Tiffany S. is what some might call a meat rabbit guru and she’s certain that no matter how cute and fuzzy they are, when it comes down to it, you will be able to do what’s necessary to put food on the table. You can find her over at Raising Rabbits for Meat, a blog appropriately titled since it’s all about how to get started and keep things going if you are interested in raising meat rabbits.
I know you’re probably thinking that the idea of raising rabbits for meat in-and-of-itself is already a very self-sufficient thing to do. And you’re not wrong. But there are actually even more reasons why raising meat rabbits is an incredibly smart thing to do.
1. First and foremost, growing your own healthy meat in your backyard is without a doubt the number one reason why people start raising their own rabbits. What could be more sustainable than that? You breed your rabbits, let them raise their young for a few weeks, cull the young fryer-sized rabbits and start over. You and your kids can get attached to the breeders, there is very little maintenance compared to other small livestock and you rarely have to get your hands dirty when litters arrive.
2. You’ll not only have a nearly endless supply of meat for yourself, but you’ll also have lots of innards and such for your pets to feast on. I know I’m personally not a huge fan of things like liver or loins (although some would consider it a delicacy), but my dog goes ballistic for that kind of thing. Don’t want to feed it to them raw? Make some liver treats…your dog will never leave your side again!
3. Now once you’ve successfully started providing for your own family, you can also start helping other families put food on the table, either by selling/bartering rabbits to butcher or kits for breeding. Depending on how many you sell, you should be able to cover your own costs and possibly even turn a profit. And trust me, people are getting more and more interested in raising meat rabbits every day…especially with all the outbreaks of disease that keep erupting in the US food chain.
4. Oh, did I mention that these bundles of meat are also covered in lovely fur packages? Make hats, vests, jackets and other clothing out of them…or sell/barter the pelts to others so they can do something useful with them. I hear that Boy Scouts troops are often looking for pelts for various projects they do…so don’t think you have to be a huge supplier to find someone to sell to. And besides, the number of pelts you have will add up quickly.
5. Rabbits absolutely love garden waste and yard clippings…although you do have to be careful what you give them. You can raise healthy, happy rabbits strictly off of your scraps although they won’t be the protein powerhouses that you’re probably used to. During The Great Depression, it was extremely common to raise meat rabbits and that’s exactly how people fed them. You can even feed them twigs and branches from some of your trees (and actually should) so they can wear down those teeth that never stop growing.
6. And let us not forget, what goes in must eventually come out. And when it does, you will have some of the most fabulous fertilizer ever. If you want to be really adventurous, you can raise worms in tandem with the rabbits, feed the worms the droppings and end up with the most incredibly rich fertilizer that will NEVER burn your plants (and with very little work.) Plus it’s free!
So have I convinced you yet that raising rabbits is an incredible way to become more self-sufficient? If you’re thinking about raising rabbits (or already raise them), hop over here and get a free cheat sheet of safe and unsafe foods for rabbits from your own garden. Know exactly what to keep out of reach if you let them hop around your garden…or what you can give them from your table and yard waste that will help them thrive.