I took these two paragraphs below from a website that was previously a part of Texas A&M University. They were written by Dr. Steven Lukefahr who was the geneticist who created the Tamuks and the Composites. If you know nothing about him, please google him for the history behind this amazing man. He has spent over 40 years studying rabbits around the world in different climates and cultures. Many of his projects were to cultivate rabbit farms in order to address hunger insecurity in many of the third world cultures that he visited. His work over that time developed an amazing line of rabbits with incredible traits that are available for us today.
The "Tamuk" line of the New Zealand White (NZW) breed, specifically developed for the commercial meat rabbit industry, was developed in the mid-1980's involving the crossing of commercial lines from Arkansas, Florida and Louisiana. This composite maternal line is especially well adapted under hot and humid conditions. Too, there is little to no fancy or show NZW breeding in this line. Does exemplify desirable maternal characteristics, such as early maturity, large litters, well developed nests, good milking ability, and strong maternal instincts, for which commercial selection has been applied. The recommended breeding management regime involves first mating at 4-1/2 months of age and a 14-day breed-back system that allows for 8 litters per doe per year. When purchasing NZW stock, always ask to see production and pedigree records. Avoid show stock when breeding meat rabbits for home or commerical use. Do not be impressed by show ribbons and trophies. Moreover, our lines and breeds have a good reputation for heat resistance and steady litter and(or) meat production. Show-bred rabbits typically are not selected for production traits and have short coupled bodies, thick fur coats, short ears, excessive flesh, etc. These and other imperfections make such rabbits both less productive and less capable of being heat resistant, which affects production for the serious meat rabbit producer. Our NZW line has been very productive for both families with small backyard operations and large commercial operations in many states. Composites - A new breed - About 30 years ago, Dr. Lukefahr began crossing different breeds for backyard meat production to feed his own family. Another objective was steady production, which is enhanced by hybrid vigor due to crossbreeding. Yet another aim was choosing breeds that harbor major genes for coat color. As a result of crossing seven breeds over the years (in chronological order: New Zealand Red, Siamese Satin, Californian, New Zealand White, Dutch, Champagne d’Argent, Harlequin, and Havana), this composite breed now possesses all of the major genes for coat color. In the photo to the left, nine rabbits from the same litter are each of a different color! Examples of colors in this population include agouti and black, blue, chocolate, and lilac, creme and opal, seal and siamese, chinchilla, himalayan and albino, and steel, harlequin (japanese and magpie), and red. In the photo to the right, a seemingly rare magpie-californian rabbit is shown. As a family activity, this color feature will hopefully pique the curiosity and active interest of children. Also, the skins can be tanned using the natural colors (without dyeing) and made into products that can be sold, for example, at farmers markets. Lastly, this population was recently crossed with our commercial Tamuk NZW line to infuse genes for production for vital traits such as fertility, litter size, milk production, and growth, while adding some additional hybrid vigor as a boost to performance. It should also be pointed out that these rabbits are heat tolerant with adaptive characteristics that include long ears and thin fur coats. Several breeders now in different states are reporting good production success with this new breed. However, an important point is that this breed better suited for small-scale backyard production. It is not a commercial breed. Also, some breeders place order for only white (albino) animals if they are selling fryers commercially where a premium is paid for white body fur. Try a breeding trio!