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  #1  
Old 01/22/10, 01:50 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The Beautiful Ozarks
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Rabbit vs. Chicken

We've raised meat & egg chickens for several years now. Love both the meat & eggs. I could eat chicken three times a week if we had enough in the freezer.

But.....sometimes I wonder if I'm stuck in a rut & should try something new. I've only had rabbit a couple of times in a stew, but I'll cook / eat just about anything.

We have cages / housing adequate for both species & would have to buy feed for either of them. Although I suppose in the summer, the rabbits could have a lot of "free" greens from our farm.

Does anyone raise both meat birds (we buy cornish x) and meat rabbits? Is one easier or cheaper to raise to butchering size than the other? We usually butcher our chickens anywhere between 8 - 12 weeks, which as I see on some of the rabbit posts, is about the same time for rabbits.

Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 01/22/10, 03:22 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: PA
Posts: 319

Our rabbit fryers are at 5 pounds in 9-11 weeks. Figure around 15 lbs feed to make each fryer.Just depends on the brood stock. my opinuion says rabbits are easier, cornrocks would be more cost effective. Ya have to buy the birds, ya can breed the rabbits.

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  #3  
Old 01/22/10, 03:40 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: South Central Missouri
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I raise rabbits and chickens.

They each have their good and not-so-good points, but I love all the fertilizer I get from the rabbits, as well as the fur.

And as Wofarm notes, you have to purchase chicks unless you want to play the Hatching Game with your birds. I don't have the patience.

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  #4  
Old 01/22/10, 03:54 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: NE
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I have been asking myself this question, as well. Basically for me it's a fur vs. egg battle, and I have decided that I cannot live without eggs. Eventually I will be raising both, but the first species will be chicken!

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  #5  
Old 01/22/10, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Illinois (West Central)
Posts: 425

We raise both;

It is much easier for me to process the rabbits. a few cuts and rip the fur off as compared to scalding and plucking, etc.

I like the meat chickens better in taste, but that is my preference.

Dave

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  #6  
Old 01/22/10, 04:51 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Western Ozarks
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imo chickens are easier to care for,
many rabbits = many cages to clean,
many water bottles to fill [ winter is worst]
and feed bowls, etc.
just try free-ranging rabbits...they draw predators like magnets draw iron.
i have 6 rabbits and that's enough,
i have 25 chickens and could easily handle 40 more.
can't even imagine what caring for 65 rabbits might be like.

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  #7  
Old 01/22/10, 07:38 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mo
Posts: 722
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynRenee View Post
Does anyone raise both meat birds (we buy cornish x) and meat rabbits? Is one easier or cheaper to raise to butchering size than the other? We usually butcher our chickens anywhere between 8 - 12 weeks, which as I see on some of the rabbit posts, is about the same time for rabbits.

Thanks!

I raise both. The rabbits are a daily chore opposed just a couple times a year for the chickens. I always get the cornishX's also.
On the chickens, it suits my needs to get a dozen or so 2 times a year. You dont have a big a job all at once, and saves on freezer space and eliminates chances of freezer burn. This past fall my feed store had some that I bought for $1 a piece. 10 chicks. My feed prices cost me about $24 for the total process, so I had a total of $34 invested for the birds. $3.40 a piece and they are the best eating birds you can raise or buy, IMO. I normally butcher them between 6 and 7 pounds, which is roughly 8 weeks or so.

I have never actually kept track of the rabbit costs. If you get a good meat rabbit I dont think you will regret your decisions. I personally feel one of the best meat rabbits are crosss from a NZW and a Californian. They have the hybrid vigor that gets them to butcher size much quicker. I recently butchered 2 litters...the NZW/Cal crosses were 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 lbs at 9 weeks of age, and the pure Cals were weighing 4 to 4 1/4 lbs at 11 weeks.
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  #8  
Old 01/22/10, 07:45 PM
Ark Ark is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Zone 8
Posts: 1,486

Get a couple rabbits, try it, see what you think.

We're all different.

I like the rabbit meat just as well as chicken.

I LOVE cleaning/butchering rabbits compared to doing chickens. Just did 25 broilers and was disgusted by it. Have been raising those Cornish for years and after butchering 3 rabbits before these last 25 broilers, I was REALLY reminded how gross the broilers are. Sure, the meat is good though. LOL

We made a rabbit pen in the barn for our females, so only have the males in cages. I find it extremely quick and easy to care for them.

