Raise Rabbits as Food Storage

March 20, 2013 | 28 comment(s)

Have you ever thought about expanding your food storage to include raising livestock? Perhaps you’re interested in increasing your home food production? Given that many of us live in suburban neighborhoods where there are zoning restrictions, space issues, and time concerns, you may think that raising animals is a pipe dream. Well, what about rabbits?

For the prepper lifestyle, rabbits make a very attractive food source. For anyone who is interested in a healthy, lean, delicious meat, rabbits are the way to go.  – Sharon Hanks

If you have the space (and it doesn't take much), consider including rabbits in your long-term food production and storage plan. Rabbits can provide fresh meat without the space requirements that cattle need and without the noise that chickens create. Read about the other benefits of raising rabbits from Sharon at Skyview Acres. 

The Guide to Raising and Breeding Rabbits for Meat from Mother Earth News is another resources that's packed with information. It's written for beginners, by a beginner. Here’s an excerpt:

A Chinchilla weighing three pounds, live weight will cost you from 25 to 35 cents or a little more to raise. You'd pay a dollar, at least, in the market for him. 

The article also brings up how much time you’ll need to put into raising the rabbits, what a hutch should have, and what to feed your rabbits. 

And of course, what would a blog about raising rabbits be if we didn’t talk about how quickly those wascally wabbits multiply? First, let’s be clear on one thing: the world does not need more pet rabbits. There are plenty of pet rabbits in stores and shelters. If you’re squeamish about turning the rabbits you raise into meat, find someone who might be able to butcher them for you before you start breeding, because you’ll quickly have a lot of rabbits on your hands.

Rabbit gestation is about 30 days, and litters can run from 5-12 kits, depending on how you’ve bred your does. 7 kits is generally recognized as a manageable litter size (for you and the doe). It’s recommended that you give your doe at least 40 days after the last litter before breeding again. If I’ve done my math correctly (and I’m using a conservative time estimate) that’s 42 rabbits – from one doe. 

 

If you’d like rabbit meat without having to raise them yourself, check these links for breeders in your area.

http://www.rudolphsrabbitranch.com/rrrbrdusa.htm USA by state (lists also available for Australia and Canada)

http://rabbitbreeders.us/state-rabbit-breeders-index (some on this list are show breeders so read carefully)

 

Here are other informative articles on raising rabbits. 

Raising Rabbits: Helfpul Suggestions for Beginners from Washington State University 

A Primer on Backyard Meat Rabbit Raising Practices by Mary-Frances R. Bartels of Rudolph’s Rabbit Ranch and Waterfowl Farm 

American Rabbit Breeder’s Association, Inc.

Follow one of the great conversations on raising meat rabbits from our Emergency Essentials Be Prepared Forum.


This post was posted in Uncategorized and was tagged with food storage, Be Prepared Forum, Emergency Essentials, meat rabbits, home food production, Mother Earth News, Chincilla, Californian, suburb, bunny, breeders, rabbit, association, American, Skyview Acres

Comments

  • Ann  |  March 21, 2013

    It would be a good idea to get one to cook and eat from a breeder, before you do anything else.

  • Jonathan Rice  |  March 25, 2014

    Rabbit is a very nutritious meat and easy to raise. They require little maintenance and can be raised just about anywhere. You can butcher a rabbit in under 5 minutes and much easier than chicken. Rabbits don't tolerate heat well above 90 degrees but cold is not a problem. I move them to an air conditioned shed in summer as I live in GA. New Zealand Whites and Californias are the best for producing meat.

  • lewis  |  March 25, 2014

    so, in Orem / Provo, Ut, how many rabbits, can be raised,
    without incurring the wrath of the city / ones neighbors

  • Nancy  |  March 25, 2014

    Poor rabbits probably don't want to be confined, killed or eaten though.

  • TSgt B  |  March 25, 2014

    As a rabbit hunter with almost 50m years of experience, I can attest to the fact that WILD rabbit is delicious. As rabbit meat is RED meat, you can substitute it for pork, beef, chicken (it is very lean) or just about any type of meat you can think of, Roast it, bake it, fry it, stew it, you can even make rabbit jerky.

    Just remember, rabbit is VERY LEAN. Like venison (deer) and elk, you should add healthy fat to your recipes.

