Raising Meat Rabbits

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I know there are some old posts on this subject, but with all the new people on the forum since then, I figured I'd start a new one.  My family is looking to start raising rabbits for meat.  We are still in the research and planning stage, but we are looking to purchase our breeders next spring probably.  Anyone have any experience with meat rabbits?  What breed(s) do you have?  What is your setup like?  Any tips for someone getting started? 

Ben Framed:
Member, this will not answer you questions. The only experience I have with meat rabbits is eating them and that was only once.  As a boy one of the older fellows fixed some for a breakfast for the folks at church.  They were outstanding! Also as a boy we had beagle hounds and hunted wild rabbits and they were also very tasty and good in my opinion. The raised rabbits were a delicious delicacy !!  Good luck to you and your family on this!!

I have tried this for personal use. First thing, find a large breed. You do not get a lot of meat off of the small ones. Start with more than a couple of rabbits. If one of them is a dud, of poor breeder, it really puts a halt on production. Like Beekeeping, start building your cages now.
Jim Altmiller

We did meat rabbits for years.  Had one male and five females as our breeders.  That's five separate cages plus an additional five for raising the young ones.  We separated them by sex not litter mates.  We raised Californians, Rex, and champagne.  The Californians did the best for us.  After about five or six years we came to the conclusion it just wasn't worth the effort/feed.  Taking them hot water twice a day during winter was a real pain and probably. Kept Flemish Giants for a few years after that. Their litters are smaller and they take to long to grow to be meat rabbits.  They make wonderful pets. They are really cool rabbits but need an extremely large cage with a special mesh floor for their feet. 

Make sure your cages are raccon proof.  Butcher between 3 to 6 months old.  Best way to kill them is to grab them by the back legs with one hand and around the neck with your other hand.  Then just give a quick sharp pull to "stretch" them.  It breaks their neck instantly. Rabbit liver is the BEST!  I don't like liver but rabbit liver is amazing.  Best part of the rabbit IMO.  We supplemented their regular feed with garden scraps, fruits and apple tree branches. We out pieces of mine belt under the cages so it was easy to clean their mess with a flat shovel.  You may be surprised at how much mess a rabbit generates.  It can go straight to your garden it won't burn the plants.  Seriously try the livers fried in butter, sooo good.  Don't leave the male with the female for very long they can be really hard on the females.  Also make your cages so the rabbits can't chew on the wood frame of the cage because they will chew right through a 2x4.

Thanks for all the great information everyone!  My father is looking to start building some housing for the bunnies in about a month or so.  Our plan is to keep the breeders in hutches mounted on the back wall of our garage, and then use rabbit tractors to grow out the babies.  We are currently looking into the silver fox rabbit breed.  We like the size and the bone/meat ratio.  Anyone have any experience with those?   


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