Rabbit farming for meat is an industry that can be surprisingly profitable, especially given the animal’s small size. First impressions can be misleading, however. While a single rabbit is small, they have a tendency to breed very quickly.
As a result, breeders may be able to get anything from 125-250 pounds of rabbit meat per year. The exact figure is largely dependent on the schedule for breeding rabbits, as well as the number of kits per litter.
Here at New Heritage Feed Company, we are keen to make sure that you get the very best results – and this starts with the right food. By choosing the proper diet, you can significantly increase your chances of healthy, sturdy animals. They, in turn, are likely to pass these traits on to their kits. Head over to our site for further information on our formulas and variations, and start raising your rabbits in no time!
How To Start Rabbit Farming For Meat
Before you start raising animals or commit to rabbit farming for meat, there are a few essentials to consider. Doing your homework will save you time, energy, and money, ensuring that any rabbits raised are in the best condition.
Check the legalities
Depending on your location, there may be restrictions in place which prohibit raising rabbits for meat. Most areas will allow you to keep pet rabbits but deny the practice of rabbit farming for meat in residential zones. Make sure you check out your local laws and codes before proceeding. Even if you have permission, there are terms you will be bound by.
If your neighborhood bans rabbit farming for meat, consider a communal farm or cooperative. Once again, there will be restrictions and regulations to follow, so check these carefully.
Choose your breed
One of the most important aspects of rabbit farming for meat is to choose the correct breed. One important note is that rabbit meat becomes tougher the older the animal, and so baby rabbits are preferred for meat. It is important, therefore, that you choose a breed that grows quickly at a young age.
Some of the most popular options include:
- Champagne D’Argent
This is a popular domestic breed, offering great meat and luxurious black fur, and is one of the most common meat breeds.
These breeds range from around 8 to 12 pounds, making them perfect for raising for meat. As an added bonus, their demeanor is quiet and cooperative. This character makes them great if you are breeding rabbits in an urban environment, and they are fast growers.
- Flemish Giant
One of the most popular picks when rabbit farming for meat, each bunny can grow up to 20 pounds.
At around 12 pounds of meat per animal, Chinchilla remains a top breed for farmers. Additionally, the meat is highly prized for its excellent quality. They are also excellent breeders, allowing you to enjoy more meat for your money.
- New Zealand
Originally from the USA – despite the misleading name – the New Zealand breed’s flesh is tender, tasty, and delicious. Animals reach around 12 pounds fully grown, and so remain one of the popular rabbit meat sources. This remains one of the most commonly selected breeds when rabbit farming for meat.
Create a shelter
All animals will require a rabbit hutch to offer shelter, and this is a simple construction. All you really need is a wooden box divided into two – one wire meshed on all sides, the other closed in with wood. The mesh allows the rabbits to stand comfortably without falling but still allows waste to be passed through the holes. A rabbit run is also a great idea, allowing plenty of space for movement, fresh air, and exercise.
Any shelter should also take into account the needs of rabbits – especially their need to gnaw. Regular chewing and gnawing keep teeth filed down and can be achieved with a simple piece of wood or even a branch.
Alternatively, you could construct a colony- this is simply a fenced-in area, with plenty of shade from the elements. The rabbits can roam free anywhere within the enclosure.
Get the diet right
Rabbit farming for meat means that you need to ensure that the diet you offer is of the highest quality. A poor diet affects the quality and value of the meat. When deciding what to feed rabbits, you have plenty of options available. A rabbit pellet can be a great way to boost protein and weight quickly, while dry food can compensate if the grass is poor.
For a natural solution, try and opt for hay or vegetables, or explore fodder – essentially sprouted wheatgrass. These are cheap, nutrient-dense options that will help your rabbits get everything they need to thrive. Access to clean water is also imperative.
Keep your rabbits healthy.
When rabbit farming for meat, it is crucial that you tend to the animals’ daily health needs. Ear mites are one of the most common issues, and these tend to be caused by dirty living conditions. Make sure that all hutches and living areas are cleaned weekly and the bedding changed.
Warm, fresh hay is the best option for a healthy, happy rabbit. Avoid paper shredding’s if possible, as the ink can transfer to their fur and skin. Wood shavings should never be used for baby rabbits, though they are suitable for the mother.
You can also mix tea tree with oil in the ear of your rabbit to prevent mites from developing. If they appear, you will notice scabs and increased earwax. In this case, 2 to 3 drops of oil should be added to each ear every other day for 30 days. You will also need to overhaul the hutch and clean it with a diluted bleach mixture to prevent reinfection.
Looking for more information?
Here at New Heritage Feed Company, we can offer a wealth of advice in feeding a whole host of animals – including rabbits. Head over to the site today, and see how our expert advice can help to get you started on your rabbit raising journey.