These few years, many people have become more eco-conscious. Sustainability is no longer just a word that is tossed around. Instead, it is becoming a lifestyle that many are picking up. One key way that many could engage in a sustainable lifestyle is by growing and raising their own sources of food. However, this is not always possible for everyone. Growing plants and or raising animals for meat requires space. And not everyone would have that kind of space.
When it comes down to raising an animal for meat, rabbits are actually a great solution as they do not require that much space within your own living area. They also breed quickly and this allows you to have a constant supply of meat. Raising rabbits for meat is, therefore, something that is growing in popularity recently. However, not everyone knows exactly what raising rabbits for meat entails. This article then aims to satisfy any questions that one might have when it comes to raising rabbits for meat.
Laws And Regulations
This is a crucial point to know in one’s journey of raising a rabbit. Is it actually permissible for one to raise rabbits for meat in the area that they are staying? This may be a surprising fact for some. However, there are laws surrounding this. For example, the law may allow for raising rabbits. However, that is only if the rabbits are being raised as pets. Raising rabbits for meat may, unfortunately, be illegal. Or, it may be legal for one to raise their rabbits as meat on their property. But, it would be illegal for them to slaughter and clean their rabbits for eating.
If raising rabbits for meat in one’s home is illegal, one can still try their hand at raising rabbits for meat by raising them in a community garden or communal farm. These are usually places that the government has declared as space for sustainable living. Urban farming, such as raising livestock for meat, would thus, be allowable on such grounds. However, it is important to note that such places are only grounds for raising. Any slaughtering or cleaning must be done at a third-party processor
Necessities For Raising Rabbits
It is important to purchase and set up all and any equipment that rabbit raising would require before actually procuring the rabbits.
Living Spaces For The Rabbits
The first thing a rabbit raising operation needs is housing for the rabbits. This would be a hutch. A hutch is basically a tiny wooden living space for rabbits. In rabbit raising, two hutches would be needed at the very least as the male rabbits would have to be separated from the female rabbits. This is to ensure that overbreeding does not occur. Apart from that, the hutches also have to be built or constructed to the local standards for small livestock living enclosures.
For people who choose to build their own hutches, they’d have to be mindful of a few things. Firstly, they’d need to ensure that their hutches are built in a way that allows for easy cleaning. If not, waste will build up and create an unclean environment for their rabbits. A good solution to this is to usually have a removable base with a tray. The flooring of the hutch can then be something similar to wire mesh. This allows waste to fall into the tray below, and the tray can then be taken away for cleaning.
Secondly, there must also be space for newborn rabbits and their mothers. This is a private space that the mother can use for nursing. It also ensures the safety of newly born babies.
Thirdly, the hutch has to be built to consider the weather. In hotter climates, a fan would be extremely useful. In colder climates, a heater. Lastly, it may also be crucial to include an adjacent space to the hutch that allows the rabbits to move about. This would keep the rabbits in the healthiest state. Within the run, bedding should also be included as bedding would help keep the area clean. This is because the bedding would absorb waste. Soiled bedding can also be traded out for new bedding and this ensures that the run remains clean as well.
Another important point to take note of is that if the hutch is placed outside one’s own house, it might be best to build some security around it. This is to ensure that the rabbits are kept safe from predators.
A Rabbit’s Dietary and Hydration Needs
This is extremely important when raising rabbits for meat. Providing good feed and sufficient water to one’s rabbits is needed to make sure that the rabbit’s meat turns out good.
Water is extremely important as rabbits require high amounts of hydration. The water can be supplied through a water bottle and the water should be clean and fresh as well. Please also ensure that there is sufficient water for all the rabbits within the hutch.
When it comes to food, there are two main concerns. Firstly, the container in which the food is stored. The container has to be one with a close latticework frame or one that has a sifting ability. Essentially, this is needed so as to prevent rabbits from getting into the food and or the container, and consequently, cause contamination. This is crucial in preventing illnesses from befalling the herd. Secondly, the type of food the rabbits require. Rabbits mainly require three types of food – hay, fresh vegetables, and pellets. Hay should comprise 80 to 90 percent of a rabbit’s diet. The higher the quality of hay, the better. As such, one of the best hays possible would be Timothy Hay. The fresh vegetables should then be vegetables like carrots or lettuce and the pellets should be ones that provide the rabbits with a good source of protein.
Rabbits can be very sensitive to their food and any changes to their food can easily cause them to be ill. Therefore, the food given to the herd should also stay as consistent as possible.
Transforming The Rabbits Into Consumable Meat
This is essentially about slaughtering and butchering the rabbits into meat for consumption. If the laws allow, this can be done all at one’s own home. Otherwise, one would have to take the rabbits to a processing place for this step.
If this is done at one’s own home, an area for this process must be created. This place must be stocked well with the necessary equipment, such as knives and other tools. It should also be somewhere that is clean and sanitized so as to prevent contamination of the meat. A water source and a refrigerator or freezer should also be easily on hand.
Raising rabbits for meat is definitely something that one can pick up in order to be more sustainable. However, it is not as simple as it seems and one must definitely give some thought into the requirements and demands of this job before picking it up.