One of our new adventures this past year has been the addition of our rabbits! My Grandpa wanted to raise rabbits like his dad did, so growing up, we spent a lot of time talking about how good they were for a farm to have and what all they could do for a family. Now that we finally have our little farm, I just had to get started with our rabbits! They are turning out to be beautiful and precious animals and really do have A LOT to offer our farm!
All rabbits offer the benefits of extremely nutrient dense fertilizer for gardens, a quick turn around for a high protein meat source with a low start up and overhead cost, as well as a great food conversion rate and use for garden scraps! However, we choose our Tamuks specifically for features that they offer that sets them apart from other breeds.
Tamuk rabbits (Tamuk = Texas A&M University at Kingston) were purposely bred to have huge ears making them more heat resistant, which is necessary
in this Arkansas heat!
They were bred to be fantastic mothers who carry, deliver, and raise larger litters than their counterparts of other meat breeds.
They were bred to be MORE DOCILE AND FRIENDLY to their caregivers than other breeds. This allows them to be fantastic pets,
while still helping to provide for your family!
Here is an article from Texas A&M Kingston about the Tamuk NZW and Composite breeding programs!
"New Zealand White - The "Tamuk" line of the New Zealand White (NZW) breed, specifically developed for the commercial meat rabbit industry, was developed in the mid-1980's involving the crossing of commercial lines from Arkansas, Florida and Louisiana. This composite maternal line is especially well adapted under hot and humid conditions. Too, there is little to no fancy or show NZW breeding in this line. Does exemplify desirable maternal characteristics, such as early maturity, large litters, well developed nests, good milking ability, and strong maternal instincts, for which commercial selection has been applied. The recommended breeding management regime involves first mating at 4-1/2 months of age and a 14-day breed-back system that allows for 8 litters per doe per year. When purchasing NZW stock, always ask to see production and pedigree records. Avoid show stock when breeding meat rabbits for home or commerical use. Do not be impressed by show ribbons and trophies. Moreover, our lines and breeds have a good reputation for heat resistance and steady litter and(or) meat production. Show-bred rabbits typically are not selected for production traits and have short coupled bodies, thick fur coats, short ears, excessive flesh, etc. These and other imperfections make such rabbits both less productive and less capable of being heat resistant, which affects production for the serious meat rabbit producer. Our NZW line has been very productive for both families with small backyard operations and large commercial operations in many states.
Composites - A new breed - About 30 years ago, Dr. Lukefahr began crossing different breeds for backyard meat production to feed his own family. Another objective was steady production, which is enhanced by hybrid vigor due to crossbreeding. Yet another aim was choosing breeds that harbor major genes for coat color. As a result of crossing seven breeds over the years (in chronological order: New Zealand Red, Siamese Satin, Californian, New Zealand White, Dutch, Champagne d’Argent, Harlequin, and Havana), this composite breed now possesses all of the major genes for coat color. In the photo to the left, nine rabbits from the same litter are each of a different color! Examples of colors in this population include agouti and black, blue, chocolate, and lilac, creme and opal, seal and siamese, chinchilla, himalayan and albino, and steel, harlequin (japanese and magpie), and red. In the photo to the right, a seemingly rare magpie-californian rabbit is shown. As a family activity, this color feature will hopefully pique the curiosity and active interest of children. Also, the skins can be tanned using the natural colors (without dyeing) and made into products that can be sold, for example, at farmers markets. Lastly, this population was recently crossed with our commercial Tamuk NZW line to infuse genes for production for vital traits such as fertility, litter size, milk production, and growth, while adding some additional hybrid vigor as a boost to performance. It should also be pointed out that these rabbits are heat tolerant with adaptive characteristics that include long ears and thin fur coats. Several breeders now in different states are reporting good production success with this new breed. However, an important point is that this breed better suited for small-scale backyard production. It is not a commercial breed. Also, some breeders place order for only white (albino) animals if they are selling fryers commercially where a premium is paid for white body fur."
We LOVE our Tamuks and are excited to now be offering bunnies to waiting homes! We have both commercial whites, as well as the colorful "Composites".
Please let us know if you would be interested in a pet bunny or want to get started on the road to self sufficiency with a trio of your own!