The Future of the Commercial Rabbitry

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by dlwelch, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2002
    Central Texas
    Chat topic: "The Future of the Commercial Rabbitry"
    Thursday, 1/4/07

    Due to increased feed prices, fuel costs, location of processors,
    and the threat from animal rights extremists, what does the
    future hold for a commercial rabbit meat venture?

    Time: 8:00PM - 10:00PM Central

    (Moderators: Pat Lamar, Mark Grobner & Linda Welch)

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  2. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    New York bordering Ontario
    Linda, I read the chat log tonight (wasn't able to get on last night) and it seems pretty clear a major problem is the price of feed. It certainly is the major cost for me.

    Does anyone feed large amounts of hay along with lesser amounts of commercial pellets? I know it would be more labor intensive, but I'm wondering if it would be an appreciable savings in feed, especially for gestating does and the bucks?


  3. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

    Aug 25, 2002
    Central Texas
    The problem I have with using hay to sustain production in a
    commercial endeavor is that it changes the entire makeup of
    the diet. The protein content is not guaranteed with the
    sale of the hay in our area. Some hay will have very little
    protein, especially in times of drought (as we have experienced
    for the past 2 years). You certainly don't want to be fooling
    around with the feed nutrition of the breeding stock or, for that
    matter, the fryers. Sufficient vitamins are extremely important
    to maintain fertility in the does and bucks. Decreasing those
    levels could cost you dearly in the long run.

    I don't like fryers fed with additional fiber. They are slow growing
    which increases my liability for loss, the coats are duller (are
    they as healthy?) and the flesh is softer. Along with the
    increased liability for loss, I would think the water consumption
    would be greater (longer period of time at farm) and, as you
    say, the labor is more intensive.

    Hay is messy. The loss is appreciable. It's certainly time
    consuming especially if one markets the manure and needs
    to have the hay removed for certain applications.

    Although I don't know *every* commercial producer, I don't
    know any who routinely supplement with hay to maintain
    production and lessen the cost of gain. To me, it is not cost

    Can you tell that I'm not a fan of adjusting nutrient intake?

    Towards the end of the published chat, we determined that
    some producers are having serious production problems.
    Our next scheduled chat will be "Overcoming Production Problems".

    The chat continued for another hour after I left. That particular
    area of discussion will be expanded in a future chat.