Rabbets for profit/colony housing

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Farmall, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. Farmall

    Farmall Active Member

    Jul 27, 2003
    Despite the topic title. I see VERY few people saying theyre making said profit on rabbets.----- Next, I saw an artical in Small Farmers Journal about colony housing rabbets. using say, a floor and sides made out of cattle panels, wqith hevier guage poutry wire around the bottom up say 18in or so. and moving it from place to place. Is this feasable? I realize the dangers of putting rabbets on grass, and could ease them from pen to colony house over, say a week. How many does could be kept in a 14/16ft square? Is it any more benificial to the rabbits or me to do this over a standard pen. Is the feed saving and the labor involved in feeding valuable enough to do this. I live n NE Okla, and when I sold rabbets 15 yrs ago to Pel Freez in Rodgers Ark, we had to bring them to Tulsa to the pickup point. They got a glut of rabbets closer to home and shut down their outer radius of pickup points, including ours. Is that still a problem? Does anyone know how far SW of Tulsa they come now, if any distance. And finally, what is the estimated amount of does kept needed to reailze a good profit for the feed, work, and hauling to mkt involved. Not to get a retirement off of, but enough to realize some real money off of.
  2. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 18, 2002
    >I see VERY few people saying theyre making said profit on rabbets.<

    Probably because most are "newbies" to rabbit raising and haven't reached that point, yet, as they are still building their herds. My own operation was a full-time business, and yes... I made a profit.

    A "small" commercial operation starts at 200 producing does. In order to "make a living" for a family of 4 *solely* from raising meat rabbits for a processor requires 500 to 600 producing does. Please note that this does *NOT* include the bucks, replacement stock, litters and/or fryers... just the does which are actively producing. If you are able to tap other markets (local sales, pets, show, laboratory, etc.), you may be able to do it with fewer does. However, with careful planning, a "profit" can be realized with as few as 20 producing does... or at least pay for the feed. Please visit the "Commercial Rabbit Industries" web site for more information at:


    If you are planning to sell to Pel-Freez, I would strongly recommend checking with them as to whether or not they would even accept rabbits grown in colonies and on the ground! Please remember... even the ground can harbor harmful bacterias, and I seriously doubt that Pel-Freez will accept them. I am not familiar with their pick-up points, so maybe someone else can answer that question.

    Pat Lamar
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association

  3. BusyBunny

    BusyBunny New Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    I have had between 8 and 14 does in production during this physical year and am currently $105 to the good when weighed only against feed costs. We are moving and then expanding, hopefully they will start to pay at least the rest of their expenses by early next year!

    I am a grower for Pel-Freez, live 20 miles SW of Ft. Smith, AR and drive my fryers 82 miles to Checotah, OK for pick-up. I can tell you that (to the best of my knowledge and belief) P/F will not accept colony raised rabbits as they want an insulated roof on the rabbit housing and no birds (specifically chickens) are allowed in the same area as the rabbits. If you would like more information on Pel-Freez go to www.pelfreez-foods.com
    and see what they have to say.

  4. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2002
    I have been very busy and have not had a chance to respond to this post.

    Pats website is very informative and will give all growers lots of ideas on the different markets out there.

    Personally I do not believe you have to have 200 does in order to make a living off of rabbits.

    I do not believe you should put "all your rabbits in one basket". Processors only want certain breeds, sizes, and ages on rabbits. What do you do with your older culls? What do you do with pinkie rabbits that are kindled out of the nest box.

    By finding many different markets you can utilize all your rabbits and not rely on one person.

    I myself have chosen to not sell to a processor at all and have developed my own markets with snake feeders and raw feeders.
    Raw feeders would include dogs, cats, and farretts.

    You need to make sure what your state and federal requirements are. I am licensed as a business in the state of PA. I am presently working with both USDA and Dept of AG and am hoping to get some govt grants. Being that I am a small business, I am classified as a farmer and am sole proprieter of this business I am classified as a disadvantaged farmer [I am a woman] so there are many programs out there.

    There are avenues that I havent even had a chance to pursue as I am so busy now. I buy rabbits from other growers as well as maintain my own herd. We have expanded with the raw feeder market to include other meats sources as well and I am now raising goats also.

    Some other markets to consider:
    Snake shows, rent a table and bring frozen pre killed individually bagged rabbits. Have the weights marked on each bag and have plenty of coolers.


    Bird or prey rescue.

    I have said it before but I will say it again. THIS IS WORK. It takes long hours, good record keeping and good marketing. You would be suprised how many people email me asking who I sell to. Sorry I am not disclosing my markets. I have worked hard in delveloping them and do not need some one coming in and under pricing me.

    I have no problem telling other about the other avenues to pursue but when it comes down to it you must be willing to do the work. Dont expect it to be handed to you.