Originally Posted by anthonyjames
I am looking to possibly start raising rabbits to eat and sell.
I am completely new to rabbits so have some questions with hopes of someone or many being able to answer:
Is there a specific breed of rabbit that is better to raise and eat
How long does it take before a rabbit is edible
How many times a year can you have a rabbit have a clutch/babies without abusing them(raising them before you can separate them)
Does any one on there have plans for portable pens or requirements?
I would like to raise them in the same manner I raise my chickens, quail and turkeys.
And if I were to sell any as a hobby what is cost and are they easy to process.
There are 47 different breeds to chose from. Most of the large breeds make pretty good meat rabbits.
10-12 weeks for large breeds. A month or two longer for small breeds (like florida whites).
Does shoul dbe allowed to have no more then four live litters a year. make sure you give her a break in between breeding and weaning the previous litter. Wean at six to eight weeks. And breed her back a week or two later. You want to giveher time to rest and recondition. Most does are willing to breed back at that time.
Best type of cages to use are single hanging, or stackable ones with the trays. You will need one cage for each rabbit. I wouldn't recommend a portable cage because they can get dirty very easy, and would have a higher risk for disease. Though the ground ones are nice to have to let the bunny out in to let it eat some grass, or get some excercise.
you can't raise rabbits in the same manner as chickens and turkeys. They tend to be a territorial animal, and they will fight with each other when given the chance. Esp bucks. Bucks will fight, castrate, and even in some cases kill each other. They need to have their own cages and space.
If you want to do this as a hobby then I suggest gettinga breed that you can breed and show. Make sure you get some good pedigreed stock to start with. The best you can afford. They will be expensive. Good show quality rabbits will run you $20-$50 each or higher, depending on the breeder and the quality of the animal. Showing is a really good learning experience. You will meet a lot of nice people that will give you good advice and help you out. You can sell the extra culls at shows, and eat those that don't sell. They also have meat buyers that will sometimes pick up extra rabbits at the shows for about $1 a pound. If you cvhose this route, always sell the best ytou possibly can, and eat the rest (non show quality, anything that has a disqualification, etc).
www.arba.net is the best group to join. They are the backbone of the rabbit industry. Their books and magazines are very informative about the hobby. I would suggest joining. You get the magazines, and the guidebook to raising better rabbits and cavies for free. those will tell you anything you need to know about breeding, showing, selling, and butchering rabbits.
In my experince the most expensive part of the hobby is feed, and equipment. rabbits can go through equipment like crazy. Their urine can be very hard on the cages. You will also need to learn how to vet and medicate your own animals too. i only replace cages when I have to though. The medicines you can buy for themright over the counter without having to see a vet. bunnyrabbit.com has a list of antibiotics that are safe to give meat rabbits.
Some things you will need are nest boxes, feeders, non spillable water dishes, cages, and a good shelter. they can be housed in the same buolding with the chickens and turkeys. they just need to be in cages away from them. The birds will clean up the extra rabbit feed. Its a good conditioning feed for them.
As far as feed goes, don't by the cheapest brand you can find. Those aren't worth it. They are usually high in corn, and low in fiber. You want to watch the labels on the feed brand you chose. You want one with low protien (about17-17%), high fiber(20% or more), and no corn. Corn can cause them to die from bloat. The higher fiber you can get, the better. You will also need to give them grass hay every day.
You won't make much money back off the rabbits. However, it is a very rewarding experience to raise them.