I have a few questions about meat rabbits....

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Amanda0609, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Amanda0609

    Amanda0609 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am considering raising some meat rabbits. I have a pet rabbit so I understand basic rabbit care. I have done some research and still have a few questions. Ok is it necessary to remove the nest box from the doe's cage or can it always be in with her? I am assuming it is best to have a soild wall between the cages of the rabbits? Does anyone do anything with the furs after they have processed? I am also wondering how everyone likes to prepare rabbit meat. I have never eaten rabbit and figured stew is a good way to use it, what are some other good ways to prepare it? I am looking into New Zealands as they seem easily accessable in my area. I was thinking a trio would be good for our family. I would maybe breed 2 or 3 times a year. I would breed both does at the same time as suggested. If I get into this I will have to get cages, I would go with larger cages rather than smaller ones. How long do you keep the breeding rabbits? Do you start over with new rabbits or trade them out one at a time. Are the older breeding rabbits any good to eat? Thanks!
     
  2. Chickanmanfromarkansas

    Chickanmanfromarkansas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know think it is a good idea to keep the box in with a doe always, they tend to mess in it instead of letting it fall on the ground. Don't know why but they do.
    We have buthered many rabbits over the years one of my brothers have saved the fur and dried it out and done crafts with it for his own use and gifts for friends.
    If in individual cages they really do not need a solid wall in between, I've found too much wood in and around cages tend to bring in mites that get into the rabbits ears and that is really hard to get rid of once you get it.
    The New Zealand and the Californian are the best breeds for meat. We have used a cross of the two and they make excellant meat rabbits.
    Preparation for eating. You can prepare rabbit most any way that you use chicken. We've make pot pies, stews, fried, rabbit spaghetti, dumplings, etc. If you are going to fry them they are best butchered at 10 to 12 weeks.
    Breeding rabbits usually are good for 3 to 4 years, or until they just do not produce very good or is not raising very many at a time.
    We had a NZ doe once that had 15 babies and raied 12 of they herself and we adopted 3 out to another doe that had 8 of her own and she raised 10 of them. When finished with their breeding career they make good stew or dumplings. Let me point out here also that bucks can be eaten but they sometimes have a strong taste if they have been used for breeding.
     
  3. Amanda0609

    Amanda0609 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! [​IMG] I am about 95% sure we will get started with this project in the spring.
     
  4. Chickanmanfromarkansas

    Chickanmanfromarkansas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're welcome and good luck with your venture.
     
  5. Louise's Country Closet

    Louise's Country Closet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm a bit biased because I LOVE my bunnies, but you should change that to 100% sure! [​IMG] Really.. raising rabbits was the very first thing we did and it's taken off quite a bit from there. I still love taking care of them, I even enjoy the bunny chores! But, I may be a bit of a weirdo there.

    For the nest box, I put mine in the does cage 3 days before she's due and sometimes up to a week or so before if she's trying to build a nest with her hay.

    As for the cages, I use wire and they're a good 3-4 inches away from each other so they can't rip out each other's fur but I've had to put a little board between them. You kind of have to find what works best for you. But like Chickanmanfromarkansas said, it can bring in mites and they pee up a storm and it'll most likely stink pretty good in a short time. Not everyone will agree but I love wire cages and I can even take pictures of my setup to show you, if you want. It's pretty simple and you just put in something (we use pretty big mats) for them to rest on and get off the wire.

    We don't do anything with the fur *yet* but my hubby wants to try something in the future. For the meat, we prepare it like you would anything with chicken. You'll be surprised by how much it actually tastes like chicken.. it doesn't have a wild taste or anything to it that would have you doing anything special to prepare it.

    I definitely recommend New Zealands! We started out with the standard Rex and then bought two nice New Zealands.. not only are they bigger but they have a much better personality, they're soo much easier to work with too. We started out with 3 does and 1 buck. We brought in 1 NZ doe and 1 NZ buck and we now have a total of 10 rabbits with 3 more cages waiting to be filled after my doe weans her babies [​IMG]

    So far we're keeping the rabbits until they're no longer breeding productively. I try to get as many litters as I can a year without wearing out my poor girls. We even started to hatch chickens this year for butchering and the rabbits, even though they seem smaller, fill up the freezer MUCH MUCH faster than the chickens! Getting started was a lot of money and hard work and some setbacks can be heartbreaking (as I experienced this year) but they're more than worth it.

    Btw, sorry I was posting on an older thread.. I just love that other people like breeding rabbits for meat! [​IMG]
     
  6. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    We raise Californian and Silver Fox. The Californians are big rabbits and very laid back. The Silver Fox's are super laid back, we just got them last spring and their first litter is coming up in a few weeks, I can't wait.

    Steve
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    The Silver Fox's are super laid back, we just got them last spring and their first litter is coming up in a few weeks, I can't wait.

    Let me know when you have some for sale!​
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  8. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Let me know when you have some for sale!

    You got it, I'll let Sharon know.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  9. Amanda0609

    Amanda0609 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Don't be sorry! Thanks for posting!! I just really wanted to get some feedback from people that have done this. I did some research and figured out some of the basics but I learned that it is best to talk with someone that has expirence. I actually passed up a really good deal of breeding trio not long along. I just didn't have the extra money for the cages. I would love to see pictures of your set up. [​IMG]
     
  10. Louise's Country Closet

    Louise's Country Closet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well if you ever have any questions feel free to message me [​IMG] I can give you a few good sites to check out. I know what you mean about not having the extra money for cages.. when we first got ours we actually built the cages from big metal crates (I don't know how else to explain them lol) it was strange, but it worked like a charm until I could afford to build my shed.

    We went from an outside setup, to a tin shed over winter and now they're in an insulated 12x12 (I think? Hubby is asleep so I can't ask for sure lol) shed with windows and a sliding door and fans, etc. I finally have a decent floor in the tin shed to put their feed in so excuse some of the clutter in my pictures. I should also add that while you can't see it very well, we actually have a lot of plastic around (where bunnies can't chew of course) so that the wood isn't getting full of pee. Otherwise, this was the cheapest way we could make the inside.

    The back wall of the shed. Holds 9 cages for my does. The cages don't look big, but they're actually really roomy. My husband knows all the dimensions for everything so I can add it later when I can ask [​IMG] I believe they're something like 36x30 - or somewhere around there. The buck cages are just a tad bit smaller.
    [​IMG]

    On the right there's the cages for my bucks. I have a bad habit of keeping bunnies even when I shouldn't so my hubby made sure that I could never go over 4 LOL So that's my limit.
    [​IMG]

    Straight across from them is the three cages that holds the weaned babies. It's not a very good one, but you get a close up of it all. Those cages are even bigger than the does. I don't even know how he made it so that the cage wouldn't bend in the middle. But you can see I did have to put up a little bit of board like I was talking about.. because their little tongues are apparently better than their parents and were able to get to the plastic.. and then pee over it too!
    [​IMG]

    And of course the finished outside [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Not the best of pictures but it gives you an idea. I prefer making our own cages, it doesn't save a ton of money but a little bit so that I can invest in something else for them.
     

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