Are Rabbits the New Super Meat? By Karen Pinchin on May 29, 2013 By all appearances, rabbit could be the food of the future. Touted for years by food activists including Michael Pollan, these fluffy herbivores eat alfalfa instead of energy-intensive soy or fish meal, grow quickly and thrive in clean, disease-free conditions. Plus, while their reproductive prowess may be clichéd, California farmer Mark Pasternak and his wife Myriam can’t build rabbit barns fast enough to keep up with demand. Three years ago the couple’s Sonoma-area Devil’s Gulch Ranch had 250 breeding females, or does, a number that has since quadrupled to 1,000 and makes them one of the largest meat rabbit producers in the United States.
At any one time, they have 9,000 rabbits, with 300 to 500 slaughtered every week for regional grocery stores and restaurants, including French Laundry , Chez Panisse , and Zuni Café . He’s also seen a rekindled interest from people who want to raise rabbits in their backyards. The result? 3 Ways To Raise Rabbits For Food. Raising & Breeding Rabbits For Meat. Throughout North America there is a movement to relearn the forgotten skills of self-sufficiency. People from various walks of life are recognizing that our consumerist lifestyle has a negative impact on the planet and on our quality of life. These groups, families, organization and individuals want change and many turn towards acts of self-reliance. There are many things people can do to increase their self-sufficiency such as growing organic vegetables (in large or small spaces), learning to preserve food, hunting wild animals or homesteading.
It was our desire to be self-reliant that began our adventure in raising and breeding rabbits for meat. We considered a variety of animals for our backyard homestead like chickens and goats, but at the time rabbits were the best fit for our needs. Rabbits are well suited for small spaces. A small rabbitry is quiet and should not stink.
Rabbits are easy to care for. Farmed rabbit meat is lean and mild tasting. A couple extra rabbit perks. Rabbits for Meat. Rabbits for Meat Raising rabbits for meat isn't a new idea, although it hasn't achieved the popularity of other forms of animal protein. Maybe part of this is due to the fact that bunnies are cute. Yet, if you can get past the looks of the animal, there are some very good reasons to consider rabbits for meat. Six Good Reasons to Raise Rabbits for Meat One reason to raise rabbits for meat is that it requires a way less food and water to produce than other meat animals. Another great thing about rabbits is that their meat is lower in cholesterol than most other meats--even lower than chicken.
And 100% of domestic raised rabbits are white meat! Because rabbits breed and grow so quickly, one doe can produce 320 pounds of meat per year. Rabbit meat is not only lean and nutritious, but it's also tasty. They're also cheap to raise, so you get a great return on your investment. Good Meat Breeds New Zealand (8-12 pounds). Californian (7-10 pounds). Florida White (4-6 pounds). Beveren (8-11 pounds). Rabbit Mating, Kits, & Oat Grass. Breeding Meat Rabbits @ The Elliott Homestead. Hay for Rabbits - What to Feed Pet Bunnies - Proper Diet. Author: Abi Cushman Abi Cushman is the proud owner of two mischievous agouti rabbits named Coco and Cosette. She is also the co-editor of a fun wildlife website called Animal Fact Guide. Picture a food pyramid for rabbits. What do you see at the base? If you chose bunny pellets, you wouldn't be alone. But the base of a bunny food pyramid actually isn't filled by pellets. Fiber for Digestion Rabbits have digestive tracts that are specially adapted to break down fibrous vegetation.
Roughage for Dental Health Not only is hay necessary for good digestive health, it also wears down rabbits' teeth, which continuously grow. What Kind of Hay For baby bunnies, alfalfa provides the high caloric content necessary for their development. Where to Buy You can usually find bags of hay at most pet stores. If there are no farms in your area, don't despair. Correct Diet For Rabbits - Bunny Food. Many people keep rabbits rather than dogs and cats because rabbits can be happily left at home alone all day while their owners are out at work. Though often happy on their own, they are by nature social creatures that enjoy the company of their owners and other animals in the household. They are best kept in pairs because they form strong bonds with each other.
They will play with toys, seek out and follow humans, and enjoy being stroked. Most rabbits will use a litter tray and so can live indoors in the house, but they can sometimes be destructive. A rabbit's natural response to pain or distress is to sit quietly, preferably hidden from view. An incorrect diet can be the underlying cause to many health problems. Their teeth are continually growing and being worn down, to cut and grind food before it enters the stomach. Rabbits eat these pellets of feces, the cecotropes. So, what should I be feeding my rabbit? Are teeth problems related to diet? Plants Poisonous To Rabbits. By Cindy Fisher Many plants listed here are not all poisonous, only parts of them are.
Apple is a good example: the seeds are poisonous, but the fruit is perfectly fine for rabbits. Read the complete listing of the plant to get details regarding which parts to avoid. If no parts are listed, assume that the whole plant is poisonous and should not be in reach of your rabbit. Also check out Medirabbit's Feeding pages. And Charky & Ash's Plant Pages Acokanthera (Acokanthera)-fruit, flowers very poisonous Aconite (Aconitum)-all parts very poisonous African rue (Peganum harmala) Agapanthus (Nerine bowdenii) Aloe vera (Aloe vera) Alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum) Amanita (Amanita)-all parts Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)-bulbs Amaryllis belladonna (Brunsvigia rosea)-bulbs Anemone (Anemone sp.) Back to top Baccharis (Baccharis sp.) False henbane-all parts False hellebore (Veratrum viride and other sp.) Kafir (Sorghum vulgare) Klamath weed (Hypericum perforatum)
Meat Rabbits On Pasture. Over the weekend I attended a workshop on income opportunities in agriculture. One of the speakers was Daniel Salatin of Polyface Farms. The son of Joel Salatin, Daniel began raising meat rabbits twenty years ago when he was only seven years old. So he knew quite a bit about producing rabbits on pasture. This is a topic I'm very interested in. Since we eat meat and want both to be frugal and to reduce our carbon footprint, it makes sense to produce some of our own meat ourselves. Given our small residential property, rabbits seem to be one of the best possibilities. I'm going to share what I learned from Daniel Salatin's presentation. Daniel raises rabbits that he has more or less bred himself over the last two decades. When the does are ready to give birth they are removed from pasture and kept in indoor cages.
