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. 🙂
- 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.
- 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.”
- They don’t make noise. Rabbits are usually silent. Enough said.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?
We, the coalition, Meat Eaters Against Treating Poor Animals Like Meat (hereafter referred to as MEATPALM), are ready to take a stand.
You heard us. We eat meat. But we can’t stomach the idea of you killing an animal yourself. We believe that animals should always be treated like animals–never like meat. The meat on our dinner plate is different.
We have words for you people who choose to butcher your own meat. Words like: “mean,” cruel,” “heartless,” and “beastly.” How could anyone be so cruel as to raise an animal just to eat it?!?
(Amy from A Farmish Kind of Life)
Now, we have nothing against people who get their meat humanely (in a grocery store); eating meat like that is healthy, normal–it’s the people that get their meat from killing animals we can’t stomach.
Chickens who live a happy life in the sun only to end up in the pot are the objects of emotional abuse–there are no two ways about it. How could you earn their trust, their love, only to slaughter them later? No healthy, compassionate person could do a thing like that. No one has the right to take a life like that.
Sure, chicken owners give a good speech. They talk about giving the birds pasture and sunshine, knowing their animals’ health individually, and dispatching them humanely. We all know It’s just a farce to drum up attention. To cover their evil deeds. To hide their bloodlust. Normal people eat chicken nuggets, chicken fingers–not chicken pets.
(Jess from The 104 Homestead)
Home-butchers need to realize that animals no longer have to be treated like meat.
Thanks to amazing scientific and societal advances, no one actually needs to butcher an animal for food anymore. You can buy your poultry, pork, and steaks at Walmart, where no animal was harmed and products were manufactured in a sterile environment. We have incredible machines and computer controlled factories now–nobody has to get blood on their hands for food. That was our grandparents’ problem, not ours.
You home-farmers are sick, backwards cavemen. C’mon. We live in the 21st century, people. Animals can just be our friends now, not our food.
(Abi from They’re Not Our Goats)
We know this may be hard for you backyard butchers to grasp, but you have to realize that your urge to kill animals for meat is something you can control. It is something 21st century humans have overcome. Just focus on the meat in the grocery store. It has no hair. No feathers. No happy cluck. It is clean and ready for consumption, sealed in plastic. That’s meat. Think of meat that way and you’ll never have the urge to kill innocent animals again. It’s simple, really.
We can rest in peace knowing that this chicken wasn’t harmed.
Unlike yours, that you butchered in your backyard. You disgusting person, you.
(Patrick of Survival at Home)
“Ground beef” and “pork chops” are okay to buy, cook, and consume, but cows and pigs should not be treated that way.
(Bonnie of The Not-So-Modern Housewife)
Yes, we, the people of MEATPALM, have come a realization:
If we don’t think about where our meat came from then we can eat it without guilt, shame, or hesitation. We can buy it from a store whenever we want it, we can get it on super sale, and we can toss the scraps without feeling bad. You see, we are modern, refined, cultured individuals. We don’t have to stoop to the level of the butcher, the farmer, or the hunter.
But as for you people who use animals for food?
Shame on you.
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In case you were wondering, this post is satire. It’s not meant to be critical of vegetarians, vegans, or omnivores. I respect your individual dietary choices. It’s not meant to suggest that everyone has to or should butcher their own meat. It is meant, however, to point out the problems with the view that it’s okay to eat an animal but it’s not okay to participate in killing it.
Believe it or not, many of the objections I voice in this post are paraphrases or exact quotes of real-life arguments from people I or my fellow HBN bloggers have faced personally. These ideas are wildly untenable for the meat-eater.
I believe in knowing where my food comes from and in taking part in its production in whatever capacity I am able to. I believe in raising animals compassionately, healthily, and humanely. I believe that meat animals can be a beautiful provision for my family, and I am thankful for them. But most importantly, I value people over differences of opinion. If we disagree, we can still be friends. 🙂
Many thanks to my friends for donating photos, and to my husband for editing/co-authoring this post!