Most people think of rabbits as being adorable, quiet pets, but they’re actually great to raise for meat as well. They don’t require a lot of space, aren’t too expensive to feed, and well, breed like bunnies.
If you’re interested in raising rabbits for meat, here are a few considerations:
First of all, check your local laws on slaughtering rabbits, and to see if you can legally raise them in your area for meat. There are some states and counties in which you could be reported for animal cruelty since they are considered pets, so just make sure before you start breeding them.
Look into which breeds would be best for your purposes. There are wild and domestic breeds of rabbit, some better for meat than others. If you are buying rabbits from a dealer, you will most likely be purchasing domestic breeds; Rex and New Zealand rabbits are among the most popular.
What to look for
When purchasing rabbits to start raising them, make sure you are purchasing them from a reputable dealer who cares for their animals well. Make sure you choose healthy-looking, well-fed animals who are clearly cared for. Healthy animals equal healthy meat.
Rabbits are great because you can feed them a lot of scraps like vegetable and fruit leftovers. Carrots are of course a big treat for them, but they’ll enjoy leafy greens, strawberry tops, and celery ends, for example.
You will also want to purchase feed for them, to ensure they are getting the prime nutrition they need. Since you are going to be eating them, bear in mind you will probably want to opt for organic, non-GMO feed for them. They will also need fresh water, as with any caged animal, and a simple rodent water dispenser from a pet store will usually be sufficient.
Housing your rabbits
Rabbits need open-air cages; if you can keep them outside that’s awesome, but they need to be sheltered from too much cold or dampness. When in enclosed areas, rabbits can be harmed from too much exposure to their own urine, so make sure they are getting fresh bedding regularly and that they have plenty of ventilation in their cages. Hay and straw are great options for bedding, because the rabbits will enjoy nibbling on them.
Breeding and slaughtering
If you’re raising animals for meat, it is ideal to breed them, to multiply and sustain your food source. Of course, the expression and jokes about how quickly rabbits breed are true; they have large litters and breed often, so a word of caution there. Since both breeding and slaughtering require their own extensive instructions, we will follow up soon with posts for each, so stay tuned!
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