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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering a little bit about other people's experiences. It looks like a viable way to get some meat. What kinds of problems have people had? What were your startup costs? Your results? What do you wish you'd done differently when starting out?
 

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I did it and enjoyed it, had some success but struggled with keeping them going in the Texas heat. There is a surprising amount of meat on a typical NZ White fryer. I spent maybe $200 total to get going, including 2 does and 1 buck then 2 more does when I lost the first 2 in the heat, some miscellaneous material to build the hutch, water bottles feed etc. Even after I had stopped raising them I had several in the freezer that I sadly lost when the freezer was unknowingly unplugged for a month (that is a surprise when you open it!)
The summer months are tough, the buck goes sterile when the temps get into the 80's and those two summers were very brutal in Texas, sometimes the night time lows were 90 degrees! I would give them frozen two liter bottles of water, hang wet towels over their hutches-it was just tough.
Someday when I can relocate or build better facilities I will try again.
 

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patriarch
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I have a California buck, two California does, and a New Zealand doe. I raise youngsters for canning. You can find them from breeders who show their rabbits at ARBA shows. Purebred stock without the bells & whistles can cost $15-$25. Always purchase does that has had several litters. Ask questions, are they good mothers, how many do they have, are they aggressive, & etc.
There is a lot of good material on the related threads about rabbits. Most people overfeed their rabbits, get the wrong type of rabbit for meat, and spend too much money on initial cages, and supplies.
For good feed/meat ratio, the youngsters (fryers) should weigh 4+ pounds at eight weeks old. Then butcher!
For canning, 10 weeks will produce a much heavier rabbit, sometimes 6+ pound rabbit. And tame rabbit is all white meat. Don't get confused with wild rabbit. There is no comparison.
Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great info! So how did you store the meat so you can keep if frozen for months or etc? Do you need a special tool or kit for doing this or is it pretty simply? Also what was the cost of the upkeep for the rabbits?
 

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patriarch
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Great info! So how did you store the meat so you can keep if frozen for months or etc? Do you need a special tool or kit for doing this or is it pretty simply? Also what was the cost of the upkeep for the rabbits?
Are you aware what canning is? It takes a pressure canner to can meat. Rabbit, beef, venison, chicken. We can rabbit & chicken in large mouth quarts and beef & deer in pints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
To be honest I'm not really familiar with canning. I was thinking you had to get some type of vacuum sealer or special freezer paper to wrap it in. So you can can meat? does it need to be frozen then? How long is it good for and how does it taste? I love learning so much from this forum!
 

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patriarch
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To be honest I'm not really familiar with canning. I was thinking you had to get some type of vacuum sealer or special freezer paper to wrap it in. So you can can meat? does it need to be frozen then? How long is it good for and how does it taste? I love learning so much from this forum!
I will be honest also, no disrespect? :rolleyes: Just let me recommend that you read all there is on this blog about rabbits, canning & canning methods. Start from scratch and do your homework and learn what is taught here. Then, come back, I can then fill in the gaps?
Maybe your a troll? Holding your hand isn't for me, sorry. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A troll? Holding my hand? It would have taken you less time to answer my questions than it would have to write the response you wrote. If you don't feel like helping anymore than you already had you don't have to answer. I appreciate the answers you gave me earlier though. I have looked around and was looking around at stuff after my last reply, however sometimes direct questions teach you a lot more than picking up a little here and a little there from indirect answers on a forum. Again thanks for your previous help and sorry to bother you.
 

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the "d" from ban[d]
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Quail it is the other white meat bird.

What you do not eat you can sell to high end restaurants.

You will go out of business if you try to have eggs for breakfast every day. It just takes so many to fill me up.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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Rabbits have been discussed on this forum dozens of times. If you do not like the forum search engine then use google.

Canning methods have been discussed hundreds of times.

I have raised rabbits, though now I am into poultry and swine. I still have friends who focus on rabbit.

Start small, see if you really like it.

