Who doesn’t like a cute little fluffy bunny? Show a bunny to almost anyone and you will see a smile spread across their face. As far as I can tell, most people raise rabbits for pets. I, however, also raise them for meat. Whether you have rabbits for pets or meat, I will tell you how to feed them for FREE! Click here to subscribe to my mailing list.
Advantages of meat rabbits
As part of living a more sustainable lifestyle, I have started to raise meat rabbits. Rabbit meat is one of the leanest meats. It has more protein per pound than chicken. It seriously tastes similar to chicken. As you all know rabbits are very prolific. Each litter of rabbits can be 6 to 12 bunnies. In just 8 to 12 weeks they are ready to eat.
Times of need
My neighbor’s mom and dad lived in Belgium during WWII. They made it through the hard times with rationed food by eating rabbits. They had 5 kids and 2 adults. This family was a hero by hiding and caring for allied soldiers who were behind enemy lines escaping back to the front. Having these extra soldiers would add a couple more mouths to feed. Before the war, they would use regular rabbit feed, but during the war, it was unavailable. Their solution was feeding their rabbits grass. All they had to do was slide a rabbit tractor around the yard. During the wintertime, they would feed their rabbits left over vegetable scraps like carrot and potato peelings. They would prep their rabbits for that kind of diet during the summer so they would be used to it by the time winter came around. The rabbits were a little malnourished but there wasn’t a lot to go around. The rabbits provided the family with meat during their times of scarcity.
I have been raising rabbits since I was a 15. I wanted to make a business out of it. I built some pens, got some does and a buck and I was in business. I put signs up that would direct people to my house off the main streets to sell all the baby bunnies. I sold them for $10 a piece. I was always able to sell all that I had and it felt good to make some money on my first business. For more information for how your kids can make money selling baby rabbits check out http://www.howtomakemoneyasakid.com/.
However, there was one huge problem. The rabbit pellets to feed my rabbits were $8 a bag (now its $16). I would go through at least 2 bags a month. Rabbits are really good at wasting those expensive pellets. They scratch half of the pellets on to the ground to find the tastiest one, even though they all taste the same (idiots). Looking back I probably didn’t make any money. There actually used to be businesses around for Rex rabbits and their fur or New Zealand rabbits for their meat. I knew of a couple rabbit companies and they aren’t around anymore. The reason they went under was probably the same reason I didn’t make any money, the feed.
Like my neighbor’s parents fed their rabbits in WWII, I have adopted the same practice. I have built several rabbit tractors so that my rabbits can just eat grass on my lawn. They do leave their little surprises everywhere I drag them, but the grass loves it- fresh free fertilizer. I have improved the design and made the perfect rabbit tractor. I have been using it for 4 months now and I love it. I am currently putting together a step-by-step plan on how to make one with the design and measurements. This will be available for you here on my website.
Since I have raised rabbits for many years now I have found so many benefits to raising rabbits this way. They are:
- Endless free rabbit feed
- No wasted feed.
- It saves time. It takes me 15 seconds to move the rabbit tractor once a day to new grass.
- They don’t need much water because they get most of it from the grass. I fill up their little waters that you can get for $3.85 only twice a month.
- They eat the weeds before the grass. Rabbits love dandelions.
- Your kids can start their own rabbit business all on their own and actually make money. (I actually recently saw some kids trying to make money just by having people pet their bunnies!- 10cents to hold the rabbit and 5 cents to pet it!)
- It is fun to have the baby rabbits on the lawn especially in the front yard to play with. All my neighbors’ kids come over and love feeding the rabbits and playing with them.
- I love to play with the rabbits with my kids.
- Animals make you happier. It is true; a lot of big companies like Google will have a dog in their office because they have found that office dogs reduce work-related stress.
Your beautiful lawn
This all sounds great but you might be thinking, “What about my beautiful, perfect lawn??” Put that lawn to use! You are already spending time and fertilizer to make a beautiful lawn. Why not share that with your rabbits? Here is my lawn that my rabbits have been eating for months.
They do eat the grass down low and poop, but the new grass shoots right back up! In less than a week you can’t even tell the rabbits were there. Rabbit waste is not bad. It comes out and dries in hours. If you step in it, it doesn’t stick to your shoes. To me it is about as gross as stepping in grass clippings because that is all it is. It doesn’t even smell bad.
What do my rabbits eat during the wintertime? I have tested many different methods. I feed them vegetable scraps like my neighbor’s parents did. In the fall I rake up all my leaves and feed them leaves. They don’t like maple leaves but they really like elm leaves. I once fed them just elm leaves for a couple of weeks and they still looked very healthy. Last winter I bought 2 bales of hay and 1 grass hay bale. Just that, kept one buck and a doe fat and happy. I bought the hay for $3.50 a bale for a total of $10.50. You could also save your grass clippings from mowing your lawn all summer. Make sure you spread it out on the ground to let it dry and then keep it dry under a tarp or barrel to store for winter.
Trading meat for meat
I initially got back into raising rabbits for the meat, but they are so cute! I am now going to sell the baby bunnies and buy salmon or halibut instead. Rabbits sell for $10 to $35 each depending on the breed. I am selling mine for $20 and I have a litter of 6 to sell. That is $120 of fish I can buy! At $5 per lb that is 24 lbs of fish. Now we are talking.
Even though I don’t plan on eating the rabbits now, if times get tough like they were for my neighbor’s parents during WWII, I will have a great sustainable system in place to provide food for my family. Click here to subscribe to my mailing list.
Authored by Steven Cooper Google