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New to meat rabbits.

Discussion of all aspects of rabbits as meat animals. If this subject is offensive to you, please do not visit.
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New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Flint1776 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:27 am


Hey all, I am looking to start raising rabbits for meat . The very few people I ahve talked to have told me that cost wise its not really any less expensive than buying them. can you guys give me some input? I would keep my setup small, not looking to breed a ton just enough for my belly!

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#2  Unread postby BlueHaven » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:35 am


I would just buy culls from people at a dollar a pound live weight. Mine cost me more than that to raise but the better show quality rabbits make up for the loss on the meat culls. If I was going to raise meat rabbits I might try just raising them on alfalfa grass hay to off set the price of the feed. They would probably not grow as fast but the savings in feed would more than offset that. You would probably butcher them at 8 to ten weeks old for meat anyhow.

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#3  Unread postby shazza » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:29 am


i've found plenty of free meat rabbits, usually NZ mixes and californias, on craigslist, so actually buying them can be really cheap. you can also find free or super cheap cages there too. feed will be your biggest expense, but like bluehaven said you can just not feed pellets if growth rate isn't an issue for you. personally i find i save on feed simply because they grow faster so i don't have to feed them as long, and i am able to get a high quality feed for quite cheap since it's semi-locally produced.

it may not be any cheaper than buying rabbit in the store, but for me the big draw is i KNOW where my meat came from. most rabbit sold in grocery stores are battery rabbits from europe and my whole reason for starting a farm was to get away from factory produced meat. so maybe i pay a bit more but my meat was happy and had room to stretch out, basic medical care, and a quick and stress-free death.
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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#4  Unread postby alforddm » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:33 am


It all depends on what you're looking for. If you just want cheap meat it's def cheaper just to buy those chicken thigh bags or even pork loin on sale at the supermarket.

If you want to know how your meat was raised, what it was fed, then raising is (usually) cheaper than fresh from farm.

If you have access to lots of weeds and forage items (and the time to gather then), then the meat can be much cheaper or even free.

If you'd like to know more about feeding foraged items there is a forum for natural feeding and many of us feed at least some forage so feel free to ask questions.

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#5  Unread postby GBov » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:31 pm


Whereabouts are you located? I know down here in Central Florida I can buy rabbits for $5 each of CL and its really hard to raise them that cheaply.

BUT!

Not only do you know every step when you raise your own you have the fun of, well, having your own. Rabbits are totally an addictive creature. :twisted:

You could try buying a few live off CL and butchering them yourself, you at least know when talking to the seller what they were eating and how they lived and see if you even like rabbits.

They are NOT Disney animals by any stretch of the imagination!

And at least when you butcher your own you get the hide and organ meat and if you have a dog, they like heads and feet. Well, my dogs do.

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Marie28 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:29 pm


Meat mutts are you best bet. But I doubt the cost of raising will be less than what you paid for the single rabbit. I would be careful taking free rabbits. There is all ways a reason something is free (sickness, bad instincts/genes/temperament). It could just be they are cutting back on the herd and want them gone quickly.

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Preitler » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:28 pm


shazza wrote:most rabbit sold in grocery stores are battery rabbits from europe


You sure about that? Sounds very, very strange to me. China would be my first bet for rabbit meat in stores.

Meat mutts from someone who feeds them like you intend to are imho your best bet.

I raise them just for me, feeding mostly forage, doesn't matter that it takes 16-20 weeks to grow out. Costs are no issue for me, I get more than enough dry bread from the people at work, spend about 30€ per year on pellets and about the same on hay (make most of it myself), for 5 breeding does (much too much, 2 would be enough, but well, you know....) and one buck, and this year only 16 growouts.

Costs sure depend on your location, and your resources. I mow neighbours gardens and areas that would just be mulched, I don't care being the guy with the scythe roaming the neighbourhood ( I still need to find a long, black raincoat... :roll: )
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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#8  Unread postby tarheel506 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:48 pm


Preitler wrote:Meat mutts from someone who feeds them like you intend to are imho your best bet.


Agreed.

Although all my rabbit income and expenses physically go in and out of my regular checking account, I keep a "hypothetical" account set in up quickbooks just to see how I'm doing. I track everything I spend (feed, cage supplies, hay, rabbit purchases, etc.) as well as everything I bring in (rabbit meat sales, live rabbit sales, rabbit manure sales, etc.). Since I use a lot of the meat for myself, I have a "personal use" income category set up, where I apply a per pound price based on what I would have had to pay for the same amount of meat had I not had my own rabbit meat to use.

