Culling Rabbits

Culling is like a necessary Evil if you want to call it that (I don’t think it is that evil myself.). Other livestock are raised in the same way. Here is a little insight to what might happen if a breeder never culls anything.

1. Poor quality stock, stock with temperament issues, and stock with health issues, or stock with genetic defects that stay in the rabbitry take up space and eventually, either push you to have 100s of rabbits, or causes your breeding program to stop all together. Essentially, the moral of this story is that your breeding program fails because you can no longer breed and the animals due to lack of space. You are wasting space and feed on animals that should be culled out.

2. You try to sell your poor quality stock, stock with bad temperaments, stock with genetic defects, and stock with health issues to any sucker you can. Of course, I am against this 100%. This is just dishonest and low. Inexperienced breeders are not a dump for these animals that should be culled out. If you would never consider keeping these animals for your own breeding program, they should not go to other breeders. This includes 4-H and FFA youth. Too often, I see the lowest of low quality stock at 4-H shows and wonder if they got that from some local breeder who should know better but took advantage anyway (This includes a breeder not stepping forward and advising against an animal, or even refusing the sale of an animal if a child wants something that is cull quality out of their herd.). This is something that happened to myself when I was first in 4-H only, the breeder actually went as far as talking me into buying these animals. I was not knowledgeable about the breeder or raising rabbits so I trusted the breeder but got taken advantage of.

Now, culling doesn’t necessarily have to mean killing. As long as I have rabbits with good temperaments and are healthy, these can go as pets. However, in certain areas, the pet market is not great so sometimes you need another way to cull. In this case, if you don’t want to butcher your own rabbits, donating to wildlife centers that need to feed their animals, breeders of certain animals that need a steady supply of meat…. The animals still go to a useful purpose but are not going into the wrong hands (those who would be irresponsible with the animals or other breeders).

Advantages of Culling:
1. Keeps your breeding program moving forward. By this I mean not only keeping your breeding program active but also advancing the quality of your breeding program through careful selection and thorough culling.

2. Preserves feed costs. The more animals you have, the more expensive your feed bills are going to be. Keeping around a bunch of culls will increase your feed bills and these animals will not pay you back in any way for this waste in feed.
3. Preserves and builds your reputation among fellow breeders. I’ve had 4-H kids as well as other breeders come back and refer others to me because I was willing to sell them decent quality animals. It always pays back when you sell good quality stock. It doesn’t have to be your best quality (that is for keeping) but if it is something I would be tempted to keep and breed back into my own lines, it is sold for breeding or showing.



2 responses »

  1. Hi Jan

    Culling isnt a necessary evil, it is an absolute necessity for herd improvement, no culling , no improvement,

    Never sell culls! Except, as non breeding pets.

    Great blog you have, looking forward to seeing it grow, its needed.

    • Hi Jake – agree that culls should be done for improvement. This was a guest post from Natalie but it’s also fair to say we all have different goals. One may want a champion herd, while their cull animal may make an outstanding addition to a meat herd or to improve fur. That’s a big part of learning what all the aspects of keeping rabbits is! Thanks for stopping by.

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