    Also, DO NOT OVERCOOK. This is a mistake that way too many people make with most wild or lean game.

    If you raise a garden, you will do far better than most, and the rabbit droppings make very good fertilizer. If you also raise chickens, your garden will thank you forever.

    Raising either, keep your .22 handy for predators.

    1 more thing: groundhog makes a fine meal also. They eat the same thing that wild rabbits eat, are very lean, and have a LOT of meat. The younger, the better, and prepare them the same as you would rabbit, squirrel, deer, beef, or even chicken.

    Happy Hiccups!

  • Jon  |  March 25, 2014

    I have raised rabbit for years. Originally on my parents farm as an additional protein from our other livestock, now in a neighborhood we raise it as our primary meat source. It's healthy, very good and extremely easy to manage. Not to mention the kids love to see the little critters from birth to more mature rabbits. They also love to sit down to a good rabbit dinner too.

  • Northwoods Cheryl  |  March 25, 2014

    I have raised rabbits for many many years as a source of good lean meat. A few things to remember, especially if you have children: Only "name" the breeding stock. It will be very hard to kill and eat something you have given a name to. They do NOT have to have store bought expensive pelleted feed. Rabbits are VERY cheap to raise. Of course, depending on your climate, you can pick things such as grasses, etc and give them garden weeds and they do great! It works best if you let the greens dry in the sun first. They love kitchen peelings, though not raw potato skins. They have a hard time digesting them. Bread products, biscuits that didn't turn out right or other bakery items are well received as well. They do need SOME grain products especially in cold weather. Cracked corn works great as do oats, fed supplementally. They taste much like dark meat chicken. I like to cut them into pieces, brown after dusting with flour, and then cook them in a casserole pan on lower heat, about 275 degrees, for a few hours in a pint or so of half and half, to which salt, pepper, and a touch of cinnamon have been added. VERY tasty; out version of "Cinnabuns". Bake them like any chicken type meat.. in casseroles, etc. The cheapest form of protein you can raise! Oh, they have trouble in hot weather. I freeze plastic soda bottles of water, keeping them capped, lay the bottle of ice on it's side in the pen. The rabbits will lay along side it if they are too warm. They won't breed if they're overheated. Hope this helps someone!

  • bumpkin  |  March 25, 2014

    LOVE the pic of Pot'O'Bunny above! ha!

  • Linda  |  March 25, 2014

    My father-in-law raised rabbits, and I cringed at the idea of eating cute bunnies. They usually fixed the meat like fried chicken - and it was quite good - sort of like....chicken! For my family, when my husband wanted rabbit, I usually added a few pieces of chicken to fry, along with the rabbit. On one occasion, I fried ONLY rabbit. My kids knew how I felt - and I instructed them to call dinner "fried CHICKEN". Everyone complied - until my 8-year-old daughter asked for another piece of "chicken", removed it from the platter, and said "hippity hop, hippity hop" as she bounced it onto her plate! Horrors! Everyone else laughed - and I had to agree it was funny. Fortunately, I eventually 'got over it', and have enjoyed rabbit prepared many ways - usually braised, fried or stewed. The meat is VERY low fat - so baking can dry it out unless you take care. The 'loin' section is often prepared in interesting ways by 'chefs de cuisine', since it is a fairly bland meat that readily accepts flavorings. The meat is very good - it's just a matter of 'acclimating yourself' to the idea. Have someone else take care for the animals, and you just do the cooking - when they're ready to cook!

  • Christie Taylor  |  March 25, 2014

    This is sickening. Rabbits are pets. Catch stray cats if you're that hungry.

  • Sandra  |  March 25, 2014

    Rabbits are livestock, needing daily care. No family vacations, no skipping chores, no matter what the weather. Then there's butchering. Be sure you like the final product on the plate before taking on the challenge . And watch out for zoning laws!

  • Ann Glass  |  March 25, 2014

    Their cost figures are deceptive. Rabbit is still cheaper to raise, and in a pinch you can forage their food for them. However, you have to consider the cost of feeding the doe, the buck, as well as the litter, and rabbit feed is now about $15.00 for 50 lbs. The cost for a frozen rabbit is about $10, so it is cheaper to raise them and they are sustainable. They are also faster and easier to clean than chickens.