As a teenager, I had a close friend who raised rabbit. It was around 50% of his family meat source in their diet. All from grass-clippings and raking mulberry leaves. Very little of the rabbit feed was store-bought.

Good luck :)
 

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I will be honest also, no disrespect? :rolleyes: Just let me recommend that you read all there is on this blog about rabbits, canning & canning methods. Start from scratch and do your homework and learn what is taught here. Then, come back, I can then fill in the gaps?
Maybe your a troll? Holding your hand isn't for me, sorry. Good luck.
Jester, just ignore rudeness like this. Some people are just unhappy people.

Anyway, raising rabbits is like anything else. You can spend as much as you want. If you only keep a couple of does and really like eating rabbit, which you cannot beat fried rabbit, it is my favorite, you can simply freeze them and eat them up by the time the next two litters are ready to harvest. Rabbits are easy to raise. Biggest problems you have will be hutches out of wood, they will eat it down, second, some mothers will eat their young. If you get a seasoned doe you shouldn't have a problem. Also, the little ones are so cute at 8 weeks old, and are very playful, so just don't get attached. Ha. Just read up on it a bit, learn the basics and then try your hand at it. If you decide you don't like it, then you can sell the stock or put them in the pot, which is what you have to do with older rabbits, make them into stew. I would personally recommend the Californian's, to me they are the perfect meat rabbit. Oh, last thing, just read up on how to handle rabbits, they have some nice claws and can use them if you pick them up the wrong way. Good luck and enjoy the process. Life is the journey, not the destination. Good eating.
 

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I raised meat rabbits for several years as a 4-H project. Startup costs are relatively low, and they put out a lot of babies if you can actually get them to breed. I say if because heat causes the bucks to go sterile for an indefinite period of time. Also, there are bad does that eat the babies.

If you live in a cooler climate, than I highly recommend that you raise them, but they didn't work for me where I lived in California. They are really delicate with the heat and start dying in the high 90's
 

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Like others have said, you need to go on your own and learn. There are basics. Colder climates work best but through selective breeding there are rabbits suited for hotter climate. Altex and Florida Whites do well breeding in the heat--- but they need shade, shade, shade! July and August are the only months mine "rest" from breeding or kindling.

The one thing I learned is that you really need to start off with a quality set of breeding parents. I bought cheap and got horrible results. Also, just because a rabbit is a Californian or New Zealand (or whatever makes a good meat rabbit) doesn't mean that the bloodline you are buying from is adapted to your area. For instance, I try to buy rabbits that have been bred in northern Florida and kindled in the warmer months. Those make the best for my climate. Good luck.
 

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FSK Jester - good advice here, but may I suggest "Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits" - about $14 @ Amazon. It's got good, basic advice, not all of which I agree with, but it's a good start, after you get going, modify the info to suit your particular situation.

Also - allow me to elaborate on some of the tips you've already been given:

* "bad mothers" eating their young - usually NOT "bad mothers", just inexperienced or lacking in nutrients. I usually give a doe 3 tries at motherhood before popping her in a pot. I also feed her a slice of raw bacon a day or two before she kindles - some say a doe that eats her young is lacking in protein - I've had good results turning a "bad" mother into a "good" mother with a single slice of bacon.

*wood hutches - avoid them, not only do they sometimes eat the wood, but it's MUCH easier to sanitize wire hutches.

* raspberries - sometimes you get a "sickly" litter, I've had EXCELLENT results in saving a sickly litter by feeding them NOTHING but raspberry whips for a week or so. I've read that some very experienced breeders offer raspberry whips EVERYDAY as a preventative measure.

*mold - do everything possible to AVOID moldy anything. Keep your pellets dry, check INSIDE your hay bales for mold BEFORE purchasing it. Moldy feed will kill a bun super-quick!

*buy a pressure cooker or pressure canner, it will turn the oldest, toughest rabbit into a delicate, delicious dinner in 30 minutes or less.

*professional therapy - I'm a bit off-kilter and have found that the peace and routine of caring for my herd is better therapy than ANY of the "professionals" I've seen over the years - hell, it's even better than a tall, cold glass of vodka - well...MOST of the time anyhow!

