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Rabbit Meat & Portable Pens

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

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.

Thanks

post #2 of 11
Quote:
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.

Thanks


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.

post #3 of 11

New Zealands and Californians are good size meat breeds.  My NZs dressed out very nicely at 12 weeks.  'Course they look like cats after they are dressed, so heads up for those of you with kids.
Slinky

You are what you think, not what you think you are...
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You are what you think, not what you think you are...
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the good info.  I always thought rabbits were social animals?  I have seen more than one rabbit to a cage.

I was thinking of building an outdoor hutch that opened to a large grassy area that could be moved every day.  Would more than one female be alright in a cage or is it always 1 to 1?  The thought of that does not sound very nice and seems crude (I can't think of another way of saying it)

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by anthonyjames 

Thanks for all the good info.  I always thought rabbits were social animals?  I have seen more than one rabbit to a cage.

I was thinking of building an outdoor hutch that opened to a large grassy area that could be moved every day.  Would more than one female be alright in a cage or is it always 1 to 1?  The thought of that does not sound very nice and seems crude (I can't think of another way of saying it)


They are only social if they are spayed or neutered. Intact animals are territorial. Some does will get along, other won't. Litters will get a long with each other till they are ready to butcher. Otherwise after 12 weeks, they need to go to their own cages. I have a couple of florida whites, and a pen of three newzealand does living together right now. The are at the pointwhere they are starting to mount each other, and will need to be separated one I get the cage space for them.

Most times its 1 to 1 unless you have a doe raising a litter. If you have more then one to a cage, the second rabbit may kill the firsts' litter. you can raise them colony style. That takes alot of research and experience. You may also end up losing more babies that way. You woul dalso have to make sure they don't dig their way out of the pen, because they will burrow, and escape. I would also be wrried about predators getting into a pen like that. dogs, and some wild animals will go through anything to get at a rabbit.

you want to keep them where they have their own space, in a predator proof area.

This is my setup. It looks crowded, but it works. Everyone is healthy and happy. The only thing that annoys me is that soetimes they miss the pans, and urine guards and pee on the floor.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns001.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns002.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns003.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns007.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns008.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns009.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns010.jpg

post #6 of 11

OMG $20-$50 each or higher, that's cheap around here a mutt is $45! I have had rex and lop though flemish giants are what I would breed for food as thay mature to size quick. i myself have thought of meat rabbit, our by laws say we can only have 3 rabbits and we already have 2 pet ones(5 and 4 years old). Maybe when they pass on I`ll do it. rabbits were thouight to help in the great depression as they were cheap to feed and produced well. Mine get lots of weeds and pellets.

My house is over run with animals yet the ones that make the bigger messes are illegal to cage:)
"What chickens? those aren't chicken's those are doves"
http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt288/rebeccabecca3/DSCF3807.jpg
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My house is over run with animals yet the ones that make the bigger messes are illegal to cage:)
"What chickens? those aren't chicken's those are doves"
http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt288/rebeccabecca3/DSCF3807.jpg
Reply
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dntd 

OMG $20-$50 each or higher, that's cheap around here a mutt is $45! I have had rex and lop though flemish giants are what I would breed for food as thay mature to size quick. i myself have thought of meat rabbit, our by laws say we can only have 3 rabbits and we already have 2 pet ones(5 and 4 years old). Maybe when they pass on I`ll do it. rabbits were thouight to help in the great depression as they were cheap to feed and produced well. Mine get lots of weeds and pellets.


Lol mutts at the pet shops cost that much. You can get mutt quality rabbits for about $5 at the auction barn. You pay more for the pedigreed ones. smile

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinbunny 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anthonyjames 

Thanks for all the good info.  I always thought rabbits were social animals?  I have seen more than one rabbit to a cage.

I was thinking of building an outdoor hutch that opened to a large grassy area that could be moved every day.  Would more than one female be alright in a cage or is it always 1 to 1?  The thought of that does not sound very nice and seems crude (I can't think of another way of saying it)


They are only social if they are spayed or neutered. Intact animals are territorial. Some does will get along, other won't. Litters will get a long with each other till they are ready to butcher. Otherwise after 12 weeks, they need to go to their own cages. I have a couple of florida whites, and a pen of three newzealand does living together right now. The are at the pointwhere they are starting to mount each other, and will need to be separated one I get the cage space for them.

Most times its 1 to 1 unless you have a doe raising a litter. If you have more then one to a cage, the second rabbit may kill the firsts' litter. you can raise them colony style. That takes alot of research and experience. You may also end up losing more babies that way. You woul dalso have to make sure they don't dig their way out of the pen, because they will burrow, and escape. I would also be wrried about predators getting into a pen like that. dogs, and some wild animals will go through anything to get at a rabbit.

you want to keep them where they have their own space, in a predator proof area.

This is my setup. It looks crowded, but it works. Everyone is healthy and happy. The only thing that annoys me is that soetimes they miss the pans, and urine guards and pee on the floor.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns001.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns002.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns003.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns007.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns008.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns009.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns010.jpg


how big is your building and how many can you  fit in?

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorieMN 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinbunny 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anthonyjames 

Thanks for all the good info.  I always thought rabbits were social animals?  I have seen more than one rabbit to a cage.

I was thinking of building an outdoor hutch that opened to a large grassy area that could be moved every day.  Would more than one female be alright in a cage or is it always 1 to 1?  The thought of that does not sound very nice and seems crude (I can't think of another way of saying it)


They are only social if they are spayed or neutered. Intact animals are territorial. Some does will get along, other won't. Litters will get a long with each other till they are ready to butcher. Otherwise after 12 weeks, they need to go to their own cages. I have a couple of florida whites, and a pen of three newzealand does living together right now. The are at the pointwhere they are starting to mount each other, and will need to be separated one I get the cage space for them.

Most times its 1 to 1 unless you have a doe raising a litter. If you have more then one to a cage, the second rabbit may kill the firsts' litter. you can raise them colony style. That takes alot of research and experience. You may also end up losing more babies that way. You woul dalso have to make sure they don't dig their way out of the pen, because they will burrow, and escape. I would also be wrried about predators getting into a pen like that. dogs, and some wild animals will go through anything to get at a rabbit.

you want to keep them where they have their own space, in a predator proof area.

This is my setup. It looks crowded, but it works. Everyone is healthy and happy. The only thing that annoys me is that soetimes they miss the pans, and urine guards and pee on the floor.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns001.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns002.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns003.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns007.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns008.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns009.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/jnlldxn/barnbuns010.jpg


how big is your building and how many can you  fit in?


I think its 12x24. I have about thirty holes right now. I can fit more if I wanted to.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dntd 

rabbits were thouight to help in the great depression as they were cheap to feed and produced well. Mine get lots of weeds and pellets.


My grandma and her siblings used to have to kill and dress out rabbits to sell during the depression, so I know they were used.

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