The Altex is a commercial sire breed of rabbit developed at Alabama A&M and Texas A&M Universities (Thus the name: Al-Tex) by Dr. Steven Lukefahr Ph.D. and Dr. James McNitt Ph.D. Together these two men have authored over 150 publications on commercial rabbits and rabbit breeding including the “bible” of many rabbit ranchers – the book entitled “Rabbit Production” from Interstate publishers. The foundation breeds of the Altex were the Flemish Giant, Champagne d’Argent, and Californian. Dr. Lukefahr is a specialist in quantitative genetics and under his supervision the Altex was selected for heavy 70 day market weights for over 20 generations.
We obtained our foundation Altex stock from Chigger Ridge Rabbitry. Chigger Ridge obtained theirs directly from Dr. McNitt’s University project herd. In addition to faster growing rabbits, the Altex has been selected for better heat tolerance and litter survival. The Altex is colored like a Californian but is much heavier. For a link to Dr. Lukefahr’s rabbit project web site on the Altex please click here.
On Crossbreeding NZW does and Altex bucks
It is not recommended that rabbit producers switch from New Zealand White or Californian maternal lines to Altex. The Altex does not have the superb maternal characteristics of the NZW or Californian They are a little harder to get to breed, they may not nest as well, and have more pronounced winter breeding slumps. The value of the Altex is as a terminal sire giving the rabbit added hybrid vigor, faster weight gains, and efficient performance, which produces greater profits. Chigger Ridge and Pine Ridge Rabbitry have collected data from our Altex X NZW crosses versus straight bred NZW kits. The cross will reach harvest weight a good 10-14 days earlier. The majority of our cross-bred growers compared to our straight NZW growers will weigh 0.5 -0.75 lbs heavier in the same amount of growth time on the same feed. The meat to bone ratio is higher in the crosses as well, which is what all livestock producers are looking for. It is NOT recommended that you keep your cross-bred animals for breeding stock, as you will lose hybrid vigor by breeding the crosses, you should keep pure NZW as breeding does and mix with your Altex bucks for your meat animals only. When you want replacement breeding does use your NZW buck with your NZW doe to produce pure NZW breeders.