  • Kelly  |  March 25, 2014

    Christie: One common rule is that Rabbits are food, Bunnies are pets. And either way they were food long before they were pets. No one is saying to make a meal out of a fuzzy lop house bunny, but meat rabbits are for eating. No shame as long as they have clean comfortable habitats, and a swift end.

  • wendy  |  March 25, 2014

    no cats for me I ll leave that for the philipines but rabbits are a good source of protein for preppers with smaller yards and not much acreage.

  • Justin  |  March 25, 2014

    @Christie Taylor
    Hey not a bad idea! you guys should come up with some cat recipes for emergencies :). I bet a nice fat house cat would be better than any stray XD

  • pat  |  March 25, 2014

    Never thought of rabbits. I guess like my grandma used to say, if you get hungry enough...

  • Merlene  |  March 25, 2014

    Rabbit is a great homestead animal. A doe can produce for up to 4 years and give more meat in a year than a cow can produce. They are quiet and add to the garden with droppings that do not need to be composted first. They can be fed tops from beets, carrots, dandelions, and kale, NEVER LETTUCE! Apple slices once in a while. Also you know that there aren't any pesticides or hormones in them and they are treated humanely to the end. There are many additional meat breeds=American Chinchilla, Palominos, Satin, Champagne D'Argent, Standard Rex, Crème D'Argent and Cinnamon. Check out the ARBA website it has a lot of good info. Check out a Rabbit show in your area. Rabbit breeders love to help others raise rabbits.

  • Johnny Metall  |  March 25, 2014

    these self-important knuckle draggers should just eat their young.

  • AppyHorsey  |  March 25, 2014

    I raise my bunnies in a HUGE communal pen. They are on dirt, so they can dig burrows and live (kind of) like rabbits are supposed to live. They don't get so over heated in summer, because they can go underground. I try to give them (and all my critters) as good a life (and as close to "normal) as I possibly can, before I murder and eat the poor things.

  • Linda  |  March 25, 2014

    Shame on you for promoting this. I am unsubscribing and shopping elsewhere.

  • XAOS  |  March 25, 2014

    Christie, rabbits were game long before they were ever pets. if you don't like it, don't eat. Why did you click an article about raising them as food if it offends you?

  • Sheryl  |  March 25, 2014

    Regarding feeding your rabbits: I used to go to the local supermarket and ask them for old carrots and lettuce that they were going to throw out. I brought it home for free to feed to my rabbits. I also used to buy horse feed by the 50-lb. bag to feed my rabbits. It was, as I recall, a mixture of pellets and grains, with some honey added. They loved it. I agree with the lady who said that, except for your permanent breeding stock, don't ever name your rabbits. I do recommend you keep track of each rabbit's genealogy, so you don't inadvertently mate rabbits that are closely related, such as a rabbit and its parent, or perhaps two siblings. I did that once, and the mother ate her kits.

  • yoly fred  |  March 26, 2014

    I think that raising rabbits for meat helps children and adults appreciate the meat that we eat and take for granted every day. I grew up on a small farm with chickens, ducks, goats and rabbits, all of which we ate at one time or another.
    It is better not to name your meat rabbits cutesy pet names. That just makes it more difficult when butcher time comes.
    On our farms we named or cows names like TBone or Stewie. LOL. It helped us understand their purpose.

    Domestic and wild animals are available for our use and consumption. the food chain is part of life.... plus rabbit meat is delicious. :)

  • Jeanni Hunt  |  March 26, 2014

    Linda...please do.

  • Nancy Parker  |  March 27, 2014

    Rabbits are for livestock and are easier to butcher than fowl with all those feathers. You can stretch and sell or trade the the hide and the meat isn't bad. Felines on the other hand have a raunchy nasty taste and you have to worry about parasites as well as worms even if the vet sees them regularly. Eat rabbit the other red meat.

  • JD  |  April 5, 2014

    Christie, good idea to eat cats and not bunnies. The only problem is I've eaten all the cats in the neighborhood and now we have more bunnies. Yummy!

  • Mike H  |  April 8, 2014

    Eat your young

  • Lori B  |  April 10, 2014

    Christie and Linda: You'll eat cows, chickens, fish but draw the line at rabbits? Why, because they're cuter? I'll bet bet in an emergency situation where your children are hungry you'll be just fine with feeding them rabbit. Thank you, Emergency Essentials, for providing great information.

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