To help understand the Altex, the breed details are divided in to the following categories:
The Altex is a commercial rabbit and not recognised as a show breed by the British Rabbit Council (BRC) or the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA).
But still a breed none the less and it's creation was developed over 20 generations so it's an important one.
Created as a commercial meat rabbit the Altex gets its name from the two Universities that helped create it, Alabama and Texas. The 'Al' is from Alabama, obviously and the 'tex' is from Texas. Not rocket science is it?
Pronounced "all tex", the breed was the product of Flemish Giant, Californian and Argente de Champagne crossings and also later with the New Zealand.
Commercial livestock producers often use sire and dam (father & mother) breeds of recognized merit to produce crossbred offspring for market. The crossbreeds give more efficient performance and greater profits. In Europe, the sophisticated use of commercial sire and dam breeds to produce crossbred fryer rabbits (young meat animals) is widely practiced. Major rabbit breeding companies exist which develop and sell parental hybrid lines to commercial producers for the purpose of crossbred fryer production.
The breeding project began in 1986 when purebred Californian (CAL), Champagne d'Argent (CHA) and Flemish Giant (FG) rabbits were obtained from reputable commercial and fancy breeders from several states and received at Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL. The FG bucks were mated with CAL and CHA does to produce two first-cross (F1) lines. Bucks and does of both F1 lines were then crossed to produce a composite, second-cross (F2) population. This resulted in all F2 rabbits being 1/2 FG, 1/4 CAL, and 1/4 CHA. This breed composition was used to assemble genes from the three breeds for sire traits: rapid and efficient body gains, high dressing percentage and high meat-to-bone ratio. Many different coat colors appeared in this generation and there was substantial variation in body size and type and growth rate among fryers.
Between 1988 and 1994, commercial producers in 12 states used bucks from the selected line at Alabama A&M University to produce crossbred fryers. These large bucks were mostly mated with New Zealand White purebred or Californian and NZW crossbred does. Many producers reported that their crossbred fryers reached market size about a week earlier than purebred NZW fryers.
Then in 1994, Dr. Lukefahr moved to Texas A&M University-Kingsville and took the rabbits with the best genetics and selection efforts continued to further refine the breed.
A second nucleus unit of Altex stock was established in 1995 at Southern
University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA. Breeding stock (bucks
and does) are available in Louisiana and Texas Universities.
References: Steven D. Lukefahr, Professor Department of Animal & Wildlife Sciences Texas A&M University. 1996.
There's only one variety of Altex as far as colour goes and that's the white one with grey pointing.
See Colours below for more...
The Alaska rabbit is classed as a large meat rabbit.
Mature body weights typically exceed 13 pounds in both sexes.
In terms of colour, fryers possess a white pelt.
The adult Altex rabbit is considered a white rabbit like the Californian. Altex are white with grey points on the ears, nose, feet and tail which is a simple recessive gene retained from the Californian foundation breed.
This "genetic stamp" will avoid confusion between the white (albino) variety of the Flemish Giant and the smaller body size and lighter mature weight of the Californian.
White (with a solid meaty frame).
The Altex rabbit has a very sweet personality, is not aggressive in any way and is very easy to handle.
The Altex was created purely as a meat rabbit, as a way to feed poorer communities around the world. The females are called Terminal Sires (mothers that breed babies that don't go on to breed themselves). The litters are sold on for the meat trade. Any offspring should not be used as further breeding stock as this will diminish the gene pool.
It is not meant to be the sole rabbit breed in a meat rabbit producer’s rabbitry. The Altex’s main strength shows when they are crossbred, producing
rabbits that have faster weight gain. This creates a more efficient
performance and ultimately greater profits from the herd.
Although not a rare breed you may have trouble finding a breeder in your local area.
If you are a breeder of Altex rabbits, get on our directory for more prominent exposure. Let us know if you are a breeder!
Here is a list of resources to help you care for your rabbits…
Altex Rabbit Breeders – locate Altex rabbit breeders using the online rabbit breeders directory, search or submit your own rabbitry.
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