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Author Topic: Raising rabbits  (Read 4870 times)

Offline turkeyfeather

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Raising rabbits
« on: June 04, 2014, 10:29:43 AM »
Thinking about raising rabbits for meat. Been trying to do research but would love to hear from those that may have experience with it. We already keep chickens for fresh eggs so I was thinking it wouldn't be a whole lot different.
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Offline h20hunter

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 10:36:41 AM »
Widgeondeke on here I believe raises and braises them.
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Offline Buckmark

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 10:44:09 AM »
Pm Kain also, he raised and i think sold rabbit also..
To hunt and butcher an animal is to recognize that meat is not some abstract form of protein that springs into existence tightly wrapped in cellophane and styrofoam.

Offline Carp Commander

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 11:23:51 AM »
I've been raising meat rabbits for several years now. Its a lot of fun, very rewarding and very tasty experience. It doesn't take a lot of time once you get set up. If you have young kids be prepared because it can be extremely difficult for even your hardened farmers/hunters. It can be very difficult for children and once they name a few, it all over!

Let me know if you decide to get into it. I have picked up a few tips over the years.

Here are few of the kits from a kindle in April. They are next on the butcher block.
"Smoked carp taste just as good as smoked salmon, when you ain't got no salmon"

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Offline wafisherman

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 11:48:54 AM »
Yeah, rabbits are a bit harder to kill just because they are cute little things.  The wife and kids had no stomach to really want to eat them, so I quit raising meat rabbits.  Just have a few pet rabbits now.

First thing is to be sure you look into the breed of rabbit you want.  A good meat rabbit bread, and maybe a cross breed, is a good way to go.  Don't think that just because it is a larger breed, that it will be good.  Specifically find an established meat breed.

Wire cages are important.  Need to keep them clean and avoid issues with parasites and stuff.

Breeding can be tricky, but once you've been through it a few times, you quickly learn what works and doesn't with your group.

Figure out your male to female ratio.  How many litters do you want at any one time?  How many times per year you should breed one female? 

Feed - always have fresh grass hay.  As much as they want.  Then just give them enough quality pellets to be sure you are getting the growth and weight you are after.

figure out a way to keep records.  You can wing it, but you'll do better with records.  How much you feed each rabbit.  Rabbit growth rates.  Date a rabbit was bred with the buck.  Etc etc

Save the droppings.  Great for the garden and no need to compost them.


Offline turkeyfeather

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2014, 02:30:54 PM »
Thanks for the info. I have not decided whether or not it would be worth it, but if I do I will probably have more questions.
I refuse to have a battle of wits with an un-armed person.

Offline wafisherman

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2014, 03:55:54 PM »
When it cones to raising your own meat, rabbits are hard to beat.  Very efficient in turning feed into meat. 

Offline ouchfoss

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2014, 06:24:43 PM »
My dad has been raising meat rabbits for almost two years now. I don't think he has any pure breeds anymore. Hes got alot of different mixes of Flemish giant, checkered giant, Californians, new zealands and a few other big breeds.
When you are doing that many bunnies, you start to see traits of certain rabbits that you want to keep and pass on to new rabbits. Hes had a few rabbits that would have close to a dozen big healthy babies everytime it would give birth. Other rabbits had offspring that would grow noticeably faster than other bloodlines, which means it would be larger than others at butchering time.
Before he had a big butchering last winter, there was about 200 breeding does at one time but when you don't have a big market for them, feeding that many bunnies gets really expensive. He butchered all but about 30 of his best adult does and its alot more manageable to afford now. One thing he realized was that the growing bunnies actually consume more than a full grown adult bunny eats.
Raising rabbits is kinda fun and pretty rewarding considering you can have fresh meat anytime of the year you want and you can go large scale or small scale.
As was already said,the other benefit is the bunny poop. It is awesome for garden fertilizer. You can put it in your garden right away. No waiting for it to break down like cattle, pig, and chicken poo.

