I’ve been raising rabbits for some time now and I absolutely love them because they have so much to offer. Since they’re such a great addition to our lifestyle I’ve decided to compile a list of reasons why every homestead should have rabbits.
1. A Great Meat Source
Rabbit meat is lean and has a great flavor. For this reason alone backyard farmers love to have rabbits for growing their own meat. Rabbits are easy to cull (it doesn’t even require a bullet) and they can be processed and in your freezer within minutes. I initially started raising rabbits so my raw fed dogs could have more of a variety in their diet.
2. Rabbits Are Versatile
Rabbits aren’t only sought after because of their meat. People pay for rabbits pelts (fur) to make rugs and blankets, rabbit’s feet are dyed then used as keychains, and gardeners love to use rabbit poop as fertilizer. To find out how to collect rabbit droppings to use as fertilizer check out my blog post.
3. They’re A Small Investment
Rabbits are very cheap. I started with a single pair of breeders. Bugs Bunny and Lola cost me $25 each but some are available even cheaper. They’re New Zealand White rabbits which are a very popular backyard breed. The Rex breed is another popular meat rabbit. To find rabbits for sale try joining some rabbit facebook groups.
Once you’ve made your initial investment and bought your pair of breeding rabbits you’ll have baby bunnies before you know it. A female rabbit (doe) is capable of becoming pregnant at any time. A doe’s gestation period is on average 28 – 32 days. They can actually give birth whenever they want within this window.
For these reasons breeding rabbits is so easy and can be done at your request. I choose to breed heavily in the winter since we live in south Georgia. During this time of year, the weather isn’t so hot and the rabbits can tolerate it better. When the summer comes and it’s hot as balls outside I choose to give my buns a break. In fact, male rabbits (bucks) can become sterile in hot weather conditions.
Keep in mind that if you want to have control over when your rabbits breed, you’ll need to only put them in contact with each other only when you’re ready.
5. Rabbits Aren’t Loud Like Other Animals
Ducks quack loudly, sheeps baah, chickens cock a doodle doo. In the meantime, rabbits are quietly minding their own business. The only time I hear something from one of my bunnies is when they’re ticked off at me. It’s usually when I have to manhandle them cause they’re trying to run away from me. They let me know they’re not happy with a snort or a grunt.
Rarely you may have a loud high pitched scream from your rabbit when breeding. It’s thought that this is due to overstimulation. Another scream which is more common with wild rabbits is known as the death scream and is heard when the animal is afraid for its life.
6. Compact Size
Even though meat rabbits are big rabbits they’re still a small animal that doesn’t require a lot of room. You could easily have a few of them outside and your neighbors would never know it.
My breeders each have a large pen which is about 3’ x 2’. I prefer to keep my grow outs (rabbits that will be culled for meat when they’re the right size) separate from each other. Each grow out has their own pen – but theirs are smaller. Some people choose to keep their grow outs together in one pen. In this case, you’ll obviously want a bigger square footage. Shallow is okay but make it several feet long.
7. Baby Bunnies Are Adorable
Even though they’re destined for freezer camp rabbits are adorable to look at, cuddle with, and play with. When we have a litter of curious little ones we love sitting as a family at night playing with the baby bunnies (as a matter of fact we’re doing it right now). Even my macho man husband can’t resist that cute furry face and those whiskers. There’s a feeling of euphoria whenever baby bunnies are around.
Keep in mind that when the time comes, if you and your family won’t be able to cull a rabbit because you’ve befriended it, then you should avoid bringing them into your home and cuddling with them.
What More Could You Want?
Now that you know all the benefits of owning rabbits how could you not want to go out and get your first pair? Which rabbits would you like to own? Let us know in the comments below.