1. Rabbits can be raised in the country and in suburban areas, because they are not considered livestock by many governmental agencies.
2. Make little noise. This makes them much more enjoyable than poultry. (Chickens, turkeys, etc.)
3. Since rabbits are among the smallest animals used for meat, space isn't often a problem. You can also stack cages, up to 4 or even 5 high. Compared to hogs or cattle, rabbits use much less space!
4. Rabbit meat is very low in cholesterol and is low in fat.
5. A single doe can produce 1000% of per body weight in meat per year.
6. You can also earn money from rabbit pellets (fertilizer) as well as rabbit pelts and fur!
7. Rabbit meat is seasonal any month of the year.
8. A 10lb doe can produce 320lbs of meat in one year!
9. Rabbit are raised up off the ground, and are one of the cleanest meats available.
10. Rabbit meat is more nutritious than any other meat-this makes it a prime source for many people on diets.
11. A rabbit carcass is more than 80% meat and less than 20% bone
1. Call around and see if there is a butcher/processor near you if you are not planning on slaughtering yourself. If you are selling to a processor, they may require a certain breed or color, so it is nice to know this before you buy your breeding stock! You may also be able to find a local butcher in your area that will slaughter and dress the rabbits for you.
2. How much space do you have? If you have only a small space, you may want to look into smaller meat breeds, such as the Florida White. If space is not a problem, then pick any breed you want!
The most popular breed is the 8-12lb New Zealand. They come in a variety of colors-red, white, and black, with white being the most popular for meat production because of their large muscular bodies. This breed has fine bones and converts feed to meat efficiently. The New Zealand is known for good muscle and fast growth. They are also a breed that produces most consistently compared to other meat breeds. Another great point is that they usually have large litters, about 8-10. Their kits will also grow rapidly, reaching fryer weight by 8 weeks.
The 2nd most popular meat breed, and my personal favorite, is the Californian. The adult weight for this rabbit is 7-10lbs. The body of an ideal Californian is plump but fine boned. This quality gives Californian's a high meat-to-bone ratio. Californian doe's also have large litters, averaging about 6-8 kits per litter.
The smallest of the 3 most popular breeds is the Florida White, weighing only about 4-6lbs full grown. This meat rabbit dresses out great for a rabbit of small size. This rabbit is known for small bones and a solid block of meat. Florida Whites are ideal meat rabbits, especially if you don't have a lot of space to raise meat rabbits. These rabbits are also bred to have a compact, meaty body, a short neck and small head.
Barns, sheds, garages, or even just a lean-to work great for housing rabbits. Here is a great website to check out!!
Buying the right rabbit cages is an important step to keeping clean, healthy rabbits. Each rabbit needs it's own wire cage by the time they are 2 months old. The cage should be plenty big enough for them to lay down in and to stand up on their back feet. I have found that wire cages are by far the easiest and best way to house multiple rabbits. You can just quickly dump the trays and be done! Make sure you clean the cages often with disinfectant.
I have found that either stacked or hanging cages are the most space effective. I use stacked cages, because they seem to take up less room.
The best way to feed rabbits is from manufactured pellets-it has everything your rabbit needs nutrition wise to keep them healthy. Before you buy feed, make sure the protein level is about 16%. Purina and Kent are great brands to buy. If you want to feed your rabbits organically it is possible, but it is much easier just to buy pellets-you will still have a great market for your meat. Here is a site to check out going organic is your intention:
You should take care not to feed your rabbits to much or to litter. Here is an average size for meat rabbits. Remember, 8oz= 1 cup
Bucks 3-6 oz. 4-9 oz.
Does 6 oz. 9 oz.
Does: Bred 1-15 days 6 oz. 9 oz
Does: Bred 16-30 days 7-8oz. 10-11 oz.
Doe + litter 10 oz. 12 oz. (Litter about 1 week old)
Doe + litter 18 oz. 24 oz. (Litter about 1 month old)
Doe + litter 28 oz. 36 oz. (Litter 6-8 weeks old)
Young and weaned rabbits-as much as they can eat
Click Here to jump to this page