Meat Rabbits... anyone have exp w/them?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by KellyGwen, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. KellyGwen

    KellyGwen Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Lake Luzerne, NY
    Hi All!

    My neighbors are giving me a HUGE rabbit hutch that is split into 3 big sections... I was thinking of getting 2 does and a buck (New Zealand meat rabbits) and breeding them instead of getting cornish chicks... I think they would be a LOT easier to raise... I'll just have to cover my pet rabbits eyes when they are 8-12 weeks old...

    Does anyone have experience with these? Does anyone know a good source for kits in Western PA or Eastern OH?

  2. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    I raised rabbits quite a few years ago.

    I don't know anything about your part of the country.

    What else are you wanting to know? Your post implied a lot of questions but didn't ask.
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I just started californians - 2 bred does and a buck.
  4. KellyGwen

    KellyGwen Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Lake Luzerne, NY
    Quote:You're right! Haha! Sorry! I guess I wanted someone to say "Yes! It's really easy!" or "No way! Never again! Too much trouble!" and then tell me why...

    I raised and killed mice a few years ago for my reptiles... but never rabbits... I'm a little worried that when the time came I wouldn't have the cajones to "do the deed"...

    Do you know of any good websites or books that would explain in detail (with pictures if possible) the whole slaughtering and butchering process? Is it very complicated?
  5. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Where do I start. My small meat animal raising book is in a box somewhere and it is probably 20 years old. Just search the web. Something will come up pretty easily.

    I think rabbits are easier than chickens to butcher. No feathers to deal with and they skin easily. The body cavity is easier to get into also.

    You will need more cages. After the bunnies are weaned they need to go in their own cage for growing. Not fair to the mother to keep them together. Hardware cloth is not good for cages. It sags too much. Make sure the bottom material does not have spaces any larger than 1/2 inch by 1 inch and that is made from a heavy gage wire. No wood exposed for them to chew on. All metal cages are best.

    You will need nest boxes. I used straw in mine. Shredded newspaper got too yucky.

    Rabbit poo is great fertilizer, don't have to really compost it at all.

    See if you can find a buyer for the pelts. Although raising for pelts is not the same as raising for meat. Meat you butcher when they reach a certain weight. Pelts I think have to be in prime condition and that might be related to certain times of the year.

    That's just for starters.
  6. penelope77

    penelope77 Songster

    May 6, 2008
    northeast oklahoma
    i raise meat mutts. i think chickens are easier but i really like the rabbits. it has it's ups and downs; bad moms and illness would be the first to come to mind as i just lost something like 7 rabbits to snuffles including my best satin buck. oh and i also lost 16 of 20 babies to it also. now i would say this was all my fault but the infected rabbit was kept away from the others for over a month when i first brought her home incase she was ill. then she had babies. she was perfectly healthy and had no symtoms till she had babies. anyway, i do colony so everyone was exposed which is why i lost so many. okay, so there's a bad side. i was going to throw in the towel but i don't give up that easy. rabbits can carry snuffles(pastuerella spelling wrong i think) and you may never know. i now have a handful of very healthy bucks and two very healthy does so i can at least breed for resistance. i think it is worth the time and effort to know dinner is just outside my door. i have not had anything to butcher yet and had concerns about wether or not i even could do it. well the first sick rabbit i had, i ended her life. it was awful but i'm a big baby and she was a breeder so i let myself get attached to her. the horror of the act stayed with me for about 24 hrs. it was a good practice kill i guess cause i now know i can do it and i'm told it gets easier. it's whole lot different killing a pet than it is killing dinner. get a good pellet gun with a high fps. if your comfortable snapping necks(which i'm not) or whacking them on the back of the head then do that. go to and in the livestock section is a "raising rabbits for profit" section. the people there are very helpful and have lots of advice. yahoo groups also has a meat rabbit group which is really great too. and there is a guy who raises rabbits for dog food that has a bunch of pictures on the butchering process. just google "raising rabbits for dog food" or something like that and you should find him fairly easy. stick with that stuff or you get into to people that will chew you a new one for eating the cute little furballs. i had storeys rabbit book but i find the best thing after your basics is hands on experience. plus it's so darn exciting when you get your first litter of kits. they are so ugly it's funny! okay i'm done with my book. you can pm me if you have any other questions. i'm no expert and i do things a bit different from some but i still might be able to help you out if you have questions. i'll dig through my favorites and see if i can find some good informative sites for you. i say go for it!
  7. Broke Down Ranch

    Broke Down Ranch Songster

    Apr 18, 2007
    When I was a girl my mom had hundreds of rabbits for meat which she also sold (as meat). Rabbit, btw, is delish....anyway, my dad would butcher them when us girls would leave for school. He had a 5-6' pole buried in the ground (well, 5-6' of it was sticking above ground) with a leather strap hanging from the top. He would tie the rabbit by the back feet and used a good stick to whack it in the back of the head. If this didn't kill them (which I'm told it did) he would slit their throat. Then he could just skin/gut them right where they hung.

    I have had rabbits but never was set-up right for them and out heat would always get them so I just quit trying them. Maybe one day I'll get some more - I really liked rabbit when I was little and I wonder if I would still like it....
  8. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    I used to have 300+ meat rabbits, and I thought they were pretty easy. I was about 13 when I started butchering them-no feathers, just pull the skin down. I think you'll do fine with them [​IMG]

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