Five Reasons to Raise Rabbits:
- Low Cost
- Great Manure
- Easy to Breed
- Taste Good
- It’s Legal!
If you ask me rabbits are second only to chickens in terms of the best livestock to raise. They are small and quiet and very inexpensive to house and feed. They only eat a ¼ cup of food each day. Another bonus is that rabbit manure is what you call cold which means it’s ready to go right into the garden with no composting time required. It’ll really boost the nitrogen level in your soil too without burning your plants.
Rabbits are relatively easy to breed. You will want to house your does separate from your buck. When you’re ready for them to breed, you just put a doe in with the buck and let them do their thing. Don’t put him into her cage though because does are territorial and she might try to attack. When the buck is finished breeding, he’ll squeal and fall off of the doe’s back.
After breeding, if all goes well, your doe will kindle in 5 weeks. Four days before she’s due, put some bedding in her nest box. She should begin to nest and you’ll know the kits are on the way when she pulls out the fur on her belly for them. This makes the nest nice and soft and makes it easy for the kits to find their momma’s milk.
Rabbits are a great source of lean protein. They should be prepared at about 5-6 weeks old. At this age you can expect them to weigh somewhere around 3 lbs, maybe more depending on the breed. Rabbit tastes wonderful when cooked in the crock pot, stewed with homegrown veggies or pan fried with a mustard wine sauce. I have a great rabbit recipe posted on my Real Food Recipes page.
So if you can’t raise chickens for some silly reason like its against the law or what have you, give rabbits a try. Just tell your neighbors they are your pets. Lord knows no one wants to live next door to a farmer!
This post is linked to Homestead Barn Hop