Meat Rabbit Farming

therian(6)June 10, 2011

Hello everyone I am new to rabbit raising but I raised chickens in the past. I have some questions but first I will throw out my thought process.

Start off with I want 2 bucks and 2 does, 1 M/F Californian 1 M/F New Zealand White. I will breed the the pure breeds ONCE to produce pure kits. I will then crossbreed kits for harvest on future sessions. End result will be 2 bucks of each breed and 3 does of each. Total of 10 rabbits (spares in case a male dies or doe doesn't like one buck)

I plan to feed them a 15% protein pellet ($10 per 50 pound bag) and Timothy Hay (will by a ton in small bales at major discount) I always like to keep a years supply in case something happens for example the economy goes south I can produce a lot of meat for my family.

My questions are these.

1)My main question is how long can I keep the hay and how long do pellets last?

2)How much does a adult rabbit eat per day (on average not look for exact)

3)Anyone have a good site for plans for rabbit cages?

4)How to choose quality stock for breeding, what should I look for exactly?

5)Is there a good book I could buy that would help answer most my questions?

Thank you very much for clicking on my thread and giving this a read. I appreciate anyone who can offer any advice or help.

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It's been a looong time since we raised meat rabbits, I was the child in charge of feeding them. We had a rabbitry of 800+ (closer to 1000) rabbits at one time.

Your hay will last a long time. Is it for bedding or feed or both? They are only going to eat a handful at a time, bedding will be minimal useage. That hay will last a long time. Nutritionally, hay loses it's value quickly. If kept in a barn it will stay much longer, ours lasts the whole year nutrition-wise.

We always free-choice fed pellets. We didn't want to limit their growth by limiting their feed, so hard to determine how much pellets. I'd plan on about 1 cup a day for the NZ rabbits, but that's just a guess. Pellets kept in an enclosed container free of pests & moisture should last quite a while. I would NOT stock up on these, maybe 2 bags at the most at a time for the amount of rabbits you have.

No site for rabbit cages but when we started I was in charge of making them. The best solution we came up with was using 1x1 wire for the sides & top. 1/2 x 1 wire for the bottom. The reasons: the sides need to be small enough to (hopefully) stop weasels & other predators from entering the cages & killing rabbits & kits. The small wire on the bottom stopped broken legs, predators eating the feet, and was strong enough to support the weight of the rabbits. Cages should be made in a rectangle shape not a square shape for added strength. Clean the bottom with a wire brush (like a BBQ brush). If possible hang the cages with wire from the rafters in your building.....Wooden legs catch urine & debris and are a vector for disease and are hard to clean. The building provided shelter from the weather, a nest box provided privacy. A cross-breeze provided fresh air.

Assemble the cages with "J" hooks. They can be found at Stromberg's chicks & gamebirds item#CLMP & clincher # HDCLN

Alphalfa feeders were hung on the outside of the cage, with a catch at the bottom because some rabbits would scratch the feed out & it was wasted.

Water was supplied with soda bottles & spicots on the outside. This kept the water clean, plus in winter when they froze we just swapped new unfrozen bottles for the frozen ones daily. Worked like a charm.

I forget what diseases rabbits can get, you will have to look that up. Obviously they should LOOK healthy. We had registered rabbits sold mostly for meat but we could fulfill the pet/show market when a buyer inquired.

Story may have a good rabbitry book, they cover many other species.

We also had a monthly buyer for the kits. He raised snakes & every month would pick up X amount of kits to feed his snakes. Other buyers bought for their table, then of course a few pets here & there. Buyers were very specific on the size rabbits they wanted so market/breed based on supply/demand.

That's all I can think of and remember. I do know we tried several cage set-ups until we came up with the hanging cages.

Good luck


    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:26AM
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My biggest issue is price atm. You can buy a 50 pound bag of pellets for $12 and 1 ton of Timothy Hay for $140 here. Now to see how good my math is :P This is based off 2 bucks and 4 does and if we do a 50/50 combo of hay and pellets.
The below mind you is xxx pounds for each food not combined pounds.

6 months = 360 pounds of both pellets and hay for the adults only. If we have only 24 kits from all 4 does total (low ball) and we feed from 6w to 9w after they get weened its a possible 175 pounds of hay and pellets will be consumed by the kits in the 3 week period.
So pretend we get 96 kits total a year and we harvest at 9w we are looking at a possible combined total of 1060 pounds of hay and feed each year. We assume the kits will eat 10oz each day like their parents.

Total price is $414 in feed per year. 22 bags of feed and 1 ton of hay (+1 normal bale for $10 (high ball)
Each fryer should be around 5 pounds, the question I have is that bone weight or without bone? If its with bone then its 3 pounds of meat per kit. Id love to know usable meat but its not 100% sure thing to know.
I am guessing each fryer will be 3 pounds of meat at 9w, 3x96=288 pounds of meat which is $1.40 per pound which isn't terrible. Mind you the cost of getting it all going will be a extra $400 I imagine so its $2.80 per pound up front.

My question is my math correct here? Also I heard you shouldn't harvest a rabbit till 12-16 weeks old...if so why? Also when is the best time to harvest when food vs meat starts to slow down?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 11:41PM
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