Although rabbit meat is not as popular as pork and beef, it is becoming a delicacy in some parts of the world. Moreover, raising rabbits for meat in your home backyard is economical and easy. Rabbits reproduce very quickly so they are also a reliable source of protein.
So, here is a guide if you want to start raising some in your home.
Raising Rabbits for Meat: Where You Should Start
Choosing the breed you want to raise
Not all rabbits can be raised for meat because some are just fancy breeds. The best breeds of rabbit for meat are those that grow large. A popular breed among raisers is New Zealand White because they grow large like a cat and their fur is worth some money too.
You need to take note though that a rabbit’s meat gets tougher as they get older so they need to be butchered at around eight weeks. However, if the rabbit is not of a decent size at eight weeks, you need to choose another breed to raise.
Making the shelter
First of all, whatever type of shelter you choose to build, make sure that it’s located in a shaded area so that your rabbits don’t feel hot. Now, you have two options for your rabbits’ shelter: a hutch or a colony.
A hutch is a wooden box covered with mesh. Your rabbits’ hutch should have a piece of wood where they can bite on to keep their teeth filed. There should also be a rabbit hole with a bedding where they can sleep. Here’s what a hutch looks like to give you an idea.
On the other hand, a colony is a grassy area in your yard that is enclosed with a fence and has a roof. This may be difficult when it comes to breeding but rabbits will love this because it’s close to their natural habitat.
Food for the rabbits
If you want to raise organic rabbit meat, the food you need to feed them should be all natural like vegetables and fruits. Another inexpensive, organic food option is grass. The good thing about raising rabbits is they fatten up on weed or grass so there’s no need to spend on expensive pellets. However, pellets are food options that will help them put on weight in a shorter amount of time.
In addition, there should always be water in the shelter of your rabbits because they drink a lot of it. You may place rabbit waterers in their shelter or small bowls for an inexpensive option.
- Don’t put straws in the shelter of your rabbits because that is a breeding ground for mites. You can prevent ear mites from growing in your rabbits by mixing tea tree and vegetable oil and putting a few drops on their ears.
- Keep flies away from their hutch because they can feast on your kits which will eventually kill them.
- Clean their shelter and replace their bedding weekly to keep your rabbits healthy and clean.
Raising rabbits for meat is inexpensive and easy. Rabbits are some of the animals that require very little maintenance yet they provide meat that is sustainable, nutritious, and delicious.