It took me a while to catch up with my start up costs, and sometimes I still dip into the red when buying supplies, but every single butcher day I leave that "hypothetical" account with a nice black number.

Plus, it's just fun to raise your own meat, know where it comes from and how it lived, and get to play with all those super fluffy kits. Just sayin...
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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Dwc77 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:00 pm


If someone only wants to eat a few a year buying some is a better bet. If you want to eat several and have the time and space then getting a few meat rabbits works. I can't say its any cheaper raises your own but I enjoy it. That my be the most important part of raising rabbits enjoying them. Because watching little kits poking there heads out a the nest box is always fun. Feeding and watering when it 5 degrees or 100 degrees is not fun and they need cared for every day :D I have 29 ready for frezzer camp in about 10 days also not the most fun :lol:

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#10  Unread postby GBov » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:09 pm


Dwc77 wrote: I have 29 ready for frezzer camp in about 10 days also not the most fun :lol:


I sooooo envy you the livers, hearts and kidneys! Whenever I had that many to do, an organ fry up was demanded by all. :lol: My bad, I let the rest of the family see how much I loved them.

We started off with just one or two every now and then - when I could get the rabbit rescuers out of the way :lol: - but the meat is just so good, and so versatile, that it crept up to at least one rabbit meal a week and sometimes two. Jerked rabbit fried fast in hot oil? OMG fantastic!

Flint, have you had rabbit meat before?

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Dwc77 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:31 pm


GBov wrote:
Dwc77 wrote: I have 29 ready for frezzer camp in about 10 days also not the most fun :lol:


I sooooo envy you the livers, hearts and kidneys! Whenever I had that many to do, an organ fry up was demanded by all. :lol:

I used to feed all that to my dog or use it for catfish bait! But a year or so ago I fried up some liver and onions and well the dog sure doesn't get a belly full anymore :lol:

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#12  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:22 am


If I feed store-bought pellets only [that is rare] it costs me $1.00 to $1.20/ lb [live wt] to raise rabbits. when I feed weeds, + mangles or sugar beets, ...I buy a little "concentrate", or "premix" to put in the feeders so they can eat mineral if they want. -- when feeding this way ,the price of the rabbit meat is so little it is hard to calculate .. I am weeding the garden anyway, and carry the weeds out anyway-- and I get "instant fertilizer" ready to go back into the garden. when I have rabbits I have no compost pile... yield % of meat depends on how you butcher, and if you value the pelt, - butcher loss for me is less than 25%, because I value the pelt,... without the pelt, including organ meat, and head, yield is well over 60%. -- without the head and organs, 50 to 55 percent is about what to expect from good meat stock.
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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Lowstorm » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:49 pm


I feed mine mostly pellets with grass supplements. When I have a growing litter or two I pay $20 a week. That's feeding 8.kits to 12 weeks plus the adults and holdbacks and another growing litter. Rabbit meat up here is $8/lb. I'm getting 3 lb dressed out babies minimum. So by my math I'm paying about half the price in stores. And the bag a week is only the last 2 weeks of growing. Usually it's a 50 lb bag every 2-3 weeks for the younger kits and 4 adults (6 now, we'll see if it stays worth it)

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Re: New to meat rabbits.

Post Number:#14  Unread postby LPH_NY » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:45 am


I don't buy rabbit pellets, because the ones they sell out here all have corn and/or soy in them and I just don't want my rabbits to be eating those. So I feed alfalfa pellets that were meant for horses as the staple of their diet. I feed nursing mamas and kits rolled oats as a top-dressing. Everyone gets hay daily. And during the growing season, I pick big handfuls of garden stuff and weeds. (I've found it's really economical to have beets and turnips and swiss chard in my garden - I pick the largest leaves off to give to the rabbits and the stuff just keeps growing back.) If I had enough free time, I could pick a 5-gallon bucket daily in the summer and really cut out the alfalfa pellets... In winter, they all get a sprinkling of BOSS.

I let my babies grow to 16 weeks... and I'm getting dressed carcasses between 4.8-6.25 lbs at that point. If I had to guess, since I haven't had the time to work out the data on paper, my rabbits probably cost around $5-6 per pound to raise, because of the length of time they are eating pellets and oats. It's hard to find rabbit in the grocery store for less than $10/lb... let alone farm-raised. It would be cheaper to butcher them younger, but I like that our family of 4 gets two whole meals out of a rabbit... or one really great boneless meal and a meal for the dog. I also eat my bunnies with zero guilt... because they had a stress-free life of comfort.

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