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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if every one here tryes to sale at least some of their rabbits either as meat, pets or breeding stock to help with over head and how they do with it.
My goal is to make the rabbit meat as cheap or free as possible.
i plan to do this by selling pure bred NVZ and a few pet sized mini rabbits.
In the long run want to put about 80 fryer/roasters in my freezer per year.
This doesn't seem so far out of reach right now, except I am still undecieded how many does this will take.
I only see my does producing a possible 4 litters per year, because of weather varibles.
So 4 litters x average 6 kits per litter x 4 does is 96 kits.
slightly more than I need, but I could sell a few of the pure breds for breeding. This doesn't count the minis, that we sale. Which is another problem, I cann't figure out how much feed it will take for the whole bunch. Which is what I need to know to find out how many pet rabbits to produce.
Is there a way to figure out aproximations of how many pounds of feed needed for raising fryers, replacement stock, ect.
 

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It gets confusing all right. I think 4 working does sounds about right - better to have a bit to much meat than too little. I always think in terms of pounds rather than numbers. If I butcher a roaster it is likely to have the same amount of meat as two fryers. I came up with a figure of less than 50 cents a pound, on a diet of wild greens, hay, grain and garden surplus, but that is theoretical still.

We've been finding lately that letting it be known that we have rabbits brings in some unexpected customers. Brian does a lot of yard sales in our driveway and people exclaim about the free range chickens, talk to the geese and it is easy to say: we raise rabbits too. I'm wishing now I had saved a couple of last year's young does for breeders because the demand is beginning to be there, both for meat and potential breeders. However, I've got my eye on several of the youngsters still in the nest boxes and I will definitely save the two best for breeding. I think with four or five working does I could write off all my expenses and have plenty of meat for our own table plus a bit of folding money to put towards other critter projects.

Rabbits are definitely the best livestock to raise in one's backyard. Anyone can do it and come out ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My dh has a small store and wants to sell my surplus for me. I sent a litter of 7 kits and they sold in 3 days. They were mixed breed mini lops and sold for only $5 each.
Our plan is to feed pellets to bred and lactating does. The rest will get grain and greens/hay.
I have replacement does that are putting on good weight with oats, rye and greens.
I found 1 web site that siad it took 100 pounds of pellets to raise 8 kits. i am not sure if that included the doe before birthing.
 

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You know your own area best, SquashNut, but I have a firm policy of NEVER selling a rabbit for less than $10. People will give you a song and dance about how "just down the road a bit" they can get rabbits, geese, chickens or whatever for $5 or less. I smile and say that they should buy them there, because that's a real bargain. Mine are still $10. And at the moment, it looks like I won't have many out of these latest litters for our own table anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here cross bred rabbits go for $5 and pure bred go for $10 and up. Fryer rabbits are $5 on the hoof and butchered $10. Thats why I want to sell the mini rabbits. The feed bill on those is minumal.
There is a guy that sells all of his rabbits for $5. his are mostly mini cross breeds. So I am having trouble getting more for my mini rabbits. He is a pain in the neck selling them so cheap, but I have to deal with it. There is a pet store that sells mini lops for $29 each. I have thought about seeing what they will pay me for mine.
My pure bred mini rex's are going for $10.
If I get a pure bred doe or 2 to go with my NZW buck, I can sell those for more. i am thinking $10-$15 for a fryer sized replacement doe or buck. Juniors would go for higher, or go in my freezer.
If I ever get my rabbit meat 100% organic, they won't want to pay me what the meat is worth.
 

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I've heard that $10 is the minimum a meat rabbit should go as well outside of a rabbitry... although I've sold mine for $5 before, but that barely covers anything with how we are set up at the moment.

I've got only one litter of 6 at the moment. I had a litter of 13 (yes 13!) that all died due to my ignorance! UGH! *BAD ME!!!!* It was a hard lesson to learn... and my head buck just died from the heat!!!!!!! GRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! So I will probably be keeping a few out of this litter because of that (no money to be made for now, BOO HOO!)
but anyway, my point is... ummm
Ok, no point, but make sure you put into your financial calculations, all of the accidents, dummy factors, and unknowns as well... it is better to have more for the freezer planned than less!

Also... try to sell some, because you will also have to pay for that nice air conditioned, barn you have to install during the summer!

Cricket
 

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I sell my breeders for $15 each. I don't sell any pets unless they want my Flemish Giants and those are $30 each. I sell meat rabbits for $8 for a 6 pound rabbit. Haven't sold very many meat rabbits, but have sold lots of breeders, New Zealands.
 

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That "air-conditioned barn" cost us about $50. The air is conditioned by the breezes off Lake Ontario and the shade of the big weeping willow tree. One day so far this summer I felt I needed to give the buns ice bottles... the rest of the time a misting with a plant mister or a quick splash over the ears with my hand is all they need.

I do realize that we are lucky here... the summers are often hot and humid but it rarely top 90 degrees... the winters are cold and damp, but it rarely go below -10 F. We almost always have a breeze.

In the summer the rabbit cages are inside a chain link "house" topped by a tarp. In the winter we move them into the storage half of the goose house, where their hay, straw and dried greens are awaiting them. The winter rabbitry/goose house is made largely of pallet wood and recycled windows, doors etc.

