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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to raise some meat rabbits both for home and profit. I have found some NZW that are just weaned, so being that young it'll be a while before any babies will be born. (I can't afford the older rabbits) If I buy 3 does and a buck keeping the largest does per litter can you guesstimate how long before it'd be worth applying for a pelfreeze number? I keep telling my DH that I can make money with rabbits but he has to see figures. I have no outside job so I have the time to devote to the rabbits. I would like to earn enough to be able to make up for NOT having a outside job. Of course filling the freezer with the extra bucks will be profit in itself. But like I said earlier my DH has to see figures before taking on an adventure that's new to him. I really don't want to work outside my home again he keeps telling me to go back to school but right now I'd like to do something profitable that will make me happy.
any help will be greatly appreciated
Kathleena
 

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Well, if you get the three does, and breed them at four months (assuming that this breeder has bred for that) You could have your first litters at five months, lets say average litter of 6, half being does. Thats another nine does, plus you can rebreed your three does again when the kits are like a month old (again, assuming they have been selected for a early breed back schedule)

So, by my rough "guesstimate" you could have about 25-30 does in production in about a year? That of course doesn't allow for any misses or dead litters or litters of all bucks either!

First, I would check with Pelfreeze and see if they have a route near you, or if there are other processor options too.

Is there a Minimum # of Fryers, Linda? I think a lot of the Pelfreeze rabbitries have something like 100-200 does.

I personally have about 30 or so Sr does "In production", not that they are all doing their thing at the same time (We show rabbits too) Right now they pretty much pay for themselves, which includes my show entry fees and travel and all that.

I am considering adding a trio of NZ Reds, I have a color project in mind, plus I'd like something that would breed earlier and be ready earlier than the breeds I have now.
 

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From Pelfreez growers guide:

Q. HOW MANY PRODUCING DOES MUST I HAVE TO QUALIFY FOR A PEL-FREEZ GROWER NUMBER?
A. We are trying to build our business with professional rabbit raisers; therefore within the first year of receiving your grower number each grower must reach a minimum of 25 producing does.

http://growers.pel-freez.com/#FAQ
 

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I don't want to be negative about your idea, just realistic. There are going to be considerable start-up costs for cages, nest boxes, feeders/waterers, feed and so forth and you need to know what they will be for your area. Even if you use thrift store crocks instead of hoppers and water bottles (I do) the costs for a small commercial rabbitry are still going to require an initial outlay. There is also a learning curve with rabbits as with anything else. Do you have any experience with them that will help in this regard?

I think what worries me is that you say you cannot afford adult breeding stock. This suggests to me a slender operating budget that would make it difficult for you to provide the kind of rabbit barn etc. that Pelreez requires. Could you perhaps take an outside job for long enough to finance your venture, with the understanding that the money you earned would go towards establishing your career as a meat rabbit producer? You could get the starter rabbits simultaneously and build slowly that way while you gain valuable experience. That way if things don't work out or you don't enjoy the rabbit venture, you will have only a modest investment tied up in it and in the meantime you can be producing for your own use.

Perhaps you have already thought about all these costs and considerations, but I saw no indication of it in your original post. It does not sound as though DH is pressuring you into an outside job since he is agreeable to you going back to school, so perhaps he will be happier with the venture if you have plans to finance part or all of it through an outside job. Something to think about, anyway.

Good luck with your venture. Rabbits are great, but raising them for profit is not always as easy as it sometimes appears.
 

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A better option may be for her to find a different processor and work towards being a Pel Freeze rabbitry?

We have a couple around here, one pays a buck a pound, one pays a 1.45 and the other 1.75. The higher paying ones are also a drive, so I will send my culls to the other one rather than drive, esp since they're only once a month. Yep, I got less for those 12 culls, but I also didn't have to feed them for another 3 weeks, or drive 2 hours round trip to deliver them either!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It was late when I posted last night and forgot some details. I've been gathering cages,water bottles,nest boxes,feeders ,ect even have the supplies to put 7 cages on an automatic watering system. pel-freeze does have a pick up within an hour of me but if they are accepting new growers or not I don't know.
The breeder size rabbits are 30 plus and to put out that much for a rabbit I could only get one or 2 at a time. I'm wanting to start out as cheaply as possible but with good stock, which these are.
I was raised to do the best you can. my husband was raised with the idea that if you have no degree you can't make a living. I have converted him from a city boy to the country he now knows that growing your own veg.are 100 times better than buying them. (If only he'd drink goats milk.) His family thinks living off your land means you're poor and I know it's not the truth because if that's your dream then you're the richest person. I lost my mother last week and she wasn't able to live her dream I guess that's why I'm wanting to get started with mine by not having to do the 9-5. but I don't want to go broke doing it either.
please let me know if I'm wrong in anything because I can only learn from experience mine or yours.
Kathleena
 

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Kathleena, you are NOT wrong and if that is your dream, then you should go for it. All I meant was that you need to think things through and make sure you have enough resources to get through the beginning, learning curve time while you get your breeding base established and gain enough experience with rabbits to avoid heartbreaking mistakes. Maybe you already have this.

Taking a 9 to 5 for a few months and working the rabbits as a part-time venture is not the end of the world, but rather it is a means to an end. It's not the only way.
 

