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Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

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Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby a7736100 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:55 pm


Considering cost of chicken house vs rabbit cages; getting scratches from rabbits; breeding; processing.
I only raise rabbits.

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby CanineWild » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:19 pm


One thing to consider might be that, assuming your comparing meat rabbits to meat chickens, rather than laying hens, the commercial chickens often raised for meat aren't something you can generally breed for yourself. Rather you have to buy chicks or eggs every year, and have the proper equipment for that. It would be different of course if you went with a heritage breed, though the meat quantity would naturally be different.

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby hotzcatz » Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:06 am


Well, it all depends on your situation. Around here we have no predators so the chickens can just wander around. They're annoying when they get in the garden and they keep getting on the porch, but they're pretty much zero maintenance. The hens lay their eggs in a nesting box in an empty hole in the bunny hutch. That's a mongoose proof place so we get the eggs instead of the mongoose.

We don't really feed the chickens, we give them a bit now and then but they do most of their own foraging. Which means we get less eggs, but the eggs are basically free since we don't feed the chickens. The hens occasionally decide to set and hatch out some chicks, we have one rooster so the eggs are fertile. When they start to crow, we eat the roosters so some of them provide meat, the rest provide eggs and all of them provide entertainment watching them wander around the yard.

This may not be a situation which works for you, but it works for us at the moment.
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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:12 am


In my experience,
If you are buying all of your feed, "cornish cross meat chickens" have a much better
feed conversion ratio than rabbits. Chicken will be cheaper / lb than rabbit meat.
Butchering chickens is easy for some people, and not so easy for others..
If you want the skin on the chickens, then heating water , scalding, and plucking 4 or 5 chickens
is much more time consuming.
-- If you butcher 25 to 50 at a time, -- then the butchering time /bird is comparable to rabbits.
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby GBov » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:23 am


I agree, it all depends upon what you are aiming for.

Chickens and rabbits just go together for me because I hate waste of all kinds and between them they can eat everything we don't. All veg scraps go to the bunnies and all leftovers go to the chickens.

No matter how good I am at using up bits, sometimes there is stuff that cant be used and, with a fortnightly garbage collection, the bins smell something awful with food waste in them. Can't WAIT to get our new hens, just a few weeks to go.

With just hens, the scraps come back as super quality eggs, but if you are raising dual-purpose or hatching your own your scraps turn into both meat and eggs. Feed does have to be bought as well so factor in that cost as well.

Chickens are noisy, rabbits not. Both of them make quality fertilizer for the veg patch.

I can dispatch and dress out a fryer in 4.46 minutes and scalding/cleaning a meat bird takes me 9 minutes - but clean up is MUCH faster and easier after doing rabbits.

My advice is, have both! :D

__________ Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:23 am __________

Oh, forgot to add, rabbits give you a pelt to work with while chicken feathers have very few uses.

Did I already say have both? :lol:

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Zass » Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:02 am


Cornish crosses may have a better feed conversion, but the rabbits are hind gut fermenters who can thrive and gain weight on very different things than chickens, especially meat birds.

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby hotzcatz » Mon Jan 25, 2021 4:10 am


GBov wrote:I agree, it all depends upon what you are aiming for.

<SNIP>
Oh, forgot to add, rabbits give you a pelt to work with while chicken feathers have very few uses.

Did I already say have both? :lol:


If you skin a chicken with the feathers still on and then lay it flat to dry you'll have a 'chicken pelt'. Kinda a 'flat chicken' or a 'feather shield' sorta thing. Fun wall art, although I'd intended on saving the feathers for making feather hatbands and figured they'd stay more organized on the skin. Never did make feather hat bands, but the flat chickens were fun for awhile. Finally gave them to someone else to make Hawaiian feather hatbands. Hmm, wonder if rabbit pelts would make a good hatband?
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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby GBov » Mon Jan 25, 2021 8:26 am


Flat chickens!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby DoozyWombat » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:33 am


In 2019, I built a chicken coop and a rabbitry. The coop was a deluxe Woods coop, and cost me about $1000 in materials. The rabbitry is an eight (large) cage model, and cost about $400 in materials. (Per animal, the coop was much cheaper, as the coop can handle up to forty adult chickens.)

In April of 2020, I got both a batch of chicks and some NZW rabbits. Both got scraps, but both also mainly just ate store feed--although the chickens did a lot of foraging. Since I was doing this for the first time, I tracked every penny.

