10 Reasons to Get Meat Rabbits

Meat rabbits! If you’re new to home-butchering, the idea of raising a rabbit just to eat it probably sounds off-putting. However, there are many reasons why meat rabbits are a perfect choice for the hobby farmer looking to get into home meat production.

Before I begin typing this, I must tell you a secret: I don’t personally care for owning meat rabbits. I keep trying to convince my husband to sell them all off and use the money for getting another goat or perhaps a sheep. I promise I’ll share why in another post- but for now, let’s look at the positives. 🙂

10 Reasons to Get Meat Rabbits

  1. Rabbits are an inexpensive investment. Meat rabbits cost relatively little. A registered goat can easily cost $200-400 a pop, and pig and cattle certainly aren’t cheap. However, rabbits can be found for about $40-60 for a breeding pair. (We got our pair for $25, but that’s unusual!) You can also purchase a breeding trio- one buck and two does- so you can alternate breeding with two different mamas.
  2. They don’t take up much space. You don’t need acres and acres to raise rabbits. All you need is a small hutch (or hutches) to house each rabbit. FYI- if you’re new to this, don’t keep your male and female live together on a regular basis. There’s a reason for the phrase “breed like rabbits.”
  3. They don’t make noise. Rabbits are usually silent. Enough said.
  4. They have one of the shortest birth to processing times. Rabbits can be processed at 8-12 weeks old. Each litter requires a relatively brief time commitment.
  5. They produce the most lean protein per dollar spent out of any meat animal. Or so they tell me. Honestly, I don’t know where this statistic is from, but I remember hearing it many times when we were researching rabbits. (Tell me if it’s true, will you?) However, with litters averaging 6-10 kits and each rabbit averaging about 4 lbs, it’s easy to see that there’s a potential for a lot of meat. We average about 24-40 lbs with each successful breeding.
  6. You don’t need expensive equipment for butchering. My husband uses a pellet gun for dispatch and a good knife for skinning and gutting. (There are other methods for dispatch, but we find the pellet gun to be simple and humane.) Also, rabbits are pretty light (3-5 lbs), so you don’t need any fancy hooks or a big space to hang them for processing like you would a larger animal.
  7. They can mow your lawn for you. You read that right. Check out this post to see what I mean. I would recommend, however, making sure that the bottom fencing on your DIY rabbit mower is strong and regularly inspected. If you didn’t know this already, rabbits are good at digging.
  8. Rabbits are a free fertilizer factory. Rabbits poop. A lot. And that poop is hailed as gold for your garden. If you raise rabbits, you can collect those golden nuggets (ahem) for compost and fertilizing. Now you know.
  9. Care is relatively easy. All you have to do occasional cleaning & daily fresh food and water. Bonus: Rabbits love vegetable ends, so they also take care of food scraps for you!
  10. They taste good. It’s true- rabbits taste somewhat like chicken. You can make roast rabbit, rabbit stew, or pretty much any chicken meal that with rabbit meat.

There you have it. 10 reasons to get meat rabbits for your own homestead. Are there any other reasons that you can think of?

7 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Get Meat Rabbits

  1. Rachel

    Fascinating. It is so interesting to me to follow your homesteading journey! I’d love to know how you prepare your rabbits. 40 pounds- that is kind of a lot of meat :)! I didn’t know it was so much per litter.

    Reply
    1. Abi Post author

      Rachel– they cook up pretty much like chicken, only a little gamey-er. (Is that a word?) So far we have roast pieced rabbit, made rabbit stew, rabbit cacciatore, and I’m interested in trying rabbit curry. If you’re ever up this way again we’ll cook you one if you’re feeling adventurous. It’s very good! I am just still hesitant about the whole thing, and would rather process bird than rabbit.

      Reply
    2. Janie

      Rachel, we raise meat rabbits and just put up 44 lbs of rabbit breakfast sausage. We make “bunny nuggets” which the grandchildren LOVE! We make the front legs like chicken wings, roast rabbit, fried rabbit and also we can rabbit for soups, stews, rabbit and rice. Basically any recipe for chicken can be made using rabbit and it is much leaner and healthier meat. Unfortunately I’m not able to raise the food for our rabbits (2 bucks and 8 does), but we do feed them organic, non-gmo feed, so we feel comfortable with the meat we are eating.

      Reply
      1. Abi Post author

        Wow, what a lot of great ideas, Janie! We were just wondering if “bunny nuggets” would be good… Do you coat them like you would homemade chicken nuggets?

        Reply
  2. Michelle

    We raise meat rabbits, but don’t eat them as much as we barter or trade them (and sometimes sell them). It’s interesting how many people enjoy rabbit meat! BUT, the biggest plus for me is the manure – they are an integral part of our homestead as they help supply nutrients for our soil. We are trying to be as self-sufficient as possible, so avoiding outside inputs is important. We hope to grow more of our own rabbit food as well…it all ties in. Anyway, for our small homestead, they have been a wonderful addition. And I think they would benefit a lot of other small homesteaders – but of course choosing to raise animals for meat is always such a personal choice. And rabbits rate pretty high on the “cuteness” factor, and there are those who keep them as pets and consider it cruel to use them for food…whole other topic.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Points to Consider before Getting Meat Rabbits | The Rustic Elk

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