Why I Raise Rex Rabbits

# 782 4 - 5 mins. 3

This is my second go at raising meat rabbits, and I've learned a good bit since the first time I tried. When you first get into it, you are likely to find out that New Zealand whites are some of the best meat rabbits you can raise. The does are usually great mothers. They have massive litters, and they grow-outs gain weight quicker than most other breeds. So why wouldn't you raise New Zealands, right?

Well, that's what I thought when I first got into meat rabbits. There was one big problem that I ran into with that line of thinking though. That problem was that I didn't enjoy raising New Zealands. One thing that you don't hear a lot about is the fact that many New Zealand rabbits are very skittish and hard to handle. So if you are not used to handling large rabbits, you are in for a rude awakening the first time you try to pick one up without gloves or long sleeves on. As I'm sure you know, rabbits have very powerful back feet. They also have long sharp nails on those feet, giving them the ability to shred your arms and even clothes if they don't want to be picked up. I'm a pretty big guy, but when I had New Zealands, I was honestly afraid of them because I wasn't used to handling rabbits that size.

I aslo didn't enjoy the lack of variation. The New Zealand whites that I kept had the classic white fur and red eyes. They all looked the same. So the they only served as meat rabbits, and nothing else.

But this post isn't meant to be about New Zealand rabbits. It's about the Standard Rex. So why have I come back to raising rabbits after disliking it so much before? Because I found a breed that I enjoy more. So here is why I actually enjoy Rex rabbits:


Rex rabbits are actually one of the smaller production meat breeds out there. I know, that sounds a bit counterintuitive when the goal is producing more meat, but hear me out. I'm not running some commercial facility. I'm raising meat for my family. So, having a slighlty less efficient rabbit breed isn't that big of a deal if it provides other benefits. And because Rexes are a little smaller, they are a little easier to handle.


Rex rabbits are a multi-purpose rabbit because they were initially bred for their furs. The fur of a Rex is like running your hand across velvet. They are so soft and fun to pet. And I can tan the hides of my grow-outs as a byproduct. The hides are a little more fragile when you would usually harvest, but any older animals that need to be culled would be perfect for beautiful fur hides.


Rex rabbits are often also raised as pets. This gives another option for making money off of these rabbits aside from just meat. You can sell them as pets to supplement feed cost. And since they are tame enough to be pets, they are generally easier to handle than the New Zealands that I had before.

Heat Tolerance

Rex rabbits are one of the preferred rabbit breeds used in Texas. They are known to handle the heat pretty well compared to other breeds. Here in Pennsylvania, I don't need extreme heat tolerance, but it does mean that I don't generally have to worry too much about my rabbitry in the peak of the summer.

Color Variation

This point may actually be the biggest reason I chose Standard Rex over anything else. They come in a huge variety of colors. So if you start off with a mixed bag, you can get all kinds of variations in the kits. I started out with a broken castor doe, a red doe, a lilac buck, and a broken castor buck. Those four rabbits have produced colors like chocolate otter, lynx, amber, black otter, tri-color, and castor. This is even more exciting because you can use the colors to teach your kids about genetics. I recommend the book About Bunny Colors if you want to look into that.

Overall, I am really enjoying the breed so far and I can't wait to develop more colors in my rabbitry. What do you think about the Standard Rex, and why do you or don't you raise them?

Tags: rabbits


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