The rabbit pens used at Polyface Farms are 3'x8' and about 2' high. These pens get moved at least once per day, and often more frequently than that. Naturally Feeding The Meat Rabbits | The Elliott Homestead. Some Tips & Tricks On Raising Meat Rabbits. Thursday, May 13, 2010 Food production is the most important skill in survival. Without sufficient food you’re sunk. You won’t have the energy to protect yourself or your supplies, you won’t be able to get firewood to keep warm, or water to stay hydrated. So yes, you can live for weeks without food, but only if other people are there to take care of you and they have enough food! Health Do not use straw in rabbit cages.
Wood Shavings as litter: I would only recommend putting litter like wood shavings, clean grass hay, or newspaper in cages for pregnant females for their nesting box. Clean litter trays frequently, at least once a week. Give your rabbit a piece of natural wood to chew; they really like apple wood branches. We use wire stackable cages with wire bottoms with trays underneath each rabbit to catch the urine and feces. Kindling/Baby Problems This is the most problematic aspect of rabbits. Buck Problems Most bucks (male rabbits) have no problems except one. A Primer On Backyard Meat Rabbit Raising Practices. Rudolph's Rabbit Ranch& Waterfowl Farm is the name given to my small farm of raising meat rabbits, and ducks and geese for eggs, first for my family's personal consumption.
A backyard meat rabbit operation can be a great idea for someone interested in producing their own healthful, drug-free meat. In addition to providing a family with a quality of meat/protein unparalleled by that found at the grocery store, such a project can involve all family members. Even children can help in chores from breeding to the dinner table. Only a basic understanding of rabbit raising practices is needed. After that the breeder will discover what works best for his or her particular situation. The information presented here is not meant to imply that this is the only way to run a small backyard rabbitry. Back to Rudolph's Rabbit Ranch Why Raise Rabbits? Each family or individual considering raising rabbits does so for different reasons.
The issue remains: why raise rabbits? Pros: Cons: Housing Climate. Historic Meat Rabbit Breeds. The domesticated rabbit movement hit the United States in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until World War I that people really began to take the rabbit industry seriously. During wartimes, food prices increased, and domestic-bred rabbits became an affordable delicacy. People also discovered the protein value in rabbit meat was higher than that in chicken, beef, veal and other meats. The animal’s history is ancient, but in this day and age, many rabbit breeds are disappearing from the agricultural landscape.
Requiring little space and producing many byproducts such as meat, fur and fertilizer, rabbits can be a great option for the small sustainable farm. American RabbitStatus: Critical A true American original, the American is one of only six rabbit breeds developed in the United States. It was first exhibited in 1917 by Lewis H. The American is a large breed, with mature bucks weighing 9 to 11 pounds and does weighing 10 to 12 pounds. Belgian HareStatus: Threatened. Guide To Raising & Breeding Rabbits For Meat - Sustainable Farming. Related Content A Renter's Homestead You don't have to be a homeowner to homestead. No matter where you live, you can start practicing th...
One of the first projects I wanted when we moved to our place in the country was rabbits. I had read many times that they produced excellent tasting meat at little cost. One payday when I happened to read an advertisement offering a six compartment, all-metal wire hutch for sale for less than $20 I couldn't resist this good buy. Then, a friend of mine, Wally Boren noticed I hadn't done anything with my rabbit hutch and he asked if he could use it until I got ready. Choosing a Rabbit Breed Wally picked a variety called the Chinchilla. Of course, there are Angoras (with their beautiful, white, long fur) and other "fancy" breeds.
Wally started with a "trio" — a young buck nine months old and two does of the same age. At seven weeks all 14 of the young rabbits were alive and frisky. Profiting From Raising Rabbits Wally kept some careful records. Expert Info On Rabbit Breeding, Care & Genetics. Here is an index of the most helpful articles and blog posts published on this website. Topics include rabbit care, breeding, showing, genetics, and more.
Rabbit Care Information *New* Cold-weather Rabbit Care - Bunnies can live outdoors when it’s freezing and snowing, but they need some extra protection. Here are some tips.Free Rabbitry Record Sheets – Download and print these forms to help you keep track of vital information in your rabbitry.Keeping Rabbits in Top Condition- What can you feed your bunnies to give them an extra edge on the show table? Are there some things more important than feed? Rabbit Equipment Information Should you Buy or Build Rabbit Cages? Rabbit Breeding Information Line is Fine - What is the purpose of line breeding? Rabbit Genetics Information Basic Rabbit Genetics Chart – A cute pictorial showing how genes are inherited from parents. Rabbit Showing Information Starting in Show Rabbits - If you’re looking to get into raising show rabbits, stop here first.