Rabbits

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by Thunderwood, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Thunderwood

    Thunderwood Scout

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    Anyone raising rabbits? I'm probably gonna pick a couple pair of San Juan rabbits. Use the maneur, eat them, and tan their skins. Maybe even sell some locally. What are y'all doing with them?
     
  2. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    We don't have them anymore, but in my opinion they are about the best animal to have for food. They grow fast, are prolific, taste good and have nice pelts.

    The only cautions are raising the young, because the young ones get eaten by the older ones sometimes. They are also a predator magnet.

    We used to sell live rabbits as well as frozen. We did pretty good with them.
     
  3. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter

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    We used to raise rabbits. None of them made it to freezer camp because my wife was good at selling them so we just used them as income instead of food. We had FL whites, New Zealands and one other breed which escapes me at the moment.
     
  4. Dillon Finan

    Dillon Finan Tracker

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    I've read that they are a great addition to a greenhouse for CO2 fertilization, plus they make a great protein source.
     
  5. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Athletic Supporter Supporter

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    I grew up eating rabbits, then went for many years without any.
    A few years ago my wife and I started raising a few meat rabbits, except........... ...
    "Awe..... Look at them, they're so cute..........."

    She hasn't let me eat one single freeloader rabbit yet!

    So........just one way not to do it.

    As usual, I end up being the perfect example of a bad example.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  6. OMRebel

    OMRebel He who piddles Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I raised some a while back. Good for fertilizer and meat. Never used the skins, but I would experiment if I ever raise them again. The wife never cooked them, so it wasnt paying off to keep feeding them. I did enjoy it though!
     
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  7. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17 Supporter

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    We tryed to have one leftover from what we had. Prov 27 : 17
     
  8. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Another nice thing is that if you get tired of keeping them, you can just let them go. They will either mingle with the native rabbits or get eaten by something.

    We never set any free, but we did have one get loose. For a couple of years, we had multi colored wild rabbits around us. Not recommending this, but just mentioning it.
     
  9. phreak

    phreak Tracker

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    Grew up raising and eating rabbit. Probably the easiest protein source to process, and tastey.
     
  10. KFF

    KFF Scout

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    I used to, but pasteurella finally did my head in. The feeding is actually more in a week than a chunk of pork the same weight, but sure they taste nice.
     
  11. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Scout

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    I'd love to raise rabbits. But with a wife and 2 girls the dreams of eating said rabbits is gone .
    "Dad, I named him..."
     
  12. RickS

    RickS Supporter Supporter

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    I think about it quite a bit. My sister used to raise them and you can put a lot of meat on the table. You have to be careful though, one of my friends Started raising them and his wife wouldn't let him kill any. Last time I was out there they probably had close to 100 rabbits. To me that's a lot of feed for nothing. We travel and I don't want to ask other people to do my chores. Good thing about rabbits though you can butcher everything and start again when you get back.
     
  13. MTplainsman

    MTplainsman Tracker

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    :6: HUH??? I have never heard or have ever experienced anything close to this comparison. As a commercial rabbitry owner in the late 90s and a raiser of meat rabbits on a smaller scale to this very date, it is absolutely the complete opposite of what was stated here... complete opposite!!! In fact there is hardly even a comparison between the two. Domestic rabbit is right towards the very top of the most efficient meat animals one can raise on a homestead or commercial scale. In fact meat breeds of quail are the only thing that comes close. I have always kept around 20 does, but Have had as many as 200+. I would like to think I have some insight. If you are a homesteader looking for the best low fat, high protein, and high feed efficiency, look no further then rabbit! :dblthumb: No, I'm not a salesman, but dang it, I can't let false info infect homesteaders.

    The skins have little commercial value, but if you tan them, they do sell fairly well as a novelty. Natives from Northern Canada use to cut them in strips and weave them into comforters. Be creative. Any offal from butchered rabbits can be added to your compost pile... bones and all. The bones take a long tie to break down unless burnt or ground, but it adds a lot of calcium.

