anyone raise rabbits for their own meat?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by myrandaandkids, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. myrandaandkids

    myrandaandkids Well-Known Member

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    :) hubby and i want to but are having trouble finding feeder rabbits in our are and have been told by a townie who raises tiny pet rabbits it would cost us more to feed and house them than to buy the amount of meat we would get, im not sure i agree to that but then what do i know, i dont have any. any way, if your have a response to this or know where i can get some to start with let me know.
     
  2. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    rabbit food isnt that much money
    maake your own cage buy waterer and feed container our rabbit just had 10 little ones i think mhe just wants to sell you rabbits
    buy a pair of breeding age 3 breeding paair will give you as much meat meat in a year as raising a beef cow
     

  3. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Hook-up with your local 4-H. They will have the fairs where you will find the breeders with a big meat rabbits.

    We did that with our children, so they could raise meat rabbits.

    Good luck

    :)
     
  4. Stephen in SOKY

    Stephen in SOKY Well-Known Member

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    Been there done that, & for once, will go there again. As mentioned, food bills are very reasonable compared to return if done right. I recommend getting a trio of the California breed. Their small boned, efficiently convert feed to excelent meat, & are easy to raise. The variety or breed is important, many big rabbits are mostly bone. I built raised covered pens. I'm here to tell ya, what you scoop up under the pens really grows a garden. Use it straight, won't burn a thing!
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Yup, we did, too, when the boys were young. It's a good farm project for children.

    Our favorite rabbit dish is Cajun Rabbit Sauce Piquant.
     
  6. desertdreamer

    desertdreamer Well-Known Member

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  7. Dun Coille

    Dun Coille Well-Known Member

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    I've been told Florida Whites have an even better meat/bone ratio. I have several Florida does and one buck (the other one died not long after I got them) and they have finally started producing for me. I also have several Californias, but none of them have taken yet. I also have a dwarf pair and two lop pair (the second doe is the daughter of pair 1 and I traded a young Fla buck for a gorgeous smoke-blue young lop buck to make the second pair) and then I have a couple of mutts. ;)

    I'm still trying to figure out which rabbits will breed reliably/consistently so that I can cut back on the mouths I'm feeding! I really enjoy them, tho, so who knows - maybe I'll keep the bigguns I have and just raise lots of babies for food and sale!

    I sell pretty much every rabbit I have available at Easter, which is nice.
    --Michael

    PS - shouldn't this be in the RABBITS forum further down?? :shrug: :D
     
  8. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

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    You have to keep them bred all the time to help pay for the feed.If you only buy pellets do the math and you will see the cost is too high!
    I try to feed my own corn, oats, hay,black oil sun flowers(BOSS), and garden scraps and keep a movable pen to put the young weaned ones onto grass only.I move the pen/cage as needed and they drink very little water at all this way.
    In the winter they all go into a 8x8 building with buckets for nests and I sell for the Easter bunny ;) market!
    Chas
     
  9. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    If you can grow grass and weeds you should be able to feed a rabbit real cheap.
     
  10. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I just have a question regarding sprouted grains to feed rabbits. If you can get cheaper grains in winter, say like oats or rye, and sprout them.....doesn't that convert better for the rabbit and also more palatable? just wondering as I have no experience trying this.
     
  11. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    we raise it. we raise for pelfreeze, too, so we are commercial. BUT. if you find a good pellet, and breed on a rotating schedule, rabbit is very affordable meat. 3 does will supply you with 6-10 ready for freezer rabbits every 2 weeks when bred on a 2 week schedule. we feed our does and bucks 3-4 oz a day of pellets, each, until the does kindle, then they are on free choice until the kits are weaned, they go back to 3 oz until they kindle again. we breed each group of does every 6 weeks-a month to kindle, 2 weeks w/kits,they are bred, 2 weeks later kits are weaned and put on free choice, then does get a 2 week break before they kindle again. the ones that don't make the cut for pelfreeze go in our freezer.
     
  12. pourfolkes

    pourfolkes Well-Known Member

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    Okay, now I have a question. I have 10 acres of property with bermuda all over it. If I have fresh bermuda every day, how much bermuda and what amount of pellets would I feed each rabbit? I have a feeling that I have been wasting alot of pellets!!! I was even considering giving it up, but if I can reduce the food cost, it would definitely be worth it!! Thanks!!!
     
  13. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I visited relatives in Croatia in 2001. They raise rabbits as their primary meat source. They did so with no (as in zero) purchased commercial feed/pellets. Their primary feed was fresh cut forages (with a scythe) during the summer and hay made from cutting excess during winter. Supplements were whole corn ears and stale bread from the village bakery. I suspect they also received some garden trimming. The does pulled forage material into their pen and made their own nests. When the kits were ready to wean they went into a separate growing pen (a stall actually) and were fed the same as the adults. They kept one buck and three does.

    On the corn, they merely put in a whole ear. When the rabbit had nibbled off the kernels they took out the cob and put in another ear.

    At the Hardy's 4th of July homesteader gathering one couple spoke with me about their rabbit experience. They had had a small commercial operation but found it was barely paying the feed bill and had largely stopped their operation. They then reread an article I did in Countryside and Small Stock Journal on my observations in Croatia and decided to try it. They were still in the development stage but thought (with purchased high quality hay as the primary feed) they could possibly decrease expenses by about 80% and double their output. Their goal was to ramp up to see how large of a commerical operation they could support with not using commerical feed.
     
  14. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe noone has mentioned it, but there's a rabbit forum right here on HT called Raising Rabbits for Profit that will help you. The moderator is fantastic.
     
  15. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    It might also be easier to kill a few big ugly rabbits, rather than many little fuzzy cute ones.

    p.s. If you name them, chose names like General Woundwort, not Speedwell and Clover. :)
     
  16. backwoods

    backwoods Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits can produce more meat for the effort and price than any other homestead animal,and it is healthier.Sometimes price just doesn't matter that much.Ours have always been economical.
     
  17. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I like rabbits. We have raised rabbits for meat and for sale.

    However any blanket general statement is inherently false.

    Rabbits are cheap, IF you cut your own grass for them, which makes more work.

    ‘Roman garden’s cut that, but the rabbits will in-breed and ruin themselves inside of two generations. So that does not really work well.

    So rabbits do not produce more meat for less effort and price than any other form of meat.

    Fish farming can [in some setups] far exceed rabbits, in both pounds of meat produced, and in terms of price of feed, and in terms of annual effort.

    It all depends on your setup.

    Goats are great, for some setups. As are sheep. They can each be very low maintenance and they can feed themselves [if your setup is good for that]. More commonly mixing goats and sheep together works well. As they each have different personalities which complement each other, in terms of self feeding and ‘group-mentality’.

    Rabbit meat is not healthier than any other form of meat! Lets not get carried away here.

    A variety of protein coming from different sources is your best likely chance of eating ‘healthy’.

    :)
     
  18. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Pound for pound, rabbits probably eat more than any other kind of meat producing animal. But if you do as they do, over here, and grow or find things for them to eat, it works out fairly good. Old bread, corn, weeds, kale-type cabbage, grocery store trash, home-grown fodderbeet, etc.. Be sure to take care of them as well as you can, though, because it sucks to lose a 'crop', just as they're ready to wean or kill.
     
  19. okgoatgal2

    okgoatgal2 Well-Known Member

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    you should introduce fresh foods slowly to bunnies used to pellets-the extra water in fresh foods can give them diarrhea, which can kill them. they love dandelion greens, and, yes, costs can be reduced by foraging for them from your yard-just introduce the fresh slowly.
     
  20. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    They cost less to feed if you are diligent about butchering them every 8 weeks.