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Keeping both meat and pets?

Discussion of all aspects of rabbits as meat animals. If this subject is offensive to you, please do not visit.
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Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Vanessajv98 » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:06 am


Several years ago I got really into trapping and caught myself a few wild cottontails. Cleaned and ate them, it was a fun way to learn.

I've since gotten two little house bunnies that I've had for about 3 years and love very very much.

The problem is, I'm still interested in breeding rabbits for meat! I've got all the knowledge and even know how to clean them myself, but I'm not sure if it'll be harder now that I have some of my own. I know you need to be a bit ruthless while breeding, and don't want to end up in a rabbit hording situation.

Has anyone tried this before? How do you differentiate between friends and food? Is it difficult?

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Re: Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Preitler » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:51 am


Welcome :)

Well, that's how I do it.
My herd buck, and his spayed cuddlebun are my free range house bunnies, no cage or so, they can go in and out as they please (have to stay in the house when it's dark).

Then I have 2 mother/daughter pairs of breeding does, they are lifestock, but kind of pets too. I retired the older pair, 6 and 8yo, from breeding this year, both not happy about it, but I need to breed the younger ones (1 and 2yo) and don't need that much meat.
I do not sell meat, sometimes I give a rabbit to a friend as a present, but for me all that work and commitment isn't worth the little money I could get, apart from buerocratic hurdles.

Offspring is food. I keep them for about 5 months since I feed mostly forage. It happend a few times that there was an outstanding character among them that I got somewhat attached to, but I was lucky enough to sell most of those as pets or to other breeders.
Never give food names. Be careful about that when kids are around. I think it would be much easier with purebred stock where all the kits look the same - my mongrel meat mutts all look different, also their characters vary a lot.

I dont have any problem that my pets are rabbits too, I think it's not that difficult to differentiate.

I started the same way, harvesting a few rabbits in the garden, and in my childhood every second house had rabbits or chicken for meat, was used to it from my grandparents.

To most difficult part for me was the killing, be always aware that this is the very reason they are here in the first place. You'll get good advice on every aspect about raising and processing here, knowing a place like this would have helped me a lot at the start.
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Re: Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:56 pm


My pet rabbits,- were older "breed stock" does, that I had become attached to.
I kept them on ,after their "productive live" had ended.
They would come in from play, in the evening, be caged and fed.
I let them back out in the fenced yard, the next morning.
I kept them until their health became poor, and they weren't happy anymore.
.- then I humanely killed those too.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:32 pm


I've kept meat and pet rabbits at the same time. Pets in the house, meat buns in the rabbitry. No problem. I loved my pets intensely, but here's the thing. I never actually cared for the meat rabbits any less. I just had different fates in mind for both, and accepted that fate from the beginning.

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Re: Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Dood » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:27 pm


Yes, I do this with most of my livestock

The parents/breeders are allowed to be pets, get names, kids play with them, etc... but with the clear distinction that their babies are food. Sometimes defective ones get to pets and are not expected to produce for the family, we’ve got a few with bent toes, scissor beaks, twisted wings, missing legs, “fancy” or uniquely coloured that the kids keep more as pets
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Re: Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby ladysown » Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:56 pm


i have Wafer.... a flemish giant doe I intended to breed but she proved sterile. She became a pet as she has tons of personality. I have my lops which I sell, or cull, or do whatever with depending on my needs. They all live outside. She has a special cage and occasionally buck sits for me if I have an overflow.
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Re: Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby GBov » Tue Apr 28, 2020 11:27 am


It is easy enough to keep pets and livestock separate in my head but everyone is different.

Having several does in production with lots of fryers eating their heads off with more kits on the way and not enough cages for everyone, that tends to make it much easier. :lol:

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Re: Keeping both meat and pets?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby dzeno90 » Fri May 01, 2020 5:59 am


I consider myself as ruthless because i slaughtered so many rabbits but i still have a pet rabbit that i love and would never kill.
You have to accept that they are livestock and not your pet.

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