They are famous for their multiple births in one litter - eight or more rabbits.
Tatar breeders crossed a white giant, a flanders and a Viennese blue, and this breed was born. In adulthood, they weigh up to five to seven kilograms. The litter is more than eight eared ears. The fur is heterogeneous, the color is zonal: the back and head are black, and the downy hair is plain blue.
The pedigree work of Russian breeders with purebred individuals bred in India and improved in France, where the breed was named champagne, led to the creation of silver rabbits. They were brought to Russia from Germany. These rabbits were crossed with local breeds of the Tula and Poltava regions. Weight reaches five kilograms, and some grow up to seven. Lethal output already in three or four months - about 60%.
Rabbits are born only 75 grams. By the time they are five months old, they eat four and a half kilograms. The litter is at an average level, 8 pieces in a single litter, but the females have a lot of milk, and they themselves feed the children.
A real find for breeders of meat and hides, because this is the largest breed in the world today. The rabbit grows up to 12 kilograms, the rabbit - 8-10 kg. They are very prolific - there are 8-14 rabbits in one litter, so 40 kg of young meat and up to 30 skins are obtained per year.
They gain body weight very quickly, so they are allowed to slaughter no later than 3-4 months. At the same time, their intensive growth ends, the meat becomes tough, and further maintenance is impractical.
Animals are peaceful and very calm, so they are often brought up as pets. They calmly endure the cold, have strong immunity.
As a result of French selection, we got a breed that improved all the best qualities of its predecessors: Californians and New Zealanders. The selection was carried out for 30 years. The result was an increase in the number of rabbits in the litter up to twelve pieces. The rabbit has 10 nipples, thanks to which she feeds ten cubs without any problems.
Since this is a complex hybrid, it makes no sense to continue the race through babies - they lose the genes collected in this breed. Farmers buy young animals, feed them and slaughter them. Outwardly, the hiplus resembles other breeds of rabbits, there is no color standard. The coat is thick, sometimes white, gray, black, but there are two-colored or spotted individuals. Are prone to stress.
Characteristics of downy breeds of rabbits
Selection work made it possible to create an animal with a high content of down from an ordinary rabbit.
Angora downy breed
From the Anatolian town of Angora in Turkey, merchants brought several rabbits to the British Isles, and they were perceived as beautiful exotic animals. Fluffy animals became fashionable, they decorated the home menagerie of the king of France. Practical Turks made linen from down, which was worth its weight in gold. Angora came to Russia only at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The color has different shades, depending on the species. Rabbits are small, the head is massive, rounded and densely pubescent. The ears are straight, decorated with tassels at the end. They look like fluffy balls, but after the haircut, the body takes the shape of a cylinder. They cut every three months. The volume of down reaches 92% of the total fur cover, wool - 25 centimeters. The down is fuzzy, light, silky to the touch. The weight of the animal is from 2 to 6 kilograms. One animal gives from 500 g to 1.5 kg of fluff per year. Multiple rabbits - 5-8 cubs per circle.
Bred in the Kirov region, Russia, based on the Angora and downy rabbits of the region. The selection is focused on increasing fluff. Fur is 95% composed of down hair, which is elastic and light, from 7 to 15 centimeters long, it does not roll into tangles, it keeps its shape. One animal gives up to 760 grams of fluff per year. The rabbits are quite large - up to 5 kilograms. The offspring is 7 pups per okrol, rarely ten.
They are maximally adapted to our climate, but do not tolerate heat above 28 ° C. In the south of the country, open-air cages and cages should be replaced with pits to create a cooler microclimate.
In addition to down, annually from one rabbit with offspring, they receive up to 45 kilograms of meat and good skins.
The oldest Russian breed. The animals are small, weighing up to four kilograms, have a dark gray color. About 250 g of fluff is obtained from one animal per year. They adapt well to the climate and feed, and are very hardy.
The meat-skin breeds include some of the breeds already described above, but there are also species that focus on obtaining high-quality skins, in addition to meat.
On the territory of Tatarstan, as a result of crossing the breeds of the Soviet chinchilla, white giant, flanders and Viennese blue, a veil-silvery breed was bred. She has a gray color with a subtle dark veil pattern. The silver tone appears after the first molt, and the veil pattern after the second. Down has a deep blue color. The standard weight is 4.5-4.8 kilograms.
This English beauty with an attractive skin, rather small, was bred in the lands of foggy Albion, as decorative. Russian breeders crossed her with several larger breeds: the Flanders and the Viennese blue, the white giant. The result was large rabbits, weighing up to five kilograms, raised not only for meat, but also for excellent skin. The dominant skin color is white, and black-brown spots on the neck, ears, nose and center of the back are the breed's hallmarks. There are up to eight rabbits in the litter.
An old German elite breed of rabbits. It is a fluffy fur with velvet fur, short and dense, like a plush or sheared high quality sheepskin. The color scheme is represented by chestnut or brown tones, diluted with lighter spots. It is the product of a natural mutation of the genus Flanders. It is highly appreciated for its beautiful skin. An underdeveloped mustache that is much shorter than that of other rabbits is a sign of this breed. They weigh between three and five kilograms.