Do it, have fun with it, and feel free to turn to the many, many rabbit ranchers here on the boards, most are more than happy to help a newbie.
 

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from my cold dead hands
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raising rabbits in one part of the country is very different from another part. When I started into rabbits a 50# bag of feed was 5.99 and now its 19 for the same bag. But I still only get 14$ for a fryer. Just plain asking how much it costs is a very broad question. for me it was cheaper as I built my own cages and had a barn to put them in. If you dont have a barn and need a outdoor hutch that will cost more. Also Google "meat rabbit" and see what comes up or use the search function or go into the farming section and just browse the rabbit posts. Depending on where you live there is Bass Equipment or Quality Cage for equipment. And if you do not know about storing food you might want to google that as well. This is a forum and you get all types rude, helpful and even the ones that have been here for a long time and do get tired of the "will you tell me what this will cost because I cannot use a search function'
 

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patriarch
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Jester, just ignore rudeness like this. Some people are just unhappy people.

Anyway, raising rabbits is like anything else. You can spend as much as you want. If you only keep a couple of does and really like eating rabbit, which you cannot beat fried rabbit, it is my favorite, you can simply freeze them and eat them up by the time the next two litters are ready to harvest. Rabbits are easy to raise. Biggest problems you have will be hutches out of wood, they will eat it down, second, some mothers will eat their young. If you get a seasoned doe you shouldn't have a problem. Also, the little ones are so cute at 8 weeks old, and are very playful, so just don't get attached. Ha. Just read up on it a bit, learn the basics and then try your hand at it. If you decide you don't like it, then you can sell the stock or put them in the pot, which is what you have to do with older rabbits, make them into stew. I would personally recommend the Californian's, to me they are the perfect meat rabbit. Oh, last thing, just read up on how to handle rabbits, they have some nice claws and can use them if you pick them up the wrong way. Good luck and enjoy the process. Life is the journey, not the destination. Good eating.
After a while, you will learn when your getting jerked around. Fed a line of S***t! Anyway maybe, just a "wondering" will get of their butt hocks and do something for themselves. A lot of questions, just for sake of conversation, I guess? They still don't understand a word you said. Maybe take your advice? Probably not. ;)
 

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I am on my third rabbit project in the past 25 years.

The first session was a miserable failure. I built the hutches too small, pet dogs running around, the hutch was inside the inside the chicken coop which I do not think was a big deal. When I tried to breed the does, they kept eating the babies. I finally gave up and butchered all of them. I dont know if it was all of the other animals around, too small of a cage, poor nutrition,,, I just do not know what made the does keep eating their kits.

The second session was a failure, something got into the hutch and killed the rabbits.

This third session, I am going to make this one work. Each cage is 3 feet X 4 feet, and the rabbit has a hide-away box.



 
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MOLON LABE!
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At this time we have three does and a buck, at all times I have about 16 kits feeding out in the front yard. This translates into an average of a dozen per month year round. A dozen 3-4 pound rabbits is a lot of rabbit meat for a family.


It took a year for us to get our operation to full capacity.
 

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I did it and enjoyed it, had some success but struggled with keeping them going in the Texas heat. There is a surprising amount of meat on a typical NZ White fryer. I spent maybe $200 total to get going, including 2 does and 1 buck then 2 more does when I lost the first 2 in the heat, some miscellaneous material to build the hutch, water bottles feed etc. Even after I had stopped raising them I had several in the freezer that I sadly lost when the freezer was unknowingly unplugged for a month (that is a surprise when you open it!)
The summer months are tough, the buck goes sterile when the temps get into the 80's and those two summers were very brutal in Texas, sometimes the night time lows were 90 degrees! I would give them frozen two liter bottles of water, hang wet towels over their hutches-it was just tough.
Someday when I can relocate or build better facilities I will try again.
I think our heat is what killed my pet bunny. dang it gets hot here. none of the animals like it.
 
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