Getting Started With Meat Rabbits

We added a few new additions to our homestead! Three New Zealand Red rabbits - Chip, Rosie, and Daisy. 

Our goal in getting rabbits is to raise them for meat. We've culled and eaten a rooster before, but bunnies are a bit cuter. I know when it comes time to process our first rabbit, it's going to be emotional. 

This is Chip. He is so sweet! Every time we open his cage he greets us for snuggles.


Why Meat Rabbits?

I know a lot of people see rabbits as pets, and to be honest so do I. But I also see them as beneficial livestock. Their poop is amazing for the garden, and their meat is very high in protein. They reproduce like... well, like rabbits. So you buy two or three rabbits, and you get tons more over time. They are cheap to feed and keep, and they are even great companions. 

The way I see it, animals like cows and chickens that are raised for commercial production of milk and eggs are often kept in horrible conditions. By raising our own chickens and rabbits, we can give them care and love. We can give them a good life, and we will have more respect and appreciation for the meat we eat and where it comes from. I think too many people take that for granted. I know I have.



Our Setup

Right now we've got our bunnies in stacked wire cages in our garage. We have these cages from Bass Equipment. Eventually we are going to build a shed for the rabbits and chickens in our pasture, but these cages are working out great. They have a wire bottom so they aren't hopping around in their pee all the time. They also have trays that the pee and poo fall into so you can collect it and put it on your garden - we're pretty excited about that part! Yay for compost!


Breeding

It's possible that our does were already pregnant when we got them, so we are just waiting for signs of nesting. We will probably wait a full month before we try to breed them ourselves, just in case. They are less friendly than our buck, and we are hoping that's because they are expecting. I'm both excited and nervous for babies... These girls will be first time mothers, and I hope they take to it well so we don't lose too many bunnies.