Im actually a Life Member of the Giant Chinchilla Rabbit Club. But as Chris said, they're not ideal for meat. Not when they're purebred. With the right cross, they do make great meat animals but if you're looking for a Chinchilla colored rabbit for meat, I'd go with Satins or Standard Chins. Florida Whites and Dutch are also great meat animals, though they're only 5-7# at maturity. Personally I didn't like looking at a barn full of solid white rabbits so we raised Satins and Silver Martens for meat that didn't meet show standards. Even butched a few Checked Giants out too.
We're planning on starting to raise rabbits in the fall... but haven't looked into all the details yet.
We do know that it's possible to raise rabbits here, and have met several people raising them. A few months ago we met a lady from Gilbert that raises the rabbits and sells them on craiglist...I'm pretty sure they were New Zealanders. If you keep an eye out on craiglist (or better yet use a notifier) you'll see them listed. Her's were in a covered shed, not sure if there was AC in it.
I also know another guy in my neighborhood that raises the giant flemish ones, not the best for meat production but an interesting, massive breed... he raises them to sell and makes good money on each rabbit. I think the guy in my neighborhood just keeps the rabbits outside under an big overhang and puts frozen water bottles in the cage to cool off the rabbits...
I would rather be able to purchase meat as I am not to sure about the butchering part. I did raise rabbits here when I was a kid. we raised them outside in coops and hung wet burlap bags around in the summer to act as
Treasa, if you don't want to pay store prices... last I checked, LeeLee's Oriental Market is about the cheapest place I know of that has whole rabbit. With the state fair coming up, contact Jim Clark or Jenny Burdsal (They're superintendant and assistant). They can point you in the right direction for home butchered meat or good breeding stock. They've been in rabbits off and on as long as I can remember. In fact, Jenny and I used to show together back when we were in grade school and 4H many moons ago.
We breed New Zealand meat rabbits in Gilbert. We have ours in a room in the barn that is air conditioned during the day and left open at night. Send me an e-mail and we'll discuss some meat options for you.
Faint Family Farms
hello all! After finding this group about a month ago via google, I've finally gotten the courage up to pop my head in and say hi. We've been raising rabbits here in Mesa for about 2 years now. We raise them in our back yard. We have a huge ash tree that shade the back yard and they get frozen 2 liter bottles twice a day. They're making it through the heat just fine. So far we've raised english spotted and new zealands, though we just got our first flemish giant doe. Anyway, just wanted to say I'm very glad to see there are others in the valley interested in the same thing I am!
Our Spotted doe was a black and white. She passed away (and went into the freezer) about a month ago. All of her offspring were black/white spotted or solid black. Currently we have a silver flemish doe and two new zeland does (silver and tan) who will be breeding toward the end of the year. Looking forward to having thier first litters around october and december, respectivly. The only pure bred bun we have is the flemish, and one of her ears droops. (I think the orginal breeder broke it. he used to handle the kits roughly by the ears) and she would be disqualified. I've head the arguments about only breeding pure stock, regardless if you are showing or just for back yard meat.. but sometimes the crosses work out better. 'specially when you aren't planning on selling or showing.
All depends on the crosses really. Breeding pure does give you a good idea of what to expect. It's a shame Flemish are so slow growing. We had some excellent meat rabbits from our Checkered Giants, but had the best from our satins and silver martens. good luck with your buns. I really miss raising rabbits. It was like a marriage... 17 years long!