Commercial raising of rabbits is like any other farm business... The bigger it gets, the more the infrastructure costs and the more volume you need to produce to make it work. The backyard rabbitry, with just some farmgate sales to cover costs, puts a lot of meat on the table very cheaply. I'm hoping to get to the point where the meat costs us nothing and I may even have a modest profit overall. I guess I am lucky that there are not a lot of people raising rabbits hereabouts. Customers pay their $10 or go to those mythical people who sell for less.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
when we decided to get rabbits I insited we use wire cages. I as hoping to get used ones for cheap. But I haven't found enough used ones to keep up with my rabbit buying , so I have paid as much as $45 a hole for new ones. That is where my investment has gone. We are thinking about adding 3 more holes this next week.
i agree though air conditioning would be too much for my little rabbitry.
 

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Look for an old mink ranch, or even a running one. I picked up a bunch of their not so good cages with nest boxes for free one day a little work with the ring pliers and some spare 1x1 wire and I was in bidness. Not quite as big as some other cages but have worked pretty well for ours so far.
 

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MaggieJ said:
You know your own area best, SquashNut, but I have a firm policy of NEVER selling a rabbit for less than $10. People will give you a song and dance about how "just down the road a bit" they can get rabbits, geese, chickens or whatever for $5 or less. I smile and say that they should buy them there, because that's a real bargain. Mine are still $10. And at the moment, it looks like I won't have many out of these latest litters for our own table anyway.
LOL, I get that sooo much around here, but all you have to do is smile, look them in the eye and tell them "You get what you pay for". Then you pull out one of your gorgeous, friendly rabbits (even if it's a meat rabbit, LOL), plop it in their kid's arms, step back, and watch the effects.

There's something about holding a rabbit that melts those mental barriers between the hand and the wallet. :p
 

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SquashNut said:
Which is another problem, I cann't figure out how much feed it will take for the whole bunch. Which is what I need to know to find out how many pet rabbits to produce.
Is there a way to figure out aproximations of how many pounds of feed needed for raising fryers, replacement stock, ect.
I deal with this question a lot from potential meat breeders. It
would be difficult for me to provide much detail with the minis
included.

Producers determine cost of gain per pound of meat by including the
feed used for the does, bucks, juniors, and fryers. I normally
suggest that a new producer start with a figure of 5:1 until
the management skills are improved. As time goes on, that
figure should go down to 4:1 or lower with increased skill of
the manager.

For example, butchering a five pound fryer with a 5:1 ratio means
it has taken 25 pounds of feed across the entire rabbtry to produce
that meat. This is a major reason meat producers place so much
emphasis on feed efficient stock. The difference between 5:1
and 4:1 can make or break a commercial venture with the current
price of feed. (It helps to have other profitable outlets besides
the usual sale to a processor for $1.15/lb)

Some of the things affecting cost of gain and feed to gain ratio
will be:

1. Feed (not all feeds are created equal)
2. Genetics of the animals
3. Skills and experience of the manager
4. Weight of fryer at butchering. A fryer going from 5 to 5 1/2
pounds will require much more feed than a fryer who is removed
from the equation by being butchered at 4 1/2 pounds. You have
to determine whether the added expense is worth the benefits of
a larger carcass.

I have always found it difficult to provide "exact" figures when
dealing with this issue.
 

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I dont sell any pets for less than $20,i dont see how anyone can sell pets for $5.i have very few pet sales most of my rabbits go for show or breeding stock.bluebird
 

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I found this worksheet to be very helpful.

http://www.ocrga.ca/cost_of_production.shtml

Set your standard, and stick to it. For the first little while you might end up eating all your own rabbits, but quality and consistency will win out in the end.

I sell rabbits at a $10 minimum, or $1 a week of age. Breeding stock I sell for $25 a rabbit and provide a basic pedigree - at this point most of my stock is not purebred, so the pedigree is meant to tell people what breeds are in their rabbit rather than to prove it's purebred. It also helps me when they come back for another rabbit - I know what/who they already have. Anything more than 20 weeks I'm keeping and breeding myself.

Butchered freezer rabbits I charge $5/lb.

And yes, I have a LOT of rabbit in my freezer, and we're eating lots. But, the market is starting to develop (I haven't put a lot of effort into it yet), and we like rabbit.
 

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I am looking for a rabbit venture but they will be more of less to feed my famly and dogs and left over might be sold. The feed store around the corner from me get 15 bucks for a meat rabbit so I figured I should get be able to get atleast 12.
 

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rabbitgal said:
LOL, I get that sooo much around here, but all you have to do is smile, look them in the eye and tell them "You get what you pay for". Then you pull out one of your gorgeous, friendly rabbits (even if it's a meat rabbit, LOL), plop it in their kid's arms, step back, and watch the effects.

There's something about holding a rabbit that melts those mental barriers between the hand and the wallet. :p
I priced my mini-rexes at 15 dollars at the swap in June, and they sold--despite that other rabbits were going for 5 and 10. Why?-- because MY rabbits could be handled!!!

I love the "value added" products!!!
Thinking of making cages for the next swap---

Terry
 

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moore_farm said:
The feed store around the corner from me get 15 bucks for a meat rabbit so I figured I should get be able to get atleast 12.
You should charge MORE than the feed store, not less.

At the feed store people are getting an unknown. When they buy from you, they know they can talk to you about lineage, how your rabbits are raised, etc.

Your rabbits are worth more than feed store rabbits, just as a well bred dog is worth more than a pet store dog.
 
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