Rabbits for Self Sufficient Living

This page about self sufficient living focuses on the benefits of sustainably raising rabbits:

  • 7 reasons why rabbits are a good choice for food self sufficiency
  • 5 important considerations before you leap, and
  • 8 ways rabbits return to you more than they take.

We hear from folks all over America that have begun raising rabbits for self-sufficiency. These are the reasons they most often mention:


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1) “Rabbit meat is healthy.”

2) "Have you priced rabbit meat lately? $30/pound?!? Heck, for that price I'll raise my own meat!"

3) “Rabbits have a minimal carbon footprint. I can butcher a few rabbits when I need the meat and don’t need refrigeration if I use what I butcher right away.”

4) “Rabbits are an ideal renewable resource. They multiply rapidly and don’t bark or crow at 5 a.m.”

5) “Butchering our own rabbits means I know my animals have been treated kindly through their lives and dispatched humanely and painlessly.”

6) “I don’t like the idea of being dependent on the grocery store nowadays. Self sufficient living is important to me.”

7) “Rabbit manure provides excellent fertilizer. Between the rabbits and the garden, we can provide for ourselves sustainably.”

Rex meat rabbits

While a few pet rabbit owners might be horrified at the idea of eating rabbits, our long-running rabbit survey has shown us that the vast majority of all rabbit owners, including pet rabbit owners, have no problem with the idea of eating livestock rabbits. The good news is that it only takes a few rabbits and minimal space to provide for the needs of an entire family. The urban dweller can easily raise a few rabbits on a covered patio or in the back yard. 

Self sufficient living does come with a trade-off in time and effort

These rex meat rabbits contribute to self sufficiency

These Rex rabbits will reach market weight in approximately 10 - 12 weeks. New Zealand rabbits are larger as a breed and faster growing; they'll go to market by 8-9 weeks.

The services now provided by the farmer, butcher, and grocer will fall to you.

If you’re considering the idea of raising meat rabbits, here are some important considerations:

  • You will need a significant time investment. You’ll need to feed the rabbits at least once a day, plus maintain a regular schedule for cleaning cages, and other daily rabbit husbandry chores.

  • You will need to put some money into those rabbits. They’ll need cages and feed, at the least, though alternative forages and housing exist.

    Plus there is an initial cost to purchase the foundation animals for your meat rabbit herd. We highly recommend not just getting any ole auction animals. Find a reputable breeder of the breed of meat rabbits you wish to raise – rabbits that have proven their ability to remain healthy and to raise full litters to market weight. The purchase of 3 does and 1 buck might cost $50 - $100, or possibly a little more. (Don’t begrudge this money; it will save you 10x that in the first year alone due to minimized losses and quick weight gains.)

  • Do you have the guts to dispatch rabbits? It doesn't smell good and it isn't pretty, which confuses the animal rights folks to no end. (No, PETA, the twitching is not a sign of torture. It is the proof of death, which is why it is called death throes.)

  • You may encounter a learning curve, which is where we come in. Raising-Rabbits.com is designed to provide you all the information and education you need to accomplish the whole gamut of rabbit husbandry chores.

  • You may need to swear off pesticides and herbicides, especially if you want to save money by feeding yard scraps and grass clippings. There are other non-toxic ways to deal with weeds.

What do you get for your efforts?

A single healthy doe can provide 6-10 live rabbits per litter, and sometimes more. That translates to up to 30 pounds of butchered meat per litter. Multiply 30 pounds times 7 litters per year, and you will have stored away or eaten up to 210 pounds of meat, per doe, per year. Multiply THAT by the number of does, and…wow, it adds up fast!

But that is not all!

Besides a freezer full of fryers, rabbits provide:

  • Manure for the victory garden, so you can eat green beans, spinach salad and mashed potatoes with that fried rabbit – yum!
  • Pelts for garments, moccasins, crafts, throws and bedspreads
  • Species-appropriate raw meat for your carnivore pets
  • The offal can go to the chickens, if you have them
  • Make a few bucks by selling pets or meat rabbit breeding stock
  • The experience is priceless for your kids, who will learn responsibility and character, plus gain pride, animal husbandry skills and ready access to all the 4-H and FFA projects they could ever need
  • Rabbits and their various products also provide meat and tangible goods for use in bartering, should the opportunity arise.

Below: Crookneck squash growing crazy in rabbit manure, showing interdependency of species. The rabbits eat the plants and then fertilize the garden. Humans nurture both the rabbits and the garden, and also eat from both the herd and the plants.

Rabbit manure does an amazing job feeding plants!

Walkin' the Talk...

http://www.peninsulanewsreview.com/news/167912285.html - This news article features a Sidney BC, Canada, resident who manages to provide nearly all the vegetables his family needs in the back yard of his city lot, at least in part with the waste/manure of a pet rabbit. Yes, it is apparently possible to nearly achieve self sufficient living on a city lot, especially with the help of animal-based fertilizer.

What about Convenience?

After all, convenience was the mother of all those clean and tidy, bloodless, shrink-wrapped square pieces of meat on grocery shelves today. Thus, convenience robbed us of self sufficient living.

If you’re willing to keep gambling on the stability of your employment and the global economy in exchange for the more familiar convenience, great!

But you now know where to come (Raising-Rabbits.com) should self sufficient living become a greater (voluntary or involuntary) priority.

For more info related to self-sufficient living:
http://www.raising-rabbits.com/rabbit-farming.html


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