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  #9  
Old 01/22/10, 07:55 PM
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I raise all three (meat rabbits and chickens, and chickens for eggs). The rabbits are pretty much a year round deal, the meat chickens are all at one time (or within a week of each other).

I butcher my meat birds at 8-10 weeks, the rabbits at 10-12 weeks, but I would say I get more than twice the meat out of a bird at that time than the rabbit. However I go through a lot more feed for the birds and that is even if I don't supplement with fresh food.

IMO - where the rabbit shines is in processing. It is so easy to compared to chickens. I can have a rabbit ready for the freezer in less than half an hour and I spend more time than that just going over the chicken one final time to remove those last feathers. I also hate the smell of processing chickens and you don't get that with rabbits. I'm planning on learning how to tan the hides too.

I find that other than a roasted whole bird, I prefer rabbit in my chicken receipies. I don't know if you could make broth with rabbit though . . . My favorite it BBQ rabbit legs - I make them just like I do chicken legs/wings and I could eat them like candy.

I am not a chicken skin eater so I never miss that part.

I don't keep track of costs - I do this so I can know what I'm eating and because I enjoy it. My current complaint is I had to cull my laying flock and the new girls have a few more months to go before they start laying.

Cathy

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  #10  
Old 01/22/10, 09:26 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11,231

Cathy, rabbit makes wonderful broth... I like it even better than chicken for that. I always make soup from the rib cages.

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  #11  
Old 01/23/10, 06:21 AM
Katie
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Twining, Mi.
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Never butchered chicken's but we did some ducks last fall & I HATED it, all those feathers! Yuck! Much rather do rabbits anyday. Doesn't take Dh no time at all to get one processed & ready for me to do my part.

We like chicken & I do buy it at the store when on sale sometimes but Domesticated Rabbit is definately like eating SWEET Chicken. Yummy! and you know where your food comes from.
I use rabbit just like if it were chicken.

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  #12  
Old 01/23/10, 11:16 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: OR
Posts: 486

I do both. I have a friend that comes down and we butcher chickens together. I have an awesome cabinet with an awning so she brings some of hers down too. We skin them, but it still stinks. Butchering a rabbit is considerably faster and easier.

The rabbits are more expensive and take more care and time, but I enjoy them. I can sell them for just enough to re-coup some of the costs and you can't beat the health benefits of the meat.

As for chickens, they are easy to raise and don't take near as much work. I enjoy having them around just as much as the rabbits. My unfortunate luck is always getting roosters, so I haven't gotten the benefits of eggs yet. This year we will be mail-ordering pullets though.

I guess there are benefits to both. For me, it's all about the peace of mind in knowing where my meat is coming from, the satifaction of knowing that I raised something from 'craddle to table', and trying to live off of the food grid.

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  #13  
Old 01/23/10, 04:59 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern IL
Posts: 51

We have limited experience with broilers, but have raised many rabbits. Personally, it is hands down I'd take rabbits over broilers. I need less pen space, they are cleaner (by far than the broilers we raised), I can use their meat and hides and butchering goes so much quicker! Plus, I think their meat tastes the same as chicken..I use it in all of my chicken recipes. We also keep egg layers - and we do butcher extra roos and layers when they are done...but our rabbits are the 'meat source'.

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  #14  
Old 01/23/10, 08:07 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Northern Arkansas
Posts: 163

I hate butchering chickens!! I like doing the rabbits but my husband doesn't like the rabbit meat so I have abandoned both. If you don't mind the chicken picking that's proably your better bet. One day I will pick up the rabbit habit again. (After I can grow a decent garden)

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  #15  
Old 01/23/10, 08:15 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Eureka, California area
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Turkeys. I did Broad breasted whites and BB Bronzes and got soooooooo much meat from them! I DO love the rabbit sausage that I've been making lately but rabbits are definitely more work. Turkeys? They are not much more work than broilers to process and the amount of breast meat is amazing. Next year I plan to do 10-20 turkeys (sell some), one pig, and a couple goats and we won't have to buy any meat for the year. I also do about 4-8 litters of rabbits a year, but I think we sell most of them.

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