Offline lhrbull

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2014, 04:37:07 AM »
carp do you also sell the meat or just use it yourself

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2014, 05:36:51 AM »
We used to raise rabbits the bonus was the poop was excellent fertilizer for the garden

Offline Stickerbush

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2016, 08:53:01 AM »
Updates?
Coastal Perspective.

Offline Woodchuck

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2016, 09:03:55 AM »
Send Jackelope a pm, He has some experience on this.
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Disclaimer: This my SWAG. Not even an opinion. This is not my version of a 14th hand version of a fairy tale. It is also not the opinion of the Hunt Wa. site, it's owner, or any of the moderators or admins, not even me. Scouts honor. :salute:

Offline nwwanderer

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2016, 09:33:59 AM »
Good Idea.  Keep those breeders in good condition, nutritional requirements are not very high, calorie and protein requirements for gestation are lower than many think.  Over weight does equal multiple problems.  Food quality and quantity increases just before having babies and after.  Once babies are weaned food needs to be appropriate for age and size.  Good luck

Offline jackelope

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2016, 10:04:03 AM »
Send Jackelope a pm, He has some experience on this.
Thanks!!
Any questions, feel free to ask. We've got a bunch of rabbits. No meat rabbits but the needs and requirements aren't too far apart.
A buck and 3 does properly managed will produce more meat in a year than a cow.
Snohomish County 4H will have meat pens for the first time this year at the Evergreen State Fair at the end of August. Auctions at the end of fair and all from what I hear.

:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

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Offline Widgeondeke

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2016, 10:14:11 AM »
Didn't know we had so many bunny breeders  :chuckle:

yes, we have been raising them now for 5+ years.
if going to butcher, DO NOT name them  :'( 

as mentioned, the largest breeds don't always equal best for meat. They are heavy boned, less meat ratio. California, Satin, Florida Whites, Rex, New Zealand and Cinnamon are good meat breeds. Many breeders will use cross-breeds if not worried about showing.

we have raised Havana, Thrianta and Cinnamons

Havana - great temperament, average weight 6lbs, great fur if want to sell that also. Awesome for kids
Thrianta - good temperament, average weight 6lbs, ours have less fat than Havana. These are mainly raised for my son to show in 4-H
Cinnamon - temperament is so-so, out best brood doe is a Bit*%, but kicks out 8-10 kits, average weight 10lbs, reach fryer weight(2.5lbs) at about 7 weeks

the different pellet options can influence weight gain and fat. The protein % can be anywhere from 14%-20%. We have found that the 18% is great for our "meat" rabbits, but cause our Havana's to be fat. Fresh Timothy hay is great. Fruit tree branches are good for them to chew on, ours love apple
Recently have learned from another breeder that Chaffhaye is great for growth. She raised 2 litters: one on pellets and the other on Chaffhaye, the latter weighed 25% more at 6 weeks old. Chickens love the stuff also.

if you decide to take the leap. Looks like plenty of help on here  :tup:

Offline jackelope

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2016, 10:14:53 AM »
Didn't know we had so many bunny breeders  :chuckle:

yes, we have been raising them now for 5+ years.
if going to butcher, DO NOT name them  :'( 

as mentioned, the largest breeds don't always equal best for meat. They are heavy boned, less meat ratio. California, Satin, Florida Whites, Rex, New Zealand and Cinnamon are good meat breeds. Many breeders will use cross-breeds if not worried about showing.

we have raised Havana, Thrianta and Cinnamons

Havana - great temperament, average weight 6lbs, great fur if want to sell that also. Awesome for kids
Thrianta - good temperament, average weight 6lbs, ours have less fat than Havana. These are mainly raised for my son to show in 4-H
Cinnamon - temperament is so-so, out best brood doe is a Bit*%, but kicks out 8-10 kits, average weight 10lbs, reach fryer weight(2.5lbs) at about 7 weeks

the different pellet options can influence weight gain and fat. The protein % can be anywhere from 14%-20%. We have found that the 18% is great for our "meat" rabbits, but cause our Havana's to be fat. Fresh Timothy hay is great. Fruit tree branches are good for them to chew on, ours love apple
Recently have learned from another breeder that Chaffhaye is great for growth. She raised 2 litters: one on pellets and the other on Chaffhaye, the latter weighed 25% more at 6 weeks old. Chickens love the stuff also.

