What is involved in going commercial?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by tobo6, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I'm getting curious about going commercial. Could someone let me know the ins and outs. We have in the past raised rabbits for our own use, and family, friends. The last couple months I bred to sell to other people. It's all been quite fun, and we really enjoy it. What all is involved with finding a processor to buy rabbits. If there are links that you have, so I know their requirements, it would be appreciated.

    Also, I am not a member of ARBA (yet). What are the benefits of joining? Is it mainly if you are wanting to sell pedigree rabbits?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.
    mljjranch
     
  2. gefozarks

    gefozarks Well-Known Member

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    The hardest part after raising the rabbits which from what you have said you are doing ok is getting a market for your rabbits. As far as the ARBA IMHO it is more suited to those who want to show rabbits. If you want info regarding the commercial raising of rabbits why not join the PRMA(Professional Rabbit Meat Association) www.prma.com Pat Lamar who if you have been reading this forum is the President and they give you a lot of info about raising commercially. I think the dues are for online only $10 a year and for $15 a year you get a hard copy of the journal mailed to your home.
     

  3. Jaclynne

    Jaclynne Well-Known Member Supporter

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    gefozarks -

    Are you sure about this link? It took me to Puerto Rica Manufacture Assoc. 8O

    I think the link is www.prma.org .

    Halo
     
  4. gefozarks

    gefozarks Well-Known Member

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    :oops: :oops: :oops: Boy am I emabarassed yes the correct website is www.prma.org :oops: :oops: :oops: It is after all a non profit organization with the goal of education for those who want and those that are raising rabbits for meat. :rolleyes:
     
  5. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for mentioning PRMA, I had looked at the site before, but looked again. Now I am waiting for dh to look at it before deciding to join or not. I also knew Pat was in charge. :)
    I've also found in the last couple days http://forums.delphiforums.com/rabbitcommunity which seems to have a little info on it. I guess I am basically asking and wanting to hear how hard it is. It seems that PRMA would be something you have to join if you want a list of processors and buyers. I have called two places close to us that are meat wholesalers, and they said they buy most meats but rabbit was not one of them. So, I will continue to read and find out as much as I can. Thanks.

    mljjranch
     
  6. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First off, I would strongly advise you to visit the "Commercial Rabbit Industries" web site and check out the extensive "Meat Rabbits" category at: http://www.3-cities.com/~fuzyfarm . It gives information on how to ship to processors, etc. Wholesalers cannot purchase rabbit meat for resale purposes unless it has been adequately processed in a licensed facility.

    You can also e-mail me and ask for the most current listing of participating rabbit processors and buyers at:

    fuzyfarm@3-cities.com

    Each processor has their own requirements. You will need to contact the processor of choice to find out.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
     
  7. Hotel Californian

    Hotel Californian Member

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    Visit all of the sites suggested especially Pat's site and read everything you can. Feel free to visit my online library at:
    http://www.hospitalaccess.com/hotel/readingroom.htm.

    However of you are really interested in finding out more about the commercial aspect of raising rabbits joining PRMA is the best investment you'll ever make. Even if you stay small and keep a small warren supplying yourself and a small group of customers, the subscription will pay for itself in knowledge gained resulting in money saved.

    Much more than a list of processors, they publish a journal every two months which is approximately 36 pages filled with information on the meat rabbit industry, growers, processors, current trends, legal issues, scientific reports on rabbit growing, and much more. Additionally, as a new member you'll receive a Breeder's Directory which comes in handy when referring people looking for stock or when you'd like to network with like-minded. Also, you'll receive a Guide Book filled with
    commercial grower articles and information. Back copies of the journals are available for minimal cost which I'd recommend because I have received some journals that have better information than I've gotten out of some entire books. Or use the members area of the website to download all of the previous journals to your computer at no additional cost.

    Sales I've made from being listed on their online breeder's directory alone pays for my membership.

    All this for a measly $15 makes joining a no-brainer. For me, and for my financial bottom line, not joining would cost me more IMHO.



     
  8. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Pat, I just sent you a email. :)

    Hotel Cal.- I will check out the website. Thanks for explaining PRMA, we will be joining. I really needed to hear what it was all about, and it seems like it WILL have the information that I seek. Dh is going to have some time off this weekend, so I plan on going over everything with him.

