6 Easy Things for a Stress Free Start with Meat Rabbits

I took a count on my rabbits this morning and I’m a bit baffled. What started as a single pair (buck and doe) has turned into 16 of breeding age! At one point I had over 30! Rabbits really do breed like….well, rabbits. Being successful with this easy and inexpensive meat source is only a few steps away.

When we started down the rabbit hole of meat rabbits my hubby wasn’t convinced, he hates putting money into something that he doesn’t see a return on. I did a little research and was convinced that if I could keep a horse and goats alive, rabbits would be a piece of cake.

I may have been a little sneaky….ok, a lot sneaky, about how I got rabbits onto the property. I convinced my hubby that the girls would love a rabbit for Easter and he finally gave in. If I made sure that we just happened to pick out a buck and a doe it was purely by chance *wink, wink*.

If you’re considering meat rabbits, here are 6 things to double check:

  1. How many?

    • This will depend on your family size. An average doe can and will reproduce every 30 days for about 8-9 months out of the year. At an average litter size of 5-9 and an average grow out weight of 3-5 pounds you could expect to have 28 pounds of processed rabbits per litter.

  1. Where will they live?

    • There is no wrong or right answer but there are 3 most common. Hutches, cages, or colony style. All of this will depend on your goals, space, and personal preference. Please keep in mind that rabbits are prey animals and need secured from everything.

  1. What will you feed them?

    • Whether you will feed fresh vegetation, hay and grain, or commercialized feed is up to you. Keep in mind what your end goals are from your rabbit project are and do your research about their nutritional needs.

  2. How will you butcher them?

    • An inevitable end for one of our meat sources, but know that you have options. Two of the most common being a pellet gun and cervical dislocation. Both are effective and relatively easy on the rabbit and the human.

  3. What kind of rabbits?

    • This will depend on your goals. Are you wanting meat only? Will you also want to use the pelts? Will you sell some to other homesteaders or as pets? There are breeds to suit every need.

  4. Do you know common signs of illness?

    • While I wouldn’t say that rabbits get sick often, knowing common signs will help you stay ahead of trouble. Rabbits often don’t show signs of being sick until much too far into an illness. Knowing what to look for ahead of time will be a lifesaver, literally.

6 Easy Things

Whether you’re a planner or a jump in with both feet type person getting started with rabbits can be easy and relatively inexpensive. When we started with our first pair we had less than $50 into the entire venture. Considering all the tastey meals that have come from that first step I would say that it was money well invested.

What are your questions when it comes to raising rabbits? How can I help?

Love. Grace. Blessings to your place.

Val

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