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I lost my mother last week
{{{{{Kathleena}}}}} I'm so sorry! :grouphug:

and she wasn't able to live her dream I guess that's why I'm wanting to get started with mine
I can't blame you there! I've always had it in my heart to be a homesteader, and I'm just now starting to take baby steps toward that dream. I can't imagine myself raising rabbits as a business, but if I can become more self-sufficient, put meat on my family's table, and maybe sell or trade enough to break even, then I'll be a happy camper.
 

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How much are the young does?
We started into rabbits in July of "07" and bought the wrong rabbits. We told the guy we were looking to raise meat. But he sold us mini lop crosses and indicated they were young rabbits. That supposidly why they were so small.
We went in the hole $600 last year. Mostly because we had to buy all new cages and equipment. This year we have had a profit of $650. But we have mostly sold breeder stock. i started with 1 senior buck and 1 senior doe and 2 jr does.
These ones I have now are show stock, rather than meat stock, and there is a difference.
When the time comes and the kits are 8 weeks old we tatto and sex them for resale and I am finding I don't get near enough does, and way too many bucks. And if you keep less than pick of the litter for breeding their kits are slow to grow. So the idea of keeping all the does sounds good, but isn't really.
I have a doe that was for sale but didn't sell who not very fast growing herself. She has raised a litter, but to compare them to the kits born to her cousin on the same day. I think they may take a full 2 weeks long to make it to fryer size.
i am debating what to do about her now. I may keep pick of litter from her litter or replace her with a kit from her cousins litter, not sure.
 

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There will be at least a years worth of a leaning curve you will have to go through with the rabbits. It has taken us a while to figure out how much our meat rabbits cost per pound of meat we get from them, how much time and work we put into them, of course we have our initial start up costs which the goats paid for with their milk money. We had to figure out feed information and health information about the rabbits. For the rabbits themselves we didn't pay a whole lot (got them from freecycle.)

And then there is the breeding to consider, too. If I were in your position I would get one older bred doe, or a older doe and a buck from a good meat rabbit breeder. And then a number of younger does to grow out. Get the older doe bred right away, then you can teach yourself what you need to know about breeding and raising them. But allow yourself some time to learn what you need to know before you sign a contract. Rabbits breed like rabbits and can be really steady producers if the does are good moms.
 

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How old are the young rabbits now (and how much are they?) See, I know initially that $30 rabbit (which is cheap, BTW :p) is more expensive, but you've got a rabbit that is ready to "go to work" almost right away, or pretty soon. Plus maybe the breeder would sell her bred for more genetic diversity for you?

If you just get the weanlings, you've got the feed cost to get them ready to breeding age. If it were me, I'd get at least one older doe and two younger ones.

Sorry about your Mom!
 

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I want to raise some meat rabbits both for home and profit. I have found some NZW that are just weaned, so being that young it'll be a while before any babies will be born. (I can't afford the older rabbits) If I buy 3 does and a buck keeping the largest does per litter can you guesstimate how long before it'd be worth applying for a pelfreeze number? I keep telling my DH that I can make money with rabbits but he has to see figures. I have no outside job so I have the time to devote to the rabbits.

I would like to earn enough to be able to make up for NOT having a outside job.
Kathleena
IMO,
If you are wanting to earn money to replace $800 to $1500 from
an outside job, I believe you will need quite a few does! One of
the biggest investments will be the facility which can be enlarged
as you grow your inventory. Having a facility to house the rabbits
and enable you to work in some degree of comfort is a "must" for
a producer with a larger inventory.

Suggestion from experience:
Please don't count on the idea that you will be able
to keep every female born. This is a huge mistake! Some of those
young does you purchase *may not* be worthy of having the daughters
saved for future producers. Keeping a young doe simply because
it is a doe is not a good plan for success or profitability.

I might also note that Pel-Freez will be lowering the liveweight price
(from $1.63) in the near future as the cost of grain is dropping.

Just my thoughts..........

Linda Welch
10 year Pel-Freez producer
 

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I grew on a dairy farm and after reading the pel-freeze page, yikes.

I particulalry don't like that 4.75 to 5.75 lb bunnies are at $1.63/ lb, but 5.76 lb bunnies are .35/lb.

This means to me that 1.6 ounce can cost you $7/ per bunny.

We are raising bunnies or personl consumption, just like our chickens.

ymmv
 

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I only have a small 12 doe rabbitry with plans to enlarge but i am glad
that i am starting small as food cost has been high about 15 dollars per week
and this looks like doubling with the litters i have.also 3 does have never yet
had a litter and i have lost several litters now to first time mothers.

although the learning has been a little expensive it could be worse and i am
getting all this wonderfull manure for the garden and worms and am only
2 to 3 weeks away from my first fryers.

at the moment i only have 13 2.5 pound weaners from 2 litters and 4 litters
of 1 to 2 week old kits (about a 6 kit average)

i have spent about 320 dollars in breeding stock which was mostly young
4 and 5 month old rabbits spent about 150 dollars in food so far not counting
home grown feed.500 dollars on cages and feeders but i purchased a lot
more than i am currently using.housing was made from recycled materials
but would have cost at least 1000 dollars for this small rabbitry if i had to purchase everything.

all this for a wholesale value of less than 60 dollars worth of meat so far
of course i do expect to improve on this and i expected some problems
and costs getting started.
 
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