    Thanks again!
    mljjranch
     
  9. Hotel Californian

    Hotel Californian Member

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    mljjranch,

    On another note, I often read about people that have a homestead rabbit operation, are successful, and want to go commercial. At the same time many people will tell you to grow into rabbit raising, learning as you grow. All of which begs the question, What do you do between 3 rabbits and 300 rabbits?

    Although throughout much of the world rabbits are raised in small numbers, not much is provided for the individual wanting to keep 20-200 cages. Interestingly enough, due to an ever increasing urbanization, and the need for many country dwellers to maintain day jobs, this is all that many rabbits raisers can handle. Unfortuanately though, much of the information out there speaks to either the pet owner or the large herd grower. Where is the small herd grower to get his information?

    Of course you're going to have to read between the lines of each book/magazine/journal understanding from what point of view it was written. Books written from the pet rabbit standpoint are totally useless IMHO. Although most books written for the commercial meat raiser are great information-wise, they fail to account for the realities of raising small numbers of rabbits, paying higher feed costs than the large herd grower, and the economies of transporting 30-40 rabbits 100 miles and maintaining a profit margin at the same time. It is almost impossible for a small herd grower to pay $2.00 more per sack of feed and $40.00 in gas to market 30-40 rabbits and come out profitable.

    The small herd grower is in a unique situation. Too small to fully capitalize on economy of scale, too large for the effort to not to pay for itself (i.e. too large to consider it a hobby). Alternatives to the methods of large herd growers and fancy growers must be found if the small herd grower is to be successful. Either the cost of production and feed must be reduced and/or the price received must be increased. You'll find that careful shopping may bring your feed costs down while securing you a quality feed (look to local mills), however that probably still might not make you profitable if you have to take a day off and drive your rabbits any distance to a processing plant.

    Instead look to expand your rabbitry in stages and find alternative markets along the way which pay more for your rabbits than the typical $.85 lb average received from processors. From the outset look to raising a product that is marketable to as many potential buyers as possible. Only you know if you live outside a major pet market vs. a rural community. Either way rabbits can make a profit for you during that 20-200 cage stage. I recommend your securing high quality purebred stock which is marketable to both fancy as well as commercial buyers. A top quality New Zealand or Californian is appealing to processors, homesteaders, reptile breeders, BARFers, show folks, and the dinner table as either a meat rabbit, a feeder rabbit, show rabbit, or an main course entree. Place most of your efforts into selling your quality stock to your markets that pay the premium for your efforts while keeping your costs the least- breeding stock picked up directly from your farm is an example. Selling to processors is easy and great too if you live close enough and can squeak out a profit from the difference between what you pay for feed and what they'll pay for live weight meat rabbits. But, you'll likely find that until you can go big with a huge herd you're going to be lucky to pay the feed bill selling to a processor. Still it's a profitable option for some situations.

    Although Bob Bennett gets some things incorrect in his books, and while we has never been a commercial grower being a fancy breeder himself, he does speak well and at length to the marketing issues of small herd growers. (And there are many times more small herd growers than large.) I'll give him good grades on containing costs and marketing advice to small growers. Used copies of his books can be had on E-Bay cheaply enough and while I'll hold on tightly to my copy of Rabbit Production, his efforts on small herd marketing are well worth the small price you'll pay to get a couple of his older books.

    Good luck!

    Larry Coble
    Hotel Californian Rabbitry
    http://www.logicsouth.com/~carabbits
     
  10. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    Central Texas
    Since Larry mentioned "Rabbit Production", the book can
    be ordered online at a good price.

    http://www.phschool.com/catalog/course_list.cfm?sub_id=16&cid=202

    I agree with Larry's assessment of PRMA. And Larry's
    "library" is great!

    Another source of information is Pat Lamar's weekly
    Thursday night chat. We are fortunate to have
    Dr. Mark Grobner in attendance with Pat Lamar.
    I believe I am correct in stating that Mark has worked
    in research with all the authors of "Rabbit Production".
    Mark also maintains a LARGE commercial NZ operation.

    Not all weekly chats have a topic so don't be disappointed
    if some of the time is just taken up with the group getting
    caught up on "what's happening".

    Good luck with your endeavor.

    Linda