secrets of keeping costs down

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by okiemom, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2002
    What are your secrets in keeping costs down to help make profits? Can profits be made? Is it even reasonable to expect/think/hope to cover feed costs when breeding rabbits for meat, and maybe exotic pet food?

    What are your experiences? how much do you pay for rabbit food? How much do you feed?

    Where and how do you market your rabbits? What differences does region make?

    Thanks, Katharine
  2. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2003
    I don't know about the economics of bigger operations, but for family meat supply and local small-scale meat sales, my way works well. I keep the bucks and does in pens, in family groups. They make babies. When the babies are weaned, I put them in grazing cages that I move twice a day. When they're big enough to butcher, I butcher them and the next batch of little ones goes in the grazing cages. The adults are fed grass and weeds that I mow on my property and along the streets here - it's a tiny town, very clean, nobody sprays for weeds or bugs, so the mowed material is good to feed.

    Over the winter, I've been feeding hay cubes. Tried pellets, but they eat that like candy. Tried loose hay, but they waste a lot of it. Hay cubes are in-between those two and work well. They're cheaper than pellets and more expensive than hay, not sure about the exact price for a 50-lb bag.
    My rabbits don't breed over the winter, and I butchered all except my favorite breeders last fall to save on feed.

    Market depends on where you are and what kind of customers you have access to. I think I'm the only one in my extended area with snakes to feed, so there's no market for reptile feed here. On the other hand, a good number of the local residents appreciate healthy, homegrown rabbit meat, so I'm doing pretty good selling to them. Selling on a bigger scale would entail too much travel to more populated areas and I don't think it'd pay off at all.
    As long as I stick to my system and don't have to pay for feed all during the breeding season, I'm making a bit of a profit and fill my freezer nicely :)

  3. otterbob

    otterbob New Member

    Mar 13, 2005
    Kumusta , Katharine

    That may be more then I can get to in detail on this laptop !

    The number one thing that almost everyone does wrong is "overfeeding"
    My NZ Whites get "one" ration a day when not bred , if preg. or have litters , they have food available all the time
    hay bunks are wonderful and will not only keep your cost down but your rabbits will do better.{you can cut back on pellets if you use hay bunks }
    you may be wondering how big is the "one" ration .
    Well for me I use an 8 oz tomatoe sauce can of pellets
    I do not use name brand feed , I use the pellets from the local feed mill .
    find one feed and stick with it do not jump from brand to brand .

    Can profits be made?
    Yes and No
    Profits generaly mean Business and rabbits will not make you a good business as per the IRS . if you file a farm secudle then make sure you are not classed as a hobbie with the irs .
    I live in colorado and there is only one store in 100 miles that sells rabbit meat . that store gets there rabbit prepacked from a local slaughter house which pays a very small price for live rabbits { no profit } .
    here is the problem in our area and most others .
    by law you are not allowed to sell meat that was not processed in a packing plant , now I could build a packing plant with all of the features the state requires at a reasonable price except one . "size" I talked with the state and ask if they would wave the size of the processing plant if I would meet there spec's on all of the other requirments , and they will not do that .
    here is the problem it's not the concreate floor and walls stainless untensels wiring plumbing doors clooing ect its that the size was for cattle .
    the state knows we could build a 10' x 12' plant and meet the requirments but are unwilling to change the laws for a few small time operators .

    You are allowed to process your own meat just not sell it .
    if you want good meat at good priceses yes raise rabbits .
    I would never tell you are anyone else to break the law . but I will tell you that most people that want rabbit will buy your rabbits if they see a nice clean operation and fine processed rabbit via word of mouth !

    Is it even reasonable to expect/think/hope to cover feed costs when breeding rabbits for meat ?

    Covered above !
    In addition butcher at 10 to 12 weeks of age , no mater the size , after 12 weeks the cost of feed to amount of gain is not worth your time or money {feed bill}

    exotic pet food?
    Yes , listen carefully,
    deal ONLY with the breeder that wants your rabbits not pet stores or ANYONE else { you could have protesters on your hands , and if you get protesters you will have every legal entity on your back }

    Where and how do you market your rabbits?
    DON'T Market , word of mouth only .

    What differences does region make?
    But rabbit "CAN" be raised everywhere

    In closing I would tell you to enjoy raising rabbits and have a lot of fun doing it .
    I raise mine because I love to do it and I am very fond of "sweet and sour bunny "

    Salamat , Otter Bob

    PS: I am new to this forum and this is my first post on this forum , hoping you want kick me out just yet.
  4. Vera

    Vera Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2003
    Ok, this means that there are legal differences from state to state. I read up on Arizona regulations before I started selling the meat to locals, and for rabbits, it's pretty much the same as for poultry. You're allowed to sell so many animals per year (can't remember the number, it's wayyyy beyond what I'd ever sell) without any particular restrictions and without any particular license. Commercial selling might be different though, say if you wanted to sell to restaurants or a processing plant. I haven't checked the regs on that because it's not what I want to do.

    In my very rural area, the best way to get customers is by word of mouth and via a flyer in the local post office. Since I feed the meat rabbits local greenery, I can classify them as "organically raised" without worry about what might have gone into their feed or where it came from. The health-conscious people around here seem to appreciate that, so what saves me money is actually a good sales point at the same time :)
  5. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2002
    Thanks for the replies,

    Welcome, otterbob, keep posting there is always a need for opinions :D . i think you are right Vera, I have not chceked into the laws deeply for selling meat, I do think thay can be very different.

    So far I have Chickens for eggs and chicks, goats for kids and maybe someday breeding stock and now rabbits for our table and for friends. It would be nice not to be eaten out of house and home ;)

    The biggest broblem in raising all these animals is the feed costs. I can now let the chickens forage some because of my Pyr. That really helps. I think you are right in that most animals are overfed. I am in the process now of cutting back on the rabbits. They were on full feed and I just found out they were not Pg :eek: , No wonder they were gaining and looking Pg. Thanks Katharine