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Raising meat rabbits...??

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by SamG347, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. SamG347

    SamG347 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2007
    PA
    Can someone tell me the basics of raising meat rabbits? I would like to get 2 does and a buck. What is feed consumption like on BIG rabbits? Do they need to be brought inside during the winter? Any basic facts you can tell me.
    Thanks!
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  2. Sonia

    Sonia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2008
    SE Oklahoma
  3. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2007
    Virginia
    I just purchased meat rabbits. (MissPrissy did too from a different breeder than mine)

    The book Storey's guide to raising rabbits is a great read, most public libraries have it.

    I have New Zealand Rabbits and have a pregnant doe due on Sunday! They eat approx 4 oz of rabbit pellets a day. They are quite economical eaters. Rabbits can withstand the cold up to -20F I believe but HATE the heat and you have to be very careful when it's hot as they will die from heatstroke.

    Pound for Pound rabbits are cheap meat to raise yourself if you get the right breeds. Look for a breed that has fine bones so you get more meat weight than bone weight. New Zealands and Californians are the most popular and are ready to be butchered at a nice fryer size around 6 to 8 weeks.

    My rabbits came from a breeder in Northern Virginia. She and her partner have been raising them for a number of years and are very sweet and knowledgable. They answered MANY questions for me honestly and did all they could to steer me in the right direction rabbit wise, not only with breeds, size but also to accomodate my meat raising plans. I'd be happy to send you their contact info if you'd like.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2008
  4. SamG347

    SamG347 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2007
    PA
    What do you keep your rabbits in? And do you plan to butcher them yourself?
    Thanks!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Dodgegal79

    Dodgegal79 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 1, 2007
    Princeton BC Canada
    I have New Zealands, just had a new litter. I only have one doe and one buck right now. They do and need lots of water. They don't eat alot. I made my own cages, they are wood and hard ware cloth. I used 1/2 inch hardware cloth (it is very strong the stuff I got) and the floor, and chicken wire for the front and back. One corner of the cage is enclosed on three sides and the nesting box is there. Make sure to use a box with fairly high sides, you don't want the babies crawling out too soon, they will die. They are very easy to raise. I have never butchered any, so I'm not to sure on that end. Good luck.
     
  6. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    AR
    [​IMG]
    Here are my cages. They are attached to the rafters of a three sided barn. They get morning sun, but are mostly shaded. I raise to eat a mix breed rabbit. Mainly rex rabbits. The feeders are located on the oustide of the cage for easy filling. The worst ememy for rabbits is heat and humidity. I usually don't have any litters in the middle of summer. I really enjoy raising the rabbits for the table. Very good eats.
     
  7. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2007
    Virginia
    FarmGirl that is a great set up you have. Right now I have 1 doe and 2 bucks (don't ask, LOL! Got for someone else but they ended up not wanting the buck when the doe died)

    Until we can make a larger hutch with individual sections mine are all in seperate cages. I got the cages 24x24x16 from TSC for about $20 each when they had a sale.

    Storey's guide to raising rabbits has a good section on how to make your own cages / hutches that look easy and inexpensive. Yes we plan to butcher them ourselves. DH has done wild rabbits before so he's all set when the time comes. There are plenty of easy step by step guides on how to butcher a rabbit. I'm sure it's like anything, you learn as you go and the first few times are never easy (emotional wise)

    I grew up eating rabbit meat and remember enjoying it as a kid, can't say I've eaten it in years as I've not seen it for sale around here.
     
  8. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    AR
    Thank you. I read somewhere about hanging the cages off of the ground. It has been the best thing I have ever done. There is know wood to rot or hold oders. And because there are no legs in the way, it's real easy to clean up the droppings. They go straight to the garden. And another thing. The air circulates real well thru the barn. I bought a barrel fan to push the air around in the summer time.
    About the buck. I had the same thing a few months age. Bucks outnumbered the does. Found them go homes.
     
  9. AussieSharon

    AussieSharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2007
    Virginia
    I have a 12X8 chicken coop where the rabbits are housed at night in their cages. I read about hanging the cages on walls and that it was highly recommeneded to do so. Unfortunately I don't have enough coop to hang 3 or 4 cages from!

    We're thinking that the best thing will be to build a large sectioned hutch beside the coop area.
     
  10. HaileyNJoliesMom

    HaileyNJoliesMom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2008
    Jacksonville, FL
    I used to raise rabbits for pets here in florida. We would take a 2 liter coke bottle fill it with water and freeze it. The rabbits would lay right next to it in their cage, we had several frozen at all times. It helped my guys survive the florida heat just fine.
     

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