Every time I processed an animal, I weighed the dressed carcass, ready for the freezer.

I did not count start-up costs or equipment. My flock consists of Dark Brahmas and one Leghorn, which provide both eggs and entertainment. I also got 25 of the Jumbo Cornish Cross from Cackle Hatchery (great place, btw.) I harvested all the Cornish Cross between four and twelve weeks, and I still have the others (except for one rooster who got aggressive.)

The rabbits are much less entertaining, and much more work.

If I had lots of free time and carefully checked what I foraged, I could probably have fed the rabbits through the warm weather months for not much. But I didn't have the time, so they basically just ate store feed, except for table scraps. And through the winter, they eat and eat and eat! Layer feed costs about $13 for 50lbs. Rabbit feed costs about $20 for 50lbs, and each animal consumes a lot more.

I added up all the costs for ordering the chicks, shipping, and every consumable I got for them. The chickens, dressed and bagged for the freezer, came out to exactly $1/pound. That's for organic, free-range chicken, which runs $6 to $7 per pound in the stores around here. I also find dressing chickens easier than rabbits, but I agree with the comment that you want to do a bunch at a time, because the clean-up is definitely messier.

The rabbits, by comparison, are costing somewhere between $12/pound and $20/pound, depending on whether you count the cost for a single kit raised to 12 weeks, or the cost of raising them to breeding age and feeding the doe through weaning the kits. I'm sure my numbers are somewhat high, because I could probably have reduced costs by rationing the food, or harvested forage during the summer to feed during the winter, or similar things. But I just didn't have the time, so this is 100% store feed conversion.

Rabbit meat is delicious, but the chicken from those free-range broilers is quite a bit better, IMO. Maybe it's just because I've been eating chicken all my life, but I find butchering and eating both easier with chickens.

I've already ordered forty more Cornish Cross chicks for this year, since we will have eaten last year's harvest by the time they are ready for processing.

I'm sure I've made a bunch of mistakes that cost money, but the amount of work per animal is at least ten times as much, and the cost of the processed meat is between twelve and twenty times as much. If I had loads of time, I could probably raise the rabbits for even less than the chickens, so that should be a factor to consider if you have a lot of free time.

As a hedge against collapse, rabbits are a great resource, because they can multiply much faster than chickens. As an efficient way to put food on the table for a busy family, not so much.

I realize this may be seen as heresy on rabbittalk, and I apologize. Backyardchickens.com is my resource for all things chicken.

I've enjoyed the rabbits, but for me, it's much too much work for not much reward. I'll be harvesting or selling off my livestock in the next few weeks. If anyone wants some New Zealand Whites in the Winchester, Virginia area, let me know. I plan to keep the rabbitry for the future.

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby GBov » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:52 am


Hardly heresy DW, just your personal experience.

I found rabbits and chickens ate, cup for cup, the same amount but chicken food was cheaper than rabbit food.

Until I started feeding fermented feed which meant they both got the same amount spent on them.

Chickens are easier to feed than rabbits as they all get fed from the same bowl, while each rabbit had to be fed one at a time.

I HATE cleaning chickens but love dressing out a rabbit and, at the end of it all, I have a lovely pelt to work with instead of a mass of stinking wet feathers.

Each to their own, and I love that everyone can have their own opinions and experiences that others can learn from.

Gosh, its almost like we are all grownups on RT! :group-hug2:

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Re: Are chickens easier and cheaper than rabbits?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:11 am


My experience,
Rabbit meat costs more to produce than broiler breed chicken meat,
largely because of the need to maintain adult breed stock.
And...
Commercially produced rabbit feed ,costs a lot more than chicken feed..
There is no plausable excuse for the high cost of rabbit feed,other than "pet" type profit margins
from sales.[IE: greed]
When I had a lot of rabbits, and had my rabbit feed made and delivered in a bulk truck
to my farm feed bins, the cost of rabbit feed was comparable to my other "livestock feeds".[IE: chicken, and pig feed]
Raising rabbits on garden or farm raised feeds is not only possible , but much more efficient than broiler chickens.
Rabbits can be efficently raised on feeds that do not "directly compete" with human feed needs.
IE hay, cornstalks, root crops, garden waste, and green feeds like kale.
My experience was very consistant with the "study" linked below..

https://meatscience.org/docs/default-so ... f?sfvrsn=2
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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