Today I'll talk in generalities, particularly in regard to rabbits. Transfer as you will to guinea pigs, mice, or whatever pet you happen to have.
And if your current herd of animals is not what you want it to be, how then do you get to where you want be? How do you make your rabbits meet your expectations?
Breed and cull.
the type of rabbit you want. If you want to breed show animals, breed for the show market, if you want to breed meat rabbits for your table or your critters table, breed for that. If you are breeding to meet the demands of a meat market....then set your aims on that. Know what you want and then set about getting there.
There are different ways that you can do this.
1. buy stock that already meets your standard
2. buy stock that you can find around and use it to get to where you want to go. note: with this option as you are able to find and purchase them, buy in stock that is more in line with what you want. It will further your problem immensely.
I can't say this enough. Cull HARD. You want solid meaty does that raise solid meaty kits.. well.. don't keep the runt of the litter even if it your personal favourite. (unless you are keeping it as a pet only and only want incidental litters here and there that aren't added to your gene pool). Keep back that solid meaty kit and cull out the rest.
If you want good show stock...don't look at their colour, look at how they are built and select those rabbits that best meet how you see the standard. not everyone will see the standard the same way, but do your best to meet the standard of your breed.
Consider temperament issues: do you like rabbits that have no issue with you handling or working with them? Do you like being able to do whatever you want with your rabbits (aka move them from cage to cage with no rhyme or reason)? OR do you not mind pandering to the idosyncracies of your individual rabbits? There are people ALL over the spectrum on this one. :)
I make a point of wearing different clothes, carrying different items, moving rabbits around for no apparent reason other than I feel like it, I like making my rabbits as bomb proof as I can. I play with their babies ALOT.. I get them used to having their feet played with, being pushed around a bit, being grabbed in ways unexpected because I want them to be calm and collected when being handled by people. But I breed for rabbits that can handle that. Some rabbits I turn out are of a more nervous temperament and don't like being moved around... I don't breed those rabbits, I find them homes where they can lead the settled quiet lives they crave.
Don't leave out health factors.
Do you want a herd that you have to keep fiddling with to keep them healthy OR do you want a herd that does what rabbits are supposed to do - which is to adapt to the surroundings they are in?
If you like fiddling... go for it. Everyone has a greater tolerance for such things. :)
Me... I don't want to lose kits with intestinal issues at weaning, or fight with nest box eye, teeth problems, or rabbits that get snot. It's not something I want in my herd so I breed for health and resistance to common issues.
When I hear of breeders who can breed their rabbits year round even in intense heat and their rabbits THRIVE without remedial help and they got there by selective breeding over the years... I say to myself... if they can do it. , I can do it too. I can and will breed for rabbits that thrive under the care that I give them.
I will care for them, worry over them, and do my best by them. But I won't nurse them through life. I want rabbits with stamina! :)
Good tempered rabbits that are healthy strong rabbits that settle easily despite where they are housed is what my aim is. :) For my polish I want them to meet the standard, for my meat rabbits.. give me good healthy litters, for my holland lops... make babies, lop your ears, and let's work toward the standard.
Be funny, curious animals. Make me laugh and be healthy all of you!