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In my past life (high school) I raised rabbits and loved it. Now that I have kids of my own I've decided I want to start raising them again. After starting to tie flies I realized that zonker strips are rabbit!

 

Does anyone know what breed of rabbit they make zonker strips out of? Does it really matter the breed?

 

I plan on getting a dual purpose breed rabbit and will use the fur for other things but thought it would be great if I could also make my own zonker strips.

 

 

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There are definitely some rabbits with short hair. You need to look for the longer haired variety. I had a fuzzy blue one when I was younger, angora rabbit maybe??

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I think angora would be too long. I used to raise Satins and their fur was about 1-2 inches long. I believe (I'd have to look it up) that angora wool is typically 3-4 inches in length.

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I don't know which breed but would love to see the rabbit these came from!

post-43582-0-87747500-1415575978_thumb.jpg

Mink and squirrel also make great zonker strips.

Cheers,

C.

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Your kids do realize that rabbit fur for dubbing is a contribution while Zonker strips are a total commitment? Rabbit stew goes good with zonker strips.

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I raised some for several years, but don't know what the breed was. The ones I had were all white, and the hair probably averaged an inch in length. I've tanned hides but never tried it with those rabbits. Tried tanning a cottontail hide and that was a disaster. The hide's too thin. Tanning & dyeing can get to be an expensive endeavor. I also checked into having some tanned, but that too can be expensive unless you have a lot of hides, and even then it's not cheap.

 

I like to tie with the strips, but now tend to buy the whole hides as I can find them at a reasonable price & cut them myself. Part of a hide will not be good for strips, but makes a darn fine dubbing, so nothings wasted. I also made the mistake of attempting to dye some strips with acid dyes. It apparently takes the tanning out of the hide, so they ended up hard & brittle. The color turned out great, but they were not usable for anything but dubbing. I was later told that the hide would have to be re-tanned after dyeing. Never tried it however.

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dont get too attached to them

 

youll never use them as zonker strips

 

itll be cheaper to buy strips in a fly shop

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Thanks for the input. I'm thinking Satins would work but it's probably californians they raise for that. Thanks for all the warnings, but when I raised rabbits before we ate them, or at least I got to eat them when I went over to a friends house. My mom was a big softy as well as two of my other sisters. When we get going there will definitely be a few that will die happily of old age. BUT my kids already know that if one of our animals is marked for butcher it's gonna happen. We raise meat birds and are a hunting family. So they've had to learn that lesson early. We've decided to raise the rabbits for their meat, and the zonkers strips and dubbing will be a bonus. Thanks for the advice, and I'll keep everyone posted as to how it all works out and what breed/s we end up with.

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I would go with a white breed and dye the fur. Then, the sky is the limit as far as colors go, once you get the dyeing down, and once you've got your zonkers, rabbits really taste good. Dyed whites are what those nice flies posted above were of course.

 

And, when raising rabbits feed a little concentrate (the pellets) and ALL of the hay they can eat. Rabbits are much like cows; they have to have roughage or they will not do well. I am a veterinarian, and I treat a lot of rabbits; if they don't get a lot of roughage (horse quality hay or good quality Timothy), they develop digestive tract problems and are often in poor health. Garden greens are great for them, too. You can eliminate about 90% of rabbit problems with a good rabbit diet.

 

Ray

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I'd be surprised to find zonkers are made from Rex. Their fur I think would be too short. They are great for lining gloves, coats and hats though! I used to raise Mini-rex and they were a fun breed. I"m thinking Chincilla Rabbits because I like that breed and either Satins or Californians.

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Howdy Folks,

You are in for a fun adventure in raising rabbits....... especially for tying. I'm a some what retired pro fly tier who used to raise a lot of rabbits for meat but for us, it was a two fold operation since I was a tier as well. There are a lot of colored rabbits out there in the world, but for us, we had found that both the "New Zealand Giants and the California giants were great rabbits for meat and skins as well. The hair wasn't too short or too long and they grew nice thick haired pelts when skinned in the late fall. We made sure that they were well fleshed, washed, dried and slightly stretched when drying. When stretched, the fur on their skins stayed nice and full. The New Zealands had a large selection of natural colors yet took a dye really well. The Californians had white bodies with black ears and nose. They dyed up well also. Hope this bit of info can help you on your adventure. Good Luck and have fun The fly wizard

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