Nowadays, it’s hard to find rabbit meat sold in supermarkets. That’s why it’s not a staple in many people’s diets unlike chicken, pork, and beef. However, rabbit meat is one of the most nutritious sources of meat there. Not only is it higher in protein than chicken and duck, but it’s also lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol compared to most types of meat. That’s why, for most who eat rabbit meat, the easiest and most cost-efficient way to get a steady supply of rabbit meat throughout the year is to rear your own rabbits! Rearing rabbits is actually easier than you think and you don’t need a lot of space to do it either. In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about raising your own rabbits for meat. So if you’re interested to know more, keep reading!
Breeds of rabbits
First things first, you need to know what breeds of rabbits there are for you to choose from. You’re going to want to choose a breed that doesn’t grow to be very long or stocky. This is because stocky rabbits tend to reproduce less as their reproductive organs are more compressed. If you’re rearing rabbits not just for their meat but also to sell their fur, then you might want to get a breed that has white fur. White fur usually gets sold at a higher price compared to other colors of fur. However, if you don’t intend on selling fur but are still interested in making your own clothes, rugs, or other accessories, then it may be better to have a variety of fur colors. Here are three of the most common breeds for rabbits for rearing:
1. New Zealand
New Zealand rabbits are the most popular breed of rabbits for rearing. They’re a cross between Golden Fawn rabbits and Belgian Hares and come in different shades of white and red. If you’re just starting off, we recommend choosing New Zealand rabbits as they’re hardy and don’t fall sick easily. New Zealand does usually weigh up to 12 pounds while bucks can weigh up to 10 pounds.
Made with ultra-durable materials like anti-corrosion wood with a white finish, it is protected from all types of weather and can withstand wear and tear. It is wide and spacious, and comes with a slope.
The perfect substitute for the natural burrow or den, this nesting box provides comfort and security, reducing stress and elongating your rabbits’ lives. Its rolled edges are made of rust-resistant galvanized steel.
Made of 600D Oxford Cloth Fabric, this is bite resistant and durable enough to last a long time. There is a hook design so that you can easily connect it to a wire cage and the feeder sack is removable.
2. Flemish Giant
As their name suggests, Flemish GIant rabbits are the largest breed of rabbits that people rear. They can grow up to 22 pounds, almost twice the weight of New Zealand rabbits. However, most rearers usually butcher them when they grow up to around 15 pounds.
Satin rabbits are definitely one of the best-looking rabbits and have extremely soft and shiny coats that are great for making clothes. White Satin rabbits are especially popular. However, their coats also come in other colors like blue, black, copper, and red. Size-wise, they’re slightly smaller than New Zealand rabbits, with does weighing up to 10 pounds and bucks weighing around nine pounds.
After you’ve decided on a breed to get, you should get them young, preferably right after weaning. Not only are younger rabbits, or kittens, cheaper, you’ll be able to start your rearing journey as close to the start of the rabbit’s natural breeding cycle.
You won’t need to purchase a lot of rabbits for your seed stock as well. You’ll usually only require two does and a buck. As the saying ‘breed like rabbits’ goes, this seed stock will multiply very quickly so it’s best to keep your starting number of rabbits to a minimum.
The Rabbit Hutch and Furnishings
Rabbits are hardy animals and can withstand most climates. That being said, they’re not immune to adverse weather conditions. As such, it’s important that their hutches are able to protect them from super hot or super cold temperatures. What’s more, unlike other reared animals like chickens, rabbits need individual hutches.
Arranging the hutches in a single-tier is one of the most common arrangements for rabbit hutches. Single-tier hutches are extremely easy to clean as all you need to do is install a self-cleaning wire cloth bottom that can collect waste material like dropping. When it’s time to clean, all you have to do is remove the bottom and dump the waste material in the bin or on your vegetable as compost.
Alternatively, you can save yourself the trouble of cleaning the bin by setting up your own worn farm in it. To get rid of any odors, simply sprinkle some alfalfa meal, paper pulp, or hay.
Most rabbit rearers recommend against opening hutches frequently. So, mangers and troughs that are placed inside each hutch should be refillable from the outside.
In each hutch, you’re also going to need to install nesting boxes at birthing time. Nesting boxes should be lined with straw and should have a removable top that will let you change the bedding or examine the litter conveniently. Nesting boxes should be prepared and placed in a female rabbit’s hutch 25 days after mating has taken place.
Known for its soft texture and sweet flavor that pets absolutely love, this orchard grass is harvested fresh from the farm and hand packed with care. It provides all the essential fibers too.
With a unique shallow shape, this is made of food grade low density polyethylene and suitable for feeding small animals with. It is easy to handle, especially with strong handles and a flexible body.
As most people say: You are what you eat. The main purpose of rearing rabbits is for their meat. So, in order to get good-quality meat, you need to feed your rabbits well. Protein is an important part of a rabbit’s diet and nutrition as this will affect their growth as well as how well they’re able to reproduce. So, you want to ensure that the pellets that you feed your rabbit include enough protein. Besides pellets, you can also supplement your rabbits’ diets by giving them hay, vegetables, corn, and grains from time to time. However, it’s important to note that green vegetables give young rabbits diarrhea. So, you should avoid feeding them to young rabbits.
On top of feeding your rabbits well, you also need to make sure that they’re properly hydrated. Water troughs or bottles should always be filled with water so that your rabbits have access to water at all times.
With this, we’ve come to the end of this article. We hope you’ve managed to learn a thing or two about rearing rabbits and might even be inspired to start rearing them yourself! Though rearing rabbits isn’t complicated, you still need to do your homework and find out more information in order to raise healthy rabbits and get good-quality meat. Remember, at the end of the day, the rabbits you rear are for your consumption so the way that they’re cared for and fed will affect their quality of meat.
|1||CO-Z Topnotch Weatherproof Hutch|
Made with ultra-durable materials like anti-corrosion wood with a white finish, it is protected from all types of weather and wide.
|2||Miller AN1 Nesting Box|
The perfect substitute for the natural burrow or den, this steel nesting box provides comfort and security to reduce stress.
|3||Rabbit Hay Feeder Bag|
Made of 600D Oxford Cloth Fabric, this is bite resistant and durable enough to last a long time. There is even a hook design.
|4||Oxbow Farm Orchard Grass|
Known for its soft texture and sweet flavor that pets absolutely love, this orchard grass is harvested and picked fresh from the farm.
|5||TubTrug 3.9 Gallon|
With a unique shallow shape, this is made of food grade low density polyethylene and suitable for feeding small animals with.