    Rabbit manure is gold! You can apply it directly from animal to garden and experience no burn. I raise worms in the manure for adding to the garden and for fish bait. I could go on and o about the qualities of rabbit. If anyone has any questions about domestic rabbits, just ask me anytime, and I will share what I know. ;)
     
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  14. bwallenjr

    bwallenjr Tracker

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    I raise rex rabbits. Meat, manure and fur. Rex lack the guard hairs to their pelts so the fur is extremely plush. I have actually had two incidents were the cage doors were not latched properly and came out the next morning after eight hours to find the rabbits sitting within 3 ft of their hutches.

    I would recommend a breeding trio, a male and two females instead of just a pair. You can staggering breeding. I however have been breeding simultaneously because I have one the kindles large...averaging 9 kits and the other averaging 5...this way I can slip one or two kits in with the small kindle and everybody gets full tummies.

    The manure is great and you really do get a great turn over for the feed you put into them. I planted a 4" high tomato right in a pot I filled with manure as I was cleaning the hutches and now six weeks later it is 5 feet tall.

    The Storeys guide to raising rabbits is good place to start.
     
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  15. BetterNotBitterIsSurvival

    BetterNotBitterIsSurvival Supporter Supporter

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    The neighbors we had before we moved had a small herd of cattle and every year would have one butchered. One day the neighbor's wife came over on the four wheeler with maybe eight pounds of meat - she had left the freezer partially open and the meat in the front had started to thaw and there was just too much for them to cook and use/refreeze so she was taking some to the neighbors. That night we had really amazing steaks or something. During dinner I mentioned to my daughter who was about four or five at the time that we were eating one of L's cows (L was the neighbor's son who she played with.) She paused and asked me, "What was his cow's name?" I thought I might have messed up but finally said, "Delicious...L's cow was named Delicious. Isn't that a good name?" My daughter, who is decisively carnivorous, laughed, agreed and then asked me to cut her another piece of "Delicious."
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  16. MTplainsman

    MTplainsman Tracker

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    I just wanted to add, that like feeding any stock, you can pump way more money into them than is necessary. If you feed expensive commercial pellets free choice, never letting the hoppers get empty, you will burn money and feed efficiency. When I had a commercial rabbitry, I would buy bulk pellets by the ton. This saved a lot of money over a years time. It was cost effective to do that then, not sure if it is now. For a typical homesteader, bulk obviously is uneccessary. So pellets a bag at a time get fairly spendy. Still, even if you full feed with commercial pellets and buying it a bag at a time, you still come out ahead in most cases with money to meat. I have all but cut out pellet use these days. I feed what they require to stay healthy and grow. I have high quality hay (alfalfa is best imo) on the tops of my cages at all times. This way the rabbits can raise up on their haunches and pluck the hay through the wires giving them a good activity as they eat throughout their day (I have a single tier system). Hay is important for gut health and also keeps their ever growing teeth wore down to normal levels. I prefer square bales, as they are easy to handle, and you can flake them in easy to feed portions. Before I mostly quit using pellets, I had a daily ration that went in each cage feed hopper. For breeding bucks and does not lactating, they got a pre measured can of pellets in the morning. When the ration is gone, they switched to their hay till the next mornings pellet ration. When a doe is near kindling or is feeding a litter up till weaning date, then you may wish to keep the hoppers full. It is completely a waste of money to full feed pellets to every rabbit on your place. In fact, pellets are not even required at all. With quality hay, salt, and constant supply of fresh water, your rabbits will do just fine, and cost you pennies on the dollar from cage to plate. During the summer I would offer them fresh grass cuttings, garden leftovers, etc. I would use a bagger on a push mower to acquire it. I am also searching for a good source of organic grains to supplement with, more of an experiment I guess, although completely uneccesary. Oops! wrote a book again, but I love raising rabbits, and it is a vital source of protein and enjoyment for my homestead. There is a reason I have kept rabbits since I was just a wee little dude. I am in the process of setting up for meat quail too. They are super efficient as well, and I have raised them years ago. They will offer a little more variety in meat, and I love cracking a jar of pickled quail eggs! Hope my jabber has helped anyone shying away from raising rabbits on their homestead. Joel
     

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