They are very affectionate and playful, so they often live in apartments like pets. They do not like strong aromas, noise and temperature fluctuations.
It is a hybrid of Flanders and Moravian blue and is an endangered species. The pride of the breed is a gray-blue or steel uniform color, which is acquired after the second molt. The hair is very thick - 20,000 hairs per cm². It successfully imitates the more valuable fur of fur animals. Live weight indicators are about 5 kilograms. Litter - 8-9 babies per okrol. Newborns by the age of four months gain up to three and a half kg.
This breed with the roots of simple gray wild rabbits appeared on the Russian market at the beginning of the last century. It is called so for the similarity of the skin color with the color of an ermine. White rabbits from birth acquire dark pigmentation in a month, and by six months an unusual color is fully formed, famous for the darkening of the tip of the nose, ears, paws and tail.
The rabbits are small, weighing up to four kilograms. Disease resistant, omnivorous within the diet, quickly adapt to any conditions. Rabbits are prolific, the litter contains about eight babies.
This breed was developed in Armenia thanks to a two-stage selection. At the first stage, a Russian ermine and a Soviet chinchilla were crossed. On the second - received specimens with local, blue coloration. The result is short-haired animals with a valuable velvet skin, resembling a marten in color. They are highly valued for the beauty of their hide, but mixed colors reduce the quality of the hide. An interesting transition is formed from the basic light brownish color to a darker shade in the area of the face and legs.
The fur of adult animals is characterized by high fluffiness. They are medium-sized and weigh about four kilograms. The litter is 7 babies per okrol.
List of decorative animals
Animals that are kept at home as pets are considered decorative. They have a low weight - from 0.5 kg to 2. They are very clean animals, licking themselves like cats.
Molt occurs every three months. During this period, they must be combed out. Often bald patches appear on the body, some become completely hairless, but within a week or two the coat grows back.
- Gremlin . It is a dwarf animal that resembles a child's toy. Males are very lazy, and females are active, sometimes even a little aggressive.
- Minors. The smallest of the domestic breeds. Body length - up to 25 cm.
- Lion-headed rabbit or lion's head. Animals with long hair around their heads, similar to gnomes, with funny bangs and sideburns. The body length of the lop-eared is 35 cm, and the short-eared - 30 cm. They are miniature, weight - 1.3-1.7 kg.
- Dwarf hotot. Bred in Germany, very playful, gentle and obedient. The snow-white coat is dense, shiny and thin.
- Dwarf moth . Unusual dark coat color: black, brown, blue, skin is soft and shiny.
- Minilop. Natives of the Netherlands, very cute pets, with long, soft and velvety coats of different colors: monochromatic, two- or three-colored.
- Dwarf fox. Austrian miniature breed, weighing about 1.5 kilograms. Rabbits have beautiful thick wool from 3 to 7 centimeters, hanging down along the body with a cloak, the color is red, but white is considered the best quality. Allows to iron himself.
- Lop-eared dwarf. The size of a kitten, imposing, hardy, do not react to loud sounds. They are very friendly, calm, gentle. These are the best animals for children who have no experience with animals.
- Royal dwarf rabbits or rex. Bred in France, they were then called "castor rex", translated as "king of the beavers", for their brown fur with a reddish tint, similar to beaver.
- Colored dwarf . Short-haired, colors - black-fire and red satin, fur is soft and shiny, unpredictable character, can be docile and aggressive.
- Bald Sphynx Rabbit. There is no standard breed of these animals, they are born, according to the hypothesis of breeders, as a result of a gene failure. Scientists are trying to find a formula for their appearance, since there is already a demand for them. Their content is the same as that of their furry counterparts, they do not require special care, there is even a plus - they do not shed, but they periodically rub their skin and trim their claws.
How to choose?
When choosing a rabbit, decide what kind of end product you need: meat, skins, wool or fluff. To get fluff, pay attention to the Angora breed, but if you need a large hide, choose a giant breed. Buy modern broiler varieties for meat production.
When creating rabbit farms in Russia, it is necessary to take into account the climate of the breeding region, there will be open-air cages or cage conditions, unpretentiousness to feed, gene immunity, excellent maternal qualities are important.
- The eastern European part of the country, where the Moscow region is located, is suitable for all breeds. The temperate climate creates conditions for the highest productivity of the rabbit herd. Especially popular is the beef breed of average fertility, which does not cause much trouble for the farmer. For example, a French ram and elite rabbits of the white giant, chinchilla, silver, gray giant breeds. Rex velor rabbits are bred for skins.
- In the Leningrad Region , the most hardy rabbits are chosen: a gray giant, a flanders, a white giant.
- In Rostov , where the winter is cloudy, and the summer is dry, hot and windy, the main herd is represented by the butterfly and Soviet chinchilla breeds, the gray giant and the silver rabbit are bred to a lesser extent, there is a small livestock of the white giant, the Californian and New Zealand subspecies.
- In the Krasnodar Territory, preference is given to the Soviet chinchilla, white and gray giants, silver, Vienna blue, black-brown and a butterfly.
For information on how to choose breeds of rabbits for a household, see the next video.