if you decide to take the leap. Looks like plenty of help on here  :tup:

This guy knows whats up. Taught me, and lots of others, everything we know.
:fire.:

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My posts, opinions and statements do not represent those of this forum

Offline seth30

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2016, 03:37:41 PM »
I plan on getting some for keeping the garden and yard fertilized :tup:
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Offline runamuk

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2016, 03:44:50 PM »
Send Jackelope a pm, He has some experience on this.
Thanks!!
Any questions, feel free to ask. We've got a bunch of rabbits. No meat rabbits but the needs and requirements aren't too far apart.
A buck and 3 does properly managed will produce more meat in a year than a cow.
Snohomish County 4H will have meat pens for the first time this year at the Evergreen State Fair at the end of August. Auctions at the end of fair and all from what I hear.

This is awesome we were pushing hard for this when we were doing 4H.
benchleg

Offline Eric M

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2016, 03:47:02 PM »
tagging

Offline jackelope

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2016, 03:57:20 PM »
Send Jackelope a pm, He has some experience on this.
Thanks!!
Any questions, feel free to ask. We've got a bunch of rabbits. No meat rabbits but the needs and requirements aren't too far apart.
A buck and 3 does properly managed will produce more meat in a year than a cow.
Snohomish County 4H will have meat pens for the first time this year at the Evergreen State Fair at the end of August. Auctions at the end of fair and all from what I hear.

This is awesome we were pushing hard for this when we were doing 4H.

Babies are here. Well, they've been here for a week and a half.
Dutch-



I don't have any more up to date pics. They're all chocolates. They opened their eyes yesterday. They're big fat babies and their momma is doing a great job.

Jersey Wooly babies are another story. We lost one last week at 5 days old, had another one knocking on deaths door and quickly decided momma wasn't feeding them. I went out to the shed and got the Dutch momma and brought her inside. Put her on her back and put the 2 wooly babies onto her and she let them nurse. We gave the one that was not doing well a few shots of a home brew baby formula for a little sugar energy and eventually got that one to nurse. Ended up not sure if the Dutch momma could handle 7 babies as a first time mom so we took them to a friend who also has Wooly's. She had a doe kindle only 2 on the same day as ours, so we fostered our babies to her. We'll get them back in 7 or so weeks but so far the 3 are alive and well at this point. We got 2 black otters, 1 blue otter and a broken black. We lost one of the black otters. The only pic I have of them is with the other 2 at our friends house.



This is all 4 of them before we lost the 1.


:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

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Offline jackelope

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2016, 04:00:30 PM »
This only sort of fits the topic of this thread I guess because the mere mention of meat rabbits around the owners of these rabbits could result in cold dinner, the death glare and numerous other potential bad things from the female units of the household.
 :chuckle:
:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

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Offline Whitpirate

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2016, 06:24:37 PM »
PETS!  I'm going to take the plunge soon and I think Jackalope is hoping I do soon so he can eat some once in a while.  No cold dinners here... I do 90% of the cooking.

Offline jackelope

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Re: Raising rabbits
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2016, 08:57:57 AM »
PETS!  I'm going to take the plunge soon and I think Jackalope is hoping I do soon so he can eat some once in a while.  No cold dinners here... I do 90% of the cooking.


That is indeed a thing.
:fire.:

" In today's instant gratification society, more and more pressure revolves around success and the measurement of one's prowess as a hunter by inches on a score chart or field photos produced on social media. Don't fall into the trap. Hunting is-and always will be- about the hunt, the adventure, the views, and time spent with close friends and family. " Ryan Hatfield

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