Looking for advice on raising rabbits for meat

kenzie

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Hello. I recently joined here. I’ve been wanting to raise rabbits for a while now. I am looking for advice on what breed is best (based on size, speed of growth etc), housing, feed, pricing, breeding, and butchering them. How old are rabbits generally when butchered? Anything else that seems necessary to know would be appreciated, too. Thanks in advance.
 

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I intended to raise rabbits for meat, but pet sales paid for them. The only way that breeding for show, 4-H stock works well is having a way to deal with culls that doesnt affect your market or reputation (a.k.a. eating them).

My advice is to get a nearly show quality trio of any breed that is desirable but not terribly popular, and appropriate for meat. Breed selectively, cull heavily. The culls fill your freezer, and sell as pets in $40+ price range, and sell show potential in $60+ range. Desirable show rabbits routinely go for $100 - $200. Doesnt take too many pet or show sales to get them paying for themselves, and anything that doesnt sell goes to your freezer.

Red-eyed white is not desired in pet sales, so steer clear of that if you might try pet sales, and cull out what you can. Pet buyers pick by color and sometimes temperament. Show buyers start with structure first.

Re: feed, hay is best and pellets only should be a small part, usually 1 Tablespoon per pound of rabbit per day. They eat way more hay or grass than people expect. Keeping them on grass is an option at times, but they'll need a large space or to be moved frequently.
 

kenzie

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I intended to raise rabbits for meat, but pet sales paid for them. The only way that breeding for show, 4-H stock works well is having a way to deal with culls that doesnt affect your market or reputation (a.k.a. eating them).

My advice is to get a nearly show quality trio of any breed that is desirable but not terribly popular, and appropriate for meat. Breed selectively, cull heavily. The culls fill your freezer, and sell as pets in $40+ price range, and sell show potential in $60+ range. Desirable show rabbits routinely go for $100 - $200. Doesnt take too many pet or show sales to get them paying for themselves, and anything that doesnt sell goes to your freezer.

Red-eyed white is not desired in pet sales, so steer clear of that if you might try pet sales, and cull out what you can. Pet buyers pick by color and sometimes temperament. Show buyers start with structure first.

Re: feed, hay is best and pellets only should be a small part, usually 1 Tablespoon per pound of rabbit per day. They eat way more hay or grass than people expect. Keeping them on grass is an option at times, but they'll need a large space or to be moved frequently.
What breed/s would you recommend? I'm perfectly fine with the culling. Though I would have to watch some videos, all I've ever butchered are chickens.
Can they be fed only hay? Or are pellets a necessity?
 
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tortoise

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What breed/s would you recommend? I'm perfectly fine with the culling. Though I would have to watch some videos, all I've ever butchered are chickens.
Can they be fed only hay? Or are pellets a necessity?
Haunt local swap meet and livestock sale groups to see what breeds are glutted in your area and which command higher prices. In my area, mixes have little or no value - lucky to get $5 for one. Netherland dwarf are bred a lot here too. French Angora do pretty well around me - not a whole lot of them being sold and they're holding $40+ prices and moving fast.

I would plan on feeding production animals pellets. Your buck(s) and rabbits that arent currently producing can eat hay. Timothy or grass hay. Alfalfa is too rich for being the main diet.
 

kenzie

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Haunt local swap meet and livestock sale groups to see what breeds are glutted in your area and which command higher prices. In my area, mixes have little or no value - lucky to get $5 for one. Netherland dwarf are bred a lot here too. French Angora do pretty well around me - not a whole lot of them being sold and they're holding $40+ prices and moving fast.

I would plan on feeding production animals pellets. Your buck(s) and rabbits that arent currently producing can eat hay. Timothy or grass hay. Alfalfa is too rich for being the main diet.
I've seen tons of rabbits at a livestock trading event that's at my feed store, but I've never asked what breeds. What breeds do you raise?
 

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I've seen tons of rabbits at a livestock trading event that's at my feed store, but I've never asked what breeds. What breeds do you raise?
I don't anymore. I have raised French Angora in the distant past and miniature wooled rabbits in the near past.
 

Chic Rustler

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the best meat rabbits are Californian and new Zealand white. I like to habe a cali buck and white does. the offspring do well.

take the doe to the buck at 6 months of age. let him fall off twice. give her a nest box 28 days later. rebreed her 4 to 5 days after ahe kindled for larger litters.

wien the bunnies at 4 weeks. then she will need a nest box in a couple days. keep an eye on her wieght. after 2 or 3 litters she will need a break.

the need shade! rabbits dont get cold but heat is a killer. I lost one on a 70 degree day from heat stroke.

don't let the does get fat in the off season or they won't be receptive. and stop breeding before spring temps hit 85.


butchering is easy. after you quarter be sure to cut off the grey skin on the back and legs. let them rest in the fridge for 24 hrs before vacuum sealing a freezing. soak in salt Walter or buttermilk over night before frying.
 

baymule

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If you want to fill the freezer fast, raise Cornish Cross meat chicks. They grow fast and are in the freezer, then you are done. They don't really fit into the sustainable part of homesteading, but they are readily available and you don't have to fool with them all year long. JMO If you have already done this, disregard my big mouth. LOL
 

kenzie

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If you want to fill the freezer fast, raise Cornish Cross meat chicks. They grow fast and are in the freezer, then you are done. They don't really fit into the sustainable part of homesteading, but they are readily available and you don't have to fool with them all year long. JMO If you have already done this, disregard my big mouth. LOL
I have raised Cornish x, but they are just so messy and stinky. Plus, I’ve wanted to try rabbits for a while. I’ll be able to make a bit of money from them too.
 
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